Neutrinos are present in the natural environment and are also produced by particle accelerators. A recent hypothesis has also been proposed that asserts that ionizing radiation due to neutrinos from certain astronomical events may have led to the extinction of some biological species. Thus, it is of interest to be able to estimate the dose equivalent due to these weakly interacting particles. Presented here are methods for estimating the dose equivalent due to neutrinos over a broad domain of energy, examples of such calculations, and an assessment of the postulated role of neutrinos in biological extinctions. It is concluded that the dose equivalent due to neutrinos from natural sources and from present-day accelerators is inconsequential and the postulated role of neutrinos in biological extinctions is highly improbable.
(C)1997Health Physics Society