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When we think of radiation we imagine nuclear explosions and bombs. While these are serious sources of high levels radiation (of high energy), there are many other sources much more common, practically ubiquitous, that generate low levels of radiation and which basically remain unnoticed. How many of us think for example of cellular phones as a source of radiation? And yet, the cell phones, cell phone towers, cordless phones, as well as TVs, computers, microwave ovens, broadcast antennas, military and aviation radars, satellites, and wireless internet are all sources of radiation. And so are the common medical X-Rays… Considering this, the radiation pollution picture significantly expands. From some explosions and nuclear accidents happening relatively rarely in faraway places, the picture of radiation pollution expands as a complex matrix covering all the Earth and thus involving all of us everywhere! In this context, we may ask ourselves is radiation so bad? Yet, if it were, wouldn’t we all be dead or sick by now?!
In fact, one cannot help but thinking: are we all involuntary subjects of a gigantic unintended experiment of radiation effects on human race? An experiment which has yet to reveal the results? Maybe we will find some clues if we start with the beginning… What is, after all, the definition of radiation pollution? And what does this implies for us and our health? Below, are synthesized some radiation facts and worries about this topic that is affecting us all “as we speak”.
Let us start with the definition of radiation pollution which is the increase in the natural radiation levels due to human activities. It is estimated that about 20% of radiation we are exposed to is due to human activities. The human activities that may release radiation involve activities with radioactive materials such as mining, handling and processing of radioactive materials, handling and storage of radioactive waste, as well as the use of radioactive reactions to generate energy (nuclear power plants), along the use of radiation in medicine (e.g. X-Rays) and research. But what about microwaves, cell phones, radio transmitters, wireless devices, computers, and other common commodities of today’s life? In order to see what their role in generating radiation pollution is, we need to first consider the definition of radiation.
Radiation is essentially energy that travels and spreads out as it goes. This is referred to as electromagnetic radiation. Examples include: visible light, radio waves, microwaves, infrared and ultraviolet lights, X-rays, and gamma-rays. The differences between these various types of radiation consist in some physical properties such as energy, frequency, and wavelength. Thus, there are a variety of electromagnetic radiations. This means that any and all these types of radiation can generate radiation pollution if they are added by human activities. However, the magnitude of the generated pollution varies, with higher-risk pollution generated by radiation of higher energy such as gamma-rays regardless of exposure time. This radiation is generated through detonation of nuclear weapons or in power plants. Therefore, the meaning of radiation pollution is that while there are ubiquitous sources of radiation, mostly the high-energy radiations cause radiation pollution with a serious health risk (such as cancer or death). This is why we will focus on sources for high-health risk radiation when discussing the radiation pollution causes and effects. However, the other types of radiation (in low doses over longer time) may still cause health problems including neurological, reproductive, and cardiac.
If you believe you have been or are exposed to radiation pollution, or have been diagnosed with a medical condition cause by radiation, please contact environmental pollution centers, as you may be eligible for compensation.
If you are the owner of a house or business with radiation pollution problems you may face liability issues and may be asked to characterize and remediate this situation. However with appropriate legal advice the costs may be substantially reduced. Please contact environmental pollution centers to evaluate your case and find appropriate legal advice.