Radiation Dose and Dose Limits

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The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has set regulatory limits for exposure of personnel and members of the general public. (WAC 246-221) Both the Federal government and DOH has arrived at these levels by comparing the risks of working with radiation to the risks of working in other industries. The limits have been set such that if one were to receive the maximum Total Effective Dose Equivalent (TEDE) permitted by law, every year for an entire working lifetime, the risks from radiation exposures would be similar to those risks in other safe industries.

Dose Limits

Occupational Whole Body

5,000 mrem per year

Extremity and Skin of Whole Body 50,000 mrem per year
Lens of the Eye 15,000 mrem per year
Any single organ (e.g., Thyroid) 50,000 mrem per year

Fetus of Declared Pregnant Worker

500 mrem per term of pregnancy

General Public

100 mrem per year

For additional information see Section 6 of the University of Washington Radiation Safety Manual

Dental personnel are exposed to very little radiation in their work. Years of personnel dosimetry records demonstrate that dental workers routinely receive less then 10% (or 30 mrem) of the average Natural Background Radiation Exposure every member of the General Public receives (in addition to the exposure from Natural Background Radiation) and approximately 0.5% (25 mrem) of the Whole Body TEDE allowed Occupational Workers. Exposures to dental personnel at The University of Washington has averaged less then 5 mrem per year for 2001 and 2002.

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