Mar 5, 2009 | 5
A new study says that the average American is exposed to six times more radiation from medical tests than in the early 1980s, prompting warnings that physicians may be upping patients' cancer risk by giving them unnecessary exams.
A study by The National Council of Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) shows that the average American's overall radiation exposure jumped from 3.6 millisieverts (mSv) to 6.2 mSv per year -- almost entirely a result of radiation-based medical tests. These tests, once responsible for only 15 percent of Americans' exposure to radiation, now account for nearly 50 percent. In contrast, there was almost no change in so-called background radiation, which naturally emanates from soil, rocks and other environmental substances.
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