Exposure to Radiation
Created by: Chloe Colyar and Ashley Uribe


This is caused by the travel of a energy through material or through space. Including light, heat or sound (orise.orau.gov).
Humans are exposed to radiation every single day but the degrees of harm vary. There are three types of radiation, alpha, beta and gamma ranging from least damaging to most. Gamma rays are the rays used in medicine. Gamma rays helps destroys certain cancerous cells. But of course there's a downside too much exposure to gamma rays. Too much exposure can cause ionization, which is when they release electrons from the atoms they hit and can be harmful to healthy cells.

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Examples of Radiation

  • Exposure to the sun
  • Microwaves
  • Cancer Treatments
  • X-rays
  • Radio waves
  • Gamma Rays
  • Infrared Rays


As shown in the picture above, long waves are less harmful than shorter waves. Despite contrary belief, standing in front of a microwave does not do as much damage as getting an consecutive amount of x-rays.

Effects of Radiation

Radiation in small doses does not do much harm. But over time and in large amounts can become more and more harmful.
Health Effect
Time to Onset
(without treatment)
changes in blood chemistry



hair loss
2-3 weeks


possible death
within 2 months
destruction of intestinal lining

internal bleeding

and death
1-2 weeks
damage to central nervous system

loss of consciousness;

and death
hours to days

Safe Levels of Radiation

No amount of radiation is considered to be safe considering the effects that come along with it. But there are "safe amounts" that an average person can survive with. To find the safe amount of radiation it is important to first find what types of radiation you are exposed to. Doses of radiation are measured in millirem or "mrem". Radiation from the earth or atmosphere is averaged at 230 mrems a year. Cosmic radiation depends on altitude but it is around 20 mrems at sea level to 100 mrems at an elevation of 2 miles. Terrestrial also varies on location but should be around 20 mrems a year. In our body we absorb about 25 mrems from natural elements. Altogether an average of 310 mrems are absorbed by humans in the U.S.
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Background Radiation

This is the type of radiation naturally occurring on the planet. There are many examples of natural background radiation and some include, terrestrial, cosmic and internal. Terrestrial is formed from the Earth and it's atmosphere such as in the water, rocks and soil. Cosmic radiation comes from the sky meaning the stars and the sun. Differences in elevation can fluctuate the cosmic radiation in the atmosphere. And then internal radiation is found inside all human beings consisting of radioactive potassium-40 and carbon-14 which we are born with.

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Ways to Protect Yourself

There are multiple ways to protect oneself from the effects of radiation. One of these is in the foods and vitamins that we eat. Garlic, ginger, seaweed, miso are some of the foods that are known to help decrease the damages of radiation. Vitamins D3, Vitamin E, Thiol, Beta- glucan are also some other options. Potassium Iodine pills are one of the most common ways to protect the populations from radiation. But what most people don't know is that they get potassium iodine in their daily food intake. Table salt has potassium iodine and most of today's society use table salt in their meals. But potassium iodine does not protect you from every radioactive isotopes. But the residents that live within a 10 mile radius from a nuclear power plant must have access to these pills by the law passed by Congress in 2002.
iodine in their daily food intake. Table salt has potassium iodine and most of today's society use table salt in their meals. But potassium iodine does not protect you from every radioactive isotopes. But former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama's
administrations did not enforce this law and in result, America does not have a decent stockpile for the nation in case of a nuclear emergency

The Health Risks of Radiation Exposure

Multiple Choice - OK ~Mr. C.

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