Dr. Tsubokura's Radiation Lecture Vol.133

Author: Masaharu Tsubokura PhD.

Editors: Akihiko Ozaki M.D.,PhD., Yuki Senoo

265. The optimal use of radiation


The government sets the regulatory dose limit for ionizing radiation that workers are exposed to while performing their duties. Occupational groups that are routinely exposed to radiation include coal miners, who usually work in areas of high natural radiation, airline crews, workers at nuclear power plants, physicians, nurses, and radiology technicians. Currently, the effective dose limit for occupational exposure is 50 millisieverts/year and 100 millisieverts on average over five years.


In contrast, there is no dose limit for radiation exposure relating to medical examinations or treatment among patients. In other words, medical necessity is the only factor taken into consideration when deciding whether patients should undergo medical examinations and treatments using radiation.


Medical examinations and treatments using radiation are some of the most effective procedures to diagnose and treat certain diseases. Due to their benefits and effectiveness, the use of medical radiation is trending upwards around the world, including Japan. In fact, Japan is one of the top countries in terms of radiation exposure relating to medical care. Since there are no regulations limiting radiation exposure from medical examinations and treatments, it is crucial for healthcare professionals and patients to carefully discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each examination and treatment [j1] so that they can find the most beneficial management plan for each patient.

[j1]This sentence was a little bit wordy.


266. The importance of dose control for occupational exposure


An occupational exposure means that workers have received ionizing radiation during the performance of their duties. Occupational groups that are routinely exposed to radiation include coal miners, who usually work in areas of high natural radiation, airline crews, workers at nuclear power plants, physicians, nurses, and radiology technicians. While there is no dose limit for radiation exposure relating to medical examinations or treatments among patients, a law exists that prescribes regulatory dose limits for occupational radiation exposure so that workers can avoid receiving excessive exposure to radiation.

Generally, when people hear the term “occupational radiation exposure,” many think that it refers to radiation exposure among workers at nuclear power plants. Of course, control of radiation exposure is one of the most important work environment issues at nuclear power plants. However, it has been reported that nearly 90% of the total occupational exposure in the world is caused by naturally occurring radiative substances. Therefore, coal miners and cabin crews are at the highest risk of receiving high-dose radiation.


On the other hand, the rest of the total occupational exposure, or 10%, is caused by man-made radiation, and medical radiation exposure contributes to the majority of man-made occupational exposure—exposure received by healthcare professionals such as physicians, nurses, and radiology technicians when they are performing examinations or providing treatment using radiation.


In summary, it is crucial to control occupational radiation exposure not only for those working at nuclear power plants but also for other professionals at high risk of exposure.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, 23rd Feb and 1st March 2020 was reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.

RECENT POSTS
ARCHIVES
CATEGORIES
TAGS
RSS
RSS Feed

© 2017 MRIC Global