The American Nuclear Society
has put out a one-page worksheet that allows US citizens to calculate their annual dosage of ionizing radiation
that they receive from their environment, and non-citizens to calculate the value to within 20%. My mom sent it to me to fill out as a laugh. Here are the calculations. All numbers are in millirem
The average annual dose for a U.S. citizen is 360 mrem. People who work with or around radioactive material are allowed exposure to up to 5000 mrem a year by international standards. The reason my mother sent this to me as a laugh is because I am currently undergoing some radiation therapy for lymphoma, and the techs told me that my prescribed 40 gray to the spinal cord is equivalent to about 4,000,000 mrem, making all of these numbers pretty much moot.
After doing some research of my own, I found that 450,000 mrem to the whole body at once is a lethal dose of radiation, and I suspected a numerical error on the part of the techs. But after talking to my rad onc doctor, it was explained to me that 9 times that much for me was OK, because
- The area is extremely localized, to a specific area of the spine.
- The dosage is spread out over 20 treatments, making it 200,000 mrem per session.