Really Simple Guide to Radiation Levels in µSv/h and mSv/h

Background radiation is always present in the environment and it varies geographically due to geological differences. Even at low exposure to radiation, there is still considerable uncertainty about the overall effects. It is presumed that exposure to radiation, at the levels of natural occurring background radiation, may still involve some additional risk of cancer. The EPA suggests that about 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States have a level of radon (a naturally occurring radioactive gas) that needs to be reduced.

What’s more, even some of the materials and products sitting around our homes could be emitting low levels of radiation. I recently purchased a Geiger counter to check for levels of radiation in my home and surroundings areas. There are plenty of radiation detectors easily available in the market. Below is a simplified chart to help determine when levels of radiation pose an immediate health risk to you or your family.

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How much radiation is too much? What level is considered safe?

Radiation levels can be a very complicated thing to figure out, with alpha, beta, and gamma rays to understand. I won’t go into details, or you’ll have 10 pages of reading to do, so I’ll just post a chart of what levels of radiation are safe to live in – and when it’s time to start running!

So, here’s a simple, plain-English chart of radiation doses in millisieverts (mSv/h)and microsieverts (µSv/h) per hour. Most dosimeters (the handheld Geiger counters that measure your body’s “Dose”) operate in these units.

Health-Risks-of-Radiation-1.1

It’s quite a simplified chart, and it helps to know that radiation gets more dangerous, the more your body gets. If you get a big amount of radiation in an hour, it’s more hazardous than getting the same amount over an entire year. This chart is measured in an hourly dose, just like what your meter will probably show on the screen.

I hope it offers some help to those learning to use their radiation meters, and feel free to add more information in the comments below. There’s a very handy radiation level conversion site here too: http://www.radprocalculator.com/Conversion.aspx

Credit: Gavin Shoebridge

 

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