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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.

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