Effects of Radiation
September 24, 2011 | Health
Radiation is made up from three types of particle or ray depending upon your quantum interpretation! They are commonly referred to as –
- Alpha rays. Which essentially a stream of helium atoms.
- Beta rays. An electron stream.
- Gamma rays. These consist of high energy photons either emitted during nuclear reactions, or spontaneously from the decay of the nucleus of radioactive atoms.
Some types of radiation occur ‘naturally’ and form part of the cosmic background resulting from cosmic radiation from stars, and the emissions from our sun, but realistically they are also the result of nuclear processes. The commonly known X-ray is a form of radiation with a wavelength between that of gamma rays and ultra violet light.
The effects of radiation can vary since some types of radiation can be harmful, while others can be beneficial.
The types of radiations referred to have high penetrative powers and can pass through a block of lead with no problem so the effects on the body can be extremely damaging.—
- By continual exposure to radiation the DNA can become affected leading to mutation of this material as the atoms of the nucleotides become ionized.
- Excess exposure to radiation from the sun will cause sunburn of body tissue, and lead to melanoma or malignant tumors on the skin.
- Thermal radiation from the sun can interfere with the structure of the genes, anf cause hereditary problems.
- Controlled exposure to radiation as in cases of radiation therapy, and the use of x-rays for viewing internal organs is an obvious benefit.
- Exposure to limited radiation ensures the hygiene and sterility of hospital equipment.
- Radiation is also used for investigating the properties of other radioactive elements, and is often used in radio carbon fossil dating activities.