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For example, some regions receive more terrestrial radiation from soils that are enriched with uranium. The average effective dose from the radiation emitted from the soil and the construction materials that come from the ground is approximately 0. However, the dose varies depending on location and geology, with doses reaching as high as mSv in Northern Iran or 90 mSv in Nigeria.

In Canada, the estimated highest annual dose for terrestrial radiation is approximately 1. Radon gas, which is produced by the earth, is present in the air we breathe.

Radon gas naturally disperses as it enters the atmosphere from the ground. However, when radon gas enters a building through the floor from the ground , a concentration of it tends to build up. Long-term exposure to elevated levels of radon increases the risk of developing lung cancer. The worldwide average annual effective dose of radon radiation is approximately 1.

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Learn more about radon in your home. A number of sources of natural radiation that penetrate our bodies through the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink. Potassium is the main source of internal irradiation aside from radon decay found in a variety of everyday foods. The average effective dose from these sources is approximately 0. The total worldwide average effective dose from natural radiation is approximately 2.

However, doses can vary greatly. The following figure shows how Canadian cities and the Canadian average dose compare to other parts of the world. This image shows a graph displaying international and Canadian cities and their average annual effective dose from natural sources in millisieverts mSv. Kerala Coast, India: Average: 3. Artificial sources of radiation commercial and industrial activities account for approximately 0.

X-rays and other diagnostic and therapeutic medical procedures account for approximately 1. Consumer products like tobacco and smoke detectors account for another 0. Figure showing examples of typical doses received and dose limits for workers and the public ranging from 0. The typical annual dose from living within a few kilometers of a nuclear power plant is 0.

An intraoral dental x-ray is 0. A typical cross-Canada flight is 0. A typical chest x-ray is 0. The annual public dose limit is 1 mSv. A typical annual dose received by a worker in a uranium mine or nuclear power plant in Canada is around 1 mSv. The average annual dose from natural background radiation in Canada is 1.

A typical chest CT scan is 7 mSv. The annual dose limit for nuclear energy workers is 50 mSv. The five-year dose limit for nuclear energy workers is mSv.


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The average annual exposure to astronauts working on the International Space Station is mSv. A dose that may cause symptoms of radiation sickness is around mSv. Return to first table 2 note 1 referrer. Return to first table 2 note 2 referrer. The Canadian Radiation Protection Regulations set limits on the amount of radiation the public and nuclear energy workers may receive.

In Canada, the effective dose limits for the public is 1 mSv in one calendar year. Regular reporting and monitoring demonstrates the average annual effective doses to the public from activities licensed by the CNSC range from 0. Figure showing a bar graph with annual dose to the public in mSv for nuclear power plant sites including Bruce site, Darlington site, Pickering site, Point Lepreau, and Gentily Annual doses are for and indicate that the dose to the public is well below the annual dose limit for members of the public of 1 mSv.

The effective dose limits for a nuclear energy worker is set at 50 mSv in any one year and mSv in five consecutive years. The Najarian report on workers at the Portsmouth New Hampshire naval shipyard was an original epidemiologic report that found an increased incidence of leukemia, even in areas where radiation exposures had been within the MPD. The Mancuso—Stewart report found similar cancer increases among workers at the Hanford plant in Washington.

Government rebuttals to these reports were accepted by some radiation scientists but rejected by others; in any event, they did not allay public mistrust and were viewed as cover-ups.

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This scepticism was no doubt exacerbated by a lack of understanding of what an MPD was, and a general mistrust of federal agencies. Here Walker leads the reader through the maze of what is safe and what is permissible , distinctions that escaped many critics of the time. The report of the Advisory Committee on the Biological Effects of Radiation BEIR, attempted to define MPDs based on a linear model of the dose—response relationship, extrapolating low-level effects which had never been documented from known high-level effects.

They found that genetic risks were lower than had been previously estimated but somatic effects were greater, again throwing doubt on the official definitions of the MPD.

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The EPA was propelled into the arena when it was given responsibility for air quality, which it interpreted as applying to effluent gases from nuclear reactors. Walker also describes how policies and statements from the various agencies affected public attitudes, and later in the book devotes a chapter to public fear and risk perception. New regulations were constantly being introduced, usually leading to increased costs with no documentation of increased benefits, and usually with no documentation of risk.

These were usually set by the states, but many states had not come that far; nor had medical schools, nursing schools, or technologist training programs incorporated the concept of MPDs into their curricula. The result was that many medical radiation workers overexposed themselves and their patients. Each agency had a hand in the promulgation of regulations regarding radiation safety; some specified MPDs, but most did not.

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Because low-level radiation effects are delayed by weeks, months, or years, data on low-level effects continued to come in slowly after the exposures in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and after the Chernobyl accident. Walker devotes an entire chapter to the Japan experiences, and another to the reactor accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, commenting on how the information gleaned from them has contributed to current concepts of the MPD. He also dwells on how awkward handling of public relations affected public attitudes about nuclear power.

Although Walker mentions the linear and linear-quadratic models of the dose—response relationship several times, he does not define or illustrate them in such a way that the lay reader can understand what they mean.


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A simple graph would help. Radiation hormesis the beneficial effect of small doses is not mentioned by name, although the concept is briefly noted. All in all, I found this book to be very good reading, smoothly and yet authoritatively written and well documented the references are conveniently given as footnotes. It should be of great interest to anyone concerned with radiation safety.

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