Friday, January 16, 2015

The effect on the human body due to nuclear radiation

Some people think that what they don't know wont hurt them, I'm here to tell you that this is not always the case. The 3 different types of radiation are: Alpha particles, Beta particles, and Gamma rays. Alpha particles attack the atoms and strip away any electrons leaving positively charged atoms called ions. Extremely high amounts of radiation are called ionizing radiation. The releasing of electrons produces 33 electron volts (eV) of energy that heats the surrounding tissues and disrupts certain chemical bonds. In some cases, very high radiation can destroy the nuclei, and this releases more energy causing even more damage. However Alpha particles are the least damaging in terms of outside exposure, but unfortunately you can inhale Alpha particles through the form of radon gas. Alpha particles can be found in some smoke detectors. Some smoke detectors have a small electrical currents pass through plate 1 and a small amount of radiation pass through plate 2, and when the Alpha radiation plate is blocked by smoke, then the alarm is sounded. 

Beta particles can move several feet when put out by a radioactive source, but they can be blocked by most solid objects such as an aluminum sheet. Beta particles are 8,000 times smaller than Alpha particles, making them more dangerous and able to pass through clothing and even skin causing burns and tissue damage. If your food and water is exposed to the radiation, it can be ingested or even inhaled just like Alpha radiation. Internal exposure can be way more severe than external  exposure. This can cause mutation and cancer as any radiation can. 

Gamma Rays are the most dangerous form of ionizing radiation; these extremely high energy photons can travel though most any matter, and it would take several inches of lead or several feet of concrete to effectively block gamma rays. Gamma rays travel throughout our entire body, effecting our tissue from your skin all the way to your bone marrow. Gamma rays is the most effective way to kill cancerous cells and can also sterilize medical equipment that can be compromised by bleach or other disinfectants. The lesson to gather from this blog post is to be aware of what is around you and that these rays can be found in many household objects. 

1 comment:

  1. Great job posting this Sabrina - I learned a lot about radiation in the simplest terms I have ever heard them.