Harmful Effects of Radiation

We can define radiation as small or subatomic particles with kinetic energy which are radiated or transmitted through space. There are two forms of radiation, where one type of radiation possesses properties of light with having the quality of most of the radiation around us. And the other kind of radiation possesses particle-like properties; these particles are so small that they can not be seen through a microscope. Radiation effects are on a lot of cases. These harmful effects of radiation are caused due to electromagnetic radiation emerging from cell phones, especially smartphones, AirPods, mobile towers, 5g, the atomic bomb and a few other electronic systems we use. Some radiation effects are mentioned below:

1. Radiation effects on humans.

2. Radiation affects our health (includes teeth, skin, brain, oral mucosa, eyes, heart).

3. Ultraviolet radiation causes human viral infections.

4. Radiation effects on biota.

5. Radiation effects on birds.

6. Radiation effects on plants.

7. Radiation effects on the environment.

8. Radiation affects viruses in marine ecosystems.

9. Radiation effects cause pollution.

Harmful Effects Of Radiation 

Radiation effects on humans damage the intestinal tract lining, which causes nausea, bloody vomiting and diarrhoea. Radioactive materials that emit alpha and beta particles are most harmful when swallowed, inhaled, absorbed or injected. Some ionizing radiations can be harmful. Gamma rays are instead formed of energy and the most harmful external hazard.

Radiation Effects On Humans 

Radiation effects on humans' health like skin burns and radiation syndrome or radiation sickness can be caused by exposure to very high levels of radiation, such as being close to an atomic blast. It may also cause long-term health effects, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. The most seen problems nowadays, losing hair quickly. Since brain cells do not reproduce, they get damaged if the exposure is 5,000 rems or more. Heart radiation kills nerve cells and blood vessels and can cause immediate death. Radioactive iodine can destroy all parts of the thyroid.

Effects Of Nuclear Radiation On The Human Body

Nuclear radiation is energetic enough to ionize atoms by knocking off their electrons. This ionization radiation can damage DNA molecules directly by breaking the bonds between atoms. Ionization radiation is the kind that minerals, atom bombs and nuclear effects the human body, it weakens and breaks up DNA. The effects of nuclear radiation on the human body can be explained like, what happens is that the nucleus of radioactive elements decay and emerges as high energy particles. If we stand in the way of those particles, they are going to interact with the body cells. A participle, an energy packet moves through our cells and tissues. 

So, these are the effects of nuclear radiation on the human body, some harmful effects of radiation.

What Are The Effects Of Radiation Exposure? 

The effects of exposure to a particular radionuclide depend on: 

The energy of the radiation emits.

Its activity how often it emits radiation.

Whether the disclosure is external or internal.

The rate at which the body metabolizes 

Where the radionuclide gets concentrated and the duration it stays in the body.

Exposure to less radiation does not lead to immediate health effects but can cause a small increase in the risk of cancer for a lifetime. Children are especially reactive to radiation exposure.  There are studies which keep track of people exposed to radiation; these studies show that the risk of cancer gradually increases, the higher the dose higher the risk.

Solved Examples 

Question 1: When 15P30 decays to become 14Si30, what will be the particle released?

Solution: The reaction which occurs when

15P30 decays to become 14Si30 is 15P30 -> + 1e0 + 14Si30

Hence, it is clear that the particle that is released is (D) positron.


Question 2: A radioactive isotope having a half-life of 3days was received after 9days. It was found that there were only 4gms of the isotope in the container. What was the initial weight of the isotope when packed.

Solution: Half life = 3days

Let initial amount in the container = x

Fraction of amount left after 3 g=half lives, (1/2)3 = 1/8

So, (1/8)of x = 4gms

ð X = 32gms.

Did You Know?

People are more responsible for the emission of radiation than smartphones. Inside the Chernobyl, reactors grow a type of fungus that thrives on radiation. Cosmic radiation from space is consistently hitting the earth. Some smoke detectors use a small amount of radioactive material to detect smoke. Radon is a radioactive gas you can not see, smell, or taste, but it may be a problem in your home or school.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How Do Radioactivity and Radiation Differ?

Radioactive materials are the form of atoms that have stored energy and may disintegrate in the future, releasing radiation whereas radiation is the result of a nuclear disintegration in the form of radiant particles or rays. Radioactivity is the process through which certain elements release radiation, whereas radiation is the energetic particles which are released by radioactive elements. Radioactivity occurs with the decay of specific unstable atomic nuclei whereas the general term for any energy that radiates outward in all directions. Radioactivity is the property of radionuclides of spontaneously emitting ionizing radiation, whereas radiation is the process of issuing energy as waves or particles, and the radiated energy.

2. What are the Symptoms of Radiation Sickness?

The severity of symptoms and illness or acute radiation sickness depends on the type and amount of radiation, which body part was exposed and how long you were exposed. Symptoms may include weakness, fatigues, fainting, bleeding from nose or mouth, hair loss, dehydration, skin burns, diarrhoea, fever, inflammation of exposed areas like redness, tenderness or swelling. The earliest symptoms of radiation are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. They may not stay stable for several days. It can come and go, but it will happen to the next moment of exposure. Then comes the latent stage, and eventually coma and death are inevitable within 3days.