Possible Health Effects of Radiation Exposure and Contamination

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If you are injured or think you are injured, seek medical attention right away. Injuries could be at high risk for infection and other long lasting health effects.

Radioactive contamination and radiation exposure could occur if radioactive materials are released into the environment as the result of an accident, an event in nature, or an act of terrorism. Such a release could expose people and contaminate their surroundings and personal property.

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Short-Term Health Effects of Radiation Exposure and Contamination

Long-Term Health Effects of Radiation Exposure and Contamination

  • Cancer
    People who receive high doses of radiation could have a greater risk of developing cancer later in life, depending on the level of radiation exposure.
  • Prenatal Radiation Exposure
    It is especially important that pregnant women follow instructions from emergency officials and seek medical attention as soon as emergency officials say it is safe to do so after a radiation emergency.
  • Mental Health
    Any emergency, including those involving radiation, can cause emotional and psychological distress.
Page last reviewed: April 4, 2018
Content source: National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), Emergency Management, Radiation, and Chemical Branch