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Radiation in the air

Don’t worry about radiation from airport screeners and scanners. You’ll get far more just flying from here to there. Says Dr. Lyons: “At 35,000 feet, you are getting more radiation than at ground level because you are closer to the sun and the atmosphere is not filtering the radiation as much.”

In 1991 Industry Canada – Spectrum Management adopted Health Canada‘s Safety Code 6 guideline, Limits of Exposure to Radio-frequency Fields at Frequencies from 10 kHz – 300 GHz, as part of its licensing program.

“Radiation is all around us,” explains Dr. Edward A. Lyons, president of the Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR). “One year of natural background radiation (from the sun’s rays hitting the earth) is equivalent to 110 chest X-rays.”

There is further radiation in everything from cell phones to computer terminals, television sets and smoke detectors. Even granite countertops in kitchens give off radon gas.

Radiation around us is no big deal, however. And the latest on those airport scanners is that the radiation emitted by “backscatter” X-ray machines (one of the kinds to be used) bounces off the skin, so exposure is very low. Your luggage, passing through a more traditional X-ray machine, is absorbing more in its screening than you will be.

“One abdominal CT scan is equal to 500 chest X-rays,” says Lyons, a Manitoba radiologist who received the Order of Canada for his contribution to health care.

About the Author:

Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless and digital communications technologies.

He is a Senior Executive with IBM Canada’s Office of the CTO, Global Services. Over the past 14 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He was previously a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX).

Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V). 

He serves as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario.  For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section. 

He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has diplomas and certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology.