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ISGlobal Radiation Programme

Radiation is the process by which energy—in the form of waves or particles—moves through media which are not required for its propagation. Radiation is classified as either ionising or non-ionising depending on whether or not it has sufficient energy to cause atomic changes in the matter through which it passes. Both kinds of radiation are found in the environment and exposures to them may occur as a result of both natural and anthropogenic processes. Increases in the application of non-ionising radiation as a means of transmitting data—for example, in mobile communications—have raised concerns about potential risks to health. Similarly, new ionising radiation imaging and treatment modalities are increasingly used in both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in many areas of medicine, and understanding potential risks to health of both patients and medical staff are paramount in maximising the efficacy of treatments while ensuring their safety. Understanding potential risks associated with occupational and accidental exposures to ionising radiation in relation to the nuclear industry is also key to radiation protection and public health.

Exposure to non-ionising radiation from a variety of sources has been potentially associated with a number of health outcomes including some cancers, but mechanisms explaining such associations are largely missing. Epidemiological research continues to contribute to exploring how non-ionising radiation might affect human systems. Exposure to ionising radiation has been conclusively linked to the risk of cancer and other health outcomes in a variety of studies. However, the nature of such risks at low doses is much less well understood.

The overall objective of the Radiation Programme is to better understand the potential risks associated exposure to radiation. Ultimately this aim serves the radiation protection of the general public, patients and those exposed in their work, and informing policy to achieve this goal. In addition, our research contributes to better understanding the processes by which radiation affects human physiology and human health.

The group is led by Professor Elisabeth Cardis. Researches working in the group include Isabelle Thierry-Chef (MediRad), Gemma Castaño (Mobi-Kids, GERoNiMO), Magda Bosch de Basea (EPI-CT),  Elisa Pasqual (ProCardio, Spain-CCSS, OPERRA), Michelle Turner (INTEROCC, GERoNiMO, EPILYMPH), Javier Vila (INTEROCC, GERoNiMO), Liudmila Liutsko (Shamisen, Shamisen SINGS) and Maëlle Canet (MediRad). 


Latest News from ISGlobal Radiation Programme

WP8: Input to future risk management and communication processes and advice on non-technological means to reduce exposure

Led by Paolo Ravazzani (CNR)
Collaborating institutions: ISGlobal (former CREAL), SCMI, FT, UU, Swiss TPH, IT’IS, NIS


Health risk communication on exposure to EMF is a complex and delicate task for a variety of reasons, both technical (uncertainties and complexities related to sources of EMF, variety of sources/exposures, frequencies/modulation, etc.) and non-technical (EMF are invisible, ubiquitous, exposure to them is commonly perceived to be outside of the control of the individual, etc.).


The objectives of WP8 are to synthesize the findings of GERoNiMO and translate these into inputs to risk management, to explore non-technological means for reducing exposure taking into account current and foreseeable technological trends, and to provide input on risk communication to EC policy-makers.

Proposed work

WP8 activities are divided into three main tasks. Firstly, priorities for health risk management on EMF exposure will be identified. Priorities for health risk management related to EMF exposure identified by the EC project EFHRAN need to be updated periodically as new scientific information becomes available within and outside GERoNiMO. WP8 activities with a strong link with WP7, will develop and maintain a EU-level knowledge base for improved EMF-related health risk management processes.  Secondly, non-technological means for reducing exposure will be explored. This task will be based on a review of the non-technological methods of reducing exposure currently suggested by the policy and health authorities, the scientific community, and by other stakeholders (industry and consumer associations). This considering, as EMF sources, the most prevalent current technologies using emitting EMF in the ELF, IF and RF ranges at the present time. The feasibility of the most plausible non-technological methods for exposure reduction will be also investigated in the ELF, IF and RF ranges. Thirdly, WP8 will prepare input to health risk communication. In order to bolster the European Commission’s capacity to respond to citizen requests regarding health risks related to EMF, this task will identify those issues of highest priority in terms of risk communication.

Twitter @ISGlobal_Rad

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