Many people are unsure of how radiation affects their health . When radioactive elements decay at the same time they produce ionizing radiation. This is the kind of radiation that has enough energy to strip away electrons from atoms and to break down chemical bonds. Living tissues in a human body can be damaged by ionizing radiation. Although the body will attempt to repair the damage sometimes the damage is too much to be repaired. This can result in cancerous cells .
There are different types of ionizing radiation – the most common at the alpha , beta gamma and X rays. Alpha radiation particles have a mass that carries energy while gamma rays do not. This means that Apha radiation spreads energy much further compared to gamma particles even when the amount of energy inside the body is the same .
The duration and amount of ionizing radiation affects the severity of the effect on human body. There are some effects which are related to long term low exposure of radiation. Cancer, the uncontrolled growth of cells, is the primary effect of ionizing radiation exposure .
When a person is exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation they are likely to have burns and radiation sickness or “radiation poisoning”. This affects organ functions, and results in other effects such as nausea and hair loss. In serious cases this can result in death and or premature aging.
Patients who are on treatment for radiation poisoning experience acute effects such as hair loss because they are receiving high levels of radiation during the treatment .
Health effects can occur in the thyroid which needs iodine to function normally and cannot tell the different between good or bad “ radioactive” isotopes. Consequently radioactive iodine does contribute to thyroid cancer.
In terms of probability of getting cancer from ionizing radiation exposure, it is estimated that if 1 out of 10,000 people is exposed to 1 rem of small does over a long time, 5 to 6 people would die of cancer than would without exposure. However of the 10,000 people 2000 will die from cancer that is from non ionizing sources This means that I rem exposure will increase total number of cancer deaths from 2000 to 2005 or 2006 for 10,000.Children are more sensitive to radiation than adults. Their cells are growing more rapidly and therefore radiation has a greater opportunity to affect this process . Gender is also said to affect sensitivity to radiation .
Fetuses are also highly sensitive if a pregnant woman gets exposed to ionizing radiation . These fetuses are mostly affected by genetic mutations . Unborn children can suffer from smaller heads or brain size, poorly formed yet , slow growth and even mental retardation . Fetuses between 8 and 15 weeks are most sensitive. Scientists estimated that of every 1000 fetuses ( 8-15 weeks old) exposed at least 4 will become mentally retarded.Free report : Radiation Exposure : Five things you need to know to keep your family safe
Parents who are exposed to high levels of ionizing can also pass the genetic effects to their children , Of every 1 million children born of parents who have been exposed to 1 Rem , over 120 would have severe effects.
Natural background exposure is per person per year is on average 3/10 of 1 rem ( 300 Mrem) which mostly comes from Radon gas.
Not all levels of radiation are dangerous. For example many household devices such as micro waves and TVs emit very low levels of radiation . However there is a vigorous debate about the amounts of radiation emitted from extended use of some devices such as cell phones, computers and laptops, Ipads x ray machines etc.
The effects of ionizing radiation have been recognized by scientists as far back as 1910 when it was linked to skin cancer . One of the long term studies was for the group of Japanese people that were exposed after the atomic bomb blasts .
Ionizing radiation can result from nuclear plants damage or even terrorists act. In order to monitor your home for the four major types of ionizing radiation – alpha , beta gamma and X rays, you can use one of the best radiation detectors in the market is the – radiation alert inspector microprocessor based ionizing radiation detector