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How do you read a radiation dosage chart?

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Quick Answer

Read a radiation dosage chart by correlating the effective dose, expressed in milllisieverts, with the corresponding biological effects in a radiation exposure guide, according to World Nuclear. When reading a radiation dosage chart, pay attention to the timing of the dose received.

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Full Answer

Since different forms of ionizing radiation, measured in grays, have different effects, radiation scientists use sieverts to accurately determine the standard effects of doses received, according to World Nuclear. As an example of standard dosages, a dental X-ray exposes a patient to .01 millisieverts, while the nuclear accident at Chernobyl exposed some of its workers to 6,000 millisieverts, as reported by The Guardian. Many of the workers exposed to such high levels of radiation died within a month of the accident.

Other examples of effects you can correlate from a radiation dosage chart include the recommended limit for radiation workers over five years, which is 100 millisieverts, according to The Guardian. As an example of how the timing of a radioactive dose makes a difference in its effects, the same dosage of 100 millisieverts over a single year has been shown to result in an increased risk of cancer. A CT scan of the heart results in a dose of about 16 millisieverts, and natural background radiation across the planet results in a dose of about 2 millisieverts.

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