July 14, 2003
Increasingly, the people of the United States and the world are exposed to man-made radiation. Either by mistake or intention, that exposure is likely to increase. Often, we are told radiation releases pose no risk to health; these statements are usually not based on adequate evidence. We now know that radiation damage at a cell level is often long lasting and that normal cells can be damaged by contact with radiation exposed cells.
We need this type of study. We must know if exposures to radioactive substances at low levels can produce disease, in this case, childhood cancers. This study, using tooth levels of strontium as the measure of exposure is imaginative and important. It can provide information that could change the way we think about permissible exposures to radioactive materials, about effective body monitoring and about actions needed to protect both children and adults against potentially dangerous exposures.
Donald B Louria MD
Professor and Chairman Emeritus
Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health
New Jersey Medical School