If you think that radiation is on nuclear submarines and in the wild forests of Chernobyl, then you are seriously mistaken. It’s everywhere.
Ionizing radiation is emitted by phones, microwaves, televisions, computers, the walls of your home, and even yourself. Therefore, even those who live in the most environmentally friendly area have a chance to catch a stray neutron, which can knock the atom out of the DNA and provoke the development of a cancerous tumor.
This chance increases exponentially as the radiation intensity increases. But sometimes one souvenir of dubious origin is enough to increase the radiation level hundreds and thousands of times.
The peculiarity of the radiation is that it is not visible, it has no smell and taste, and canaries or cockroaches do not react to it. Without a special radiation detection device, you can’t feel safe.
An amazing fact: in post Soviet countries, where the liquidators of the Chernobyl disaster live, household radiometers and dosimeters are not popular. At the same time however, in more prosperous Europe, almost 50% of families have such a device.
If you have a dosimeter, or are considering getting one, it is important to learn how to use it correctly.
How to Use A Radio-Isotope Identification Device
First, it is worth remembering that radiation safety requires monitoring two important indicators
- the level of ionizing radiation (unit of measurement — eV, becquerel, rad/s, X-ray/s) and
- the radiation dose (X-ray, Sievert, rem).
To keep it simple, think of it in terms of quality vs. quantity measurements.
In simple terms, the radiation level is the power, intensity, “brightness” of the glow of the radiation source (the “quality”). And the dose is the number of neutrons and other particles that have been absorbed by the body or released by the source (the “quantity”).
To find out the dose, you need to multiply the brightness by the time of exposure. The longer you stay near the source, the greater the dose.
To measure the level, use a radiometer (like the well-known crackling Geiger counter). To measure the dose, use a dosimeters measure the dose. However, this difference should not be too much to worry about, since many modern radiation detection units are combined, and can track both the level and the dose (more info on both devices here).
When using a dosimeter, you should pay attention to both indicators. Your body is much more important than the dose, but when assessing the safety of a particular device (place, product, etc.), you will have to study the level of radiation.
When measuring, it is worth remembering that all objects in the world emit radiation, respectively, there is such a thing as a natural background. It ranges from 8-12 micro roentgen/hour, 15-20 µr/hour. The normal background is accepted at the level of 30 microns/hour. Sanitary standards allow accommodation with a background of up to 60 mkR/hour.
To get accurate information, one measurement is not enough. It is advisable to make at least three measurements.
Where Should I Check for Radiation?
A household dosimeter will be a faithful assistant for your whole life, next to the thermometer and barometer. Here are 6 extremely typical places to use your dosimeter to check for radiation:
- assessment of the radiation background of rented or purchased housing;
- checking the safety of food, water;
- assessment of the radiation level of equipment, mechanisms, and vehicles;
- checking the safety of building materials, furniture;
- monitoring the level of radiation in places of recreation, the study of children, in public places;
- evaluation of the received dose, monitoring the effectiveness of measures to reduce it.
Not only can radiation damage your health, but it can also affect the genetic information passed on to your children. Therefore, a good dosimeter is a critical investment to make.
It is also worth remembering that there are completely different types of dosimeters with different functions.
And radiation, as you know, can accumulate in all tissues of the human body, causing irreversible and potentially fatal changes over time.
There are enough cancer patients already. Only the presence of a dosimeter and the ability to avoid particularly dangerous areas, territories and even food will provide a chance to stay healthy from an excessive dose of radiation.