The House of Representatives recently passed the Low Dose Radiation Research Act of 2017 (H.R. 4675), a bill that could improve scientific understanding about the health risks of low-dose ionizing radiation.
The measure would direct the secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE) to carry out a basic research program to enhance the scientific understanding of the effects of exposure to low-dose radiation and to inform improved risk-assessment/risk-management methods.
The DOE secretary would be charged with developing a research plan in coordination with the National Science and Technology Council which, in turn, must consult with other specified agencies to identify and prioritize basic research needs relating to low-dose radiation. The bill would also authorize the expenditure of funds over four years to carry out the legislation’s mandates.
In November 2017, James Brink, MD, FACR, chair of ACR’s board of chancellors, expressed support for low-dose radiation research in testimony before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy. Brink cited the compelling need to improve science’s understanding of low-level exposure and to apply new knowledge to radiation safety practices, professional guidelines and regulatory policy.