Effects of Radiation on Health
By: Peter and Praveet
Mr. Schmit
Standards 901, 903, 904

The purpose of these pages is to go into detail on what happens when people or animals are exposed to various levels of radiation

To present this type of project, a photo gallery would probably be the best option.

Ionizing Radiation
external image 300px-Alfa_beta_gamma_radiation_penetration.svg.png

Ionizing Radiation comes in various forms such as alpha particles, beta particles, neutrons, gamma rays, and cosmic rays.

When these rays or particles interact with an atom they can knock off an orbital electron. The loss of an electron can cause problems, including everything from cell death to genetic mutation (leading to cancer), in any living thing.

Because of the size of alpha and beta particles they are not dangerous to humans unless inhaled or eaten.

Cosmic rays come from the sun and dying / exploded stars and are usually stopped in the atmosphere making them not dangerous to us.

Neutrons and gamma rays are different though; neutrons lack a charge so are able to pass through materials very easily. Gamma rays are the release of high energy from radioactive atoms when they decay, this energy gives them
their high penetrating ability. These two forms of radiation are the most detrimental to living things.


This ionizing radiation causes changes in the cells of living organisms. It does this by breaking the chemical bonds that hold together groups of atoms (molecules).

One way it does this in humans is by damaging the DNA molecules (molecules containing a person's genetic information). Usually, this damage can be repaired but other times the damage to the DNA molecules can be to severe
and will affect the ability of the cells to do their work and to pass information to new cells.

All effects on a person depend on exposure time and dosage of radiation received.

High amounts of radiation in a short period of time causes cellular death. While low amounts of radiation for a longer period of time causes defective cells.
When cells become defective they start to send incorrect information throughout the body, and cause genetic problems in decendents.

These effects are categorized into two areas, threshold and non-threshold effects.

Note: Animals are more effected than humans by radiation
Threshold Effects
High doses of radiation received in a short period of time.

Some of these effects include:

- Radiation sickness and death
- Cataracts
- Sterility
- Loss of hair
- Reduced thyroid function
- Skin radiation burns

Threshold effects are noticeable soon after exposure.
Non-Threshold Effects
Lower dosage of radiation then threshold effects and exposure time may be much longer.

These effects include:

- Genetic problems (usually in animals)
- Fetal problems
- Cancer

Non-Threshold effects do not become apparent until years

Uses of Radiation in Health

Nuclear medicine uses radioactive material to accuratly evaluate disease statuses.

Radiopharmaceuticals (acts like radiooactive sugar) are introduced into the body by injection, swallowing or inhalation.
This contains a low amount of radiation to determine an accurate medical evaluation but not harm the individual.

Because it is like a sugar, the body processes it normally.

The radiopharmaceuticals are modified to target specific organs.

The doctor can then take accurate images of the body part, and then allows them to study a variety of diseases.
Also they can study the disease by seeing how it uses the radioactive sugar.

Other forms of radiation in health fields include:
X-rays, CT scans, and different therapies (for cancer)

Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen
Wilhelm was a German physicist in 1800s.

He is best known for on 8 November 1895, producing and detecting electromagnetic radiation in a wave length.

Today this is known as an X-ray, it also earned him the Noble Prize in Physics in 1901.

He is also know for having one of the first theories of radiation treatment in cancer patients.

Photo Gallery (WARNING-GRAPHIC)=
TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

japan_burn.jpgh26_37921.jpgNagasaki_injured_child.jpg Victim_of_Atomic_Bomb_003.jpgHiroshima_girl.jpgradiation-poisoning-or-the.jpgSumiteru_Taniguchi_back.jpg

Burn Victims

Birth Defects
Incinerated People
230px-Neck_Turner.jpg 220px-Patauhand.png thumbnailCA5LYZFC.jpg
Chromosomal Abnomalities

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