Do You Know Your Total Radiation Exposure? : An Exclusive Renegade Health Article by Dr. J.E. Williams

Tuesday Feb 7 | BY |
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Radiation is everywhere. In fact, natural radiation has been part of our environment since the planet was born. This chart shows the sources of radiation exposure in the United States.

Resident Medical Authority: J. E. Williams, OMD, FAAIM

In my last blog, I introduced the concept of the proactive patient – some one who cooperates with their health…

In thirty years of clinical practice, I’ve never had a patient present a record of their cumulative medical radiation dosage. I’ve never understood why not, as having a personal radiation dose chart seems important, especially for those with chronic illness (the treatment of which often requires repeated X-rays, CT scans, and other medical imaging that uses radiation). It’s also really important for pregnant mothers and young children, who are more sensitive to the effects of radiation than adults.

Radiation is everywhere. It’s not just from nuclear reactor leaks and medical radiology tests. Natural radiation has been part of our environment since the planet was born. It exists in the atmosphere, the ground, the water supply, and even within our own bodies. It’s called natural background radiation, and it’s perfectly safe.

However, most of the radiation we are exposed to is from medical procedures like X-rays, CT scans, and the X-rays you get at your dentist or chiropractor. And this can be a serious problem if you get too much, over time.

The biological effects of low levels of radiation exposure are so small they are undetectable; however, too much radiation affects living cells. The body has repair mechanisms to fix any damage induced by radiation, possibly resulting in three outcomes: (1) injured or damaged cells repair themselves, resulting in no residual damage; (2) cells die, much like millions of body cells do every day, and are replaced through normal biological processes; or (3) cells incorrectly repair themselves resulting in a biophysical change, which can lead to cancer.

Radiation exposure is measured in units called a rem. Low dose exposure is measured in millirems (mrem), 1/1000th of a rem. High dose readings are calculated by multiplying one rem by 100 to get an mSv.


Single Radiographs Effective Dose, mrem (mSv)
Skull (PA or AP) 3 (0.03)
Skull (lateral) 1 (0.01)
Chest (PA) 2 (0.02)
Chest (lateral) 4 (0.04)
Chest (PA and lateral) 6 (0.06)
Thoracic Spine (AP) 40 (0.4)
Thoracic Spine (lateral) 30 (0.3)
Lumbar Spine (AP) 70 (0.7)
Lumbar Spine (lateral) 30 (0.3)
Abdomen (AP) 70 (0.7)
Abdomen 53 (0.53)
Pelvis (AP) 70 (0.7)
Pelvis or hips 83 (0.83)
Bitewing dental film .4 (0.004)
Limbs and joints 6 (0.06)

Complete Exams Effective Dose, mrem (mSv)
Intravenous Pyelogram (kidneys, 6 films) 250 (2.5)
Barium swallow (24 images, 106 sec fluoroscopy) 150 (1.5)
Barium meal (11 images, 121 sec fluoroscopy) 300 (3.0)
Barium follow-up (4 images, 78 sec fluoroscopy) 300 (3.0)
Barium enema (10 images, 137 sec fluoroscopy) 700 (7.0)
CT head 200 (2.0)
CT chest 800 (8.0)
CT abdomen 1,000 (10)
CT Pelvis 1,000 (10)
CT (head and chest) 1,110 (11)
PTCA (heart study) 750-5,700 (7.5-57)
Coronary angiogram 460-1,580 (4.6-15.8)
Mammogram 13 (0.13)
Lumbar spine series 180 (1.8)
Thoracic spine series 140 (1.4)
Cervical spine series 27 (0.27)

On average, each person receives about 360 mrem every year from background, or natural, sources of radiation. We are evolutionarily equipped to do just fine with this amount. With routine medical exposure, the average American now gets 600 cumulative mrem annually. In comparison, single one-time exposure of 400 rems (400,000 mrem) is fatal in 50% of people. At 1,000 rems, radiation exposure is 100% fatal. The question I want to know is how much cumulative low-dose radiation exposure over a lifetime influences my patients’ (and my own) risk for cancer, or for accelerated aging and shorter lifespan?

The government allows astronauts to get 25,000 mrems per mission. Occupational limits are 5,000 mrems per year, and for those under 18 years to get 500 mrem annually. In my opinion, these limits are too high when cumulative exposure is taken into consideration.

Remember, all radiation exposure carries increased risk of cancer, and the larger the amount, the greater the risk. Therefore, only get medical radiation procedures when there is a significant problem to be solved (like if cancer has spread to your liver, or if you have a brain tumor causing pounding headaches). Don’t get a whole body CT scan just to have a trendy health work up, especially if you’re a healthy person. Don’t get repeated X-rays of your entire spine just to measure alignment. If necessary, only get an x-ray of the affected part, being as specific as practically possible. Don’t get mammograms every year if you are not in the high-risk category and can have a normal breast examination. And, ask if there are alternative tests, like ultrasound, that may be just as good but don’t require radiation.

And, as a proactive patient, if you have a medical condition (like advanced osteoporosis that require regular radiological tests that use radiation), keep a medical radiation chart so you and your doctor know your exposure. Bottom line: keep your radiation exposure as low as possible.

If you’d like to calculate your radiation, visit the American Nuclear Society by clicking here.

To check out the Environmental Protection Agency Radiation Calculator, click here.


Here’s How You Can Access Some of Dr. Williams’ Most Important Health Secrets and Protocols…

Dr. J. E. Williams has over 30 years of clinical experience in the natural health world and has had over 100,000 patient visits over that time.

We’ve recently created a selection of programs based on his work, to help you get real, tested and effective natural solutions.

These programs include how to improve thyroid function, how to read your blood tests, and how to support your adrenals naturally.

To learn more about these programs or to get one today, please click here!

Dr. J. E. Williams


Dr. Williams is a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, the author of six books, and a practicing clinician with over 100,000 patient visits. His areas of interest include longevity and viral immunity. Formerly from San Diego, he now resides in Sarasota, Florida and practices at the Florida Integrative Medical Center. He teaches at NOVA Southeastern University and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine.

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  1. sans says:

    Now a follow up post reporting on “how to rid the body of radiation” is in order.

    Thanks for all you do Kevin & AnnMarie!

  2. Avi says:

    I really wanna grow a ton of spiderwort this spring!

    The flowers can naturally detect ionizing radiation [middle part changes color when exposed].

    i cant afford a geiger unit so this is a useful natural version.

  3. My friend was on a ferry once, and saw something she’d never seen before: a person without an aura.

    This woman had sores on her feet and hands, and my friend was sure she was not long for this world.

    It turned out that this woman was from Chernobyl. The aura is like our personal energetic “space suit”. One of its functions is protecting us from the environment.

    Radiation pokes holes in the aura; lots of radiation blows the aura to “smithereens”.

    They got the aura to come back using some simple technology from Radio Shack, and she says she still hears from this woman about once a year.

    Radio Shack tech, figure 8’s, and Cayce’s tools (my link above) are good for strengthening the aura, and repairing the energetic damage incurred from excessive radiation exposure.


  4. Sharon says:

    Zeolite will safely remove radiation and heavy metals from the body. Barium and Gadolinium are two such toxins that are found in medical diagnostic procedures and of course mercury and aluminum are found in vaccines.

    With a good quality zeolite such as NCD ( you can remove these toxins. Beware of cheap imitations which could cause harm since most are not cleaned properly and in nature zeolite is full of toxins. Explanation is on the website.

  5. Liane says:

    For Avi:
    For that very reason, I planted some spiderwort that I got from a friends plant exchange party many years ago. Just be aware FYI that it is extremely invasive. It puts out tuberous runners and will spread and take over any area where you plant it. So you may not want to put it in or near a veggie garden or other ornamental bed. The wort I have has beautiful deep indigo/violet flowers and can be quite pretty, but I wish I hadn’t planted it where I did.

  6. Cindy says:

    Since I fractured my knee 2 yrs ago, then my knees gave out and I collapsed and got another fracture in that knee again and had multiple exrays including pelvis, hips and both knees as well as 2 mri’s, what is the best way to counteract all this radiation. The last MRI was 3 days ago.

  7. Cindy says:

    I have had repetitive fractures and exrays and MRI’s. What is the best way to get rid of the radiation? I take kelp and I do have betadyne, = povidine iodine.

  8. George says:

    With all due respect to Dr Williams, and the medical profession where they deserve it, this article raises the whole question of the diagnostic tools we use today. If the various radiation therapies are so dangerous to living tissue, shouldn’t we be seeking some other means of diagnosis and treatment? I have to remember that there are huge amounts of money invested in the medical machinery, and chemicals, drugs etc and the medical industry is bleeding the patients and the governments poor. Thank you for the advice on defences against all this medical radiation that we may be exposed to during our lives. I suppose the answer is to live a healthy life and avoid them in the first place. The other radiation still remains and “civilisation” is not going to change in the near future.

  9. maca says:

    A truly excellent article. I’ve now set up a spreadsheet to record my exposure, although I know it is quite low at the moment. I’ve rarely needed x-rays, but now I’ll check the dose each time I do have one.

  10. kt says:

    While we are on the subject of radiation, does anyone know any great ways to find places that offer alternate diagnostics for mammograms? I have searched in the past and was not able to come up with anywhere near where I live. I know some alternate options are ultrasound (which you have to be high risk in my neck of the woods to get) or thermal imaging-maybe if I had the technical term for the test? Any Renegade followers have ideas? Thanks.

  11. Valmsie says:

    Thank you for this info very useful. I have had breast cancer with chemo and full 5 days a week over 6 weeks course of radiation to my chest and would be interested to know how much radiation that would be approximately.
    It was delivered to a complete half of my chest.
    For every reason I gave to not have a mammogram, the doctors I saw came up with a reason for having mammograms on my remaining breast, even though a mammogram didnt pick up the cancer 9 months before I found the 4cm lump!- excuse was dense breast tissue.

  12. antje says:

    It’s called THERMOGRAPHY…



  13. rebecca cody says:

    Dr Williams raised an important topic I have not seen addressed elsewhere. I really appreciate that. However, at age 68 it is not easy to reconstruct a history.

    There was an article in Life Extension in the summer of 2010 about supplements you can take in advance of radiation exposure, and I think some for after exposure.

    Dr Lodi (An Oassis of Healing) gives patients a 25 gram IV of vitamin C following PET/CT scans, which he says mitigates a lotof the damage.

  14. It is great that this information is being released. There are natural foods that can be used to help the body combat the cumulative effects of radiation exposure.
    Dr, Tatsurechiro Akisuki proved that miso (a fermented paste made from soybeans sometimes combined with rice or barley) and seaweed (usually kelp)will assist the body in discarding the metals that accumulate in the body as a result of radiation exposure. Dr. Akisuki survived the atomic bomb attacks the USA made on Japan in 1945.
    The Kushi Institute of Europe website reveals the work of Dr. Akisuki, how he and other survivors at the St. Francis Hospital survived the atomic bomb blast using a macro biotic diet that included miso and seaweeds.
    People should be mindful that we, the people in the USA are indeed suffering the effects of last March 11, 2011, Fukishima nuclear exposure and the foods mentioned above will indeed assist the body to combat the devastating effects of radiation exposure

  15. To reply to George’s comment”If the various radiation therapies are so dangerous to living tissue, shouldn’t we be seeking some other means of diagnosis and treatment?” – there is. It is called Iridology. It costs about $100 and takes about 1 hour, the procedure & results interpretation.

  16. Mary Kay says:

    kt, I’ve had thermography done on my breasts. I figured I had a large cyst (fibrocystic type), and wrote it all down on a paper, which I did not show to the woman doing the test. She told me exactly where I knew it was and confirmed it was not any type of cancer.

    She became a thermography specialist (she’s not a doc – sends reports to docs who then give a diagnosis) because she had breast cancer years before. Did chemo or surgery – not sure and then it came back –or so she thought. A mammogram said it was not cancer, but she didn’t believe it and went on to have thermography done. The thermography showed it was cancer, and in fact it was.
    This time she cleansed by doing all raw/fruitsa and veggies—then she became a thermography specialist herself!


  17. DDZ says:

    My five year old son had two CT abdominal scans in one day. According to this info, he had four times the annual allowable amount in one day! What does this mean for him? How do I know if there was damage done to him? What can I do about it now?

  18. G.Hoffmann says:

    Thank you for you work and all of your very informative and helpful articles!!
    A month ago I had an abdominal MRI with contrast dye containing Gadolinium.
    Directly after the the procedure I began to experience headaches, sweating, chills, nausea, pins and needles in my feet and the sensation of having a sun burn! After 4 nights of not being able to sleep because of sweating and burning skin, I returned to the doctor who preformed the MRI and explained what I had been experiencing. His reply was an allergic reaction? It has now been a month and my skin still feels as though it is burning from a sun burn!
    I have had a nerve conduction velocity test done which had normal results? Is there a blood test to check for Gadolinium ??

    Thank you!
    Still burning, G.Hoffmann

  19. Hello,
    We produce proven and tested anti-radiation products for phones to reduce the potential risk of brain tumors and other health problems.
    Also go to with over 170 studies posted world wide on cell phone dangers under world news

  20. DDZ says:

    Dr. Williams needs to provide us with a follow-up article telling us what we can do to protect ourselves before we know we are going to be exposed to radiation, as well as what to do after the fact!

  21. Claire says:

    My understanding is that MRI’s work on magnetic images rather than radiation and therefore are not a problem. Have I got that wrong?

    Also interested in the accumulative effects of radiation from flying. I’ve read that a single ‘long haul’ flight exposes you to a weeks worth of ‘back ground radiation’ and heard, but not read, that there is less radiation at night.

  22. Magdalene says:

    Hello Kevin,

    Thanks for all your very informative articles.
    I recently traveled internationally and was ordered to go through those new full body scanners having to hold up my arms. Do you know how much radiation hits us when we have to go through this ridiculous procedure ?I hate it and I will protest the next time ´, because I have tried to avoid unneccesary exrays all my life .
    Please let me know ! Thanks !

  23. Leslie says:

    If someone in a house hold is recieving radiation treatment (30 or more exposures over a month and a half), can this affect a new baby and small child living in the same household?
    We are worried about the situation and are still in time to organize a different setup.
    Thanks for the answer!

  24. Ho Chi says:

    This is indeed a very interresting article and, more importantly, the comments are both sad and iformative. Sad, because people are largely ignorant (unknowing) of the causes and the CURES of cancer, which was discovered in 1980 is is being actively suppressed by conventional medicine under orders from a certain (fanatical) religious group.
    Learn more here: .
    Cancer is a Significant Biological Special program of Nature all living beings, including plants, are equipped with. It has been developed by Nature over millions of years of evolution on this planet.
    Fear is the tool of choice by medicine and religion to keep the people ‘in line’; it sets people up.
    Therefore, inform yourselves when you are healthy – knowledge is power!

  25. satori says:

    I can’t wait to quit my job at the hospital. Too much radiation everywhere. Zeolight can’t keep it up.

  26. Claire, I believe you are correct in thinking MRIs don’t use radiation. I have a friend who has had breast cancer a couple of times and the doctors constantly insist she get a mammogram. She refuses, and last year finally got one to order an MRI because there is no radiation with it.

    Gold Shield Elite sells a product called Formula #1. It is an oral chelation product which safely removes heavy metals from the blood stream. It has been on the market since around 1988, and has a proven track record. Intravenous chelation is another choice, but is very harsh, very expensive and time consuming. It does the job quicker than the oral method but it also strips your body of all minerals and you have to take lots of supplements.

    Thermography is also very expensive, but an excellent and safe diagnostic tool. As with IV chelation, it isn’t available everywhere. Sometimes people have to travel long distances for these procedures, and, of course, that adds to the cost.

    Thank you, Kevin, for sharing this article. I think many people don’t realize the importance of taking some control of their own bodies. They often tend to think their doctors are related to God and that you don’t dare question what they are doing. That can be dangerous and even fatal.

  27. Lesly says:

    I have always refused to have mammograph check-ups done. I would really recommend thermography if it is available near you. It is absolutely safe, more accurate and gives earlier warning than mammogramy. While not cheap – it is not that expensive either.

  28. Kathleen says:

    PET/CT Scans are not to be taken lightly as the injection of a radioactive tracer is said to be in order called Fludeoxyglucose F 18. I looked the drug up and it said, “Warnings and Precautions: Radiation Risks
    Radiation-emitting products, including Fludeoxyglucose F 18 Injection, may increase the risk for cancer, especially in pediatric patients. Use the smallest dose necessary for imaging and ensure safe handling to protect the patient and health care worker. Recommended Dose for Adults
    Within the oncology, cardiology and neurology settings, the recommended dose for adults is 5 – 10 mCi (185 – 370 MBq) as an intravenous injection.
    I got 13mCi injections in 3 occasions last year and have determined to be brain shrinkage, which can happen at an age if one drinks too much, which I do not, accompanied with an acute subdural hematoma. Now they want me to have a brain CT every so often to monitor it. In the battle against cancer – why do the doctors inject you with cancer causing material and at a higher dose than what is recommened, and dismiss the ringing in my head, not tinnitus as I went through all the audio tests as well. I’ve tried hard to get in touch with patient advocacy, but they refuse to set up an appointment to discuss this at greater detail. Thank you for your information. Doctors don’t care. They just want the money from my health insurance.

  29. Mary says:

    Thanks to all of the readers who shared their experiences with radiation. Over many years, I’ve had hundreds of X-rays, mammograms, gamma rays and CT scans. I probably glow, but in a bad way! Several years ago, I started drinking thyme tea before and after any X-ray or other test involving radiation. I’m scheduled for another hip X-ray tomorrow, and started my thyme tea-drinking today. I’ll add Vitamin C in a megadose after the test. Has anyone else heard of thyme tea as a safeguard?
    Also, how about eating lots of parsley to head off heavy metals? I eat (and drink) parsley and cilantro for that reason. I’ve also heard of, but not tried, bathing in apple cider vinegar after radiation exposure. I’d love to see responses to these observations. Thanks.

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