Household Radiation Measurements

Using a handheld Geiger counter, I tested 15 items/appliances for radiation. The results were somewhat unvaried, ranging from 0.01 to 0.03 mR(millirem)/hr .

Laptop: 0.02 mR/hr

Television: 0.01 mR/hr

Speakers: 0.01 mR/hr

Playstation 3: 0.02 mR/hr

Vending Machine: 0.02 mR/hr

Microwave: 0.03 mR/hr

Refrigerator: 0.03 mR/hr

Vacuum Cleaner: 0.01 mR/hr

Alarm Clock: 0.02 mR/hr

Smoke Detector: 0.02 mR/hr

Cellular Phone: 0.03 mR/hr

Vase: 0.02 mR/hr

Car Dashboard: 0.03 mR/hr

Lightbulb: 0.01 mR/hr

V-Card Reader: 0.02 mR/hr

To give you an idea of just how small these amounts are, here are some facts about radiation exposure (taken from Reuters):

People are exposed to natural radiation of 2-3 mSv a year.

In a CT scan, the organ being studied typically receives a radiation dose of 15 mSv in an adult to 30 mSv in a newborn infant.

A typical chest X-ray involves exposure of about 0.02 mSv, while a dental one can be 0.01 mSv.

Exposure to 100 mSv a year is the lowest level at which any increase in cancer risk is clearly evident. A cumulative 1,000 mSv (1 sievert) would probably cause a fatal cancer many years later in five out of every 100 persons exposed to it.

1 mSv (millisievert) is equal to 100 mR, so we are exposed to 200 – 300 mR/year. A chest X-ray exposes us to 0.02 mSv, or 2 mR. It would take roughly four days of nonstop exposure to a device that emits radiation at 0.02 mR/hr to receive as much radiation as is emitted by an X-ray in one sitting. Even so, this amount is 1/50 of the lowest level at which there is an increase in cancer risk.

On March 26, at Fukushima Monitoring Post 79, radiation was being emitted at a rate of 825 ╬╝Sv (microsievert)/hr, or 82.5 mR/hr; that’s 0.83 mSv/hr, which means that if you were exposed for four or five days, you would approach the lowest level of radiation for cancer risk.

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