Radium (Ra) is a naturally occuring silver metal discovered by Marie Curie in 1898. Today, radium can also be extracted from uranium ores.
Radium-226 is one of the four highly radioactive isotops of radium.
Radium-226 is a by-product of the nuclear reactors that refine uranium or thorium. Unlike other radium isotopes that decay rapidly in just days, Radium-226 has a half-life of 1.599 years.
Radium is used in the production of radon, in medical research or as a component in some industrial devices.
Radium-226 emits alpha, beta or gamma radiation in the form of rays, particles and waves. Alpha particles cannot travel through skin, beta particles can penetrate the skin, and gamma radiation can go through the entire human body. Exposure to higher levels of Radium-226 can cause cancer, anemia, cataracts, and fractured teeth.