We all fear radiation yet life depends on it. We each are radioactive, living on a radioactive planet, in a radioactive solar system, in a radioactive universe, in a radioactive galaxy. We, and all living creatures, exist because plants and other organism use photosynthesis to capture photons, a basic unit radiation energy (light), produced by thermonuclear fusion within the Sun, and convert it chemical energy which drives our world. Carbon dioxide and water are turned into the oxygen we breathe, the sugars we eat and the carbon the makes up our bodies. Think of photosynthesis as a giant power facility producing the equivalent of about 130 terawatts of energy each year, six times more than…
According to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), the average yearly radiation dose per person in the U.S. is 620 mrem. Estimates are given in millirem (mrem). (The corresponding international unit for effective dose is the millisievert (mSv).)
Risk of harm is dependent on both the dose and the dose rate (the time the body is exposed to that dose). So a dose of 1,000 mSv over an hour is considerably more damaging than a dose of 1,000 mSv over a year.
We live in a radioactive world - humans always have. Radiation is part of our natural environment. We are exposed to radiation from materials in the earth itself, from naturally occurring radon in the air, from outer space, and from inside our own bodies (as a result of the food and water we consume). This radiation is measured in units called millisieverts (mSv). The average dose per person from all sources is about 6.20 mSv per year. It is not, however, uncommon for any of us to receive less or more than that in a given year (largely due to medical procedures we may undergo). International Standards allow exposure to as much as 50 mSv a year for those who work with and around radioactive material.
Comparisons of effective radiation dose with background radiation exposure for several radiological procedures.
NOVA Labs: Most of what we know about solar science comes from reading the Sun's light.
As we have seen, radioactive decay is a property of a particular nucleus. In comparison, radiation is a possible consequence of many processes, not just radioactivity.
Radiation is the term given to a travelling particle or wave and can be split into three main types...
Like the elements that she discovered — polonium and radium — Marie Curie was "unruly," says actor Rosamund Pike. Pike plays the famous scientist in the new biopic Radioactive.
The film, streaming on Amazon Prime, is about the power of science and how it can be harnessed in both positive and destructive ways. Curie's discoveries led to medical breakthroughs, but they were also weaponized — into bombs and poison.
Some critics say current radiation regulations are overwrought. But many experts say it’s the best approach we’ve got.
There are at least a dozen trials worldwide testing low-dose radiation therapy, or LDRT, as a treatment for pneumonia related to Covid-19, some spurred by the same historical data Calabrese and colleagues scoured years ago. The theory: Targeted radiation to the lungs will halt the out-of-control inflammation responsible for the devastating pneumonia that bookends the course of some Covid-19 patients.
Yes, indeed, but not the way you might think. It turns out we need a little bit of radiation to function in tip-top shape. And it’s all about our genes.
After the emergency batteries were exhausted, three of the plant’s six reactors soon overheated, and at least two of the cores melted down, releasing immense amounts of radiation. While the reactors are now in theory stabilised, the work to understand and contain the damage continues.
A park safety manager reveals that three buckets of uranium ore were sitting in a museum storage basement, starting in 2000.
Indeed, we do spend billions of dollars each year protecting against what was once background levels. It’s right out of a Road Warrior movie. No wonder the fear of radiation took over the worldview. The presence or absence of a threshold dose for radiation is a societal decision that society has been left out of. That needs to change. We have real problems that need to be solved. Yes, we need to deal with radiation doses above, say, 5 rem, 10 rem, whatever level you want to draw as the threshold. But there’s always a threshold. No different than, mercury, cadmium, or lead. Everything is in the environment at some level, but the old adage that dose makes the poison is quite true.
No definitive conclusion, no clear argument that radiation is the cause of those coastal events which distress us so. There is no solace in uncertainty, just as there is no certainty without evidence.
Since the 1940s, there had been long-standing concerns about radiation leaks from black-and-white picture tubes. But it wasn’t until 1967, when routine testing revealed that specific large-screen models of GE color sets were emitting “X-radiation in excess of desirable levels,” that there seemed to be any real evidence of such a risk. Scientists speculated that the high voltage required by color sets was partly to blame.
A typical American is exposed to about 6.2 millisieverts, or 620 millirems, of radiation per year—roughly one-half of which comes from natural sources, like radon gas and cosmic radiation. Based mostly on the atom bomb-survivor studies, scientists generally agree that every additional sievert of exposure (or about 160 times the typical annual dose) is associated with around a 4 percent or 5 percent increase in lifetime cancer risk.
A new initiative aims to change the scientific stance that any amount of radiation increases someone’s cancer risk.
Every time I pass through an airport — which is pretty often — I worry about the radiation I'm exposed to at airport security and then on the plane.
But in a recent look at the evidence about the health effects of frequent flying, I learned that there's probably no need to fret...
One of the 'hottest' issues in worldwide air travel security is the use of the so-called full body scanners. So, are airport scanners safe or not?
From the great outdoors to our workplace and even our homes, we are surrounded by EMF. So, is long-term exposure to EMF hazardous to our health? Some say yes, some say no
For the natural sources of ionizing radiation, actually the biggest chunk of that tends to come from radon, which is a radioactive material that is present in the air. It can become a concern when it builds up in low-lying areas of homes like basements.
Time will tell how the long term effects of Fukushima will ‘fall out’. The stark reality is what occurred in Japan could happen anywhere! So, be ready for the next one.
Or, why everyone is stocking up on iodine tablets.
As worries grow over radiation leaks at Fukushima, is it possible to gauge the immediate and lasting health effects of radiation exposure? Here's the science behind radiation sickness and other threats facing Japan.
It is perhaps the most controversial scientific question of the last two decades. Does mobile phone use cause cancer?
Although flying through a few of these pockets of radiation probably won’t increase health risks, there is concern about their effects over time. W. Kent Tobiska, the president of Space Environment Technologies in Los Angeles and lead author of the paper, thinks that in the coming years, the US will develop standards for radiation exposure for travelers to keep them safe. I
To understand the biological effects of radiation we must first understand the difference between ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation. In general, two things can happen when radiation is absorbed by matter: excitation or ionization.
Microwaving doesn't destroy all the nutrients in your food or make it radioactive.
Current estimates by government agencies for risks from low doses rely on extrapolation from higher doses. In the United States, most government agencies use a unit called the rem to measure radiation doses. (Europe and Asia use the unit millisievert, which equals 0.1 rem.) According to the Environmental Protection Agency, people receive 0.3 rem per year from natural background radiation.
Most stations run by EPA can’t monitor for beta particles in real time, prompting criticism; agency says monitoring for gamma rays is enough
The NOAA Space Environment Center has defined five types of radiation storms, ranging from mild to extreme. Learn what effects these storms can have on Earth.
How dangerous are small doses of radiation? Ultimately, the debate over the presence or absence of a safe threshold is the most basic divide in our society’s approach to environmental regulations. Whether we argue over the safety of BPA in infant bottles, lead in old houses, radiation from nuclear accidents, or trace amounts of radon in homes, we’re talking about the same thing. Everyone knows lots of lead or radiation or radon is bad; we’ll just never know for sure whether the relationship holds at lower doses.
Despite much research and media attention, a good number of doctors and patients are still not getting it. Ionizing radiation can damage DNA and result in cancer-causing mutations; CT scans dole out plenty, likely increasing the risk for cancer. And, yes, we can do something about it.
We all fear radiation yet life depends on it. We each are radioactive, living on a radioactive planet, in a radioactive solar system, in a radioactive universe, in a radioactive galaxy. We, and all living creatures, exist because plants and other organism use photosynthesis to capture photons, a basic unit radiation energy (light), produced by thermonuclear fusion within the Sun, and convert it chemical energy which drives our world.
Our objective is to share factual, easy-to-read information. Knowledge can reduce fear and anxiety about radiation.
ARPANSA is a Federal Government agency charged with responsibility for protecting the health and safety of people, and the environment, from the harmful effects of ionising and non ionising radiation.
ICNIRP's principal aim is to disseminate information and advice on the potential health hazards of exposure to non-ionizing radiation to everyone with an interest in the subject.
ICRP is an independent Registered Charity, established to advance for the public benefit the science of radiological protection, in particular by providing recommendations and guidance on all aspects of protection against ionising radiation.
The primary purpose of IRPA is to provide a medium whereby those engaged in radiation protection activities in all countries may communicate more readily with each other and through this process advance radiation protection in many parts of the world.
We are dedicated to education and research on all issues related to nuclear energy, whether civilian or military -- including non-nuclear alternatives -- especially those pertaining to Canada.
EPA's Agency-wide Radiation Protection Program comprises seven groups of projects and issue-specific programs, listed below. You can find descriptions of the programs, as well as contacts, news, laws and regulations, publications, and technical materials that are specific to each program.