Exposure to ionizing radiation has potential for acute and chronic health effects. Within the general public of the United States, there may be a discrepancy between perceived and actual health risks. In conjunction with the Vermont Department of Health, a survey designed to assess public perception and knowledge of ionizing radiation was administered at 6 Vermont locations (n = 169). Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were conducted. Eighty percent of respondents underestimated the contribution of medical imaging tests to total ionizing radiation exposure. Although only thirty-nine percent of participants were confdent in their healthcare professional's knowledge of ionizing radiation, most would preffer to receive information from their healthcare professional. Only one-third of individuals who received a medical imaging test in the past year were educated by their healthcare professional about the risks of these tests. Tose who tested their home for radon were twice as likely to choose radon as the greatest ionizing radiation risk to self. Although respondents had an above-average education level, there were many misperceptions of actual risks of exposure to ionizing radiation, particularly of medical imaging tests. Educating healthcare professionals would therefore have a profound and positive impact on public understanding of ionizing radiation.
Evans, K. M., Bodmer, J., Edwards, B., Levins, J., O’Meara, A., Ruhotina, M., … Carney, J. K. (2015). An exploratory analysis of public awareness and perception of ionizing radiation and guide to public health practice in Vermont. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/476495