[ RadSafe ] Dose Rate communication, Scaremongering by Anti-Nukes, and Risk-- was: Re: What's a sievert? -

Stewart Farber radproject at sbcglobal.net
Wed Mar 16 14:36:44 CDT 2011

My experience is that the public is much more understanding of the meaning and 
significance of low levels of radiation dose or dose rate if it is put into a 
comparison with normal background dose or dose rate.

For example, up until a few years ago, the average exposure of the US public was 
stated by the NCRP as being very roughly 400 milli-R/year [or 4 milli-Sv  
including Rn]. This is equal to a bit over 1.1 milli-R/day [ or 0.01 mill-Sv/day 
] delivered at a dose rate of approximately 45.4 micro-R/hour [or 0.45 
milliSv/hour = 450 nano-Sv/hr as some have been using.

Recent reports from Tokyo told of dose rates measured at 80 micro-R/hr [ =0.8 
micro-Sv/hour = 800 nano-Sv/hr ] vs. normal background [including Rn-222 ] of 
something more than 45 micro-R/hour [ = 450 nano-Sv/hr ] ignoring all the extra 
dose from greater use of diagnostic medical imaging which is now recognized due 
to the "exploding" use of CT scans.

  Someone knowing that the dose rate seen over Tokyo to date is about 2X higher 
than average normal "background" radiation levels is infiinitely more 
understandable and relevant than telling them the dose rate is 80 micro-R/hour [ 
or 0.8 milli-Sv/hr or 800 nano-Sv/hr ].
To the public, and a lot of educated non-rad technical people, just what in the 
world  is milli-, micro-, nano-, Sv, or R???? These units are meaningless and 
comparing the dose to dental x-rays or chest x-rays is not as relevant.

Unfortunately, there are some anti-nukes who are telling people to rush out and 
get their own geiger counters if the dose rate exceeds 300 nano-Sv/hr -- when 
normal average population background dose rate is in excess of about 450 
nano-Sv/hr including all external sources [direct terrestrial gamma and cosmic, 
internal dose from K-40, radon, and medical dose as of a few years ago]. These 
anti-nukes trying to scare people about dose rates of less than background are 
clearly acting as reprehensible scaremongers hoping to exploit a serious event 
and the public panic engendered for their own personal gain. 

There will almost certainly be more public deaths from auto accidents among 
people fleeing the accident environs in panic than there would likely be if 
people either evacuated in a controlled manner, or not at all unless dose rates 
are a whole lot more than 80 micro-R/hr!! There were also countless elective 
abortions among across Europe after Chernobyl because pregnant women at the time 
feared their children would face developmental heath threats in utero. Whose 
responsible for thousands of elective abortions that might be done, but 
unwarranted based on minor doses [hopefully when all is done]  and no effects 
seen at Hiroshima/Nagasaki to the much larger radiation dose received 
there.People will have no appreciation of the lack of any data showing effects 
on the fetus from trivial radiation doses and take actions that are quite 

Anyway enough venting for the moment. Bottom line concerning "What's a 
sievert?", even many HP tech types still can't get an immediate grip on dose 
rate expressed in units of Sv.

 Stewart Farber, MS Public Health
Farber Medical Solutions, LLC

[203] 441-8433
website: http://www.farber-medical.com

From: "Cmtimmpe at aol.com" <Cmtimmpe at aol.com>
To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Sent: Wed, March 16, 2011 2:06:21 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] What's a sievert?

With respect to Message 1 of March 16, the majority of the public has no  
idea what a 'sievert' is much less confusing micro and milli.  Few of the  
news items I have seen put the dosage information in context to 'normal  
background' or 'action levels' or health affecting levels along with the  
accompanying exposure times.  No wonder there is so much fear - the  

should be in simpler, layman language. As for the discussion  mentioned by 
Roger, where was that discussion?  

Christopher  M. Timm, PE
Vice President/Senior Project Manager
PECOS Management  Services, Inc.
505-323-8355 - phone
505-323-2028 - fax
505-238-8174 -  mobile  

Message: 1
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 09:04:22 -0400
From:  <edmond0033 at comcast.net>
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] NHK Live
To: "'The  International Radiation Protection \(Health Physics\)
Mailing  List'"  <radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>,
<GeigerCounterEnthusiasts at yahoogroups.com>
Message-ID:  <DC73985AD8FB45288D6EB4516FF91A14 at EdmondPC>
Content-Type: text/plain;  format=flowed; charset="iso-8859-1";

Unfortunately the Public and news people mistake  milli and micro for 
thousand and million respectively.

Ed  Baratta

-----Original Message----- 
From: Roger Helbig
Sent:  Wednesday, March 16, 2011 7:41 AM
To: 'The International Radiation Protection  (Health Physics) Mailing List' 
GeigerCounterEnthusiasts at yahoogroups.com
Subject: [ RadSafe ] NHK  Live

There was good explanation just on about difference between milli  and
microSieverts and showing comparable doses in addition to the  radiation
measurements at various distances from  Fukushima


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