Low-Dose Radiation Research Act of 2015by Representative Randy Hultgren
Posted on 2015-01-07
HULTGREN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge support for H.R. 35,
the Low-Dose Radiation Research Act, and I want to thank the
distinguished chairman of the Committee on Science, Space, and
Technology, Chairman Smith, for helping me to bring this legislation to
While it may sound scary, we come in contact with small amounts of radiation every day from the cosmic background which many Americans are probably unaware of. Of course, radiation has been a useful tool which has led to innovation for medical imaging, like x rays and treatments. Numerous processes used by manufacturers in my home State of Illinois, for instance, include low-dose radiation to carry out precise and accurate measurements. But it is time that the regulatory structure surrounding exposure to low-dose radiation relies on sound science.
Currently, the assumption is that because high doses of radiation are harmful to human health, lower doses must be, too. This is similar to saying that jumping down one step in a flight of stairs is harmful to your health because we already know that it is harmful to jump down an entire flight of stairs at one time.
While there is little doubt that there is a threshold above which humans should avoid exposure to radiation, this legislation will ensure that the Department of Energy's Office of Science prioritizes the research necessary to understand what that level actually is. My bill directs the agency to work with the National Academies to formulate a long-term research plan to do this work.
As I continue to represent my constituents of the 14th Congressional District of Illinois, I will always champion the things we are doing right in Illinois. Our State has a long history of innovation in this space. For many years we have led the Nation in nuclear power generation, and the work we continue to do in our national labs is pushing the boundaries in our frontiers of knowledge.
Fermilab, in my district, helped establish neutron therapy as a viable radiation treatment for many difficult-to-treat cancers. Harnessing the continued benefits of radiation requires that we clarify what the potential harms are. That is why I urge my colleagues to support this bill.