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Radiation ups risk of death from heart disease/stroke

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By David Liu, PHD

Friday July 13, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- U.S. researchers at the National Cancer Institute reviewed scientific evidence published since 1990 and found even lower exposure to ionizing radiation like medical radiation can increase risk of death from circulatory disease like heart disease and stroke.

M.P. Little and colleagues searched peer-reviewed papers in major databases using key-words ""radiation"+"heart"+"disease" or "radiation"+"stroke" or "radiation"+"circulatory"+"disease". As part of selection criteria, radiation exposure should be of whole-body, with cumulative mean dose less than 0.6 Sv or at low dose rates smaller than 10 mSv per day.

After meta-analysing all data available, the researchers found excess population risks for all circulatory diseases combined at 2.5 percent per Sv for France and 8.5 percent for Russia.   Circulatory disease deaths were also found associated with low and moderate doses of ionizing radiation.

Early studies have proved that high doses of ionizing radiation such as medical radiation or x-ray used for diagnosis and cancer treatment increase risk of circulatory diseases like heart disease and stroke.

Any dose of ionizing radiation increases risk of cancer, which has been well known.  There is no safe threshold for radiation.  What is less known is that radiation can also cause ischemic heart disease and other circulatory disease.

The study was published in the June 22, 2012 issue of Environmental Health prospectives.

In the U.S., 14 states have been polluted by the  the radioactive dust and ash from nuclear tests conducted in Nevada in 1950's and 1960's. 

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