The mission of EPA’s Radiation Protection Program is to protect human health and the environment from unnecessary exposure to radiation. This page provides basic information about the health effects of radiation. EPA uses current scientific understanding of the health effects of radiation exposure to create protective standards and guidance.
Ionizing radiationHelpIonizing radiationRadiation with so much energy it can knock electrons out of atoms. Ionizing radiation can affect the atoms in living things, so it poses a health risk by damaging tissue and DNA in genes. has sufficient energy to cause chemical changes in cells and damage them. Some cells may die or become abnormal, either temporarily or permanently. By damaging the genetic material (DNA) contained in the body’s cells, radiation can cause cancer. Fortunately, our bodies are extremely efficient at repairing cell damage. The extent of the damage to the cells depends upon the amount and duration of the exposure, as well as the organs exposed.
A very large amount of radiation exposure (acute exposure), can cause sickness or even death within hours or days. Such acute exposures are extremely rare.
Radiation damage to tissue and/or organs depends on the dose of radiation received, or the absorbed dose which is expressed in a unit called the gray (Gy). The potential damage from an absorbed dose depends on the type of radiation and the sensitivity of different tissues and organs.
The effective dose is used to measure ionizing radiation in terms of the potential for causing harm. The sievert (Sv) is the unit of effective dose that takes into account the type of radiation and sensitivity of tissues and organs. It is a way to measure ionizing radiation in terms of the potential for causing harm. The Sv takes into account the type of radiation and sensitivity of tissues and organs.
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Talks on financing measures to help developing nations deal with the impact of climate change have failed, says MEP Rebecca Harms, co-President of the European Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament. In this interview, Harms speaks out critically against the lack of decisiveness among the leaders of the 27 member states of the European Union. A deal on climate finance here would have paved the way for a global agreement at the Copenhagen COP15 talks in December. Distributed by Tubemogul.
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