What is Effective Dose?

  • Effective dose: definitions
  • Specified in Sv
  • Calculated using a complex equation1-5
  • Not measured directly for any individual
  • Includes exposures from
    • Ubiquitous, naturally occurring sources of radiation
    • Medical tests and procedures
    • Consumer products and activities involving radiation
    • Occupational exposures to workers
    • Miscellaneous sources
  • Includes doses from both external exposure and internal radionuclides
  • Estimates the risk that radiation will cause detrimental stochastic effects (primarily cancer incidence weighted for lethality and life impairment and to a lesser extent hereditary effects) in the reference population1-5
    • It does not estimate detriment due to deterministic effects (tissue reactions).
    • It is not appropriate to use effective dose to assess the radiation detriment to an individual or subsets of the US population with an age and gender distribution significantly different from the reference population.
  • Quantity developed by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) in 19911 (and modified in 20072,5) for use in radiation protection but not individual patient management
  • REMM discusses effective dose to provide some context for interpretation of possible risks from radiation exposure in a radiation emergency.
  1. Effective dose (radiation) (Wikipedia)
  2. Bushberg JT. Uses of Effective Dose: The Good, the Bad, and the Future. Health Phys. 2019 Feb;116(2):129-134. [PubMed Citation]
  3. Mettler FA, Bhargavan M, Faulkner K et al. Radiologic and nuclear medicine studies in the United States and worldwide: frequency, radiation dose, and comparison with other radiation sources--1950-2007. Radiology. 2009;253(2):520-31. [PubMed Citation]
  4. Ionizing Radiation Exposure of the Population of the United States (NCRP Report 160), National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Bethesda, MD, March 2009, Chapter 1.
  5. Wrixon AD, New ICRP recommendations. J Radiol Prot. 2008 Jun;28(2):161-8. [PubMed Citation]
  6. Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, ICRP Publication 103; Ann. ICRP 2007; 37(2-4)
  7. Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, ICRP Publication 60, Ann. ICRP 1991; 21(1-3)

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