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I131 Levels in Milk

Eric Reiss, MD; Malcolm L. Peterson, MD
JAMA. 1963;186(11):1025. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03710110077023.
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To the Editor:  —In the Aug 17, 1963, issue of The Journal (185:615), a physician from Delaware inquires about the significance of I131 levels in milk. Your expert's answer contains errors and misleading statements. These require correction because the problem of fallout is becoming more widely discussed by laymen.Reference to "maximum permissible concentration" (MPC) is out of date in connection with radiation protection standards. The permissible concentration concept was based on the assumption that below certain radiation exposures no biological damage occurs. This is almost certainly not true for genetic effects of radiation. Whether a threshold exists for somatic effects has not been proved or disproved, but most authorities now agree that the threshold assumption cannot be safely used in the development of radiation standards. Hence, the Federal Radiation Council (FRC) in its first report of May, 1960, clearly stated the need for balancing risks and benefits


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