The hidden properties of radiation

Radiation is an emission of energy that everyone experiences, knowingly or unknowingly.

The hidden properties of radiation

Keeala Walsey, Writer

Radiation is not always harmful to the human environment. In fact radiation is all around us. There is radiation in everyday objects that you use and food that you eat. Bananas have naturally occurring radioactive isotopes, there is 0.1 microsieverts of radiation in each banana. 

The first type of radiation was found in 1896 by Henri Becquerel when he discovered radioactive properties in Uranium. Since then, humans have used radiation for the benefits of them and others. According to AACR Journals, the first record in history of radiation used dates back to 1901, where Becquerel experienced a severe skin burn while accidentally carrying a tube of radium in his vest pocket for 14 continuous days. 

Radiation is a form of energy that is emitted by various sources, including the sun, the earth, and man-made sources such as nuclear power plants.There are two types of radiation that are around us, ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation. 

According to the World Health Organization, ionizing radiation is radiation with enough energy to remove tightly bound electrons from the orbit of an atom, causing that atom to become charged or ionized. These types of radiation could cause mass destruction to the human body. Examples of ionizing radiation are heat or light from the sun, microwaves from an oven, X-rays from an X-ray tube and gamma rays from radioactive elements. 

One of these is more dangerous and deadly than the others, gamma rays. According to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, Gamma rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation. They are similar to X-rays, distinguished only by the fact that they are emitted from an excited nucleus. Gamma rays are produced by heat and energetic objects in the universe, sources of gamma rays can be from neutron stars and pulsars, supernova explosions, and regions around black holes.

All radiation is bad and can harm you, but with non-ionizing radiation there is less exposed radiation compared to ionizing radiation. According to the National Cancer Institute, non-ionizing radiation is “A type of low-energy radiation that does not have enough energy to remove an electron from an atom or molecule.” Examples of non-ionizing radiation are radiofrequency, microwaves, visible, infrared, and UV light, and also radiofrequency from cell phones. 

Although non-ionizing radiation is less radiation that any of the other listed above, non-ionizing radiation can still damage your body internally by damaging your tissue due to the heat that is radiated from these. Always remember that non-ionizing radiation is also considered a possible cause of cancer.