Radiation exposure has serious consequences. The human body simply doesn’t tolerate even the smallest amount of radiation. Couple this with radiation exposure over a long period of time and catastrophic illness can result. For many years people believed if safety precautions were followed then it was perfectly safe to work for a nuclear power plant or other facility that used radiation. Now, thanks to a recent study, it’s likely that those safety precautions were not enough to protect workers and new protocols have to be developed. It may be too late for those who have suffered years of exposure, but not for new workers, as long as they follow new safety regulations.
Radiation Exposure in the News
In the past, the general public only heard about radiation exposure when something catastrophic occurred. The 2011 earthquake in Japan is one example. The tsunami that followed the earthquake caused significant damage to a nearby nuclear power plant, exposing hundreds of workers to radiation. Much of that area is now off-limits. In the long-term, evn years after radiation exposure can lead to cancer such as leukemia.
Immediately after exposure, radiation sickness can set in. The symptoms include nausea and vomiting, tiredness and rapid heartbeat. If radiation sickness isn’t treated right away, problems with the gastrointestinal and central nervous systems may occur in. Some patients recover while others die, depending on the amount of radiation they were exposed to and the general state of their health at the time they encountered the source of the radiation.
What About Small Amount of Radiation Over Time?
The examples noted above explain what happens when people are exposed to high doses of radioactivity for a short amount of time. What about low doses of exposure, spread over the years? Although studies are still being conducted, it’s clear that there are some negative health effects. One such study was conducted in Russia. The scientists conducted yearly health checks on employees of the Mayak Production Association. Each worker is exposed to a very small dose of radioactive particles during their work tenure.
Unlike the people who were exposed to a lot of radiation all at once, severe health problems took years to appear in the case of Mayak workers. Many of them were healthy for years until they were diagnosed with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Although hypertension is common in older people, it occurred in approximately 50% of all long-term Mayak employees, so it’s easy to connect the dots. Long-term exposure to very low levels of radiation leads to high blood pressure, which in turn leads to stroke, heart attacks, and other forms of heart disease.
Those Exposed to Radiation Regularly Need to Be Screened
There are thousands of workers in the United States who are exposed to small levels of radiation on a regular basis. They include people working for nuclear power plants, weapons or health equipment manufacturing, and even employees of hospitals, particularly those in the imaging departments. Going into a separate lead-lined room may not be enough to protect workers, especially if the machine itself contains radioactive particles.
In addition, patients who are exposed to radiation from x-rays and CAT scans may also suffer from some ill health effects as well. It all depends on the number screenings they undergo and the general duration of them. Although it may be too early to tell if any issues will appear in patients, it’s clear that the people who work in or near radioactive substances every day may end up with hypertension, heart disease, or other medical condition. If you are an employee who is subject to radiation exposure, you need to have regular health screenings to catch these conditions in their early stages. You may also be eligible for workers’ compensation since the exposure occurred in the workplace.
Do you work in an industry where you’re exposed to small levels of radiation? Are you suffering from ill health effects related to it? If you answered yes to both of those questions, call me today to discuss your claim and I’ll Make Them Pay!®