How Much Radiation is Safe for Humans?

Radiation is everywhere. It’s in the atmosphere, in the soil, in some of the food we eat. Even humans are naturally radioactive! 

It has also proven its use in medicine, research and industry. With radiation, we can both diagnose and treat illnesses like cancer. Through nuclear reactors, it can also generate electricity. Sadly, public fear sometimes outweighs the benefits because of its potential health risks. To add to that, it’s invisible! Humans fear what they don’t see and it’s the same case with radiation exposure. Many people think of it as deadly but it’s something that we absolutely can control and reduce.

Dose Limit for the Public and Radiation Workers

In Australia, each state and territory enforces their respective regulations on radiation safety. Organisations or enterprises are then responsible to create, implement and regularly review their radiation management plan. They must comply with regulations and train their workers including contractors. The annual dose limit for occupational exposure is 20 mSv.

Radiation masks

For radiation workers like radiologists and flight attendants, practising ALARA or As Low As Reasonably Achievable is the key rule in occupational safety.  This consists of three steps: Minimise TIME, maximise DISTANCE and use SHIELDING.

Inside an airplane

The public, on the other hand, has an annual limit of 1 mSv. Although they don’t deal with occupational exposure, those who undergo radiation therapy may receive higher doses than medical workers themselves. This involves higher doses than imaging like X-rays and CT scans.

Dose Range & Possible Health Effects

At very low doses, radiation poses low risk to a person’s health. For short term, above 500 mSv is a dangerous amount but highly unlikely to be received in a short period of time. Long term exposures of above 100 mSv increases cancer risk. 

Here are the dose ranges and their corresponding health effects: 

Dose range (millisieverts)DescriptionPossible health effects
Up to 10Very low doseNone observed or expected (typical background range
10-100Low dosePlausible health effects but not observed
100-1000Moderate doseIncreased risk of cancer
Acute effects at higher end of range (above 500 mSv)
Above 1000High doseAcute effects (burns, vomiting)
Death possible at very high doses (above 5000 mSv)
DATA FROM ARPANSA

With good practice and proper implementation of radiation management plans, doses in the workplace are kept at a minimum.

Simplify and Improve Your Operations

As radiation is all around us, SensaWeb wants to take the fear and uncertainty away from those who are constantly exposed to it. We provide real-time radiation monitoring, management, reporting, and notification processes for highly regulated industries.

SensaWeb radiation monitor

With years of experience in radiation protection, safety management and IT, the SensaWeb team has developed a technology that allows enterprises to see radiation levels immediately and on any device. Our system also automatically generates reports required by the government regulatory authorities. 

For radiation monitoring needs, connect with us here or our email address: info@sensaweb.com.au. You can also call us at +61 415 409 467.

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