Posted by: Chris Maloney | April 16, 2011

Time To Calculate Your Radiation Exposure: It Beats Doing Taxes!

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Ok, its time to calculate our total radiation exposure.  In the process, you can find out all sorts of things in your day-to-day life that might be giving you that little extra glow. 

Here’s the radiation calculation chart from the EPA.  My own exposure came out at 325 mrem.  To make that comparable to the radiation exposures reported in millisieverts (mSv), one millisievert equals one hundred millirems.  Here’s a calculation program.  The trouble is that the reporting in mSv makes it hard to compare things in terms of dosage. 

I’m also going to say that the EPA calculation seems a bit off.  They allow for 14 mrems of exposure from any “nuclear medical procedure.”  Really?  Here’s the handout for radiologists in terms of radiation exposure.  I quote:  “CT procedures range from 100 to 4,000 milli-rem, not much less than the lowest doses of 500 to 2000 milli-rem received by Japanese survivors of atomic bombs.”  Dr. Boyar goes on to promote the newest technology.  If you can slog through the following quote you’ll see why.

“Marconi (Marconi Medical Systems, Inc. 595 Miner Road, Cleveland, OH  44143) reportedly has calculated the typical patient dose received when performing their non-FDA approved cardiac calcium scoring protocol when performed on their single slice spiral CT scanner using  the  Win Dose program. In their cardiac calcium scoring protocol (130 kV, 200 mA, Spiral, 1.25 pitch, 77 images) the effective patient radiation dose delivered to the patient was 4,300 milli-rem, equivalent to over 200 chest x-rays. It would take more than ten years to absorb this amount of radiation from the natural background radiation sources of sun and soil. In contrast, the Electron Beam CT Scanner delivers only about 70 milli-rem of radiation to the patient when acquiring images for the coronary calcium scoring exam.”

Ok, I’m sold.  Let’s get the newest scanners now.  But what does the EPA think it’s doing by telling people their exposure from nuclear medical testing  is only in the fourteen mrem range?  It’s clearly much higher than that.   

If they are that far off on the known risks, it does lend a certain level of common sense concern that they may not be adequately addressing unknown risks.  The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (google book link to Ionizing Radiation Exposure using nuclear testing fallout mrem search) estimated that the average exposure of the population of the Unites States from weapons testing would be fifty three millirems, not the one mrem estimated by the EPA.  I’m feeling a little paranoia, are you?

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Responses

  1. You wrote “The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (google book link to Ionizing Radiation Exposure using nuclear testing fallout mrem search) estimated that the average exposure of the population of the Unites States from weapons testing would be fifty three millirems, not the one mrem estimated by the EPA. I’m feeling a little paranoia, are you?”

    The EPA calculator suggests that bomb testing gives you a dose of 1 mREM per year, when I read the book I understood it as suggesting that the dose due to bomb testing will be 53 mREM over 30 years. Which works out as 1.77 mREM per year.

    This is slightly higher than the EPA estimate, but the difference is not much. It is hard to make such an estimate, you need to know what the reasoning was behind both estimates if one is to work out which is the better estimate.

  2. Dear Mark, Thanks for the clarification. Any thoughts on the discrepancy between the nuclear testing amounts? I’ve been looking at other numbers, and I’m wondering about my source, but he appears to be quoting industry statistics.

  3. I do not think that the difference between the two estimates is large, if one was 10 mSv per year and the other 1 mSv per year then I would view them as being more likely to be different.

    What you need is the estimated standard deviation on the estimates, if you know the ESDs then you can have a better idea of how the two estimates compare with each other.

  4. […] results I see are 242 and 390 mSv of I-131 radiation respectively.  If you then look at my post on calculating radiation exposure a mSv is equal to 100 mrems.  My yearly exposure to radiation is 325 or so mrems or roughly 3.25 […]

  5. […] Time To Calculate Your Radiation Exposure: It Beats Doing Taxes! (alternativendhealth.wordpress.com) […]

  6. […] Time To Calculate Your Radiation Exposure: It Beats Doing Taxes! (alternativendhealth.wordpress.com) […]


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