ATSDR - Toxic Substances - Ionizing Radiation
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Ionizing Radiation

CAS ID #: HZ1800-45-T

Affected Organ Systems: Dermal (Skin), Developmental (effects during periods when organs are developing), Musculoskeletal (Muscles and Skeleton), Neurological (Nervous System), Renal (Urinary System or Kidneys), Respiratory (From the Nose to the Lungs)

Cancer Classification: None

Chemical Classification: Radionuclides (radioactive materials)

Summary: Ionizing radiation is any one of several types of particles and rays given off by radioactive material, high-voltage equipment, nuclear reactions, and stars. The types that are normally important to your health are alpha particles, beta particles, x rays, and gamma rays. Alpha and beta particles are small, fast-moving bits of atoms that a radioactive atom gives off when it changes into another substance. X rays and gamma rays are types of electromagnetic radiation. These radiation particles and rays carry enough energy to knock out electrons from atoms and molecules (such as water, protein, and DNA) that they hit or pass near. This process is called ionization, which is why this radiation is called "ionizing radiation."


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