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PSR Statement on the Increase of Allowable Dose of Ionizing Radiation to Children in Fukushima Prefecture

April 29, 2011

It is the consensus of the medical and scientific community, summarized in the US National Academies’ National Research Council report Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation VII, that there is no safe level of radiation. Any exposure, including exposure to naturally occurring background radiation, creates an increased risk of cancer. Moreover, not all people exposed to radiation are affected equally. Children are much more vulnerable than adults to the effects of radiation, and fetuses are even more vulnerable. It is unconscionable to increase the allowable dose for children to 20 millisieverts (mSv). Twenty mSv exposes an adult to a one in 500 risk of getting cancer; this dose for children exposes them to a 1 in 200 risk of getting cancer. And if they are exposed to this dose for two years, the risk is 1 in 100. There is no way that this level of exposure can be considered "safe" for children.

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