What is radiation What is radiation
What is radiation

The average radiation dose in Finland

The mean annual effective dose for Finnish people

The average effective radiation dose in Finland is 5.9 millisievert (mSv) based on 2018 data.

By far the highest levels of ionizing radiation that Finns are exposed to comes from radon, with the most significant source being the home. The annual radiation dose from indoor radon is four millisieverts. Approximately 1.1 mSv of the radiation dose originates from natural background radiation other than indoor radon. Background radiation is partly cosmic radiation from space and partly the radiation from radioactive materials in soil and building materials.

On average, the medical use of radiation causes a Finnish person an annual effective dose of 0.76 mSv. The radiation dose caused by radioactive materials in Finnish nature following nuclear accidents and nuclear weapons testing carried out in the 1960s is extremely low.

The effective dose describing exposure to ionizing radiation is a calculated quantity that describes the detriment caused by radiation on a person’s health. As the effective dose grows, so does the risk of contracting cancer caused by radiation.

However, the average amounts of effective doses from different sources do not directly describe the risk. For example, the health risk caused by radon is estimated on the basis of epidemiologic examinations, not the effective dose. Every year, an average of 280 Finns die from lung cancer caused by radon. Of these cases, 240 deaths are induced by smoking in addition to radon.

In 2018, the average annual radiation dose received by Finns was approximately 5.9 millisieverts (mSv). The majority of this exposure, four millisieverts, originated from radioactive radon. In addition, the radiation dose comprised of exposure to x-ray examinations (0.72 mSv), soil and building materials (0.45 mSv), cosmic radiation (0.33 mSv), food and drinking water (0.3 mSv), air travel (0.05 mSv), nuclear medicine examinations (0.04 mSv) as well as nuclear accidents and nuclear weapons testing (0.01 mSv).

In 2018, the average effective dose received by Finns from ionizing radiation was 5.9 millisieverts. More than five millisieverts come from natural radioactive materials, while less than one millisievert is caused by the medical use of radiation. The share of the effective dose caused by artificial radioactive materials in the environment is very small.