NYMC Faculty Publications

Pediatric Considerations Before, During, and After Radiological or Nuclear Emergencies--Policy Statement

Journal Title


First Page


Document Type


Publication Date

December 2018




Infants, children, and adolescents can be exposed unexpectedly to ionizing radiation from nuclear power plant events, improvised nuclear or radiologic dispersal device explosions, or inappropriate disposal of radiotherapy equipment. Children are likely to experience higher external and internal radiation exposure levels than adults because of their smaller body and organ size and other physiologic characteristics, by picking up contaminated items, and through consumption of contaminated milk or foodstuffs. This policy statement and accompanying technical report update the 2003 American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on pediatric radiation emergencies by summarizing newer scientific knowledge from studies of the Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant events, use of improvised radiologic dispersal devices, exposures from inappropriate disposal of radiotherapy equipment, and potential health effects from residential proximity to nuclear plants. Policy recommendations are made for providers and governments to improve future responses to these types of events.


Heather Brumberg is a member of the Council on Environmental Health.