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the-environment.org.uk - How does radioactivity / radiation occur in the Environment?

Home > Discussion > How does radioactivity / radiation occur in the Environment?

There are two type of radiation man made and natural.

Natural Radiation

1 - Radon gas which comes from the radioactive decay of elements contained within some rocks.

2 - Background Radiation from minerals, foods, rocks, building materials.

3 - From space - cosmic radiation.

Manmade Radiation (From Nuclear Power Stations / Medical equipment)

For various uses man has concentrated radioactivity substances so that they can be used for nuclear power or maybe x rays.

Radioactive materials will "decay" over time.

geiger counter environment

Radioactive decay is measured in half life's, ie the time it takes for the radioactivity of a material to half in intensity.

Some radioactive substances such as uranium have a half life measured in years, so there radioactivity will take many years to diminish.

Other substances such as iodine have a much shorter half and so the radioactivity may last only a few days.

In my limited knowledge I guess there must be other substances with even shorter half life than Iodine.

Elements such as iodine and strontium are readily absorbed by the human body which makes them particularly damaging to health. For example iodine is used for the functioning of various glands (thyroid) within the body, and may cause cancers etc within these delicate tissues.

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