Legislation from Rep. Randy Hultgren calling for a study of how low-dose radiation such as X-rays affects people was approved by the U.S. House Wednesday.
The legislation, the Low-Dose Radiation Research Act, calls on the Department of Energy's Office of Science to prioritize research on low-dose radiation, a key ingredient in medical imaging and many manufacturing processes.
"Currently, the assumption is that because high doses of radiation are harmful to human health, lower doses must be too," Hultgren, a Plano Republican, said. "This is akin to saying that jumping down one step in a flight of stairs is harmful to your health because we already know the harm caused by jumping down a full flight of stairs."
The study would address scientific challenges in understanding radiation's effects on people and develop goals for future radiation research.
"While there is little doubt that there is a threshold above which humans should avoid exposure to radiation, this legislation will ensure that the Department of Energy's Office of Science prioritizes the research necessary to understand what that level actually is," Hultgren said.
The legislation calls for no new spending on the project and would instead use money the agency already has.