What is Radiation? How is radiation spread? What are the disadvantages?

Radiation comes from both natural and man-made sources and is often beneficial. Radiation, which is used in many fields such as medicine and industry, can facilitate and improve our lives if used properly. In this article you will find a lot of information about radiation.

Here’s what you need to know about radiation…

What is Radiation?

The atom, the building block of matter, consists of the nucleus, which consists of protons and neutrons. If the number of neutrons in the atomic nucleus of a substance is greater than the number of protons, instability will occur in the nucleus of that substance. In this way, rays called alpha, beta, and gamma are scattered by breakdown of excess neutrons. These rays are called radiation.

Many substances around us naturally contain radiation. Due to the natural radiation in the soil, there is also radiation in food. Among foods, sunflower, carrot, potato, nut and mineral water contain higher levels of radiation than other foods. In addition, processed materials also generate radiation. For example, some rocks such as granite, sandstone, and limestone contain radiation. Buildings built with this are naturally a source of radiation.

How is radiation spread?


It can be propagated by wave, particle or energy packets called photons. In fact, it is an event that occurs constantly in nature. Radio waves in daily life, X-rays used in industry, and sun rays are the types of radiation we are used to. The first person to discover radiation was the French physicist Henri Becquerel in 1896. Becquerel made this discovery when he realized that uranium salt emits rays. After this date, studies of radiation in the literature have increased. As a result of these studies, today’s technology has been achieved, in which tremendous power is obtained by processing the uranium element.

What are the types of radiation?


There are different types of radiation, depending on the amount of energy obtained. These types of radiation are classified in different ways based on the energy levels they have and the way they propagate.

1. Alpha radiation

Alpha radiation consists of charged particles called alpha particles. These particles contain two protons and two neutrons and have the same structure as the helium nucleus. Because alpha radiation is less energetic than other types of radiation, it can be blocked from surfaces such as skin or paper.

2. Beta radiation

Beta radiation is emitted by high energy electrons or positrons (positively charged electrons). Beta radiation is more energetic than alpha radiation and can be blocked by materials such as aluminum plates several millimeters thick or human skin.

3. Gamma rays

Gamma rays are emitted as an electromagnetic beam and have the highest energy level compared to other types of radiation. Therefore, gamma rays have a deeper penetration than other types of radiation and require thicker barriers. Dense materials such as lead or concrete can be used to block gamma rays.

4. X-rays

X-rays are a type of electromagnetic beam and have high energy levels. X-rays, which are used in many fields such as medical imaging, have a penetration similar to gamma rays.

What are the disadvantages of radiation?


Ionizing radiation contains enough energy to break down DNA. Fragmentation of DNA means the death of the cell. As a result, tissues are naturally damaged and cancer can develop. Genetic effects occur due to damage to DNA. It can cause organ disorders in children of pregnant women. Cases of these conditions and cancers persist through several generations of radiation exposure. Radiation can cause permanent changes in the living body. The effects of radiation are more apparent in children and adolescents.

The first organs affected are the eyes. It is this radiation that causes eye disease and cataract disease in children who closely watch television. Radiation is a substance that is not easily destroyed in nature. Dust clouds laden with radioactive material can settle in the atmosphere and cause radioactive fallout elsewhere in the world. For example, the Chernobyl disaster only happened in Ukraine, but affected the Black Sea region and all of Europe. In addition, charged clouds have been mixed with drinking water for years and plants on the ground with radioactive rains, reaching the living things that consume them and affect their bodies. As a result of the accident that occurred at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, radioactive materials reached Canadian shores on the other side of the ocean two years later.

How much radiation can a person be exposed to?


According to the International Atomic Energy, a person is exposed to an average of 2.8 millisiverts (mSv) of radiation per year. While 85% of this is due to natural sources, namely soil, sun and cosmic rays from space, 14% is due to medical radiation (MR etc.) and 1% is man-made (radioactivity released in the atmosphere as a result of nuclear weapons tests and nuclear power plant). Because alpha, beta, and gamma rays are invisible to the naked eye, our organs, tissues, and entire body react to radiation without realizing it. We often do not notice this interaction, we do not know until the effects begin to occur.

Does radiation accumulate in the body?


Electromagnetic radiation in the external environment can come into direct contact with the human body. It can be exposed to radiation from external irradiation from the radiation emitted by radionuclides or from internal irradiation from ingestion of these radionuclides through the respiratory, digestive or circulatory systems. Since X-ray machines are not devices that emit radioactive material themselves, but produce X-rays when the necessary electrical energy is supplied, the radiation received in this way is instantaneous and does not accumulate in the human body. The amount of radioactive material in the body can be measured using the Whole Body Count System or by urine/faecal analysis.

What should be done to protect against radiation?


  • Leave the electrical appliances that you are not using turned off or unplugged, because as long as the appliances are in “standby” mode, they cause electromagnetic pollution.
  • Be sure to use a low-radiation computer screen or use a screen filter,
  • Be careful not to use halogen and fluorescent bulbs as a reading light.
  • Leave devices such as radio, telephone, tablet at a distance from your head when you go to bed at night.
  • Because the hair dryer creates a magnetic field, use it for short repetitions instead of using it for a long time.
  • You should avoid long conversations on mobile phones. Use headphones if possible.
  • Notebook computers (LCD screen) have a low EM field when used with a charge, please charge.
  • Keep a distance of at least 50 cm from copiers (high magnetic field).
  • If possible, use the shaver with a charge.
  • Stay at least 2 m away from TV screens (front and back).

What is Radiation?

Radiation are the energetic particles that are formed in different ways due to the release of energy in the nuclei of the materials around us. Radiation can be emitted as electromagnetic waves or particles.

What are radiation sources?

Natural sources are sun rays, radioactive elements and cosmic rays. Man-made sources include the use of radioactive materials, nuclear reactors, and medical imaging equipment.

What are the effects of radiation on human health?

High levels of radiation exposure can damage cells and cause serious health problems such as cancer. Low levels of radiation exposure can also cause long-term health problems.

How is radiation measured?

The radiation dose is usually measured in Sievert (Sv) or Gray (Gy). The intensity of radiation is influenced by a combination of exposure time and distance from the radiation source.

What can be done to protect against radiation?

Personal protective equipment can be used to protect against radiation, radiation sources can be avoided, and exposure time can be reduced. There are also regulations and guidelines to reduce the harmful effects of radiation.

How is radiation used in medical applications?

Radiation is used in medical applications for cancer treatment and other medical imaging procedures. Radiation therapy helps kill cancer cells and medical imaging procedures provide pictures of internal organs.

How does radiation affect the environment?

Radiation can have many negative effects on the living creatures and plants in the environment. High levels of radiation can affect the surrounding ecosystem and adversely affect vegetation, water resources and animal health.

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