Congressman Marshall's Low Dose Radiation Research Act of 2017 Passes Through Committee

January 10, 2018
Press Release

Washington D.C.- Today Congressman Roger Marshall's bill, H.R. 4675 the Low Dose Radiation Research Act of 2017, passed through the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. 

The Low Dose Radiation Research Act of 2017 will provide doctors and government agencies with concrete evidence-based research on the effects that low-dose radiation exposure has on our population. 

This legislation is long overdue. Currently, there is ample data that demonstrates the harmful effects that high-dose radiation has on the human body. Yet, as it stands today, there are few measurements or studies seeking to understand low-dose radiation’s effects. This absence of evidence does not give the medical community or government regulators the ability to accurately assess and make the very best decisions for their patients. 

"Every day our citizens are exposed to low-dose radiation. Throughout history, radiation has provided vital tools to physicians, from x-rays and CT scans to cutting-edge cancer treatments. Yet we have a limited understanding of the health risks associated with this exposure," Marshall said. As a doctor, I understand the critical value of verified-research that helps physicians ensure the best medical outcomes for patients. 

For example, an adult patient who receives a C.T. (computed tomography) scan of their torso is exposed to approximately three years’ worth of background radiation in one scan. While this type of screening is very valuable to countless Americans and often replaces invasive surgical procedures, we physicians are unable to quantify the specific health risks associated with this type of imaging. Advances in radiation therapy have literally changed survival rates for many cancer patients, and saved thousands of lives. It is important as radiation screening increases that our doctors have a clear understanding of the health risks associated with this exposure.

Physicians must know the risks of this exposure and have access to extensive up-to-date data and research. This bill will provide just that, by directing the Department of Energy to start long-term verified low dose radiation research and studies. 

I am proud that my colleagues voted with bipartisan support for H.R. 4675. It is no surprise that my friends on both sides of the aisle are supporting a plan that will help doctors and patients across the country give and receive the best medical care possible. I hope we can take swift action to pass this through the House."

The Low Dose Radiation Research Act of 2017 has received support from the Health Physics Society, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, and leading researchers from Northwestern University and Columbia University.

The Low Dose Radiation Research Act of 2017 will:

  • Direct the Department of Energy (DOE) to carry out a basic research program on low dose radiation within the Office of Science;
  • Direct DOE to identify ongoing scientific challenges in low dose radiation research and to develop a long-term basic research plan that addresses these challenges while leveraging the existing body of scientific knowledge and engaging with the international research community;
  • Direct DOE to ensure that in carrying out this program, the Office of Science consults with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Homeland Security;
  • Require DOE to provide Congress with a 4-year research plan that identifies and prioritizes basic research needs relating to low-dose radiation within 180 days of enactment; 
  • Authorize funds for low-dose radiation research from within funding provided to the Biological and Environmental Research Program within the DOE Office of Science.


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