Chronic radiation syndrome

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Chronic radiation syndrome is a constellation of health effects that occur after months or years of chronic exposure to high amounts of ionizing radiation. Chronic radiation syndrome develops with a speed and severity proportional to the radiation dose received, i.e., it is a deterministic effect of radiation exposure, unlike radiation-induced cancer. It is distinct from acute radiation syndrome in that it occurs at dose rates low enough to permit natural repair mechanisms to compete with the radiation damage during the exposure period. Dose rates high enough to cause the acute form (> ~0.1 Gy/h) are fatal long before onset of the chronic form. The lower threshold for chronic radiation syndrome is between 0.7 and 1.5 Gy, at dose rates above 0.1 Gy/yr.[1] This condition is primarily known from the Kyshtym disaster, where 66 cases were diagnosed, and has received little mention in Western literature.[1] A future ICRP publication, currently in draft, may recognize the condition but with higher thresholds.[2]


  1. ^ a b Gusev, Igor A.; Gusʹkova, Angelina Konstantinovna; Mettler, Fred Albert (2001-03-28). Medical Management of Radiation Accidents. CRC Press. pp. 15–29. ISBN 978-0-8493-7004-5. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  2. ^ ICRP. "Early and late effects of radiation in normal tissues and organs: threshold doses for tissue reactions and other non-cancer effects of radiation in a radiation protection context" (PDF). Retrieved 11 June 2012.