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Radioactivity Essay

960 words - 4 pages

Radioactivity is a looming threat that many people do not seem to know about. Ever since the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the internet has been swarming with reports about how the radiation can reach the West Coast and harm Californians. This has been confirmed by experts; radioactivity was expected to show up in April and has already been found in kelp along the sea. Radioactivity is a serious threat to humans, and people should be more aware of the risks related to it, especially now, when there are signs of radioactivity in the West Coast.
The main argument that people use to keep themselves from accepting the harsh reality of radioactive poisoning is that since there have been no ...view middle of the document...

If ingested, though, it can stay in the body for an extremely long time (It has a biological half-life of 200 years) and can accumulate in the bones, leading to an increased risk of multiple types of cancer. When beta and/or gamma rays go through the body’s cells, they can have seriously damaging effects. When they enter the cell, they can cause the DNA to literally break the bonds that hold it together; resulting in abnormal mutations, aberrations, and cell death. If these mutations are left unchecked, they could possibly lead to cancer. Another problem that could arise due to radioactivity is genetic defects; if a reproductive cell is hit by a radioactive particle, the chance exists that a mutation could occur and pass on to the offspring. Studies have shown that full body radiation exposure is very closely associated with leukemia, because bone marrow is very sensitive to radioactivity. In children, the chance of getting radiation-induced leukemia is double that of adults. Typically, a radioactive material will cause cancer in the area where it accumulates (i.e. iodine-131 can cause thyroid cancer).
We are being hit with over 15,000 particles of radiation every day from natural sources like the Sun. You may be wondering, if this is so, how come everyone isn’t getting cancer? The probability of radioactivity affecting us is very small (1/1 quadrillion) but the fact remains that there is a chance, and the new generation of technology is making it worse, with computers, cell phones, and TVs; all of which add up the total amount of radiation we are being exposed to daily. This may be one of the reasons why WHO (World Health Organization) is declaring that in 20 years, cancer cases will rise by 57%! Lifestyle factors introduced (also by the new generation) also play a role in the increased cancer rates....

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