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Going bananas over RADIATION.

Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1294475
03/13/2011 07:51 AM
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Going bananas over RADIATION.
Stay away from themz bananas! They will killz you!

Going bananas over radiation

[link to wattsupwiththat.com]

While doing some reasearch on Thorium, I came across this interesting little fact that I wasn’t familiar with, so I thought I’d pass it along. Many people fear radiation, sometimes the fear is irrational, based on the erroneous concept that we live in a “radiation free lifestyle”. I’ll never forget one time when I showed my geiger counter to a neighbor who was shocked when it started clicking. She was horrified to learn that cosmic rays were in fact zipping right through her body right that very second. I didn’t have the heart to tell her about neutrinos.

But, along the same lines, this little factoid might drive some people “bananas” when they read it. But, it illustrates a fact of life: radiation is everywhere.

From Wikipedia:

A banana equivalent dose is a concept occasionally used by nuclear power proponents[1][2] to place in scale the dangers of radiation by comparing exposures to the radiation generated by a common banana.

Many foods are naturally radioactive, and bananas are particularly so, due to the radioactive potassium-40 they contain. The banana equivalent dose is the radiation exposure received by eating a single banana. Radiation leaks from nuclear plants are often measured in extraordinarily small units (the picocurie, a millionth of a millionth of a curie, is typical). By comparing the exposure from these events to a banana equivalent dose, a more intuitive assessment of the actual risk can sometimes be obtained.

The average radiologic profile of bananas is 3520 picocuries per kg, or roughly 520 picocuries per 150g banana.[3] The equivalent dose for 365 bananas (one per day for a year) is 3.6 millirems (36 μSv).

Bananas are radioactive enough to regularly cause false alarms on radiation sensors used to detect possible illegal smuggling of nuclear material at US ports.[4]

Another way to consider the concept is by comparing the risk from radiation-induced cancer to that from cancer from other sources. For instance, a radiation exposure of 10 mrems (10,000,000,000 picorems) increases your risk of death by about one in one million—the same risk as eating 40 tablespoons of peanut butter, or of smoking 1.4 cigarettes.[5]

After the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the NRC detected radioactive iodine in local milk at levels of 20 picocuries/liter,[6] a dose much less than one would receive from ingesting a single banana. Thus a 12 fl oz glass of the slightly radioactive milk would have about 1/75th BED (banana equivalent dose).

Nearly all foods are slightly radioactive. All food sources combined expose a person to around 40 millirems per year on average, or more than 10% of the total dose from all natural and man-made sources.[7]

Some other foods that have above-average levels are potatoes, kidney beans, nuts, and sunflower seeds.[8] Among the most naturally radioactive food known are brazil nuts, with activity levels that can exceed 12,000 picocuries per kg.[9][10]

It has been suggested[11] that since the body homeostatically regulates the amount of potassium it contains, bananas do not cause a higher dose. However, the body takes time to remove excess potassium, time during which a dose is accumulating. In fact, the biological half-life of potassium is longer than it is for tritium,[12][13] a radioactive material sometimes leaked or intentionally vented in small quantities by nuclear plants. Also, bananas cause radiation exposure even when not ingested; for instance, standing next to a crate of bananas causes a measurable dose. Finally, the banana equivalent dose concept is about the prevalence of radiation sources in our food and environment, not about bananas specifically. Some foods (brazil nuts for example) are radioactive because of radium or other isotopes that the body does not keep under homeostatic regulation.[14]

1. ^ [link to www.ehs.unr.edu]
2. ^ Weston, Luke. (2007-07-25) banana dose « Physical Insights. Enochthered.wordpress.com. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
3. ^ CRC Handbook on Radiation Measurement and Protection, Vol 1 p. 620 Table A.3.7.12, CRC Press, 1978
4. ^ Issue Brief: Radiological and Nuclear Detection Devices. Nti.org. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
5. ^ Radiation and Risk. Physics.isu.edu. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
6. ^ A Brief Review of the Accident at Three Mile Island
7. ^ Radiation. Risks and Realities, US Environmental Protection Agency
8. ^ [1][dead link]
9. ^ Brazil Nuts. Orau.org. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
10. ^ Natural Radioactivity. Physics.isu.edu. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
11. ^ Bananas are radioactive—But they aren’t a good way to explain radiation exposure. Boing Boing. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
12. ^ Rahola, T; Suomela, M (1975). “On biological half-life of potassium in man”. Annals of clinical research 7 (2): 62–5. PMID 1181976.
13. ^ Environmental Health-Risk Assessment for Tritium Releases at the NTLF at LBNL: Chapter 2. Lbl.gov. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
14. ^ Brazil Nuts. Orau.org. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1294506
03/13/2011 08:12 AM
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Re: Going bananas over RADIATION.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1294498
United States
03/13/2011 08:21 AM
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Re: Going bananas over RADIATION.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1294506

Bananas of DEATH!!!!!


Did you know that we're all still eating radioactive Strontium 90, left over from atomic weapons testing in the 50's and 60's?

Science: Man and Strontium 90
Monday, Feb. 18, 1957

[link to www.time.com]
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 1294475
03/13/2011 08:33 AM
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Re: Going bananas over RADIATION.
I'd love to have a Geiger counter at a major fresh produce market.

Just imagine the look on peoples faces when the Geiger counter starts making a ramped up noise when walking up to a large storage of bananas!

Repeat the process with the Brazil nuts, and walk out of markets laughing your fucking ass off!

People would freak out!