[ RadSafe ] Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States

Dixon, John E. (CDC/ONDIEH/NCEH) gyf7 at cdc.gov
Tue Sep 13 06:11:08 CDT 2016

As CHP, I am comfortable with SI units. But we must remember that the general public is NOT comfortable with the topic of radiation as a whole. Given that, it will be more difficult to relate health risks from radiation if we are compelled to use UNITS which "are scary." What sounds more "threatening": 1 Curie or 3.7 e10 Bq's? I am afraid that familiarizing the unfamiliar with SI units within the general public realm is a hill we have yet to successfully climb. We must also consider the unfamiliarity the general public has with math - or should I say the resistance to think in mathematical terms for the layman.  One tenth of a Seveirt doesn't sound so bad until you tell someone it is 10 Rem - now that sounds "hideously high."


-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Cary Renquist
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2016 12:46 PM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) MailingList (radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu) <radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States

Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements Registration, Washington | Eventbrite

U.S. Government agencies with radiation protection responsibilities continue to use conventional units for radiation measurements despite 30-year-old national and international recommendations to use SI (System Internationale) units. The use of conventional units hinders information exchanges and communications between the United States and other countries, most of which use SI units, especially during emergencies. For example, U.S. personnel deployed in Japan during the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident encountered difficulties in communicating with Japanese counterparts and the international radiation protection community. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to organize a workshop to discuss how the adoption of SI units for radiation protection in the United States could improve information exchanges and communications. The workshop will examine international experiences in transitioning to SI units for radiation protection and discuss possible steps towards adopting the exclusive use of SI units in the United States. Download the current agenda here.

This event will be webcast.

Cary Renquist
cary.renquist at ezag.com

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