- What are x-rays and gamma rays?
- How are people exposed to x-rays and gamma rays?
- Natural background radiation
- Medical radiation
- Other sources of man-made radiation
- Do x-rays and gamma rays cause cancer?
- Do x-rays and gamma rays cause any other health problems?
- Can I avoid exposure to radiation from x-rays and gamma rays?
- Additional resources
American College of Radiology. 2010. ACR Statement on Airport Full-body Scanners and Radiation. Accessed at www.acr.org/About-Us/Media-Center/Position-Statements/Position-Statements-Folder/ACR-Statement-on-Airport-Full-body-Scanners-and-Radiation on April 1, 2013.
Brenner DJ, Hall EJ. Computed tomography--an increasing source of radiation exposure. N Engl J Med. 2007;357:2277-2284.
Cardis E, Howe G, Ron E, et al. Cancer consequences of the Chernobyl accident: 20 years on. J Radiol Prot. 2006;26:127-140.
Claus EB, Calvocoressi L, Bondy ML, Schildkraut JM, Wiemels JL, Wrensch M. Dental x-rays and risk of meningioma. Cancer. 2012 Sep 15;118(18):4530-7. Epub 2012 Apr 10.
Environmental Protection Agency. Radiation Protection: Gamma Rays. Accessed at www.epa.gov/radiation/understand/gamma.html on March 22, 2013.
Environmental Protection Agency. Radiation Protection: Health Effects. 8/7/2012. Accessed at www.epa.gov/radiation/understand/health_effects.html on March 22, 2013.
Ezaki H, Takeichi N, Yoshimoto Y. Thyroid cancer: epidemiological study of thyroid cancer in A-bomb survivors from extended life span study cohort in Hiroshima. J Radiat Res. 1991;32 Suppl:193-200.
Food and Drug Administration. Radiation-Emitting Products: What are the Radiation Risks from CT? Accessed at www.fda.gov/radiation-emittingproducts/radiationemittingproductsandprocedures/medicalimaging/medicalx-rays/ucm115329.htm on March 22, 2013.
Ivanov VK, Tsyb AF, Khait SE, et al. Leukemia incidence in the Russian cohort of Chernobyl emergency workers. Radiat Environ Biophys. 2012;51:143-149.
Linet MS, Slovis TL, Miller DL, et al. Cancer risks associated with external radiation from diagnostic imaging procedures. CA Cancer J Clin. 2012 Feb 3. [Epub ahead of print]
National Cancer Institute. Radiation Risks and Pediatric Computed Tomography (CT): A Guide for Health Care Providers. Accessed at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/causes/radiation/radiation-risks-pediatric-CT on March 22, 2013.
National Research Council of the National Academies. Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII Phase 2. 2006. Accessed at www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11340 on April 1, 2013.
National Toxicology Program. Ionizing radiation: x-radiation and gamma radiation. Rep Carcinog. 2011;12:237-240.
Ozasa K, Shimizu Y, Sakata R, et al. Risk of cancer and non-cancer diseases in the atomic bomb survivors. Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2011;146:272-275.
Pearce MS, Salotti JA, Little MP, et al. Radiation exposure from CT scans in childhood and subsequent risk of leukaemia and brain tumours: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet. 2012;380:499-505.
Ron E. Cancer risks from medical radiation. Health Phys. 2003;85:47-59.
Transportation Security Administration. AIT: Frequently Asked Questions. 2013. Accessed at www.tsa.gov/ait-frequently-asked-questions on April 1, 2013.
United States Department of Agriculture. Irradiation and Food Safety: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions. 2012. Accessed at www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Irradiation_and_Food_Safety/index.asp on April 1, 2013.
Zablotska LB, Bazyka D, Lubin JH, et al. Radiation and the risk of chronic lymphocytic and other leukemias among chornobyl cleanup workers. Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Jan;121(1):59-65. Epub 2012 Oct 24.
Last Medical Review: 05/02/2013
Last Revised: 04/18/2014