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IONIZING RADIATION. Non-Ionizing Radiation Does not have enough energy to remove electrons from surrounding atoms. There Are Lots Of Types Of Radiation . Atomic Structure. All matter is made up of atoms Protons Neutrons Electrons Not all atoms are stable

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Atomic Structure

  • All matter is made up of atoms
    • Protons
    • Neutrons
    • Electrons
  • Not all atoms are stable
  • Unstable atoms are known as radioactive atoms
our bodies are resilient
Our Bodies Are Resilient
  • DNA damage is most important and can lead to cell malfunction or death.
  • Our body has ~ 60 trillion cells
    • Each cell takes “a hit” about every 10 seconds, resulting in tens of millions of DNA breaks per cell each year.
    • BACKGROUND RADIATION causes only a very small fraction of these breaks (~ 5 DNA breaks per cell each year).
  • Our bodies have a highly efficient DNA repair mechanisms
alpha particle
Alpha Particle

An alpha particle contains two protons and two neutrons. An alpha particle is essentially the nucleus of a helium nucleus (but with a great deal more energy). It has a charge of positive two. It is represented by the following chemical symbol.


Alpha Radiation is only a hazard when inside your body (internal hazard)

Your skin will stop it

can’t penetrate skin

internal hazard

stopped by paper

found in soil, radon and other radioactive materials

beta particle
Beta Particle

The beta particle is a high energy electron. It has a charge of negative one. It has the following symbol.



Beta Radiation is a Skin, Eye and Internal Hazard

skin, eye and internal hazard

stopped by plastic

found in natural food, air and water

gamma radiation
Gamma rays (and Xrays and Cosmic rays ) are electromagnetic radiation. They are pure energy with no no charge or mass. The gamma ray has the following symbol.

Gamma Radiation

X and gamma radiation are penetrating

radiation and an EXTERNAL HAZARD.

found in medical uses

stopped by lead

naturally present in soil and cosmic radiation

background and manufactured radiation in the u s contributes 360 mrem per year
Background and Manufactured Radiation In the U.S. Contributes 360 mrem per Year

radon - 200

cosmic - 28

diet - 40

terrestrial - 28

uses of radiation
Uses of Radiation

Food sterilization

Nuclear Power

Industrial and Medical Uses

Consumer products


Manufactured sources of radiation contribute an average of 60 mrem/year

cigarette smoking - 1300 mrem


round trip US by air


medical - 53

5 mrem per trip

building materials - 3.6

smoke detectors - 0.0001



fallout < 1

radiation versus radioactive contamination
Radiation Versus Radioactive Contamination
  • Radiation is particles or waves of energy emitted from unstable atoms.
  • Radioactive Contamination is radioactive material usually in any location you do not want it.
biological effects of radiation

Biological Effects of Radiation

Early scientists determined that radiation was a useful tool but it could hurt you.

Radiation can cause burns and cellular damage.

biological effects of radiation1

Biological Effects of Radiation

The principle hazard from radiation exposure is an increase in the risk of cancer induction.

monitoring radiation exposure

Radiation dosimeters measures radiation dose to people.

minimize dose by good practices
Minimize Dose By Good Practices
  • TIME - reduce time of exposure
  • DISTANCE - increase distance
  • SHIELDING - use shielding

Radiation is detected with survey meters

Beta, Gamma & X-ray Survey Meter

Alpha Survey Meter