The BEIR VII Estimates of Low-Dose Radiation Health Risks Are Based on Faulty Assumptions and Data Analyses: A Call for Reassessment

J Nucl Med. 2018 Jul;59(7):1017-1019. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.117.206219. Epub 2018 Feb 23.


The 2006 National Academy of Sciences Biologic Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) VII report is a well-recognized and frequently cited source on the legitimacy of the linear no-threshold (LNT) model-a model entailing a linear and causal relationship between ionizing radiation and human cancer risk. Linearity means that all radiation causes cancer and explicitly excludes a threshold below which radiogenic cancer risk disappears. However, the BEIR VII committee has erred in the interpretation of its selected literature; specifically, the in vitro data quoted fail to support LNT. Moreover, in vitro data cannot be considered as definitive proof of cancer development in intact organisms. This review is presented to stimulate a critical reevaluation by a BEIR VIII committee to reassess the validity, and use, of LNT and its derived policies.

Keywords: BEIR VII; linear no-threshold; radiological imaging.

MeSH terms

  • Data Analysis*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology
  • Risk Assessment / methods*