Posted by: Daryl & Wendy Ashby | March 26, 2011

Radiation Awareness

Much is being said about the radiation levels reaching our shores from Japan’s leaking nuclear reactors. “Minute” is the key word here, but our natural tenancy is to take a deep breath and wonder how it is going to affect our life span.

According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, “These amounts are negligible and do not pose a health risk to British Columbians.” But they said much the same about cigarette smoking 40 years ago and we are all a bit more educated on that subject today — but let’s not get side-tracked here.

Let’s see if we can put it all into prospective for you.

Levels of the Japanese radiation detected so far along our coast are at 0.0005 microsieverts per day, according to data from Health Canada’s Radiation Protection Bureau which was released this past Monday.

By comparison:

* A dental X-ray is about 10 microsieverts — or 20,000 times as much.

* Passengers on a cross-country airline flight can be exposed to 30 microsieverts or 60,000 times the effect the Japanese radiation is having on us today.

* A CT scan can expose a person to between 5,000 and 30,000 microsieverts — more than 10 million times as much as the increased daily exposure in BC thus far.

In other words, “Minute” means “insignificant” in this case.

Canadians on average are exposed to 5.5 to 8.2 microsieverts per day, or 2,000 to 3,000 per year, from all sources, most of which are natural. To better understand the impact of the inflow, Health Canada is adding nine more radiation monitoring stations in B.C., to the six units already in place along the coast.

As a final note: “Health Canada is urging residents not to take or stockpile potassium iodide; which should be taken only when recommended by doctors and can otherwise cause side effects.

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