The Need

This is a time of both critical need and extraordinary opportunity in the study of low-dose radiation and its effects on human health. The 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident exposed thousands of Japanese citizens to low levels of radiation. Diagnostic imaging and radiation therapies expose tens of thousands more each year around the globe. Yet, to date, the risks associated with these exposures are unquantified and largely unknown. The scientific community today knows remarkably little about the long-term health effects of low-dose radiation exposure. This leaves lawmakers, business leaders, and ordinary citizens without the solid evidence base they need to make informed decisions on public policy, risk, and personal safety. This great uncertainty of radiation health risk underscores an urgent need for an integrated understanding of mechanisms of radiation injury, epidemiology, and exposure and risk assessment.