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Understanding the Basis for Radiation Fears

How often as a radiographer have you found yourself puzzled, perplexed, or frustrated by people’s fears of radiation? Have you ever been nervous about radiation yourself? Have you ever thought that regulatory requirements seem overly restrictive and wonder if they are necessary? Do we really need all these regulations? On the other hand, how many times have you observed people ignoring your safety barriers seemingly oblivious to radiation risks? Each of these questions reflects varying degrees of fear for radiation. While most people are fearful of radiation, sometimes people are not fearful enough. Even regulators respond to their fears of radiation by creating restrictions for safety. Virtually everything we do for radiation safety is driven by fears. This leads to questions about the basis of radiation fears and how understanding this basis could be helpful for radiographers.

1. Johnson, R., “Psychological and Mental Health Aspects of Ionizing Radiation Exposure,” Encyclopedia of Environmental Health, Elsevier Publications, October 2010. 2. Kahnemen, D., Thinking Fast and Slow, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, 2011. 3. Ropeik, D., How Risky is it Really? Why our Fears don’t Always Match the Facts, The McGraw Hill Companies, New York, 2010
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