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Thursday, 13 June 2013

Red Cross radiation limit for relief workers too low, say critics

June 13, 2013
By YURI OIWA/ Staff Writer
The Japanese Red Cross Society has established a guideline for medical workers that sets an accumulated radiation dose limit of 1 millisievert for relief activities, although experts have said the ceiling is too low to allow workers to provide ample assistance to disaster victims.
"Radiation doses above 1 millisievert have no health effects," said Yasushi Asari, a professor of emergency medical care at Hirosaki University. "There is no need for medical workers to use that threshold."
Masahito Yamazawa, director-general of the Red Cross nuclear disaster preparedness task force, said during in-house discussions there were arguments for and against the 1-millisievert threshold. But the Red Cross determined that a 1-millisievert limit would still allow its workers to engage in relief activities in zones with high radiation levels because each relief mission usually lasts only up to a week, Yamazawa said.
One millisievert is the legal annual dose limit for members of the public during normal times.
Yamazawa added that allowances were also made for the fact that its medical relief squads include clerical workers.

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