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Induction of benign tumours by ionizing radiation

Statement by the German Commission on Radiological Protection

Adopted at the 290th meeting of the German Commission on Radiological Protection on 4-5 December 2017

The scientific statement on occupational disease No 2402 of Annex 1 to the Berufskrankheiten-Verordnung (Ordinance of occupational diseases) titled “Erkrankungen durch ionisierende Strahlen” (Diseases due to ionising radiation), published in the Gemeinsames Ministerialblatt (Joint Ministerial Gazette) No 49-51, 2011, states that under certain conditions even benign tumours can present as late side-effects of radiation. This was the background for the BMUB’s request on 31 March 2014 for the SSK’s expert opinion on the conditions under which certain benign tumours are relevant for the assessment of occupational disease 2402 and which benign tumour entities should be taken into account.

The SSK stated that some benign tumours severely restrict quality of life and may even have life-threatening consequences. This applies in particular to benign intracranial tumours. Therefore radiation-related benign tumours should generally be taken into account in radiation protection when assessing the health risk of radiation exposures. It is not appropriate to reject acknowledging the disease as an occupational disease in line with BK 2402 with the single justification that benign tumours are not caused by radiation. However, at present there are only limited data available which only in rare cases allow the establishment of a connection probability between ionising radiation and a benign tumour in an individual case. Much more research is required to gain a better understanding.

In addition, the SSK notes that there are indications (in particular with regard to thyroid adenoma and meningioma) of the mechanisms via which ionising radiation causes benign tumours. In addition, there is evidence of an increased incidence of large thyroid nodules following childhood exposure to thyroid doses in the range of some hundred milligray to some gray. Averaged over long periods, the additional relative incidence rate is comparable with thyroid cancer while the additional absolute rate is higher. With exposures in the range of some hundred milligray to some gray, there is also evidence for an increased number of meningioma.

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Beratungsgremium SSK

Die Strahlenschutzkommission (SSK) ist ein Beratungsgremium des Bundesministeriums für Umwelt, Naturschutz und nukleare Sicherheit (BMU) und berät dieses ...

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