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Educating about radiation risks in high schools: towards improved public understanding of the complexity of low-dose radiation health effects
Stockholm Univ, Ctr Radiat Protect Res, MBW Dept, Svante Arrhenius Vag 20C, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden.;Jan Kochanowski Univ Humanities & Sci, Inst Biol, Kielce, Poland..
Stockholm Univ, Dept Math & Sci Educ, Stockholm, Sweden..
Stockholm Univ, Dept Math & Sci Educ, Stockholm, Sweden..
Stockholm Univ, Dept Math & Sci Educ, Stockholm, Sweden..
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2019 (English)In: Radiation and Environmental Biophysics, ISSN 0301-634X, E-ISSN 1432-2099, Vol. 58, no 1, p. 13-20Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The levels of stochastic health effects following exposure to low doses of ionising radiation are not well known. A consequence of the uncertainty is that any radiation exposure is met with deep concernboth by the public and by scientists who disagree about how the partly conflicting results from low-dose studies should be interpreted. The concern is not limited to ionising radiation but is inherent to other areas of modern technologies such as biotechnology or electromagnetic fields. The everyday presence of advanced technologies confronts people with the necessity to take decisions and there is an ongoing debate regarding both the nature and magnitude of potential risks and how education efforts may empower peoples ' decision-making. In the field of radiation research there are different opinions regarding the optimal education methods, spanning from the idea that peoples' fears will be eliminated by introducing dose thresholds below which the risk is assumed to be zero, to suggestions of concentrating research efforts in an attempt to eliminate all uncertainties regarding the effects of low doses. The aim of this paper was to present our approach which is based on developing an education program at the secondary school level where students learn to understand the role of science in society. Teaching about radiation risk as a socio-scientific issue is not based on presenting facts but on showing risks in a broader perspective aiming at developing students' competency in making decisions based on informed assessment. We hope to stimulate and encourage other researchers to pursue similar approaches.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SPRINGER , 2019. Vol. 58, no 1, p. 13-20
Keywords [en]
Risk, Low doses, Education, Stochastic effect, Cancer
National Category
Didactics Biophysics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-246251DOI: 10.1007/s00411-018-0763-4ISI: 000459547400002PubMedID: 30467641Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85057138197OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-246251DiVA, id: diva2:1302009
Note

QC 20190403

Available from: 2019-04-03 Created: 2019-04-03 Last updated: 2019-04-03Bibliographically approved

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