What is the LNT model?

 

The linear no-threshold or the LNT model

  • is a method of estimating cancer risk from radiation.

 

Excess cancer risk due to radiation

At high radiation doses

  • Increases linearly with radiation dose (well known). 

 

At low radiation doses

  • large errors in measuring excess cancers 

  • extrapolation is used to estimate radiation cancer risk

 

LNT model says:

  • Extrapolate cancer risk linearly from high doses all the way down to zero dose.

 

The key but troubling aspect of this model

  • absence of a threshold dose

  • thus even the smallest increase in radiation dose increases cancer risk.

  • causes fear of even the lowest levels of radiation.

 

Figure 1. A schematic depiction of the LNT model.