Science, which often talks about things in increments of light-years, femtometers and picograms, has some really weird measurements. For example, did you know that you actually receive a dose of radiation from eating a banana, and that the dosage is sometimes used as a basis for measurement? The amount of ionizing radiation is .1 microsieverts per banana, which of course means nothing to most of us who have no idea how much radiation is in a microsievert or in a full-size sievert either, for that matter. This figure is sometimes referred to the “Banana Equivalent Dose.” The important number for those of you who enjoy bananas is 35 million, because that’s how many bananas you’d have to get together to kill a person with radiation. You’d be in just as much danger from the weight of all that fruit, and in any case would probably have perished quite a bit earlier from whichever beautiful bunch o’ ripe banana hide the deadly black tarantula.
Although the amount in a single banana is small in environmental and medical terms, the radioactivity from a truckload of bananas is capable of causing a false alarm when passed through a Radiation Portal Monitor used to detect possible smuggling of nuclear material at U.S. ports.
Harry Chapin was not available for comment.