Radiation levels are generally measured in millisievert (mSv) and many other international variants show below:
- 1 Sv = 1000 mSv (millisieverts) = 1,000,000 μSv (microsieverts) = 100 rem = 100,000 mrem (millirem)
- 1 mSv = 100 mrem = 0.1 rem
- 1 μSv = 0.1 mrem
- 1 rem = 0.01 Sv = 10 mSv
- 1 mrem = 0.00001 Sv = 0.01 mSv = 10 μSv
Personal radiation dosimeters normally show measurements in uSv, mSv or Sv.
The average yearly human dose (American Nuclear Society) is 6.2 mSv/year (0.71 uSv/hour).
With an absolute maximum yearly dose of 50 mSv/year (5.7 uSv/hour).
The single lifetime human dose should be 500 mSv (0.71 uSv/hour) to the maximum of 4000 mSv (5.7 uSv/hour).
Important: Radiation is accumulative and you must know if the measurements you are looking at is for a single dose or a per hour dosage - This will make a significant difference to the danger you are in at the time. Radiation exposure intensity over X time can vary the outcome of possible health risks and the information below is merely an average guide. Breathing in radiation or eating contaminated food/drink is a lot worse than direct body exposure.
During a nuclear disaster the serious accumulative radiation danger level you are looking for is 1 Sv (1000 mSv).
This is the point where you will become ill and risk serious health issues or latent death.
Remember that 100 mSv/hour for 10 hours will give you 1000 mSv total - the maximum risk level.
IMPORTANT Calculator Link: Nuclear Radiation Dose Survival and Exposure Converter Calculator
Below is a chart that shows how many hours or days you can survive before you reach 1000mSv:
- 1 hrs or less exposure AT 1 Sv/Hour or 1000 mSv/hour or 1,000,000 uSv/hour or 100 Rem/hour
- 2 hrs exposure AT 0.5 Sv/Hour or 500 mSv/hour or 500,000 uSv/hour or 50 Rem/hour
- 4 hrs exposure AT 0.25 Sv/Hour or 250 mSv/hour or 250,000 uSv/hour or 25 Rem/hour
- 8 hrs exposure AT 0.125 Sv/Hour or 125 mSv/hour or 125,000 uSv/hour or 12.5 Rem/hour
- 16 hrs exposure AT 0.0625 Sv/Hour or 62.5 mSv/hour or 62,500 uSv/hour or 6.25 Rem/hour
- 1 day exposure AT 0.0416 Sv/Hour or 41.6 mSv/hour or 41,666 uSv/hour or 4.16 Rem/hour
- 2 day exposure AT 0.02 Sv/Hour or 20.8 mSv/hour or 20,883 uSv/hour or 2.08 Rem/hour
- 4 day exposure AT 0.01 Sv/Hour or 10.4 mSv/hour or 10,416 uSv/hour or 1.04 Rem/hour
- 8 day exposure AT 0.005 Sv/Hour or 5.2 mSv/hour or 5,208 uSv/hour or 0.52 Rem/hour
- 16 day exposure AT 0.002 Sv/Hour or 2.6 mSv/hour or 2,604 uSv/hour or 0.26 Rem/hour
- 32 day exposure AT 0.0013 Sv/Hour or 1.3 mSv/hour or 1,302 uSv/hour or 0.13 Rem/hour
- 6 months exposure AT 0.228 mSv/hour or 228 uSv/hour or 0.022 Rem/hour
Below is a chart indicating various exposure levels for 1 full day (24hrs):
- 0.000003 Sv/hr or 0.00342 mSv/hr or 3.42 uSv/hr [Total:0.082 mSv/day] = Standard background radiation levels
- 0.000005 Sv/hr or 0.005 mSv/hr or 5.7 uSv/hr [Total: 0.12 mSv/day] = No danger but highest possible safe level
- 0.00001 Sv/hr or 0.01 mSv/hr or 10 uSv/hr [Total: 0.24 mSv/day] = No short term danger but long term cancer risk
- 0.001 Sv/hr or 1 mSv/hr or 1,000 uSv/hr [Total: 24 mSv/day] = Long term danger and long term cancer risk
- 0.0035 Sv/hr or 3.5 mSv/hr or 3,500 uSv/hr [Total: 84 mSv/day] = Long term danger and long term high cancer risk
- 0.010 Sv/hr or 10 mSv/hr or 10,000 uSv/hr [Total: 240 mSv/day] = Short term danger with little nausea, headache
- 0.041 Sv/hr or 41 mSv/hr or 41,000 uSv/hr [Total: 1,000 mSv/day] = Immediate danger with mod nausea, headache - 5% death
- 0.083 Sv/hr or 83 mSv/hr or 83,000 uSv/hr [Total: 2,000 mSv/day] = Severe danger - 5 to 50% death
- 0.333 Sv/hr or 333 mSv/hr or 333,000 uSv/hr [Total: 8,000 mSv/day] = Extreme danger - 100% death.
Below is a final reference chart that show extreme levels of accumulative radiation over any period of time:
- 1 to 2 Sv (1000 to 2000 mSv or 100 to 200 rems) = Minor Nausea, Minor Headache - 5% death in 1 month otherwise non-fatal (2-6hr onset for 24hr)
- 3 to 6 Sv (3000 to 6000 mSv or 300 to 600 rems) = Mod Vomiting, Mild Headache, Mod Fever, Cognitive Impairment 6hr - 5-50% death in 7-28 days (1-2hr onset for 48hr)
- 6 to 8 Sv (6000 to 8000 mSv or 600 to 800 rems) = Vomiting, Mod Headache, High Fever, Cognitive Impairment 20hr - 50-100% death in 7days (10-60min onset for <48hr)
- 8 to 30 Sv (8000+ mSv or 800+ rems) = Severe Vomiting, Severe Headache, Severe Fever, Incapacitated - 100% death rate (>10min onset for <48hr)
- 30+ Sv (30,000+ mSv or 3,000+ rems) = 100% death with immediate effect
Below is a quick reference radiation conversion table:
1 Sv (Sievert) is equial to =
1,000,000,000,000 pSv (Picosievert)
1.0000*109 nSv (Nanosievert)
1,000,000 µSv (Microsievert)
1,000 mSv (Millisievert)
100 rem (Rem)
1.0000*1011 nrem (Nanorem)
100,000,000 µrem (Microrem)
1.0000*105 mrem (Millirem)
0.1 krem (Kilorem)
100 mSv (Millisievert) is equal to =
0.1 Sv (Sievert)
100,000,000,000 pSv (Picosievert)
100,000,000 nSv (Nanosievert)
100,000 µSv (Microsievert)
100 mSv (Millisievert)
10.000 rem (Rem)
10,000,000,000 nrem (Nanorem)
10,000,000 µrem (Microrem)
10,000 mrem (Millirem)
0.01 krem (Kilorem)
100 µSv (Microsievert) is equal to =
0.0001 Sv (Sievert)
100,000,000 pSv (Picosievert)
1.0000*105 nSv (Nanosievert)
100.00 µSv (Microsievert)
0.1 mSv (Millisievert)
0.01 rem (Rem)
1.0000*107 nrem (Nanorem)
10,000 µrem (Microrem)
10 mrem (Millirem)
1.0000*10-5 krem (Kilorem)
If you need an online radiation calculator: click here or here
Conversions for Effective Dose, Equivalent Dose, Dose Equivalent, and Ambient Dose Equivalent
0.001 rem = 1 mrem = 0.01 mSv
0.01 rem = 10 mrem = 0.1 mSv
0.1 rem = 100 mrem = 1 mSv = 0.001 Sv
1 rem = 1000 mrem = 10 mSv = 0.01 Sv
10 rem = 100 mSv = 0.1 Sv
100 rem = 1000 mSv = 1 Sv (Sievert)
1000 rem = 10 Sv
Conversions for Absorbed Dose
0.001 rad = 1 mrad = 0.01 mGy
0.01 rad = 10 mrad = 0.1 mGy
0.1 rad = 100 mrad = 1 mGy = 0.001 Gy
1 rad = 1000 mrad = 10 mGy = 0.01 Gy
10 rad = 100 mGy = 0.1 Gy
100 rad = 1000 mGy = 1 Gy (Gray)
1000 rad = 10 Gy
Below is a list of low level radiation readings - some per year (typical but variable):
Living at Sea Level = 0.26 mSv/year
Living at 1500 Meters = 0.47 mSv/year
Living at 2800 Meters = 0.96 mSv/year
Natural Ground (Gulf Coast) = 0.16 mSv/year
Natural Ground (Rocky Mnts) = 0.63 mSv/year
Chest x-ray = 0.1 mSv
Cosmic radiation (from sky) at sea level = 0.26 mSv/year
Terrestrial radiation (from ground) = 0.28 mSv/year
Mammogram = 0.30 mSv
Natural radiation in the human body = 0.40 mSv/year
Brain CT scan = 0.8–5 mSv
Typical individual's natural background radiation: 2 mSv/year; 1.5 mSv/year for Australians, 3 mSv/year for Americans
Atmospheric (Primarily Radon) = 2 mSv/year
Chest CT scan = 6–18 mSv
Aircraft Flight = 0.005 mSv/hour
Average American's total radiation exposure = 6.2 mSv/year
New York-Tokyo flights for airline crew = 9mSv/year
Smoking 1.5 packs/day = 13 mSv/year
Current average limit for nuclear workers = 20 mSv/year
True life exposure example:
Approximately 134 plant workers and firefighters battling the fire at the Chernobyl power plant received high radiation doses – 800 to 16,000 mSv – and suffered from acute radiation sickness. Of these, 28 died within the first three months from their radiation injuries. Two more patients died during the first days as a result of combined injuries from the fire and radiation.
If you are looking for more details on radiation poisoning: click here
Radiation Survival and Potassium Iodide USP (KI or KIO3) Pills or Liquid
In a true emergency it may not be possible to escape the area due to mass panic and road congestion.
Your PRIMARY DEFENCE is to take cover inside a building (or basement) and to seal off all air vents to the outside. This will help you to avoid breathing in fallout dust which can be fatal. See if the wind is blowing away from you or towards you in order to gauge your level of urgency. Gather uncontaminated food and lots of water in bottles or anything else you can use. Duck tape is good to help seal doors and windows off. Also don't forget a radio, torch and batteries. Generally you only have 5 to 30 minutes to prepare. If you have fallout dust on you then you must remove your clothes and shower the immediately with shampoo. Remember it is likely that after 48hrs the major radiation will have dispersed and it will soon become possible to seek rescue - although it will not be safe to remain outside for extended periods. If you have time try to protect yourself further by padding your room with at least 1 to 3 feet of loose earth or 1 foot of concrete or 3+ foot of wood or 3 to 5 inches of steel. Click here for more details.
The SECONDARY DEFENCE is to take the recommended dose of Potassium Iodide USP.
WARNING: DO NOT TAKE ANY OTHER VERSION OF POTASSIUM IODIDE EXCEPT PURE USP GRADE AT THE CORRECT DOSE. IT IS DEADLY POISONOUS TO DRINK/INGEST ELEMENTAL IODINE OR POVIDONE-IODINE EXCEPT WHEN USED ON THE SKIN.
Potassium Iodide helps protects the thyroid when you are exposed to radiation but it should be taken just before exposure for maximum effect or as soon as possible.
NB: Take a single dose once a day for 10 consecutive days. (even a single 1 day dose is effective)
Potassium Iodide KI or KIO3 USP Dosage Guide: (Check you tablets mg size)
Tablets: A 65mg KI tablet or 85mg KIO3 tablet contains 50mg of Iodine.
Adults 12years and older - Take 2 Tablets
Children 3 to 12years - Take 1 Tablet
Children 1month to 3years - Take 1/2 (half) Tablet
Children birth to 1month - Take 1/4 (quater) Tablet
Potassium Iodide USP granules into Potassium Iodide KI solution:
Mix 130mg (0.13grams) of Potassium Iodide USP with 5ml (5cc/1 teaspoonful) of water.
For an easy mix method: Use 1 teaspoon (4 to 5 grams) of Potassium Iodide USP with 192 ml (3/4 cup) of water. [Generally 1 gram or 1 ml is equal to 1/4 (quarter) teaspoon. Additionally +-200grams (dry) or 236ml (250ml metric) liquid is equal to 1 cup]
Ready Mixed Solution Dosage Guide: (1 teaspoon of mixed solution will contain 130mg of KI)
Adults 12years and older (Weight more than 68kg or 150pounds) - Take 1 Teaspoon (5ml)
Adults 12years and older (Weight less than 68kg or 150pounds) - Take 1/2 (half) Teaspoon (2.5ml)
Children 3 to 12years - Take 1/2 (half) Teaspoon (2.5ml)
Children 1month to 3years - Take 1/4 (quarter) Teaspoon (1.25ml)
Children birth to 1month - Take 1/8 (eight) Teaspoon (0.625ml)
In desperate situations where no Potassium Iodide is available you can paint 8ml of 2% tincture of Iodine or 10% Povidone-iodine (Betadine) on the abdomen or forearm approximately 2hrs prior to contamination or asap. Do NOT drink under any circumstances - it is poison. Click here for more details.
What online shops are good?
> Personal Radiation Monitors / Dosimeters try: http://www.laurussystems.com/
(Remember you get what you pay for. Check the reaction time. RAD-60 works well)
> Potassium Iodide KI/KIO3 Tablets try: http://www.ki4u.com
> For complete NBC Kits including Suits and Masks (for the paranoid) try: http://www.approvedgasmasks.com/mask-kits.htm
Other useful links?
> Radiation Exposure Calculator
> http://tools.cdc.gov/register/pages.aspx?mediaCollectionId=28 (Good Info)
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