One of the two standard units used to measure the dose equivalent (or effective dose), which combines the amount of energy (from any type of ionizing radiation that is deposited in human tissue), along with the medical effects of the given type of radiation. For beta and gamma radiation, the dose equivalent is the same as the absorbed dose. By contrast, the dose equivalent is larger than the absorbed dose for alpha and neutron radiation, because these types of radiation are more damaging to the human body. Thus, the dose equivalent (in rems) is equal to the absorbed dose (in rads) multiplied by the quality factor of the type of radiation [see Title 10, Section 20.1004, of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR 20.1004), "Units of Radiation Dose"]. The related international system unit is the sievert (Sv), where 100 rem is equivalent to 1 Sv. For additional information, see Doses in Our Daily Lives and Measuring Radiation.
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, July 21, 2021