The comic genius behind XKCD, Randall Munroe, has put together this chart comparing the radiation doses received from various activities, giving graphical measurements in sieverts, the unit that quantifies the affect ionising radiation has on the human body:
- We receive 0.1 microsieverts of radiation from eating a banana.
- We received 0.05 microsieverts (half a banana) from sleeping next to another person for a night.
- The EPA in the United States recommends we should not receive more than 1 millisievert (10,000 bananas) in a year.
- Spending the 16th of March at a site 50km north-west of Fukushima would have subjected us to 3.6 millisieverts (36,000 bananas).
- The lowest fatal dose of radiation poisoning is 2 sieverts (20,000,000 bananas).
- Standing for just 10 minutes next to the Chernobyl reactor right after meltdown in 1986 exposed workers to 50 sieverts (500,000,000 bananas).
Munroe gives free license for the chart to be republished anywhere, though requests it be made clear that he is not an expert, and that anyone potentially affected by Fukushima should defer to the directives of regional health authorities.