New ICRP recommendations

J Radiol Prot. 2008 Jun;28(2):161-8. doi: 10.1088/0952-4746/28/2/R02. Epub 2008 May 22.


This paper provides a review of the 2007 recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). These new recommendations take account of the latest biological and physical information and consolidate the additional guidance provided by ICRP since 1990. The changes to the scientific data are not substantial. ICRP has retained its fundamental hypothesis for the induction of stochastic effects of linearity of dose and effect without threshold and a dose and dose-rate effectiveness factor (DDREF) of 2 to derive nominal risk coefficients for low doses and low dose rates. While the overall detriment from low radiation doses has remained unchanged, ICRP has made adjustments to the values of the radiation and tissue weighting factors. In particular, the tissue weighting factor for breast has increased while that for gonads has decreased. There are some presentational changes to the system of protection. While ICRP has maintained the three fundamental principles--justification, optimisation of protection, and dose limitation-it has attempted to develop a more holistic approach to radiological protection covering all exposure situations--planned, existing and emergency--and all radiation sources, whether of natural or artificial origin. This approach should ensure that attention is focused on those exposures that can reasonably be controlled. It has also strengthened the principle of optimisation of protection with a particular emphasis on the use of constraints for planned exposure situations and reference levels for existing and emergency exposure situations. Dose constraints and reference levels are categorised into three bands which should assist in rationalising the many values of dose restrictions given in earlier ICRP publications. There are no changes to the dose limits. ICRP also indicates its intentions with respect to the development of further guidance on the protection of the environment. The fact that these new recommendations are more a matter of consolidation of previous ICRP recommendations and guidance should provide confidence that the system of protection established by and large in its present form several decades ago has reached a certain level of maturity. As such, no major changes to radiological protection regulations based on the 1990 recommendations should be necessary.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Exposure
  • Health Physics
  • Humans
  • International Agencies
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Radiation Monitoring / standards
  • Radiation Protection / standards*
  • Radiometry
  • Risk Assessment