Is The Radiation In Bananas Actually Dangerous?

Bananas are one of the most popular fruit in the world. According to Wonderopolis, 100 billion are consumed around the world with banana-loving residents of China, India, and Brazil tag-teaming for half of that total. Bananas also account for 75% of the tropical fruit trade and the leading exporter of them is Ecuador.

Of course, bananas are known for containing high levels of potassium, which the American Heart Association says can help control blood pressure, and maintaining healthy levels of potassium can also help reduce muscle cramps, per Harvard Health Publishing.

However, potassium — depending on the specific isotope — can be radioactive. One such potassium isotope is K-40. According to Science ABC, K-40 is naturally occurring and can be found in plants and animal tissue, and accounts for 0.012% of the potassium in bananas,

It's a very small amount, but it does mean that bananas are technically radioactive. So what does that mean as far as health effects are concerned?

Bananas can be dangerous ... if you eat an absurd amount of them

Everyone is familiar with the dangers associated with discarded banana peels, a fact that has been well documented over the years by generations of slapstick comedy practitioners. However, the dangers concerning the radioactivity found in bananas aren't as well known.

There's no need to start running a Geiger counter over the display at the grocery store, however, because while there are trace amounts of radioactive elements in bananas, one would have to eat massive quantities of them to see any adverse effects from the radiation. According to Science ABC, it would take as many as 10,000,000 bananas to reach a lethal amount of radioactivity. It should also be noted that this wouldn't happen to someone who ate that many bananas throughout their lifetime; it would have to be accomplished in a short period of time.

Now, if someone did manage to pull off this feat, they would start experiencing the effects of radiation poisoning. These include dizziness, headaches, hair loss, fatigue, and skin issues, but they vary. The immune system can also be weakened which, in turn, allows infections and illnesses to occur more rapidly. Eventually, death can occur. However, once again, this is only if someone figured out a way to cram millions of bananas down their gullet very quickly.