Study: Radiation exposure from medical scans up dramatically

A new study concludes that Americans were exposed to seven times more radiation from medical procedures in 2006 than in the early 1980s.

The study, from the National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurement, concluded that the increase was primarily due to higher use of computed tomography and nuclear medicine scans, which contributed 36 percent of total radiation exposure and 75 percent of medical radiation exposure of the U.S. population.

Overall, the group found, medical imaging made up nearly half of the U.S. total radiation exposure in 2006. Other sources analyzed in the report included radon gas, natural radiation from soil and rocks and radiation from industrial activities.

The American College of Radiology responded to the findings with reassurance, noting that the report didn't report any specific increased health risk from the higher exposure levels. It also suggested that rising numbers of imaging referrals by non-radiologists who own imaging equipment may be the culprit in the rise in such exposures.

To learn more about this study:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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