The Indiana Department of Homeland Security encourages Hoosiers to take the time to learn more about the effects of radiation and its safety implications as part of Radiation Awareness Week.
“Most people are unaware of the fact that there is radiation all around us,” said Kaci Studer, radiation programs director for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) program. “It occurs naturally in our environment, industries, hospitals and even our own homes.”
According to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), people receive most of their average annual radiation from natural sources in the environment, while approximately 48 percent comes from medical procedures.
Aside from learning about the different sources and types of radiation, Radiation Awareness Week is also an excellent time to become familiar with radiological emergency preparedness.
“Many Hoosiers living in the northwestern counties of Indiana are in the ingestion pathway zone of a nuclear power plant,” Studer said. “That’s why IDHS is always actively maintaining radiological emergency preparedness.”
The ingestion pathway zone is the 50-mile radius around a nuclear power plant where the general public may be at risk of ingesting contaminated food and water during the events of a radiological incident created by the power plant. Indiana is considered part of the emergency preparedness zones for four commercial nuclear power plants, two in Michigan and two in Illinois.
“Although it’s highly unlikely a radiological incident will occur from one of these four power plants, it’s still something the State of Indiana needs to prepare for,” Studer said.
For more information on the REP program at IDHS, visit https://www.in.gov/dhs/3523.htm.
To learn more about the different types of radiation and the impacts it has on human health, visit https://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/.