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Radiation Essay

1234 words - 5 pages

Radiation is something that we are exposed to on a daily basis; it is in the air we breathe. Radiation is used in hospitals, research labs, and in many medical procedures. It is also commonly used as a treatment for cancer. In some cases it helps and in others it does not. Radiation is used for cancer treatment because it kills cells. The issue is that it is killing healthy cells at the same time it is killing cancerous cells. Even though medical imaging emits radiation, it makes it possible for us to detect injuries and significant diseases. Radiation is measured in a few different ways, and has numerous side effects on our body depending on the dosage. We are exposed to it in the environment unintentionally, and at times in treatment purposely. Additionally, there is current research in effort to reduce the amount of radiation in medical procedures.
We must first understand what radiation is. Radiation is when excess energy is released. This process happens when unstable atoms become stable. This happens to radioactive materials. There are three common types of radiation emissions. They are alpha particles, beta particles, and Gamma rays. Alpha particles can be dangerous if they are inhaled or ingested. They can also enter your body through a cut, but it cannot bypass human skin. Beta particles can be very dangerous to your health if they are ingested, inhaled, or if it enters through a cut. It is important to know that it can at times enter through your skin, unlike alpha particles. In most cases, it is best to have a thicker layer covering your skin so that you’re positive it does not go through your skin. The most severe type of radiation emission is through Gamma rays. Like the other two, it can cause severe damage if it is inhaled or ingested. The significant thing about this type, is that it will go through skin, wood, and other substances. In order to fully protect yourself, it is said that you need something as thick as a concrete wall.
We must understand how radiation is measured and what amount out bodies can withstand without severe side effects. Radiation dosage that people receive is measured in rem or Sievert. Rem, or roentgen equivalent in man, is a common way to measure radiation. The following information will help you understand what amount of radiation is small versus large. A short dose of radiation is 50rem. 50rem to 200rem is slightly more intense and can cause illness and slight side effects. 200 rem to 1000 rem is very intense. Over 1,000 rem will most likely cause death. On the other hand, one Sievert is equal to 100rem. If you were to survive a high dosage of radiation, there is a greater chance of developing cancer such as breast cancer, lung cancer, and leukemia down the road.
The degree to which it effects the human body relays on the following four points. First, it depends on the amount of radiation we are exposed to. Second, the type of radiation. Third, how we are exposed to it. Lastly, it depends on the...

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