Genetic risk assessment for potential hazard from environmental tritium to man becomes important with increasing nuclear-power industry. The purpose of this short review is to discuss the possible genetic effects of tritium from a view of genetic risk estimation.
The discussion is based mainly on our experimental results on the chromosome aberrations induced in human lymphocytes by tritium at the very low-level. The types of chromosome aberrations induced by radiation from tritium incorporated into the cells are mostly chromatid types. The most interesting finding is that the dose-response relationship observed in both tritiated-water and tritiated-thymidine is composed of two phases. The examination on the nature of two-phase dose-response relationship is very important not only for the mechanisms of chromosome aberrations, but also for the evaluation of genetic risk from low-level radiation.