Environmental limits for carcinogens and similar agents based on a radiation equivalent concept are presented. Based on the assumptions that interference with the flow of biologic information is the underlying mechanism for radiomimetic, mutagenic and carcinogenic processes, and background radiation presents acceptable risks, a non zero approach to establishing environmental limits is evolved. Proposed environmental limits are considered to reduce the risks of initiating events as well as risks of promoting progressive developments associated with genetic and epigenetic processes leading to either cancer or expression of mutagenic changes. Comparing effects produced by typical mutagenic chemicals with effects produced by ionizing radiation suggests that ionizing radiation is from 1 to 10 times more potent as an inducer of genetic or epigenetic changes.
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