Since 2003, IRSN has been developing a research programme known as ENVIRHOM-Santé geared towards determining the effects of low doses 1 of ionising radiation on health. Its aim is to shed light on the nature and extent of non-cancerous biological effects triggered by chronic exposure to radionuclides - exposure that may continue throughout a person's life.
The studies carried out within the scope of this programme will initially generate numerous experimental data on the effects of chronic exposure on the body's major physiological functions (metabolism, cognitive functions, reproduction, immunity, etc.). Secondly, these data could consolidate and complete the radioprotection system developed to protect man against the effects of radionuclides in the event of chronic exposure to radionuclides via ingestion.
Finally, the long-term aim is to rely on this type of information in order to provide expert knowledge that can be used to assess health risks at both national and international level. In short, this experimental research programme has the following objectives :
1- To define the nature and extent of non-cancerous biological effects caused by chronic exposure to low concentrations of radionuclides ;
2- To determine the threshold(s) at which these biological responses occur ;
3- To specify whether the biological effects observed will have obvious harmful effects.