This book lays the foundations for you to understand all that you always wanted to know about radioactivity. It begins by setting out essential information about the structure of matter, how radiation occurs and how it can be measured. It goes on to explore the substantial benefits of radioactivity through its many applications, and also the possible risks associated with its use.
The field of radioactivity is explained in layman’s terms, so that everybody who is interested can improve their understanding of issues such as nuclear power, radiation accidents, medical applications of radiation and radioactivity from the environment.
Everything is radioactive. There is natural radioactivity in the homes that we live in, the food that we eat and the air that we breath. For over 100 years, people have recognised the potential for radioactivity to help solve problems and improve our standard of living. This has led to the creation of radioactivity levels in some places that are much higher than naturally-occurring background levels. Such high levels of radiation can be harmful to people and the environment, so there is a clear need to manage this potential harm and to make the risk worth the benefits mankind can achieve from radioactive materials.
Earth, born in a nuclear explosion, is a radioactive planet; without radiation, life would not exist. And while radiation can be dangerous, it is also deeply misunderstood and often mistakenly feared. Now Robert Peter Gale, M.D,—the doctor to whom concerned governments turned in the wake of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters—in collaboration with medical writer Eric Lax draws on an exceptional depth of knowledge to correct myths and establish facts.
Exploring what have become trigger words for anxiety—nuclear energy and nuclear weapons, uranium, plutonium, iodine-131, mammogram, X-ray, CT scan, threats to the food chain—the authors demystify the science and dangers of radiation, and examine its myriad benefits, from safely sterilizing our food to the relatively low-risk fuel alternative of nuclear energy. This is the book for all readers who have asked themselves questions such as: What kinds of radiation, and what degree of exposure, cause cancer? What aftereffects have nuclear accidents and bombs had? Does radiation increase the likelihood of birth defects? And how does radiation work?
Hugely illuminating, Radiation is the definitive road map to our post-Chernobyl, post-Fukushima world.
While many people argue that health is a definable and measurable quantity, characteristically expressing it in a negative way via mortality or morbidity statistics, Mayneord argues that the patterns of life throughout the world vary so greatly that no standard can be set for all people, or even for the same people at different times. Moreover, health status has to be looked at from a community, as well as from a personal, point of view, and social well-being may be regarded as a predisposing condition of individual health.
In the search for quantitative criteria, many âhealth indicatorsâ have been classified into three groups: those associated with the health status of persons or populations in a given area, those related to physical environmental conditions having a more or less direct bearing on the health status of the population in an area, and those concerned with health-service activities directed to improvement of health conditions. While radiation has many negative effects, it also has positive ones, including curing diseases. Mayneord acknowledges the dangers of radiation, but believes they are manageable if handled responsibly. This classic volume, long unavailable, is much cited in contemporary research on the subject.