Impact on Human Body




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Chapter 2 : Impact on Human Body



Effects of Nuclear Radiation on Human Body arrow_upward


  • Nuclear Radiation is the emission of electromagnetic energy waves and particles through space and physical objects.
  • According to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), humans are continually subjected to nuclear radiation from natural and man-made sources with no ill effect.
  • Higher dose of radiation, or constant exposure to lower dose, can affect humans.
  • Ionization produced by hard radiation leads to the formation of free radicals- atoms and molecules “missing” an electron in the cells.
  • A free radical tries to take away the “missing” electron from neighboring bonds, causing a chain of free radical formation.
  • The integrity of cells and DNA molecules is violated.
  • The results of the effects of radiation are:
  • There are two main periods of danger after accidents at nuclear power plants.
    • External irradiation
    • Internal radiation


    Unit of Measurement arrow_upward


  • The unit used to measure radiation dosage is the rem, which stands for roentgen equivalent in man.
  • It represents the amount of radiation needed to produce a particular amount of damage to living tissue.
  • The total dose of rems determines how much harm a person suffers.
  • The rem is the traditional unit of equivalent dose, but it is being replaced by the Sievert (Sv), which is equal to 100 rems.

  • Questions Regarding Nuclear Radiation Exposure arrow_upward


  • How much radiation does it take to cause risk on a person’s health?
  • What are the health effects that can occur if there is enough exposure?
  • Is there a level of radiation that is safe?

  • Answers arrow_upward


  • Doses of 300 rems or more cause temporary hair loss, but also more significant internal harm, including damage to nerve cells and the cells that line the digestive tract.
  • Severe loss of white blood cells, which are the body's main defense against infection, makes radiation victims highly vulnerable to disease.
  • Radiation also reduces production of blood platelets, which aid blood clotting, so victims of radiation sickness are also vulnerable to hemorrhaging.
  • Half of all people exposed to 450 rems die, and doses of 800 rems or more are always fatal.

  • Body Parts affected by Radiation arrow_upward


  • Hair:
    • The losing of hair quickly and in clumps occurs with radiation exposure at 200 rems or higher.
  • Brain:
    • Since brain cells do not reproduce, they won't be damaged directly unless the exposure is 5,000 rems or greater.
  • Blood System:
    • When a person is exposed to around 100 rems, the blood's lymphocyte cell count will be reduced, leaving the victim more susceptible to infection.
    • This is often referred to as Mild Radiation Sickness.
    • Early symptoms of radiation sickness mimic those of flu and may go unnoticed unless a blood count is done.
  • Thyroid:
    • Certain body parts are more specifically affected by exposure to different types of radiation sources.
    • The thyroid gland is susceptible to radioactive iodine.
    • Radioactive iodine can destroy all or part of the thyroid.
    • By taking potassium iodide one can reduce the effects of exposure.

  • Heart:
    • Intense exposure to radioactive material at 1,000 to 5,000 rems would do immediate damage to small blood vessels and probably cause heart failure and death directly.
  • Gastrointestinal Tract:
    • Radiation damage to the intestinal tract lining will cause nausea, bloody vomiting and diarrhea.
    • This occurs when the victim's exposure is 200 rems or more.
    • The radiation will begin to destroy the cells in the body that divide rapidly.
  • Reproductive Tract:
    • Reproductive tract cells divide rapidly: these areas of the body can be damaged at rem levels as low as 200.

    Long Term Effects on Humans arrow_upward


  • Long after the acute effects of radiation have subsided, radiation damage continues to produce a wide range of physical problems.
  • These effects including leukemia, cancer, and many others appear two, three, even ten years later.
  • Blood Disorders:
    • According to Japanese data, there was an increase in anemia among persons exposed to the bomb.
    • In some cases, the decrease in white and red blood cells lasted for up to ten years after the bombing.

    The Effect of Radiation on Human Body

  • Cataracts:
    • There was an increase in cataract rate of the survivors at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who were partly shielded and suffered partial hair loss.
  • Malignant Tumors:
    • All ionizing radiation is carcinogenic, but some tumor types are more readily generated than others.
    • A prevalent type is leukemia.
    • The cancer incidence among survivors of
    • Hiroshima and Nagasaki is significantly larger than that of the general population.
    • A significant correlation between exposure level and degree of incidence has been reported for thyroid cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, and cancer of the salivary gland.

    Genetic Effects arrow_upward


  • Genetic mutations occur from incorrect repair of damaged chromosomes in egg or sperm cells.
  • Radiation-caused genetic mutations have been shown in animal studies at very high radiation doses (>25 rem).
  • Radiation-caused genetic mutations have not been seen in exposed human populations.

  • Radiation Protection arrow_upward


  • It is generally assumed that even very small doses of ionizing radiation can potentially be harmful.
  • Persons must be protected from ionizing radiation at all dose levels.
  • Many foods and herbs have shown efficacy in helping to protect against radiation poisoning.
  • Some are as follows:
    • Garlic,
    • Foods rich in beta-carotene,
    • Ginger,
    • Chlorella, a blue-green algae,
    • Tomato extract (Lycopersicon),
    • Reishi mushrooms,
    • Cordyceps mushroom,
    • Magnesium pemoline,
    • Sesamol (an extract from sesame seeds),
    • Melatonin applied to the skin.
  • Antioxidants can reduce consequences of radiation exposure.


  • Thank You from Kimavi arrow_upward


  • Please email us at Admin@Kimavi.com and help us improve this tutorial.


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