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Equivalent dose

The energy of ionizing radiation received by the human body. The dose represents the amount of energy absorbed by matter from the radiation. However, different types of radiation have different effects on living tissue; for example, alpha radiation has a higher ionising potential and may therefore be more harmful. The dose is thus recalculated into an equivalent dose, which is measured in units called Sievert. 1 gray of alpha radiation is equivalent to 20 sieverts, while 1 gray of beta radiation is equivalent to 1 sievert. The sievert is a very high unit and is more commonly used with the prefixes mili and micro. For example, by eating one banana, a person receives an equivalent dose of 0.0001 mSv.

Equivalent dose of common activities

Activity Dose (mSv)
Sleeping next to another person for one night 0.00005
Eating a banana 0.0001
Watching TV with an old CRT monitor, one hour 0.002
Arm X-ray 0.01
One flight from New York to Tokyo 0.25
Living in Australia for a year 1.5
Living in the USA for a year 3
Spending a day near the Chernobyl power plant in 2010 6
Flying as a pilot on the New York — Tokyo route for one year 9
Smoking daily one and a half packs of cigarettes for one year 36
Living one year in Guarapari, Brazil 175
Undergoing radiotherapy for prostate cancer 800
Spending 10 minutes in the reactor core of the Chernobyl power station after fuel meltdown 50,000