Ask an Expert : Fukushima-related health question 3 - HTML5 Transcript/Captions

Some people near Fukushima were actually individually monitored regularly because they were exposed to higher doses of radiation. But for the larger population, this would not be practical or necessary in order to protect public health. Public doses can effectively be estimated through modeling, which in this case would replace the need for continuous monitoring The most common approach for estimating public doses is by looking at environmental pathways. This approach marries actual measurements of radionuclides in the environment with information on lifestyle habits of the population, and combines it with our scientific understanding about how radionuclides move through the environment. For instance, the radionuclide could be carried in the air and deposited in the earth where it contaminates the crops that are eaten by the cows that produce the milk that local people drink. Understanding that chain of events - that one pathway - makes it possible to begin estimating a dose to the person who drinks that milk. Keep in mind that there are multiple pathways-including the air we breathe and the food we eat-that contribute to our radiation dose. All of this is considered in the modeling so we have an accurate picture of the public dose received.

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