About Radiation

Knowing Radiation

Should patients be concerned about the radiation they may receive from the test their physicians have ordered?

  • Doses have diminished over the years resulting in less exposure to the rest of the body and patients should not be concerned about the exposure from medical tests. As the benefits far outweigh the potential risk from their exposure.

When do we encounter ionizing radiation (background radiation) in our daily lives?

  • Every day we encounter ionizing radiation. The average person receives about 350 millirems of ionizing radiation per year in the United States.

Millirem — is a unit that estimates the biological impact of a particular type of radiation absorbed in the body.

What are the natural sources of ionizing radiation and how much radiation do we receive from these sources?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we receive 82% of our ionizing radiation intake from natural sources and the other 18% of ionizing radiation exposure is from man made sources.

We receive most of our natural intake from Air (radon) with an average of 200 mrem per year. The ionizing radiation we receive from food and water (eg. Potassium) throughout the year is an average of 40mrem. Cosmic rays from space also provide 10mrem per year.

Other sources of ionizing radiation we absorb are from building materials like brick or concrete, rocks and soils, LCD watches, porcelain crowns, watching television, and smoke detectors. The intake of ion radiation we receive every year is minute and is a normal part of everyday life.

To calculate your annual radiation dose: http://www.epa.gov/radiation/students/calculate.html