Calculate Your Radiation Exposure
Radiation is everywhere in the natural environment, not just x-rays and CAT scans. Whether you're aware of it or not, your exposed to radiation every day, as you sleep, eat, and watch TV.
The average person gets about 360 mrems each year, but it's not uncommon to receive more.
For those who work with radioactive materials, the standard amount of milirems (mrem) of radiation that one can be exposed to is 5,000 mrem.
You can test how much radiation you're exposed to by taking the quiz below. Calculate your radiation exposure in mrems, and share your results in the comment box below.
Where do you live?
Cosmic Radiation exposure depends on your elevation from outer space. The elevation tells you how much air is between you and the radiation above.
- at sea level: 26 mrem
- 0- 1,000 feet: 28 mrem
- 1- 2,000 feet: 31 mrem
- 2- 3,000 feet: 35 mrem
- 3-4,000 feet: 41 mrem
- 4-5,000 feet: 47 mrem
- 5-6,000 feet: 52 mrem
- 6-7,000 feet: 66 mrem
- 7-8,000 feet: 79 mrem
- 8-9,000 feet: 96 mrem
- States that border the Gulf or Atlantic coasts: 16 mrem
- The Colorado Plateau area (around Denver): 63 mrem
- Anywhere else in the United States: 30 mrem
- House made out of adobe, stone, brick, or concrete: 7 mrem
- Live within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant: 0.01 mrem
- Live within 50 miles of a coal- fired power plant: 0.03 mrem
Food, Water, Air
- Food (carbon and Potassium) and water (radon dissolved in water): 40 mrem
- From air (radon): 200 mrem
How You Live
- Weapons test fallout (less than 1 mrem): 1 mrem
- Jet plane travel per hour: 0.5 mrem/hr
- Porcelain crowns or false teeth: 0.07 mrem (radiation only to the mouth)
- Been through luggage inspection at the airport: 0.002 mrem
- Watch TV: 1 mrem
- Play video games on a console or computer: 1 mrem
- Have a smoke detector: 0.008 mrem
- Use a gas camping lantern: 0.2 mrem
- Wear a plutonium-powered pacemaker: 100 mrem
Medical Diagnostic Tests
The number of mrems are estimated to the closest value. Multiple the mrem count by the number of times each test has been preformed.
- X-Ray in an Extremity (arm, hand, foot, leg): 1 mrem
- X-Ray: Dental: 1 mrem
- X-Ray of the Chest: 6 mrem
- X-Ray of the Pelvis or Hip: 65 mrem
- X-Ray of the Skull or Neck: 20 mrem
- X-Ray of the Barium Enema: 405 mrem
- X-Ray of the Upper GI: 245 mrem
- CAT Scan of the head and body: 110 mrem
- Nuclear Medicine (thyroid scan, etc): 14 mrem
Radiation Detection in the Home
Radiation Exposure & Risks
- In-Flight Radiation and Its Effects on Crewmembers
We are exposed to it every day, but how much is too much?
- MedlinePlus: Radiation Exposure
Check out exposure and effects of radiation.
- Pregnancy and Radiation Exposure
What are the risks of radiation exposure to a pregnant mom and her unborn child?
- Radiation Protection Division
This site provides information about EPA's radiation protection activities and basic radiation science facts.
More by this Author
It is one of the hardest decisions that pet owners can make- when is the right time to put your dog (or other pet) to sleep. Because our dogs become part of the family, when they start to age and show signs of age, it...
Staph infection is caused by a bacterium that has evolved to resist many of our current antibiotics, and is a growing concern. Staph infections can be fatal if not treated properly.
Learn some of the signs of infected belly-button piercings and what to do about them.