A. Self Introduction
The fact that ionizing radiation produces biological damage has been known for many years. We
have gained most of our knowledge of these effects since World War II.
In this module, we will discuss the potential for biological effects and risks due to ionizing
radiation and put these potential risks into perspective when compared to other occupations and
daily activities. With this information, it is hoped that employees will develop a healthy respect
for radiation rather than fear or disregard.
C. Objectives Review
We know more about the biological effects of ionizing radiation than most other environmental
factors. Rather than just being able to base our information on animal studies, we have a large
body of information available regarding exposures to humans. There are four major groups of
people that have been exposed to significant levels of radiation.
The first group includes early radiation workers, such as radiologists. These workers received
large doses of radiation before the biological effects were recognized. Since that time, standards
have been developed to protect workers.
The second group is the more than 250,000 survivors of the atomic bombs dropped at Hiroshima
and Nagasaki. Some of these survivors received doses estimated to be in excess of 50,000
The third group includes individuals who have been involved in radiation accidents.
The fourth and largest group of individuals are patients who have undergone radiation therapy for
cancer and other diseases.
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