New work by Kai Rothkamm and Markus Loebrich show that low level ionising radiation may be more likley to cause cancer than previously thought.
Until now the response ofthe human body to radiation has been based on studies of people at Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Chernobyl, who were exposed to extremely high levels of radiation. The effects of low levels of radiation has been calculated by extrapolating thedata from those studies.
The new work indicates that the body responds quite differently to low levels of radiation, and that response means that the way DNA is repaired is more likely to cause mutation of cells possibly leading to cancer.
Details of how the body heals breaks to both strands of DNA in a cell are available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_repair#Double-strand_breaks and http://theoncologist.alphamedpress.org/cgi/content/full/10/5/361
The new research which indicates that low levels of radiation my lead to higher than predicted rates of cancer is available at