ATSDR - Toxic Substances - Americium
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Americium

CAS ID #: 7440-35-9

Affected Organ Systems: Musculoskeletal (Muscles and Skeleton), Neurological (Nervous System)

Cancer Classification: None

Chemical Classification: Radionuclides (radioactive materials)

Summary: Americium is a man-made radioactive chemical. Americium has no naturally occurring or stable isotopes. Two important isotopes of americium are americium 241 (241Am) (read as americium two-forty-one) and 243Am. Both isotopes have the same chemical behavior in the environment and the same chemical effects on your body. 241Americium is used in ionization smoke detectors. There is no broad commercial use for 243Am. Nuclear reactors, nuclear explosions, or the radioactive transformation of plutonium can produce both 241Am and 243Am. These isotopes transform by giving off alpha radiation and turning into radionuclides of other elements. The half-life of a radioactive material is the time it takes for half of the material to give off its radiation. The half-life of 241Am is 432 years and that of 243Am is 7,370years.

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