Experts Say Diagnostic Radiation Exposure Is Safe for Kids

June 6, 2017

There's always that little twinge of fear that comes with the thought of your little one being exposed to radiation during diagnostic imaging like X-rays or CAT scans. But according to an article published in the June 2017 issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, the long-held belief that low doses of radiation increase cancer risk is based on an inaccurate, 70-year-old hypothesis. 

Back in 1946, Nobel Laureate Hermann Muller floated the theory that all radiation is harmful, regardless of how low the dose and dose rate. But according to article author Jeffry A. Siegel, Ph.D., Muller's claim—known as the "linear no-threshold hypothesis" (LNTH)—was unrecognized by the radiation science community. And yet his theory led to policies that proposed using lower and lower dosing for imaging, which in turn helped reinforce the widespread fear of radiation in both physicians and patients.
 
This fear is unjustified by any scientific findings," Dr. Siegel writes. "And is discredited by most experimental and epidemiological studies, which show that low-dose radiation, instead, stimulates protective responses provided by eons of evolution, resulting in beneficial effects."