National Academy of Sciences moving towards BEIR VIII

As has been reported in numerous articles here, there has been a large body of scientific research on the health effects of low level radiation published in the period since the last time the National Academy of Sciences produced a report on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation. The BEIR VII Phase 2 report was issued in 2006; the inevitable delays associated with publication of both that report and any studies that might be considered by the committee writing the report means that it is based on science from a bare minimum of ten years ago.

Sensing technology has experienced a revolution in that time, especially in the area of being able to detect changes in the molecular structures of biological organisms.

During the time since BEIR VII, the US Department of Energy (DOE) and other funding agencies around the world, have sponsored significant research programs aimed at using modern techniques to gain a better understanding of the ways that living organisms and tissue respond to various levels of radiation exposure. There is a large volume of material from these studies that deserves careful synthesis, especially in light of the negative effects on individuals and society that arise from concerns about even the tiniest amount of ionizing radiation.

The US National Academy of Sciences, the organization that has been periodically tasked to evaluate the overall state of our knowledge about radiation risk since the first BEAR (Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation) committee, which issued its report in July of 1956, has taken notice of the developments in the field of low level dose response. Though it has not yet been tasked to form a new BEIR by a sponsoring agency, the NAS has announced that it is preparing its membership to be tasked.

Here is the text of the announcement.

Dear Interested Parties:

On November 17, 2014, the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences will be hosting a meeting to assist with scoping the next Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) report—the BEIR VIII report—on health risks from exposure to low levels of ionizing radiation.

The meeting, which is open to the public in its entirety, will be held at the National Academy of Sciences, located at 2101 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC. Additional information about the meeting including the agenda and registration information will be distributed shortly.

Ourania (Rania) Kosti, Ph.D.
Senior Program Officer
Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board
The National Academies

PLEASE SEND ALL NOTES OR COMMENTS TO NRSB@NAS.EDU.

Sources indicate that the NAS is particularly interested in having the committee review studies that indicate the presence of hormesis and also review studies that claim to indicate increased risk of childhood leukemia from CT scans.

The public meeting is already on my calendar.

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