Biological hazards of nuclear radiations
When γ-ray or any high energy nuclear particle passes through human beings, it disrupts the entire normal functioning of the biological system and the effect may be either pathological or genetic.
The biological effects of nuclear radiation can be divided into three groups
1. Short term recoverable effects
2. long term irrecoverable effects and
3. genetic effect
The extent to which the human organism is damaged depends upon (i) the dose and the rate at which the radiation is given and (ii) the part of the body exposed to it.
Smaller doses of radiation exposure produce short term effects such as skin disorder and loss of hair.
If the exposure is 100 R*, it may cause diseases like leukemia (death of red blood corpuscle in the blood) or cancer. When the body is exposed to about 600 R, ultimately it causes death. Safe limit of receiving the radiations is about 250 milli roentgen per week.
The genetic damage is still worse. The radiations cause injury to genes in the reproductive cells. This gives rise to mutations which pass on from generation to generation.
The following precautions are to be taken for those, who are working in radiation laboratories.
1. Radioactive materials are kept in thick walled lead container.
2. Lead aprons and lead gloves are used while working in hazardous area.
3. All radioactive samples are handled by a remote control process.
A small micro−film badge is always worn by the person and it is checked periodically for the safety limit of radiation.