Radiation Experts: We have little to worry about - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Radiation Experts: We have little to worry about

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) – The crisis in Japan has already cast a global net of fear. Runs on radiation kits and potassium iodide tablets continue as radiation concerns grow.

Experts say we have little to worry about, adding that we're all exposed to radiation every day.

Morgan Chesky put the radioactive problems in perspective.

It's the disaster captured on TV and in the minds of many Americans, nuclear meltdowns, pushing radiation fears abroad.

To put an end to the panic, we borrowed a Geiger counter, a device measuring radioactive materials.

The evidence can be seen as soon as we turn the Geiger counter on, standing outside on a sunny day in East Texas, we're still picking up a trace of radiation.

Measurements are made in micro rem, or part per million.

On average, scientists say half of our annual exposure comes from natural materials some of which may surprise you. The Camp Fannin monument memorial made out of granite nearly doubles our radioactive readings.

None of our reading even break fifty micro rem, not even close to a lethal dose of four million.

Trace amounts of radiation can even be found in some of the things we eat. Bananas, a popular fruit, also contain potassium, which is known for its radioactive properties.

Radiation specialist, Dr. David Rowlett says fears are often misplaced, "As we stand here, we are being bombarded by cosmic radiation."

"Radiation is very measurable. We can measure background and we're all exposed to it and so we do have with a good degree of certainty understanding of the thresholds," Rowlett explained.

In the US, the EPS says most Americans are exposed to around 320,000 micro rem annual, with life choices playing a big part.

"Smoking one and a half packs a day for a year is 16 rem, not millirem," says Rowlett.

The highest radiation reading in Japan, a short peak of nearly 344,000 micro rem, which isn't coming this way anytime soon.

"With the most sophisticated instruments, we might be able to measure radiation one hundred to two hundred miles away."

A range casting a wide circle near Japan, but far from reaching the West Coast.

With technology that allows us to take precise measurements of radiation, experts say there's really little to fear for our own bodies are more than equipped to handle the radiation we encounter all over the place, all the time.

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