Dose (radiation)

The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements estimates that an average person in the United States receives a total annual dose of about 0.62 rem (620 millirem or 6.2 millisieverts) from all radiation sources, a level that has not been shown to cause humans any harm. Of this total, natural background sources of radiation—including radon and thoron gas, natural radiation from soil and rocks, radiation from space, and radiation sources that are found naturally within the human body—account for about 50 percent. Medical procedures such as computed tomography (CT) scans and nuclear medicine account for about another 48 percent. Other small contributors of exposure to the U.S. population include consumer products and activities, industrial and research uses, and occupational tasks. The maximum permissible yearly dose for a person working with or around nuclear material is 5 rem (50 millisieverts).

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, February 15, 2023