Acceptable Levels of Radiation Exposure

The side effects and the hazards that the exposure to radiation can lead to often terrifies the human race. However for people working in the radiation companies, these radiation exposures are quite common. Although there are several safety protocols being implemented by the companies still it is important to know the amount of radiation that a human body can bear without producing any hazardous effects. If you believe the researchers, natural eatables like banana and potatoes also have certain level of radiation within them as they are quite high in potassium. However the fact about how much radiation exposure can be harmful for the human body still remains undisclosed.

Radiation exposure and its principles

S5There are generally two principles regarding the exposure to radiation. According to these principles, a person must not be exposed to acute exposure and to limit the exposure of the person to acceptable levels too. Almost all, the exposure guidelines are given by the International Commission on Radiological protection (ICRP) is considered more accurate. The current guidelines given by ICRP is based on the traditional assumption that even a small amount of exposure can lead to hazardous results in the human body leading to genetic mutation and cancer. This assumption has lead to the guideline that all the radiation must be kept as low as possible.

Occupational exposure and regulatory limits

The “as low as possible” guideline is usually for the whole country; however for people involved in the radiological industry, the guidelines are a bit different. Various guidelines regarding the dosage of radiations are clearly depicted by the ICRP. For an occupational employee, the radiation exposure must not exceed 5 rems. The guideline states the acceptable level of exposure according to the body part. The eye dose equivalent, shallow dose equivalent and the organ dose equivalent are some of the major parameters that decide the exposure levels for a professional working in a radiological company.

While the shallow dose equivalent is for the external dosage to the skin only, the organ dosage equivalent is for the exposure of the harmful radiation to the internal organs. The equivalent as well as their dosage limit is as below:

  • Shallow dose equivalent: 50 rems.
  • Lens dose equivalent: 15 rems.
  • Total organ dose equivalent: 50 rems.

Acceptable radiation exposure for pregnant woman and minors:

Due to the genetic mutation and a number of other risks that the radiation exposure can cause, a pregnant woman is not expected to receive more than 0.5 rem exposure for the complete gestation period. The same is applied to the minors i.e. people below the age 18.

Acceptable level of exposure to radiation for public

For public and non workers, the maximum exposure that one can receive should not be more than 0.1 rem/year which is almost 2% of the total exposure received by an employee; working in a radiological company. There are several other sources from which the human body can be prone to radiation which is estimated to be 0.3rem/year. Thus a total exposure of 0.5rem/year is acceptable for common man.


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