AW: [ RadSafe ] "exposure" to radiation in other languages

Rainer.Facius at Rainer.Facius at
Mon Aug 25 12:38:50 CDT 2008

In Germany, any word related to "Bestrahlung" (the equivalent to irradiation) provokes in the public a reflex like mentioning "The Evil One" in the middle ages - maybe even worse. So you better try to replace it. In our German texts we do this by using the 'loanword' "Exposition" wherever possible.

Regards, Rainer 

Dr. Rainer Facius
German Aerospace Center
Institute of Aerospace Medicine
Linder Hoehe
51147 Koeln
Voice: +49 2203 601 3147 or 3150
FAX:   +49 2203 61970

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: radsafe-bounces at [mailto:radsafe-bounces at] Im Auftrag von Ansari, Armin (CDC/CCEHIP/NCEH)
Gesendet: Montag, 25. August 2008 19:10
An: radsafe at
Betreff: [ RadSafe ] "exposure" to radiation in other languages

Dear radsafe colleagues,

As you are well aware, we always have difficulty communicating the concept of "exposure" to non-radiation audiences in plain English.  This is because the word "exposure" in case of chemical and biological agents means coming in contact with something - similar to how we use "contamination".  Exposure to radiation of course means just that, no contamination.  This distinction is second nature to us, but very difficult to get across even to a highly-educated audience.  We find the word "irradiation" works better than exposure, but so much of our technical literature and fact sheets still use the word exposure.

I was wondering if a similar difficulty is encountered in languages other than English.  What words are used for "exposure" and "contamination" and if the word used for exposure to chemicals or biological agents creates the same communication issues in those languages.

If you can reply to me off-line with information about any other languages you know, I would appreciate it very much, and I would later share a summary with the group.

Thanks in advance!


Armin Ansari, PhD, CHP
Radiation Studies Branch, EHHE, NCEH
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA 30341-3717
Phone: 770-488-3654
FAX: 770-488-1539
asa4 at 

You are currently subscribed to the RadSafe mailing list

Before posting a message to RadSafe be sure to have read and understood the RadSafe rules. These can be found at:

For information on how to subscribe or unsubscribe and other settings visit:

More information about the RadSafe mailing list