Natural and Artificial Sources of Background Radiation

Natural and Artificial Sources of Background Radiation

Natural Sources of Background Radiation:

  • Radiation that originates from the space outside of our planet, which is called cosmic radiation. It mainly comes from the sun and other stars.
  • Underground radioactive materials such as uranium and radon gas also contribute to the background radiation.
  • Some food and drink items, for example bananas and water, contain small amounts of radioactive substances and thus contribute to background radiation.
  • Our own body also is a source of natural radiation. It contains radioactive isotopes like potassium-40 and carbon-14, which are continually produced and decay inside our body.

Artificial Sources of Background Radiation:

  • Medical procedures such as X-rays and radioactive treatments contribute significantly to the artificial radiation that we encounter daily.
  • The production and testing of nuclear weapons generate a considerable amount of radiation.
  • Some industrial processes, like the ones in fossil fuel power stations or nuclear power stations, also produce radiation.
  • Certain consumer products, such as smoke detectors and luminous dials on watches, contain small amounts of radioactive substances.
  • Waste materials from nuclear power plants and other nuclear facilities are an important source of artificial background radiation, if not properly managed and disposed.

Remember, even though we are exposed to radiation from these various sources every day, the amount is usually quite small and does not cause any serious harm. The problem arises when we encounter abnormal amounts of radiation, which can potentially lead to health issues like cancer. Therefore, it is crucial in certain industries and professions to monitor and control exposure to radiation.