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Radiation worries? There's an app for that!

The concern of radiation exposure in the aftermath of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear facility troubles last year in Japan has prompted one Japanese cell phone carrier to add radiation dosimeter measuring capabilities to its cell phones.

Softbank Corp. says the new Pantone 5 smart phone by Sharp Corp., to go on sale in July, includes a radiation detector that measures the amount of gamma ray radiation in a given area. The phone reports the total microSieverts-per-hour (µSv/hr) exposure rate after a two-minute sample period. The reporting level ranges from 0.05 µSv/hr to 9.99 µSv/hr.

It's generally agreed that levels below 1 milliSievert-per-year (mSv/yr) are relatively safe. Studies show any radiation-related cancers or diseases are statistically nondetectable at levels below 100 mSv/yr, meaning people exposed to those levels have no more likelihood of developing the disease than a person that wasn't exposed. But the risk does climb as levels increase. The value of 10 mSv/yr translates to an exposure rate of approximately 1.14 µSv/hr.

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