Answer to Question #3996 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
Could you provide a reference that shows a lack of gonadal effects due to radiation in the survivors of Hiroshima? I am an ED (emergency department) doctor and frequently order CT (computerized tomography) scans to evaluate for appendicitis. Lately the residents have been ordering ultrasounds (which are never diagnostic and must almost always be followed by a CT scan anyway). They are arguing that they want to spare the gonads of the patient from the radiation of the CT scan. I surmise from reading many of the answers on your website that there really is no evidence of gonadal damage from the radiation dose provided during diagnostic CT scanning. I would very much like a reference to support this for my upcoming talk.
I am not aware of any references that discuss gonadal effects of radiation in the survivors of Hiroshima. However, the Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation, BEIR V (NAS/NRC 1990), reviewed the effects of radiation exposure to both the testis and ovaries. For the testis, they estimated a threshold dose equivalent for induction of temporary sterility in the adult human testis of 0.15 Sv (15 rem), and for permanent sterility of 3.5 Sv (350 rem) when received as a single exposure. These determinations are based on a number of sources, including Fabrikant (1972), Hall (1987), and UNSCEAR (1982). You might also want to check out Rowley, et. al. (1974) and UNSCEAR (2001).
Since doses as low as 0.15 Sv (15 rem) to the testis have been shown to cause at least a temporary decrease in sperm count, there may be cause for concern since typical CT doses are in the range of 0.03 to 0.05 Sv (3 to 5 rem). This is especially pertinent when more than one CT procedure performed on an individual results in multiple doses to the testis.
Kenneth L. Miller, CHP, CMHP
Answer posted on 15 October 2004. The information and material posted on this website is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may alter the concepts and applications of materials and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice specific to whatever facts and circumstances are presented in any given situation. Answers are correct at the time they are posted on the Website. Be advised that over time, some requirements could change, new data could be made available, or Internet links could change. For answers that have been posted for several months or longer, please check the current status of the posted information prior to using the responses for specific applications.
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