Expert Report

Review of the Worker and Public Health Activities Program Administered by the Department of Energy and the Department of Health and Human Services (2007)

Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review; while the reports represent views of the committee, they also are endorsed by the Academy. Learn more on our expert consensus reports.

Ever since the United States began producing and testing nuclear weapons during World War II, the effects of ionizing radiation on human health and the environment have been a serious public concern. The Worker and Public Health Activities Program was established more than 20 years ago to study the consequences of exposure to ionizing radiation and other hazardous materials from Department of Energy operations to workers and members of the surrounding communities. This report concludes that the program has used sound research methods and generally has enhanced public understanding of the risks involved. However, the report recommends that more two-way communication between the agencies and workers and members of the public is needed. The report explores the ways in which the agencies involved could develop a more coordinated, effective, and thorough evaluation of the public health concerns involved in cleanup and remediation activities at Department of Energy sites.