All living things are continuously exposed to radiation, from the Earth below to the universe above. Despite this, most humans pay little attention to the natural and artificial sources of radiation in our surroundings.
The typical American is exposed to approximately 620 millirems of radiation per year from natural and artificial sources, as per the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Half of the dosage comes from naturally occurring “background radiation” in the environment. Medical treatments provide about 96 percent of a person’s artificial radiation exposure, while commercial and industrial sources account for the other half.
What’s the Difference Between Harmful and Non-Harmful Radiation?
To begin, it’s essential to understand that not all radioactivity is dangerous. Some types of radiation, such as electric lines, low-frequency microwaves, and infrared rays, are commonplace, yet they are safe in their low-frequency forms. Low-frequency radiation is emitted by even your mobile phone, putting you in danger.
Ionizing radiation includes x-rays, atom bomb energy, and numerous radioactive materials. These are dangerous because they change the DNA blueprints in your cells permanently. Ionizing radiation sources are the ones to avoid, particularly if you have a job or a profession that exposes you to high radiation levels.
Most of us don’t have to bother about ionizing radiation in our daily lives since we don’t operate in space or near the Earth’s atmosphere limits. Nuclear disasters, including the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami, bring daily dangers closer to home. So some people who close to it might need lead shielding solutions. On top of that, various things may expose us to low doses, which may quickly build up to larger levels if you aren’t careful.
Sources of Radiation in Our Everyday Lives
The great news is that many of the radioactive doses we encounter in our everyday lives are little enough to cause concern. Here are a few of the most frequent sources of radiation in daily life:
In the United States, drinking water is usually low in radiation since it is derived from rivers, ponds, or wells, in which it absorbs radiation and natural sources such as rocks and dirt. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, public water sources must be tested and treated to satisfy EPA requirements.
Soil and rock natural radiation is referred to as “primordial” or “terrestrial” radiation. Low-level radiation emitted by soil or rock is caused by isotopes of radioactive elements found in rocks and minerals throughout the Earth’sEarth’s crust.
Radioactive elements may be found in soils created by the wear and tear of these minerals and rocks. Even though excessive amounts of radionuclides in the soil may contaminate water and food, many organizations, including the EPA, regularly test sources for radioactivity.
Household Goods and Gadgets
Cell phones, fluorescent lights, smoke detectors, clocks, watches, and even ceramics all produce radiation, although at low levels with no known health effects. Cell phones, which produce low amounts of radiofrequency energy (a kind of non-ionizing radiation), have been the subject of the most debate and research, with many organizations across the globe conducting inconclusive studies.
The FDA also keeps track of and analyzes public health statistics on cancer rates in the general population of the United States. Despite the massive growth in mobile phone usage over the past 30 years, the statistics clearly show no widespread increase in brain and other nervous system malignancies.
Education is crucial to let people know about radioactive effects. Understanding your daily dosages of radiation because of bad habits like eating fast food, not exercising, or smoking tobacco may be beneficial.