Regulatory Dose Limits
A single high-level radiation exposure (i.e., greater than 10,000 mrem) delivered to the whole body over a very short period of time may have potential health risks. From follow-up of the atomic bomb survivors, we know acutely delivered very high radiation doses can increase the occurrence of certain kinds of disease (e.g., cancer) and possibly negative genetic effects. To protect the public and radiation workers (and environment) from the potential effects of chronic low-level exposure (i.e., less than 10,000 mrem), the current radiation safety practice is to prudently assume similar adverse effects are possible with low-level protracted exposure to radiation. Thus, the risks associated with low-level medical, occupational, and environmental radiation exposure are conservatively calculated to be proportional to those observed with high-level exposure. These calculated risks are compared to other known occupational and environmental hazards, and appropriate safety standards and policies have been established by international and national radiation protection organizations (e.g., ICRP and NCRP) to control and limit potential harmful radiation effects.
Both public and occupational regulatory dose limits are set by federal (i.e., EPA, NRC, and DOE) and state agencies (e.g., Agreement States) to limit cancer risk. Other radiation dose limits are applied to limit other potential biological effects with workers' skin and lens of the eye.
|Annual Radiation Dose Limits
|Radiation Worker - 5,000 mrem
||(NRC, "occupationally" exposed)|
|General Public - 100 mrem
||(NRC, member of the public)|
|General Public - 25 mrem
||(NRC, D&D all pathways)|
|General Public - 10 mrem
||(EPA, air pathway)|
|General Public - 4 mrem
||(EPA, drinking water pathway)|
The information and material posted on this website is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may alter the concepts and applications of materials and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice specific to whatever facts and circumstances are presented in any given situation. Answers are correct at the time they are posted on the Website. Be advised that over time, some requirements could change, new data could be made available, or Internet links could change. For answers that have been posted for several months or longer, please check the current status of the posted information prior to using the responses for specific applications.