Radiophobia: A true phobia or a ‘red herring’?

Fukushima Miracle

Radiophobia is an irrational fear that any level of ionizing radiation is dangerous.Red herring

But, is radiophobia a true phobia or a ‘red-herring’ that hides legitimate public health concerns?

This article explores the concept of radiophobia, its origins and its implications in light of the ongoing health debate about the real risks of radiation exposure resulting from nuclear disasters (e.g., Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima and now WIPP New Mexico).

Radiophobia – The Origins

Radiophobia USThe term ‘radiophobia’ first appeared in the late-1950’s to explain the fear of radiation exposure from x-ray treatment arising in the US at that time (Author Unknown, 1959).

After the 1950’s the term seemingly disappeared from the literature and reappeared nearly thirty years later after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Abandoned city of Prypiat. Source: The US Independent Abandoned city of Prypiat. Source: The US Independent

In relation to Chernobyl, ‘radiophobia’ was used to explain a situation where: “A person falling ill fears that radiation…

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