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Radiation Safety Training Module
Radiographic Sciences and Analytical X-ray Machines
Study Guide
ISU Technical Safety Office, Campus Box 8106
Pocatello, ID 83209
(208) 282-2311/2310

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BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS


Introduction
Since we do not precisely know what the risks are at low levels of radiation exposure, we can only accept the risk associated with working around radiation by comparing it to other daily risks.  

Average estimated days lost due to daily activities

health risk

days lost

Unmarried male

3,500

Cigarette smoker (1 pack/day)

2,250

Unmarried female

1,600

Coal miner

1,100

25% overweight

77

Alcohol (U.S. average)

365

Construction worker

227

Driving a motor vehicle

207

100 mrem/year for 70 years

10

Drinking coffee

6

                                     
This next table addresses the estimated days lost of life expectancy due to radiation exposure at radiation-related facilities as compared to other industries.

Average estimated days lost due to daily activities

health risk

days lost

Mining

328

Construction

302

Agriculture

277

Radiation dose of 5,000 mrem/year for 50 years

250

Transportation/Utilities

164

All industry

74

Government

55

Service

47

Manufacturing

43

Trade

30

Radiation accidents (deaths from exposure)

<1

                                     

The basis of our knowledge of biological effects is due to past studies on:
      -     Early radiation workers
      -     Radium dial watch workers
      -     Accident victims
      -     Nuclear weapons testing/use
                  a.   The survivors of Hiroshima and Naga­saki
                  b.   Those exposed accidentally during Bikini Island tests
      -     Persons undergoing nuclear medicine treatment


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