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Health Effects of Radiation

Scientists have been studying the effects of radiation for over 100 years; so we know quite a bit about how radiation interacts with living tissue, and its effect on the body. Because we can measure radiation and because we understand its health effects, we can work safely around it.

illustration of person being exposed to radiation

It’s All About the Dose!

  • As with other types of toxins, “the dose makes the poison”.
  • We receive low doses of radiation from our natural environment every day.
  • We know that radiation at high doses can cause cancer, could harm fetuses, and can even lead to death.

Learn more about dose and health effects of radiation


illustration of dose rate

Factors that Affect Dose

  • A dose received over a long period of time is less harmful than the same dose received all at once.
  • A dose to a part of the body is less harmful than a dose to the whole body.
  • Children and young adults are more sensitive to the effects of radiation.

Learn more about different factors that affect dose


Illustration of two DNA double helixes

How Radiation Affects Your Body

  • Radiation can damage the DNA in our cells.
  • High doses of radiation can cause Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) or Cutaneous Radiation Injuries (CRI).
  • High doses of radiation could also lead to cancer later in life.

Learn more about health effects of radiation exposure

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