What is Radioactive Contamination?
Radioactive contamination is the unwanted presence of radioactive materials on surfaces or within solids (including the human body), liquids, or gases.
What Causes Radioactive Contamination?
The contamination results from radiations emitted by the radioactive decay of unstable heavy atoms into the environment. There are two sources of radioactive contamination:
- Natural sources (cosmic rays, naturally occurring radioisotopes)
- Artificial sources (medical sources, industrial sources, and nuclear explorations)
Is Radioactive Contamination Contagious?
People who are contaminated with radioactive material on the outside can contaminate other people or surfaces that they touch. For example, people who have radioactive dust on their clothing may spread the radioactive dust when they interact or sit together. But once it is inhaled or ingested, there is no way it can be transferred to other people.
Why is Radioactive Contamination Dangerous?
Exposure to any type of radioactive radiation can prove harmful and even lethal in some cases. The extent of damage or danger posed to the environment depends on the concentration of radioactive material, the energy emitted by the radiation, the proximity of the radioactive materials to those exposed, and the radiation type. It can lead to genetic mutations, fatal diseases, soil infertility, and cell destruction. In addition to that, the presence of radioactive materials in the environment can significantly impact the ecosystem.