The Truth About Radiation Levels

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We are nowhere near levels of radiation in the United States that are a threat to our safety and it is very unlikely that doses strong enough to do permanent damage to anyone living in the United States will result from the Fukushima Daiichii nuclear power plant disaster. (Note: I think it is a different situation for those near the plant, and possibly those in Tokyo. The radiation flow appears to be generally increasing and I have to think that the possibility of high cumulative levels of radiation exposure could be high.)

Keep this chart on radiation levels handy. It will keep you from going into panic and also provide a guide as to the danger, to understand in the future what the dangers are at various high doses of radiation.

Note that some of the people near the Fukushima plant may have already been exposed to a total of more than 100,000 microsieverts of radioactive iodine since the beginning of the disaster. This is border line serious. Indeed, the chart maker, who seems to emphasise the fact that most sources of radiation that we are exposed to are very small doses, states that at 100,000 microsieverts, it becomes a level where clear links to increased cancer risk are established.

Reprinted with permission from Economic Policy Journal.

2011 Economic Policy Journal

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