In 2006, Americans were exposed to more than seven times as much ionizing radiation from medical procedures, such as CT scans, as was the case in the early 1980s, according to a new report.
The report was released by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements at its annual meeting in Maryland.
It also found that as of 2006, medical exposure constituted nearly half of the total radiation exposure of the U.S. population.
Other sources included background radiation that comes from soil, rocks, space and the radon gas which penetrates into buildings.
Hence, it is good to keep in mind a few suggestions about protection against radiation.
For day-to-day protection against radon, a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas, it may be a good idea to have the home tested. If the radon level is 4 pCi/L or more, the home needs to be fixed.
In case of an emergency, it is important to keep in mind that the amount of radiation exposure increases with the time people spend near the source and decreaes with the distance from it.
Shielding also plays an important part. A thin piece of light material, such as paper, provides protection against alpha particles. However, there is no protection against inhaled or ingested alpha emitters.
Heavy clothing is necessary to protect against beta particles because some of them can penetrate and burn the skin while only thick shielding, such as lead, can provide adequate protection against gamma rays.