IS RADIATION EXPOSURE FROM MEDICAL EXAMS HARMFUL?
Generally, radiation doses from imaging exams are relatively small and the clinical benefit of an exam far outweighs the risks. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most people in the United States receive an annual radiation dose of about 360 millirem (used to measure radiation); 80% of that is from natural sources such as elevation, soil, rocks, radon gas, human bodies, or plane trips. Imaging procedures typically account for the remaining 20%.
The descriptions below outlines some common imaging procedures and the radiation risks associated with them; while we provide examples of comparable risks, each modality's radiation dosage varies by study (imaging the head vs. the chest, etc.).