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December 1986

Human Effects Following Exposure to Ionizing RadiationThe Accident at Chernobyl—the Data From Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Author Affiliations

Benedictine Hospital 105 Mary's Ave Kingston, NY 12401

Arch Dermatol. 1986;122(12):1380-1382. doi:10.1001/archderm.1986.01660240044011

The therapeutic benefit of any ionizing radiation must be weighed against the risk of malignancy and the threat of accelerated aging and shortening of life. While the background radiation to which we are constantly exposed may be unavoidable, as is diagnostic radiation in pursuit of serious pathology, or even intense therapeutic radiation when it is the only means to extend life, all other radiation must be seen and summed as a potential threat to life. This is not to say radiation itself is evil, no more so than fire or water. All can be put to good use if controlled, but out of control there is devastation, and the devastation of radiation could destroy the planet.

The accident at Chernobyl in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics provided our most recent glimpse of this deadly power. On April 26, 1986, at 1:23 AM, reports academician Evgueni Chazov, MD,1 cardiologist

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