Most people have heard about radioactive materials and why it’s a good idea for some businesses to use radiation shielding. In fact, there are thousands of articles and books on the subject, but many people still don’t understand how radioactive materials can cause harm, and why they need to be avoided. Let’s look closer at this issue to give you a better idea of what is going on around you.
What is Radiation?
Anything that creates or radiates heat or energy produces radiation. When you feel warm sun rays on your face, you are receiving energy radiated from the sun. However, even animals and the ground can radiate energy, and there are 3 common types:
Alpha – particles are similar to the nuclei of helium atoms. They are highly charged and cannot travel a long distance. Your skin offers effective protection from alpha rays.
Beta – the electrons move at very high speeds. They can move farther than alpha rays but are considered medium strength. They can be shielded with aluminum sheets.
Gamma – these dangerous rays come from photons and contain a great deal of energy. The most effective radiation shielding is done with lead.
Why the Big Concern with Radiation?
The world may appear to be solid and firm, but in reality, all matter is composed of atoms which contain a lot of space. In fact, things that are very tiny (like neutrinos) can easily pass through the human body, and this happens all the time.
Radiation has the power to affect the cells in your body. In fact, over time it can cause damage and cell mutations, and this may lead to problems like cancer, where cell growth becomes rapid and takes over normal tissue growth. How is this prevented? By making sure you use the best radiation shielding methods when you are exposed to dangerous radiation.