My twenty-six year old niece is coming to visit in about a week, and she is absolutely the neatest girl I know. And so I am doing a big clean-up of the house in honor of her. Although, even though she is extremely neat, she is also very messy, so hopefully she won’t mind that I am not even close to being finished with the tidying.
In the midst of my cleaning, I came across this:
Okay, boys and girls! Do you know what this is?
Hint: It is not a new version of a smart phone.
Okay, I’ll let the cat of out the bag.
“Thanks for letting me out! It feels so good to stretch!”
This is a portable radiation detector. I showed it to my classmate from the Netherlands, a scientist named Marcel. He explained it to me.
My radiation detector (the one in the photo) measures microsieverts of radiation per hour. (In the photo, it is the measurement of our upstairs area in June 2017 in downtown Fuksuhima City.)
Eating one banana (according to a chart on the PBS.org website) will give a person .1 microsieverts of radiation. So first of all, it is important to recognize that we constantly are receiving radiation.
The radiation amount shown on our radiation detector is in MICROsieverts and it is a safe level. Be careful when looking at charts on the web. Some are listed as MILLIsieverts–a difference of 1,000.
The internet does NOT always make the differences of microseiverts and millisieverts clear, so this is something one has to be careful about.
One website pointed out that ALL radiation is potentially harmful. And yes, this is important to remember. We don’t always know what causes cancer. So avoiding radiation (in a realistic manner) is prudent. I think it is often looked at as a cost/benefit thing. The cost of getting a dental X-ray will (probably!) not be high because it (probably!) will not cause cancer, but the benefit of curing one’s dental problems is extremely high, and worth the very slight risk of getting the X-ray.
I don’t think portable radiation detectors (dosimeters) are just a normal thing people happen to have lying around their homes. My husband bought this one after the earthquake. But anyway, you can see for yourself where the radiation level is in my home. It does change, but doesn’t get any higher than .20 microsieverts (still a safe level.)
If you would like to look at environmental data for yourself, please check out this website: https://blog.safecast.org/
I would like to say thank you to Marcel from the Netherlands for explaining radiation to me! 🙂