Health and Medicine

Health Hazards and Risks

What is the effect of radiation on humans?

When ionizing radiation penetrates living tissue, random collisions with atoms and molecules in its path cause the formation of ions and reactive radicals. These ions and reactive radicals break chemical bonds and cause other molecular changes that produce biological injury. At the cellular level, radiation exposure inhibits cell division, and produces chromosomal damage and gene mutations as well as various other changes. Large enough doses of ionizing radiation will kill any kind of living cell.


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