How Radioactive Are Bananas?

How Radioactive Are Bananas?

March 14, 2021 · 3 min. readThis article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Bananas are the second most popular fruit in North America, second only to apples. However, unlike apples, bananas in North American often only come in one flavour... or at least they do now. If you were eating bananas during the 1950s and 1960s, you were eating the Gros Michel banana, which is a sweeter, almost artificial tasting banana. However, because bananas were mass replicated and are so similar, they are also prone to disease. As a result, the highly destructive and deadly Panama disease attacked the bananas and wiped them out, causing a world-wide banana shortage.

The solution was to start selling a new type of banana. These are the Cavendish bananas and while they look similar, they don't taste as sweet. In fact, you can compare the difference between them by simply having a real banana and having candy bananas or banana-flavoured medicine or ice-cream. The banana flavour was extracted from the old bananas, which have a much stronger taste.

But banana flavours aside, what about the radiation? While I don't know if the Cavendish bananas are any more radioactive than the Gros Michel bananas, both are full of radioactive potassium. As bananas decay, they release K-40 atoms, which are slightly radioactive and can cause skin tissue damage. How severe is it? Bananas release 0.10 µSv / hour, which is equivalent to 1% of the daily amount of radiation you receive normally. This means if ate 100 bananas in a single hour, you double your daily amount of radiation. You'd also get a stomachache from all the fiber.

In other words, eating 100 bananas is like getting 2 dental x-rays, or going for a 1.5 hour plane-ride. It is perfectly safe.

Reading the banana radiation with a geiger coutner

Bananas also have another trick up their sleeve... erm... peel. If your banana is fresh and has little brown spots on it, you can see them glow green by using a black light. This is caused by the chlorophyll in the banana's peel. As the banana ripens, the chlorophyll dissipates and the glow goes away. So, if you're like me and you're letting your bananas get nice and brown before taking a black light to them, you're just wasting your time.

Black light spots on banana

Do you know any other fun facts about bananas? I've heard all sorts of crazy facts while researching this, like that they can be used to remove moles, fix scratched CDs, and even that they are technically classified as a berry. Who knew!? If you have any other banana facts, let me know in the comments below.

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How Radioactive Are Bananas?

Bananas are the second most popular fruit in North America, second only to apples. However, unlike apples, bananas in North American often only come in one flavour... or at least they do now. If you were eating bananas during the 1950s and 1960s, you were eating the Gros Michel banana, which is a sweeter, almost artificial tasting banana. However, because bananas were mass replicated and are so similar, they are also prone to disease. As a result, the highly destructive and deadly Panama disease attacked the bananas and wiped them out, causing a world-wide banana shortage.

The solution was to start selling a new type of banana. These are the Cavendish bananas and while they look similar, they don't taste as sweet. In fact, you can compare the difference between them by simply having a real banana and having candy bananas or banana-flavoured medicine or ice-cream. The banana flavour was extracted from the old bananas, which have a much stronger taste.

But banana flavours aside, what about the radiation? While I don't know if the Cavendish bananas are any more radioactive than the Gros Michel bananas, both are full of radioactive potassium. As bananas decay, they release K-40 atoms, which are slightly radioactive and can cause skin tissue damage. How severe is it? Bananas release 0.10 µSv / hour, which is equivalent to 1% of the daily amount of radiation you receive normally. This means if ate 100 bananas in a single hour, you double your daily amount of radiation. You'd also get a stomachache from all the fiber.

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