Thoughts on Radiation Exposure, Risk

A New York Times op-ed about nuclear radiation exposure, called “Unsafe at Any Dose,” got me thinking about CT scan radiation exposure – and the ongoing debate regarding CT scan risks.

Many activities and endeavors in human life have associated risk. Driving a car is risky; people die. And the more miles you drive, the greater the risk. But that does not mean we don’t use cars. Rather, we minimize risk by driving carefully, using seatbelts, etc. And we go ahead and drive in order to capture the benefits.

So it is with medical radiation… and nuclear energy. But an important note: even with Dr. Caldicott’s pessimistic predictions and numbers, if you look at human deaths associated with kilowatt hours of electrical generation, coal powered electricity is the worst. Oil is next, and nuclear is at the vary bottom of the list (i.e., it has historically caused the fewest deaths).

Makes one stop and think, doesn’t it?