1. The use of Reference Man, a hypothetical 20 to 30 year old “Caucasian male,” in radiation protection regulations and guidelines, including those designed to protect the general public, is pervasive. This is scientifically inappropriate because the vast majority of people, including women and children, fall outside the definition. In general, it also does not protect those most at risk, who are often women and children.
2. Radiation protection regulations are generally given in terms of limits on radiation dose per year or in terms of maximum allowable concentrations of radionuclides in the environment, which also serve to limit radiation dose. The use of Reference Man in radiation dose calculations underestimates dose to children in a large number of situations, and to women in some situations. The underestimation of dose results in an underestimation of cancer risk.
IEER’s “Reference Man” recommendations and the correspondence between Senator Obama and Chairman Waxman and the Environmental Protection Agency regarding Reference Man are in the full report.