The Azimuth Project
Ionizing radiation

Here is some information on the effects of various levels of ionizing radiation:

  • Eating one banana: 0.0001 millisievert

  • Living near a nuclear power station: less than 0.01 millisievert/year

  • Chest X-ray: 0.06 millisievert

  • Average American’s total radiation exposure: 6.2 millisievert/year, or 0.0004 millisievert/hour.

  • Smoking 1.5 packs/day: 13 millisievert/year

  • Current average limit for nuclear workers: 20 millisievert/year

  • Lowest clearly carcinogenic level: 100 millisievert/year, which according to Oak Ridge National Laboratory increases lifetime risk of death by cancer by 0.8%

  • Criterion for relocation after Chernobyl disaster: 350 millisievert/lifetime

  • 250 millisievert: USA EPA? voluntary maximum dose for emergency non-life-saving work

  • 250-1000 millisievert in one day: Some people feel nausea and loss of appetite; bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen damaged

  • 750 millisievert: USA EPA? voluntary maximum dose for emergency life-saving work

  • 1000-3000 millisievert in one day: mild to severe nausea, loss of appetite, infection; more severe bone marrow, lymph node, spleen damage; recovery probable, not assured

  • 3000–6000 millisievert in one day: severe nausea, loss of appetite; hemorrhaging, infection, diarrhea, skin peels, sterility; death if untreated

  • 6000-10,000 millisievert in one day: above symptoms plus central nervous system impairment; death expected

  • Above 10,000 millisievert in one day: incapacitation and death

During the Chernobyl disaster radiation levels right near the reactor ranged from roughly 10,000 to 200,000 millisieverts per hour.

This information is taken from these articles: