Unfortunately, radiation exposure is unavoidable as radiation is everywhere at all times. No matter where you are, some type of radiation is being emitted near you either by a nuclear plant nearby, radio towers, the TV in your living room, or from within the earth’s crust. There are many factors that must be taken into consideration when discussing radiation exposure and it’s dangers. Here are factors to consider, with each one able to be controlled to some extent for radiation protection.
Important Variables Concerning Radiation Exposure
- Amount or quantity of radiation exposure
- Concentration, or focus of radiation exposure
- Proximity of radiation exposure
- Intensity of radiation exposure
- Duration of radiation exposure
Here is a Radiation Calculator provided by the Environmental Protection Agency to see just how much radiation you may be exposed to annually. Having an idea of how much radiation you are actually exposed to on a daily basis can make a huge difference when it comes to protecting your health from radiation. If the amount of radiation seems high you should reduce the amount of activities which involve radiation.
The amount of radiation the average person is exposed to annually is 620 mrem, according to the EPA. Of course, exposure varies based on how often X-rays are administered, how often flights are taken, how much radon is in our homes, and many other factors.
The concentration of radiation is also very important. As an example. there has been much debate over body scanner’s in airports and the radiation emitted by them to travelers. To someone who travels all the time, this radiation is a larger threat than to someone who seldom travels. Though there has been much dispute over this topic, with some arguing that the scanners pose no health risk, many doctors couldn’t disagree more. Below is an excerpt from a letter written by doctors John Sedat Ph.D., David Agard, Ph.D., Marc Shuman, M.D., and Robert Stroud, Ph.D from the University of California, San Francisco faculty. There is simply a significant difference between radiation that is concentrated to one specific area and radiation allocated throughout the entire body.
“Unlike other scanners, these new devices operate at relatively low beam energies (28keV). The majority of their energy is delivered to the skin and the underlying tissue. Thus, while the dose would be safe if it were distributed throughout the volume of the entire body, the dose to the skin may be dangerously high.”
Natural Society Special Report: Government Ignored 1998 Report Finding up to 100 cancer Deaths from TSA Naked Body Scanners Per Year
Similarly, cell phones cause a relatively low amount of radiation, but all of that radiation is focused directly on the brain. The microwaves exuded from a cell phone, depending on how far the antenna is from the head (proximity), can penetrate as much as 1 1/2 inches into the brain. These microwaves cook the brain from the inside out just as a microwave oven cooks food from the inside out. The effects of radiation can be detrimental over a long period of time, especially when the radiation is focused on such a sensitive part of the body.
As mentioned, the radiation coming from sources like body scanners and cell phones aren’t particularly powerful. If those waves were as powerful as waves stemming from an explosion of a nuclear reactor, things would be very different. The intensity of the nuclear radiation resulting from a nuclear reactor is much more harmful. This radiation also differs from a cell phone since the radiation from an explosion hangs around for a much longer duration, causing even more need for radiation protection.
Either way, it isn’t just one source of radiation which poses a health threat – it’s all of them combined. Someone might say that the radiation emitted from airport body scanner’s is safe, or that the radiation from medical tests are so low that there is no worry. However, whether they are safe at low doses or not, when all of these sources are combined, the chance of reaching acute radiation sickness increases.