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Radiation cancer risk estimates have been based primarily on the atomic bomb survivor cohorts, which involve an acute exposure. To adjust for lower dose and continuous exposures, a dose and dose rate effectiveness factor (DDREF) is applied to the acute risk estimates. The commonly accepted value for the DDREF at 1 Gy by the ICRP and the NCRP has been 2. BEIR VII changed this by estimating the value to be 1.5 including an uncertainty distribution. The BEIR VII committee used the atomic bomb solid cancer incidence data to make this estimation, and they chose to truncate the data at 1.5 Gy. The Committee also used the Oak Ridge mouse studies and estimated a DDREF based on these data. Finally they used the animal data-derived DDREF distribution as a Bayesian prior distribution for the atomic bomb survivor DDREF distribution and used the posterior distribution as their DDREF result. The resulting distribution had a maximum likelihood estimate of 1.4, and the Committee chose 1.5 as their best estimate. The purpose of this paper is to reexamine the BEIR VII analysis of both the atomic bomb survivor data and the mouse data. Based upon this analysis, the author concludes that changing the DDREF from 2 to 1.5 is not justified.

Citation

David G Hoel. Comments on the DDREF estimate of the BEIR VII Committee. Health physics. 2015 Mar;108(3):351-6

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PMID: 25627947

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