Every time you eat a delicious banana, you’re exposing yourself to radiation! But don’t go pouring your smoothie down the sink just yet. A small fraction of the potassium in bananas is radioactive, but the amount of radiation from one banana is very tiny – in fact, a banana’s levels of radiation are even smaller than what we’re exposed to just by living on Earth.

Not only are bananas radioactive, but the trees they grow on can walk! These trees can move up to 40 centimetres, but don’t worry, this is more down to how they grow them than anything that occurs naturally. Bananas are cultivated by using two shoots. One of the shoots is used immediately, while the other is left to grow so it’s ready to produce bananas in about 7 months. As the shoots grow, they move along the ground, meaning that over a long period of time the whole plant will have shifted from its original position all of its own accord!


Going bananas

To measure the amount of damage radiation would do to a human body, scientists use a unit called sieverts. Eating a banana is the equivalent to 0.1 sieverts.


An airport security scan is 0.25 sieverts, the same amount of radiation as eating two and a half bananas. 

A dental X-ray is 5 sieverts, which is the same as eating 50 bananas. 


A fatal dose of radiation is 10 million sieverts, which means you’d have to eat 100 million bananas for the radiation to kill you – but you’d probably die from a tummy ache first! 

Berry good

Bananas are berries, but raspberries aren’t!