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Is it true to say that exposure of radiations emitted during nuclear hazards damage cells, tissues and genes in the human body?

Last updated date: 18th Jun 2024
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Hint:Nuclear reactions involve the emission of ionizing radiation as protons and neutrons are rearranged in the nucleus of the atom to form new elements. Gamma rays are released during this process which has the tendency to pass completely through the human body. Due to such penetration nature, these ionizing radiations can damage cells and tissues of the body causing various serious health problems.

Complete answer:
Three main types of radiation are emitted by radioactive particles. These radiations are called alpha, beta, and gamma. All these radiations come from the nucleus of the atom. These will cause ionization, but their properties are slightly different because of the way they are made up. Out of these radiations gamma rays have the most penetrating power. These rays can penetrate the body entirely whereas beta rays are more penetrating than alpha but they can be stopped at a few centimeters by body tissues.
As gamma rays can easily penetrate the clothes and skin so they cause ionizations which damage cells, tissues and genes in the human body. These rays even pass the bones and can cause damage to DNA. Gamma rays can destroy living cells, can cause cancer and even produce gene mutations leading to an extremely dangerous effect on the human body. The initial signs of radiation sickness also called Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) are nausea and vomiting. More is the amount of time of exposure in the radiation more severely it can affect. Large exposures to such radiations can cause death of a person within three days with no chance of recovery.

The body can be protected from little exposures by decontaminating it which includes the removal of exposed clothes and shoes. Washing the skin gently with soap and water can help in removing radiation particles from skin. Such radiations can cause long time health effects also which leads the immune system to recover within months. Small doses of potassium iodide (KI), cesium and strontium have been proven effective to strengthen the human body against radiation. They block the thyroid from absorbing the radioactive radiations.