Document Type: Short Communication

Authors

1 School of Midwifery and Nursing, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 onizing and Non-ionizing Radiation Protection Research Center (INIRPRC), Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

3 Biophotonics Lab, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, 53211 USA

4 School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

Abstract

There is no place on the Earth, the planet we live on, where the natural background radiation level is zero. Since the birth and even in our fetal stage, we have been exposed to different sources of natural radiation. Life, in fact, evolved in a radiation environment that was much more harsh than today. Earth serves as a source of terrestrial radiation. Uranium, thorium, and radium are among the radioactive materials that naturally exist in soil and rock. Moreover, the air, we breathe, contains radon, a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that is created naturally by the radioactive decay of uranium and radium. The crucial importance of the studies on the health effects of living in areas with high levels of background radiation for understanding the biological impact of exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation is well documented. Despite the undeniable need for accurate information about the health effects of exposure to high levels of background radiation, many published papers suffer from methodological and other common types of errors. In this paper, we review three articles published on high background radiation areas. The first paper has addressed the frequencies of unstable (dicentrics& rings), stable (translocations & inversions), and other types of chromosome aberration in adult men from both high background radiation areas of Kerala and areas with normal background radiation. The second paper has addressed different aspects of the world’s high background natural radiation areas. Finally, the third paper has tried to address the role of background radiation on males to females’ ratio at birth. The author has mainly referred to the studies performed on the impact of radiation exposures from nuclear testing (worldwide) and Chernobyl fallout (in Europe).The major shortcomings of these three papers, especially methodological errors, which affected the accuracy of their findings and conclusions are discussed.

Keywords

  1.  Jaworowski Z. Beneficial effects of radiation and regulatory policy. Australas Phys Eng Sci Med. 1997;20:125-38. PubMed PMID: 9409013.
  2. Karam PA, Leslie SA. Calculations of background beta-gamma radiation dose through geologic time. Health Phys. 1999;77:662-7. PubMed PMID: 10568545.
  3. Dobrzynski L, Fornalski KW, Feinendegen LE. Cancer Mortality Among People Living in Areas With Various Levels of Natural Background Radiation. Dose Response. 2015;13:1559325815592391. doi: 10.1177/1559325815592391. PubMed PMID: 26674931; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4674188.
  4. Mortazavi S, Mozdarani H. Is it time to shed some light on the black box of health policies regarding the inhabitants of the high background radiation areas of Ramsar? International Journal of Radiation Research. 2012;10:111.
  5. Mortazavi S. How Should Governments Address High Levels of Natural Radiation and Radon--Lessons from the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident and Ramsar, Iran. Risk. 2002;13:31.
  6. Mortazavi S, Ghiassi-Nejad M, Karam P, Ikushima T, Niroomand-Rad A, Cameron J. Cancer incidence in areas with elevated levels of natural radiation. International Journal of Low Radiation. 2005;2:20-7.
  7. Mortazavi S, Karam P. Apparent lack of radiation susceptibility among residents of the high background radiation area in Ramsar, Iran: can we relax our standards? Radioactivity in the Environment. 2005;7:1141-7. doi: 10.1016/s1569-4860(04)07140-2.
  8. Mortazavi S, Shabestani-Monfared A, Ghiassi-Nejad M, Mozdarani H, editors. Radioadaptive responses induced in lymphocytes of the inhabitants in Ramsar, Iran. International Congress Series; 2005: Elsevier.
  9. Mortazavi S, Niroomand-Rad A, Roshan-Shomal P, Razavi-Toosi S, Mossayeb-Zadeh M, Moghadam M. Does short-term exposure to elevated levels of natural gamma radiation in Ramsar cause oxidative stress? Int J Appl Basic Med Res. 2014;4:72-6. doi: 10.4103/2229-516X.136778. PubMed PMID: 25143879; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4137645.
  10. Ramachandran EN, Karuppasamy CV, Kumar VA, Soren DC, Kumar PR, Koya PK, et al. Radio-adaptive response in peripheral blood lymphocytes of individuals residing in high-level natural radiation areas of Kerala in the southwest coast of India. Mutagenesis. 2017;32:267-73. doi: 10.1093/mutage/gew057. PubMed PMID: 27831478.
  11. Jain V, Saini D, Kumar PRV, Jaikrishan G, Das B. Efficient repair of DNA double strand breaks in individuals from high level natural radiation areas of Kerala coast, south-west India. Mutat Res. 2017;806:39-50. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2017.09.003. PubMed PMID: 28963924.
  12. Jain V, Das B. Global transcriptome profile reveals abundance of DNA damage response and repair genes in individuals from high level natural radiation areas of Kerala coast. PLoS One. 2017;12:e0187274. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187274. PubMed PMID: 29161272; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5697823.
  13. Karuppasamy CV, Ramachandran EN, Kumar VA, Kumar PR, Koya PK, Jaikrishan G, et al. Peripheral blood lymphocyte micronucleus frequencies in men from areas of Kerala, India, with high vs normal levels of natural background ionizing radiation. Mutat Res Genet Toxicol Environ Mutagen. 2016;800-801:40-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2016.03.005. PubMed PMID: 27085474.
  14. Jain V, Kumar PR, Koya PK, Jaikrishan G, Das B. Lack of increased DNA double-strand breaks in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of individuals from high level natural radiation areas of Kerala coast in India. Mutat Res. 2016;788:50-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2016.03.002. PubMed PMID: 27063255.
  15. Ramachandran EN, Karuppasamy CV, Cheriyan VD, Soren DC, Das B, Anilkumar V, et al. Cytogenetic studies on newborns from high and normal level natural radiation areas of Kerala in southwest coast of India. Int J Radiat Biol. 2013;89:259-67. doi: 10.3109/09553002.2013.747014. PubMed PMID: 23134065.
  16. Ahmad S, Koya PK, Seshadri M. Effects of chronic low level radiation in the population residing in the high level natural radiation area in Kerala, India: employing heritable DNA mutation studies. Mutat Res. 2013;751:91-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2012.12.001. PubMed PMID: 23253487.
  17. Karuppasamy CV, Ramachandran EN, Anil Kumar V, Vivek Kumar PR, Koya PKM, et al. Frequency of chromosome aberrations among adult male individuals from high and normal level natural radiation areas of Kerala in the southwest coast of India. Mutat Res Gen Tox En. 2018;828:23-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2018.02.002. PubMed PMID: 29555061.
  18. Nair MK, Nambi KS, Amma NS, Gangadharan P, Jayalekshmi P, Jayadevan S, et al. Population study in the high natural background radiation area in Kerala, India. Radiat Res. 1999;152:S145-8. PubMed PMID: 10564957.
  19. ilban M, Vaupoti J. Chromosome aberrations study of pupils in high radon level elementary school. Health Phys. 2001;80:157-63. PubMed PMID: 11197464.
  20. Fazeli T, Assaei RG, Sohrabi M, Haydari A, Varzegar R, Zakeri F, et al. Cytogenetic studies of inhabitants of a high natural radiation area of Ramsar, Iran. High Levels of Natural Radiation. 1993;25:25043837.
  21. Ghiassi-nejad M, Mortazavi SM, Cameron JR, Niroomand-rad A, Karam PA. Very high background radiation areas of Ramsar, Iran: preliminary biological studies. Health Phys. 2002;82:87-93. PubMed PMID: 11769138.
  22. Mortazavi S, Shabestani-Monfared A, Ghiassi-Nejad M, Mozdarani H, editors. Radioadaptive responses induced in lymphocytes of the inhabitants in Ramsar, Iran. International Congress Series; 2005: Elsevier.
  23. Mortazavi S, Ghiassi-Nejad M, Rezaiean M, editors. Cancer risk due to exposure to high levels of natural radon in the inhabitants of Ramsar, Iran. International Congress Series; 2005: Elsevier.
  24. Mortazavi S, Abbasi A, Asadi R, Hemmati A, editors. The need for considering social, economic, and psychological factors in warning the general public from the possible risks due to residing in HLNRAs. International Congress Series; 2005: Elsevier.
  25. Mortazavi S, Karam P. Apparent lack of radiation susceptibility among residents of the high background radiation area in Ramsar, Iran: can we relax our standards? Radioactivity in the Environment. 2005;7:1141-7. doi.org/10.1016/S1569-4860(04)07140-2.
  26. Mortazavi S, Niroomand-Rad A, Mozdarani H, Roshan-Shomal P, Razavi-Toosi S, Zarghani H. Short-term exposure to high levels of natural external gamma radiation does not induce survival adaptive response. Int J Radiat Res. 2012;10:165-70.
  27. Mortazavi S, Mozdarani H. Is it time to shed some light on the black box of health policies regarding the inhabitants of the high background radiation areas of Ramsar? Iranian Journal of Radiation Research. 2012;10:111-6.
  28. Mortazavi S, Mozdarani H. Non-linear phenomena in biological findings of the residents of high background radiation areas of Ramsar. International Journal of Radiation Research. 2013;11:3-9.
  29. Mettler FA, Jr., Bhargavan M, Faulkner K, Gilley DB, Gray JE, Ibbott GS, et al. Radiologic and nuclear medicine studies in the United States and worldwide: frequency, radiation dose, and comparison with other radiation sources-1950-2007. Radiology. 2009;253:520-31. doi.org/10.1148/radiol.2532082010. PubMed PMID: 19789227.
  30. Mortazavi S, Cameron J, Niroomand-Rad A, editors. The life saving role of radioadaptive responses in long-term interplanetary space journeys. International Congress Series; 2005: Elsevier.
  31. Mortazavi SMJ, Mozdarani H. The search for a possible optimum adapting dose under the optimum irradiation time scheme in cultured human lymphocytes. International Journal of Low Radiation. 2006;3:74-82. doi.org/10.1504/IJLR.2006.010010.
  32. Mortazavi S, Mosleh-Shirazi M, Mehdizadeh S, Rouintan M, Ebrahimi J, Tamaddon M, et al. Short-term radon inhalation induces significant survival adaptive response in Balb/c mice. International Journal of Low Radiation. 2010;7:98-109. doi.org/10.1504/IJLR.2010.032813.
  33. Mortazavi S, Mosleh-Shirazi M, Tavassoli A, Taheri M, Bagheri Z, Ghalandari R, et al. A comparative study on the increased radioresistance to lethal doses of gamma rays after exposure to microwave radiation and oral intake of flaxseed oil. Iranian Journal of Radiation Research. 2011;9:9-14.
  34. Mortazavi S. Space research and EMF-induced adaptive responses. Journal of Medical Hypotheses and Ideas. 2013;7:1-2. doi.org/10.1016/j.jmhi.2012.10.001.
  35. Haghani M, Mortazavi S, Sardari D, Mosleh-Shirazi M, Mansouri A. Assessment of the role of specific absorption rate of mobile phones on the induction of microwave-induced survival adaptive responses after exposure to lethal doses of gamma radiation. Int J Radiat Res. 2013;11:167-73.
  36. Mortazavi S, Mozdarani H. Deep space missions and the issue of overcoming the problem of space radiation. Int J Radiat Res. 2013;11:199-202.
  37. Mortazavi S. M. J. Is mobile phone radiofrequency radiation all bad? J Med Hypotheses Ideas. 2014;8:42-3. doi.org/10.1016/j.jmhi.2013.08.003.
  38. Jargin S. Male to Female Ratio at Birth: the Role of Background Radiation vs. Other Factors. J Environ Stud. 2018;4:4.
  39. Grech V. Atomic bomb testing and its effects on global male to female ratios at birth. Int J Risk Saf Med. 2015;27:35-44. doi: 10.3233/JRS-150641. PubMed PMID: 25766065.
  40. Grech V. The Chernobyl accident, the male to female ratio at birth and birth rates. Acta Medica (Hradec Kralove). 2014;57:62-7. doi: 10.14712/18059694.2014.41. PubMed PMID: 25257152.
  41. Streffer C. Adaptive response–a universal phenomenon for radiological protection. Proceedings of the IRPA. 2004;11:1-24.