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Living in a Radioactive World

Radiation is a word that tends to conjure fear among many Americans. The trepidation, however, is groundless. Man always has lived in a world of energy.

Not exclusive to the nuclear environment, radiation is a naturally occurring ingredient of life. It's in the materials of the earth, as well as the food and water we consume, and the air we breathe.

The natural radiation in our environment is just about the same today as it was more than 10,000 years ago. Life would not exist without radiation, such as the energy produced by the sun.

Many of life's activities result in the body's absorption of natural radiation. A person sitting on a transcontinental flight at an altitude above 33,000 feet receives more radiation than if that same person spent 24 hours a day at the gate house of a nuclear power plant for an entire year.

Televisions and computer monitors both produce harmless radiation that is absorbed by the human body on a daily basis. Medical diagnostic tests, such as x-rays, are another common source of radiation. Radiation, part of life since time began, should not be viewed as a threat to our health and existence.

Last updated July 12, 2012, 9:15am CDT.

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