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Toxicological Profile for Ionizing Radiation

September 1999

Toxicological Profile PDF PDF Version, 6.2 MB

Toxicological Profile Information

The ATSDR toxicological profile succinctly characterizes the toxicologic and adverse health effects information for the hazardous substance described here. Each peer-reviewed profile identifies and reviews the key literature that describes a hazardous substance's toxicologic properties. Other pertinent literature is also presented, but is described in less detail than the key studies. The complete list of topics covered (chapter titles) is shown at the left and in more detail further down this page.

The focus of the profile is on health and toxicologic information. Therefore, each profile begins with a Public Health Statement that summarizes in nontechnical language, a substance's relevant properties.

A useful two page information sheet, the ToxFAQsTM, is also available.

Toxicological Profile Access

In order to access the ATSDR toxicological profiles' PDF files below, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader .

You may download that program for free from this link to Adobe Exiting the ATSDR Web Site. and then use it to access (open) the files below that are labeled as PDF files.

Toxicological Profile PDF Complete Profile, 6.2 MB

The table of contents and list of individual PDF files are given below.

Preface PDF Preface, 356 KB

  • Foreword
  • Quick reference for health care providers
  • Contributors
  • Peer review
  • List of figures
  • List of tables

Public Health Statement PDF 1. Public Health Statement, 395 KB

1.1 What is Ionizing Radiation?
1.2 How does radioactive material enter and spread through the environment?
1.3 How might I be exposed to Ionizing Radiation?
1.4 How can Ionizing Radiation enter and leave my body?
1.5 How can Ionizing Radiation affect my health?
1.6 How can Ionizing Radiation affect children
1.7 How can families reduce the risk of exposure to Ionizing Radiation
1.8 Is there a medical test to determine whether I have been exposed to it?
1.9 Is there a medical test to determine whether I have been exposed to Ionizing Radiation?
1.10 Where can I get more information?

Health Effects PDF 2. Principles of Ionizing Radiation, 631 KB

2.1 Introduction
2.2 History, background information, and scientific principles of ionizing radiation
2.3 Fundamentals of ionizing radiation dosimetry
2.4 Biological effects of radiation
2.5 Measuring internal and external sources of ionizing radiation
2.6 Conclusions
2.7 Other sources of information

Chemical and Physical Information PDF 3. Summary of Health Effects Of Ionizing Radiation, 963 KB

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Health effects from exposure to ionizing radiation
3.3 Identification of data needs
3.4 Conclusions

Production, Import, Use, and Disposal PDF 4. Radiation Accidents, 467 KB

4.1 Palomares, Spain
4.2 Goiania, Brazil
4.3 Thule, Greenland
4.4 Rocky Flats, Colorado
4.5 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania
4.6 Chernobyl, Ukraine
4.7 Kyshtym
4.8 Windscale, U.K
4.9 Tomsk
4.10 Lost Industrial or Medical Sources
4.11 Identification of Data Needs
4.12 Conclusions
4.13 Other Sources of Information

Potential for Human Exposure PDF 5. Mechanisms of Biological Effects, 146 KB

5.1 Introduction
5.2 Evidence of the effects on DNA
5.3 Interactions of ionizing radiation with DNA
5.4 Effects on other cellular macromolecules
5.5 Mechanisms of carcinogenesis
5.6 Identification of data needs
5.7 Summary

Analytical Methods PDF 6. Sources of Population Exposure to Ionizing Radiation, 330 KB

6.1 Overview
6.2 Cosmic radiation exposure
6.3 Terrestrial radiation exposure
6.4 Natural internal exposure
6.5 X Ray and nuclear medicine exposures
6.6 Exposure from consumer products
6.7 Exposure from other sources
6.8 Adequacy of the database
6.9 Conclusions

Regulations and Advisories PDF 7. Regulations, 842 KB

References PDF 8. Levels of Significant Exposure to Radiation and Radioactive Material, 1.7 KB

References PDF 9. Glossary, 222 KB

Glossary PDF 10. References, 237 KB

Appendices PDF Appendices, 294 KB

A. ATSDR minimal risk level worksheets
B. User's guide
C. Acronyms, abbreviations, and symbols
D. Index


Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1999. Toxicological profile for ionizing radiation. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.


All ATSDR toxicological profile PDF files are electronic conversions from paper copy or other electronic ASCII text files. This conversion may have resulted in character translation or format errors. Users are referred to the original paper copy of the toxicological profile for the official text, figures, and tables. Original paper copies can be obtained via the directions on the toxicological profile home page, which also contains other important information about the profiles.

Where can I get more information?

If you have questions or concerns, please contact your community or state health or environmental quality department or:

For more information, contact:
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Division of Toxicology and Human Health Sciences
1600 Clifton Road NE, Mailstop S102-1
Atlanta, GA 30333
Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO · 888-232-6348 (TTY)
Email: Contact CDC-INFO

ATSDR can also tell you the location of occupational and environmental health clinics. These clinics specialize in recognizing, evaluating, and treating illnesses resulting from exposure to hazardous substances.

Contact Us:
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
    4770 Buford Hwy NE
    Atlanta, GA 30341
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
  • New Hours of Operation
    8am-8pm ET/Monday-Friday
    Closed Holidays
    Contact CDC-INFO The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

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