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Radiation Hazards

Chu, Helvin Khen G.C.

Nepomuceno, Johnfel
Sy, Alvin Kennedy
Tang, Alexander C.
Uy, Stephanie Grace C.
Electromagnetic Spectrum
Radiation Hazards
• Sources of radiation hazards
– Technology
– Environment
• The body cannot sense radiation and
protect itself from it
• Control of radiation is essential in
Radiation Hazards
• Two main categories of radiation
– Ionizing radiation
– Nonionizing radiation
Ionizing Radiation
• Energy transfer that changes the normal
electrical balance in an atom
• Becomes radioactive through emission of
particles from unstable nuclei
Types of Ionizing Radiation
• Alpha Particles
– Emitted from the nuclei of the atom
– High speed and high and high energy with
least penetration
– Concetrates on bones and body organ
– Route of entry: inhalation, digestion, and
through wounds
Types of Ionizing Radiation
• Beta particles
– Similar to alpha particles but has smaller
mass and capable of more penetration
– Same route of entry with alpha particles
– Can penetrate wood to 4 cm and human body
to 1 cm
Types of Ionizing Radiation
• Neutrons
– released upon disintegration of radioactive
– Highly penetrating and requires heavy
• Gamma radiation
– From nucleus of an atom
– Penetrates deeply into tissue
Types of Ionizing Radiation
• X-rays
– A form of electromagnetic radiation that is
produced when high speed electron strike the
target material inside the x-ray tube.
– The energy of the x-ray is inversely
proportional to the wavelength
Radiation Intensity
• Energy of the source
• Distance of the source
• Type of shielding present
Half-Value Layer

Type of radiation
Cobalt 60 (cm) Cesium 137 (cm)
Shielding Materials 1.2 0.6
Lead 2.1 1.6
Copper 2.2 1.7
Zinc 2.7 2.1
Concrete 6.6 5.3
Half-Life of Radioactive Isotopes
Element Symbol Mass Number Half-life
Carbon C 14 5730
Cesium Cs 137 30
Cobalt Co 60 5.4
Iodine I 131 0.02
Iron Fe 55 2.6
Nickel Ni 63 92
Polonium Po 210 8000
Radium Ra 226 1602
Radon Rn 222 3.82 d
Selenium Se 75 0.3
Sodium Na 22 2.6
Strontium Sr 90 2.8
Sulfur S 35 0.2
Uranium U 238 4.5*109
Biological Effects of Ionizing
Radiation Exposure
• Humans and animals are exposed to
naturally occurring ionizing radiation
– Radon, Radium, Uranium, and Sun
– 80 mrem/year
– A typical dose-response relationship exists to
describe this exposure
Biological Effects of Ionizing
Radiation Exposure
• Synthetic radiation has somewhat greater
than background radiation
– X ray, CAT scans, MRI, or radioactive
isotopes used for medical purposes
• Radiation treatment may also cause
adverse physical effects
Biological Effects of Ionizing
Radiation Exposure
• Energy is transferred when radiation
passes through a substance
– Dose – amount of radiation absorbed
– Effects – depends on two factors
• Type of radiation
• Exposure time
• Ionizing radiation can either destroy cell
reproduction or cause cell mutation
Biological Effects of Ionizing
Radiation Exposure
• Ionizing radiation causes atoms and
molecules to become ionized or excited.
– Produce free radicals.
– Break chemical bonds.
– Produce new chemical bonds and cross-
linkage between macromolecules.
– Damage molecules that regulate vital cell
processes (e.g. DNA, RNA, proteins).
Biological Effects of Ionizing
Radiation Exposure
• Cells can repair low levels of damages,
such as those from background radiation
• At higher levels, cell death results. At
extremely high doses, cells cannot be
replaced quickly enough, and tissues fail
to function.
• Radiation sensitivity
Biological Effects of Ionizing
Radiation Exposure
• It usually takes time before the adverse effects
can be observed
– Latent period – duration before effects are observed
• Response of body tissues or organs vary with
respect to the irradiation. Tissue sensitivity is
– proportional to the rate of proliferation of its cells
– inversely proportional to the degree of cell
Biological Effects of Ionizing
Radiation Exposure
• Prompt effects: effects, including
radiation sickness and radiation burns,
seen immediately after large doses of
radiation delivered over short periods of
• Delayed effects: effects such as cataract
formation and cancer induction that may
appear months or years after a radiation
Effects of Radiation in our body
• Cancer
• Cataracts
• Skin damage
• Hematologic deficiencies
• Impairment of fertility or fetus
Genetic effects of radiation of
• Gene mutations
• Chromosome aberration
Radiation safety program should
• Safe working procedures
• Identify and quantify radiation
• Decontaminate
• Dispose of hazardous materials and
• Maintain proper records
Equipments used in detecting
ionizing radiation
• Film badges
• Dosimeters
• Thermo luminescence detectors
• Ionization chambers
• Geiger-Mueller counters

* Radiation meters should be calibrated with

standard laboratory procedures by
qualified personel to assure their reliability
• The longer the time of exposure to ionizing
radiation, the higher the probability of
damage to tissue and organs

• Direct proportional relationship between

time of exposure and dose
• When a person moves away from the
radiation source, the radiation intensity
falls off by the square of the distance

• Hazardous radiation areas in the

workplace should be restricted to
employee entry and signs should be
Standard symbol for radiation
Forms of shielding
• Cladding on radioactive material
• Heavy-walled containers
• Concrete cells
• Deep layers of water
*radiation can easily contaminate air,water
and solid materials.
Degree of toxicity of radioactive
• Depends upon the amount and kind of
radiation materials
• Usually measureable through continous
monitoring devices

• Can be controlled by limiting the exposure

time and rate ( additional shielding or
locating personnel away from the source)
• If potential air inhalation hazard exists,
personnel should be evacuate to a safe
Skin cuts or abrasions
• Unwanted effect takes place many years
after exposure, record keeping should be
Nonionizing Radiation
• Radio
• TV
• Microwave
• Infrared
• Visible light
• Ultraviolet
Nonionizing Radiation
• Ultraviolet Radiation

• Visible Energy

• Infrared Radiation

• Microwaves

• Laser
Ultraviolet Radiation
• Vitamin D3

• Prevents ricketts

• Decrease infectious diseases

• Black Light
• λ => 400 – 320 nm
• Applications:
– Fluorescent light
– Sun-tan
– Sterilizing medical equipments
– Disinfecting fish tanks
• Erythermal Region
• λ => 320 – 280 nm
• Adverse Effect:
– Keratitis
• λ => 280 – 100 nm
• Bacterial and germicidal effects
• Risk: Welding Arcs
– Irritation and burning of the eye
– Protection:
– Wear safety Eye Protection
– Ensure safe distance
UV-Regions Summary

UV Region Wavelength Effect

UV-A 400 -320 Suntan

UV-B 320-280 Sunburn, eye

UV-C 280-100 Bactericidal
Risks of UV Overexposure-Skin
• Skin
– Sun Burns
– photoaging
– Skin Cancer
• NMSC(Non Melanoma skin cancer)
• Malignant Melanoma skin cancer
Risks of UV Overexposure-Skin
– Factors for melanoma skin cancer
• Blond / red hair
• Fair skin
• Light colored eyes
• Frequent sun exposure
• Frequent sun burns
• Moles, freckles, birthmarks
Risks of UV Overexposure-eyes
• Photokeratitis (snow blindness)
– Inflammation of cornea
• Photoconjunctivitis
– -inflammation of conjunctiva
• Blindness
– Degeneration of retina and cortical cataracs
Visible Light
Visible Spectrum
• Approx: 380 – 750 nm wavelength

• Passes through cornea and lens

• Damage optical nerves on the retina

Infrared radiation

• Red visible light region to microwaves

which is 750nm to 3mm
• Occurs from difference in temperature
between the higher temperature energy
source and the receiver
Infrared radiation
• Heating rates are controlled by radiant
energy intensity, absorption of the
exposed surfaces and heat loss in
• IR heats the skin of an exposed person
depending on the wavelength, the quantity
of energy transmitted and length of
Infrared radiation

• Damaged to the eyes and skin tissues

• Exposure to IR with wavelength greater
than 770nm should not exceed 10mW/sq.
cm over any 0.1 hr period
• Microwave ovens are used to heat, cook
and defrost foods.
• The higher the frequency, the lower the
health hazard
• At frequencies lower than 3000MHz if the
intensity is string enough it can rise body
temperature and localized skin damages
can occur
• Safety in microwave ovens, is to make
sure that the power tubes and waveguides
should be shielded at all times
• light amplification by stimulated emission
of radiation
• collimated, which means it travels in a
narrow beam for long distances
• coherent, which means that the light
waves stay synchronized over long
• One color
Laser pointers
• In December, of 1997, after receiving
reports about possible eye injuries, the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
issued a warning about hand held laser
• Theoretically, retinal damage can occur
from staring (without blinking) directly into
a collimated laser beam for more than 10
Laser pointers
• Also, the beams should never be viewed
with an optical aid, such as binoculars or
as magnifying glass as this could intensify
their effect on the retina.
• Momentary exposure from laser pointers
may cause temporary flash blindness,
glare or the appearance of afterimages.