Radioactivity and its Effects on Environment | Radioactive Pollution | Radioactive Radiations ~ Friendly Eco Might

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Radioactivity and its Effects on Environment | Radioactive Pollution | Radioactive Radiations


Risky Radiations

Pollution is an undesirable change in the physical, chemical or biological characteristics of our environment. Such changes can occur in air, water, soil, etc. Now-a-days, with increasing technology, pollution has also increased and has taken various forms. The new forms of pollution include noise pollution, thermal pollution and radioactive pollution. These are caused mainly due to the increasing usage of technology. This article deals about one such pollution which is the most hazardous of all i.e., Radioactive Pollution.

What is Radioactivity?

Radioactivity is the spontaneous emission of alpha particles (protons), beta particles (electrons) and gamma rays (electromagnetic waves of very short wavelength) by disintegration of the atomic nuclei of unstable isotopes of certain elements. The elements that give off such radiations as they disintegrate are said to be radioactive elements. Radioactivity is a special property of certain unstable isotopes of a few elements like radium, thorium, uranium, strontium, radon, etc.

Radioactive pollution is the physical pollution of air, water and soil by radioactive materials. When radiations from radioactive elements get mixed with these, they get contaminated. This type of contamination is very harmful to all living organism and can cause fatal diseases. 

When perils caused by air contaminated with radioactive elements are numerous. Water contamination leads to many deadly health hazards. When soil gets contaminated, plants take up a part of these materials, which then find their way into animals and humans through food chains.

Some of the most lethal isotopes of radioactive elements, which cause huge damage to our environment include:

  • Radium - 224  
  • Uranium - 235  
  • Uranium - 238  
  • Thorium - 232  
  • Radon - 222  
  • Potassium - 40 
  • Carbon - 14  
  • Strontium - 90  
  • Cesium - 137  
  • Iodine - 131  
  • Iodine - 125  
  • Potassium - 32
Sources of radioactive radiations

The harmful radioactive isotopes of certain elements, which contaminate our environment, come from various sources. These sources are both natural and man-made. Some of these sources are:

Natural sources

  • Cosmic rays from outer space 
  • Radiations from rocks
Man-made sources
  • Mining  
  • Refineries 
  • Atomic explosions
  • Atomic reactors 
  • Nuclear fuels used to produce electricity 
  • Radiation therapy for Detection and treatment of certain diseases
  • Production of radioactive materials
Radioactive radiations are very harmful to health and cause serious health problems, most of which are incurable and life threatening. It mostly affects the cells which are actively growing and dividing. 

Some of the Health hazards caused by radioactive radiations include:
  • Damage of white blood corpuscles 
  • Bone marrow injure 
  • Lymph nodes are harmed
  • Defective eyesight 
  • Foetus (or embryo) gets severely damaged or even killed
Control of Radioactive Pollution:
  • Strictly enforcing all safety measure in nuclear reactors, industries and laboratories to prevent leakage of radioactive elements. 
  • Disposal of radioactive wastes should be done carefully. It must either be changed into a harmless form or must be stored in a safe place where it can gradually decay without giving out too much radiation.
  • Regular checking of pollution level must be done in high risk areas.
  • Preventive measures must be taken to keep background radiation within  limits.
  • Workers whose work involves production or usage of radioactive materials should use safety equipment i.e., safety garments, radiation resistant cases and also radiation indicators to know the total amount of radiation to which they are exposed.
  • Atomic explosions and use of atomic weapons must be given up. These cause large scale destruction and their effects are long lasting. The first atomic atom was exploded in Nagasaki in Japan and the second one in Hiroshima. These two places are still facing the ill-effects of the explosions, even decades after they took place.
Radioactive pollution is a new form of pollution which is the by-product of increasing advancement in science and technology. It must be carefully checked and prevented as there is no cure for damage caused by radiation and its effects are long lasting and life threatening.

Tags: Radioactivity, radioactive radiations, radioactive radiations effect, effects of radiation radiations on living things, disadvantages of radioactive radiations, radioactive pollution effects, radioactive pollution causes, radioactive pollution effects on humans, radioactive pollution solutions

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The Author

Somanath Yadavalli is 19 year old guy, who is pursuing his B.Tech (Electronics and Communication Engineering) in The National Institute of Engineering, Mysore, Karnataka, India. He is managing several blogs from his own living room. His passion is to do something for his planet. Read more...

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