Radiation effects on the human body and protection means from radiation pollution
The radiation pollution is the increase of the amount of radiation in the environment, The sources of radiation pollution are natural sources and artificial sources, Natural sources are represented by natural radioactive materials found on the Earth’s surface (the radioactive elements) and the cosmic radiation that comes from the outer space.
The artificial sources take place due to the explosion of nuclear bombs that some countries do as experiments from time to time and they take place due to the nuclear reactors, Such as the radiation pollution due to the explosion in the Russian reactor at Chernobyl, It occurs on 26 th of April 1986 as a result of an error in operation.
The explotion in the Russian reactor at Chernobyl causes the melting of reactor core led to the nuclear explosion and the release of many radioactive elements, These elements formed an atomic cloud, This polluted cloud was carried by the wind to many countries in Europe.
When the rain fell in May, It carried the radioactive elements to the Earth surface, The plants and the soil were polluted by the fallen radioactive isotopes (elements), The isotopes are the atoms of the same element which contain the same number of the protons and the different number of the neutrons.
The cows and the sheep ate these plants, Their milk products and meat were polluted by the radiation, This procedure shows how the radiation effects were transferred to the man all over the world due to Chernobyl accident. .
The elements that were found in the polluted food after the Chernobyl accident are iodine and cesium isotopes, they are produced from the decay of the nuclear fuel (Uranium – 235) when absorbing the neutrons.
Radiation effects on the human body
The radiation effects on the human body differ in the amount of radiation and duration of the exposure to the radiation, These effects can be divided into two groups, The effects due to exposure to a large dosage of radiation for a short time and the effects due to exposure to a small dosage of radiation for a long time (months or years).
Effects due to exposure to a large dosage of radiation for a short time
This will lead to the damage of the bone marrow, Spleen, Digestive system, Central nervous system, The bone marrow (responsible for the formation of red blood cells) is the first which is affected by the radiation causing decrease in the number of red blood cells and this leads to a feeling of being sick, sore throat accompanied by nausea, vertigo, and diarrhea.
Effects due to exposure to a small dosage of radiation for a long time (months or years)
The most important effects are the physical effects , the genetic effects and the cellular effects, The physical effects are the changes that appear on a living being as a result of the exposure to the radiation, The genetic effects are the changes in the sex chromosomes composition which result in abnormal birth.
The cellular effects are the changes in the composition of the cells which lead to destroying the cells, For instance, if the chemical composition of the hemoglobin changes, it becomes incapable of carrying oxygen.
Means of protection from radiation pollution
The measuring unit of absorbed radiation is the Rem, The maximum safe dose of nuclear radiation should not exceed 5 rem for a human in a day, You should not be exposed to the maximum safe doses of nuclear radiation (5 rem in one day).
The workers with the radioactive elements in labs and the hospitals should wear radiation protective gloves, clothes and masks, Issue laws for the nuclear stations to cool the hot water before throwing it in the seas and lakes, And some nuclear plants make the artificial lakes for themselves to throw their nuclear wastes.
Radioactive wastes should be away from underground water’s path, So, it will not be polluted, The area chosen for storing radioactive wastes should be a steady one (not exposed to the earthquakes and the volcanoes) and away from the animals that live in the caves.
The nuclear wastes of weak and medium radiation are surrounded by a cement layer or rocks and they are placed deep inside the ground, while the nuclear wastes of strong radiation are cooled using the water, then they are deeply buried in the ground away from inhabited areas (so as not be injury the living being in the seas and the lakes).