Respected S.K. Sharma Sir Lecturer, Deptt. Of Hematology



In Physics: Radiation is described as any
process in which energy travels through a medium or through space, ultimately to be absorbed by another body. 

Non-physicists: It often associate the word
with ionization radiation (e.g. as occurring in nuclear weapons, nuclear reactor and radioactive substances), but it can also refer to electromagnetic radiation.


Ionizing Radiation Alpha Radiation Beta Radiation Gamma Radiation 


Non-ionizing Radiation Neutron Radiation E.M Radiation Light Thermal Radiation Black body Radiation

1. Ionization Radiation 

These type of radiation have enough energy to ionize particles. Generally, this involves an electron being µknocked out¶ of an atom¶s electron shells, which will give it a ( positive ) charge.



‡ Gamma ( ) radiation consists of photons with a frequency of greater than 1019 Hz. Gamma radiation occurs to rid the decaying nucleus of excess energy after it has emitted either alpha or beta radiation.

‡ Alpha ( ) decay is a ‡ Beta ( ) radiation method of decay in large consists of an energetic nuclei. An alpha particle electron. It is less (helium nucleus, He2+), ionizing than alpha consisting of 2 neutrons radiation, but more than and 2 protons, is emitted. gamma. The electrons Because of the particle's can often be stopped relatively high charge, it with a few centimeters of is heavily ionizing and metal. It occurs when a will cause severe neutron decays into a damage if ingested. proton in a nucleus, However, due to the high releasing the beta mass of the particle, it particle. has little energy and a low range; typically, alpha particles can be stopped with a sheet of paper (or skin).

2. Non-ionizing Radiation 

Non-ionizing radiation, by contrast, refers to any type of radiation that does not carry enough energy per photon to ionize atom¶s or molecules. It especially refers to the lower energy forms of electromagnetic radiation.

Neutron Radiation

Non-ionizing radiation consist of free neutrons Emitted during either spontaneous or induced nuclear fission, nuclear fusion process. Does not ionize atom, because neutron have no charge. E.M radiation takes the form of self propagating waves in a vacuum or in matter . E.M radiation has an electric and magnetic field component perpendicular to each other and to the direction of energy propagation. Light is E.M radiation Wavelength lie between 400-700nm visible to human eye.

Electromagnetic Radiation


Thermal Radiation

Thermal radiation is the process by which the surface of an object radiates its thermal energy in the form of E.M waves Example ± Electric heater. Black body radiation is a common synonym for thermal radiation It is so called because the ideal radiator of thermal energy would also be an ideal absorber of thermal energy.

Black Body Radiation

Electromagnetic Spectrum



Thermal Radiation Effect  

Although radiations have many application but over use can be hazardous to human health. For example - nuclear reactor produced large quantity of ionizing radiation as a by product of fusion during operation. In addition, they produce highly radioactive nuclear waste, which emits ionizing radiation for thousand of years for some of their fusion products.

Biological Effects Of Radiation  

The biological effect of radiation in terms of there effects on living cells. For low level of radiation, the biological effects are so small they may not be detected in epidemiological studies. The body repairs many type of radiation and chemical damage. Biological effects of radiation of living cells may result in a variety of outcomes.

Radiation Outcomes,   

Cell experience DNA damage and are unable to repair the damage. These cell may go through the process of programmed cell death, or apoptosis, thus eliminating the potential genetic damage from the larger tissue. Cell experience a nonlethal DNA mutation passed to subsequent cell division. This mutation may contribute to the formation of cancer. Cell experience ³Irreparable DNA damage´. Low level of ionizing radiation may induce ³Irreparable DNA damage´ leading to premature ageing and cancer.

Radiation Hazards due to 1. Ionization Radiation 2. Non-Ionization Radiation

Sign Of Radiation Hazard
OLD Sign NEW Sign

Ionization Radiation

Somatic Effects

Genetic Effects

Chronic radiation exposure (Long Term)

Acute radiation exposure (Short Term)

Somatic Effects  

1. 2.


Chronic Radiation exposure (long Term): Exposure to ionizing radiation over an extended period of time is called chronic exposure. Example- Natural background radiation. Acute Radiation Exposure (Short Term): Exposure to ionizing radiation which occurs during a short period of time. ExamplesInstantaneous flashes from nuclear exposure. Exposer of minutes to hours during handling radioactive source. Laboratory and manufacturing accidents.

Units OF Radiations: 
Activity of an isotopes:  Radiation Absorbed Dose: 

Curie (Ci): Total quantity of radioisotopes in which 3.7×10¹ disintegration per second are occurring. Rutherford (Rd): The activity of a radioactive substance is said to be 1 Rutherford when 1 million decays take place per second.


Rad : A dose of 1 Rad means the absorption of 100 ergs of radiation energy per gram of absorbing material. Gray : 1 Gy means the absorption of 1 joule of radiation energy per kilogram of absorbing material. 1 Gy = 100 rad. 


Dose Equivalent 

The DOSE EQUIVALENT is a measure of the biological effect of radiation and it takes account of the type and energy of the radiation as well as how the radiation is distributed . = Absorbed dose x Quality Factor 


REMEMBER, the biological effect of radiation depends on: The type of radiation. The type of body tissue or body organ that absorbs the radiation. The total amount of energy absorbed. Quality factor depends on the type of radiation : x-rays, gamma rays or beta rays.

Quality Factor 

The quality factor for each type of radiation is as shown :

Alpha particles Beta particles Gamma particles 

Quality Factor (Q)
20 1 1

From this it can be seen that alpha radiation is the most ionising radiation out of the three types. 

Conventional Unit:
Roentgen equivalent mass ( rem) = product of dose (Rads) x Q. 

SI Unit:

Sieverts = product of dose (Gray) x Q.  1sv = 100 rems.

‡ The DOSE EQUIVALENT is measured in Sieverts (Sv). Because 1 Sv is a very large dose of radiation which could only happen as a result of a very serious nuclear accident or explosion, doses are given in millisieverts (mSv) or microsieverts ( QSv).

Total Dose Rate





After threshold doses of each organ, the damage increases. The more the dose rate, larger the biological damage. Radiosenstivity of the organ exposed to critical value. Age: children are more sensitive as compared to adults. Lethal dose 450 rem maximum permissible level for radiation worker = 5 rem/year.

Acute Effects
1. 2. 3.




Nausea and vomiting generally occurs within 24hrs. after exposure to mild (1-2 Gy) doses of radiation. Headache, fatigue and weakness are also seen. Moderate exposure (2-3.5Gy of radiation), is associated with nausea and vomiting beginning within 12-24hrs after exposure. In addition to the symptoms of mild exposure, fever, hair loss, infection, bloody vomit and stool, and poor wound healing are seen with moderate exposure. Nausea and vomiting occurs in less than 1 hour after exposure to severe (3.5-5.5Gy) doses of radiation, followed by diarrhea and fever in addition to the symptoms of lower levels of exposure. Very severe (5.5-8Gy of radiation) exposure is followed by the onset of nausea and vomiting in less than 30minutes followed by the appearance of dizziness, disorientation, and low blood pressure in addition to the symptoms of lower levels of exposure. Sever exposure is fatal about 50% of the time.

Chronic Effects

Longer term exposure to radiation, at doses less than that which produces serious radiation sickness, can induce cancer as well as genes mutation.

Non-ionizing Radiation   

Various types of skin cancer have been observed with high levels of exposure to the non-ionizing radiation in particular sunlight. DNA strand breakage can occurs at 2.5eV/photon, which is on the order of nonionizing radiation. Non-ionizing radiation can be absorbed by the tissue and produce a healing effect but high exposure leads to burns.

High exposure leading to burns.

Non-ionizing Radiation Hazard Sign

Ultra Violet


Eye photochemical cataract. Skin erythema, increase pigmentation. Skin photoaging . Eye photochemical and retinal injury. Eye corneal burn, cataract. Heating of body surface.

Visible Light

Laser, Sunlight, Fire, Light bulbs, LED.

Infra Red

Lasers, Remote Controls.


Mobiles, Cell Phones, Microwave Ovens, Cordless Phones, Radar, Wi-Fi. Mobiles, Cell Phones, T.V. , FM, AM, Shortwaves, Cordless Phones.

Heating body tissue. Effect on eye and skin.

Radiofrequency Radiation

Heating of body tissue. Raised body temperature. Effect on eye and skin.

Radiation Safety Measures

These are three standard ways to limit exposure.


(As Low As Reasonably Achievable).
Reducing the risk.

Golden Rule 
Reduce Exposure Time will reduce the dose from the radiation source. D = d×t Where D = Radiation Dose Received. d = Dose Rate. t = Time Exposed. 

If time and dose are constant, the radiation dose decreases in proportion to the square of the distance from the radiation source. 

Reduce and Minimize the Radiation Field and Optimize positioning of workers. Shield the source in barriers of lead, concrete or water give protection from radiation.


To ensure individual dose is as low as reasonably achievable. To ensure collective dose is as low as reasonably achievable. To ensure radioactive waste is as low as reasonably achievable. To ensure that radioactive emissions are as low as reasonably achievable.

Laboratory Design And Precaution 


Area of high activity must be away from entrance. No unnecessary objects/furniture in the laboratory. Work surface of non-reactive and non-porous material. Example steel table tops, lined with polythene sheets and blotting paper. Flooring of linoleum, strippable paint on walls washable. Sinks smooth, blemish less glazed. Taps foot and elbow operatable. RCC shielding for storage area. Identification, labeling, nature and quantity of radioactivity material. Exclusive glassware and tools for radioactivity lab.

Personal Safety Precautions & Monitoring 

Protective clothing. E.g. lab coat, plastic apron, gloves etc. Contamination of fittings. E.g. light switches, taps, door knobs by hands should be avoided. Eating, drinking, smoking and chewing in lab avoided. Plan your work to minimize exposure time. Use personal monitoring films. E.g. TLD Regularly monitor the working area with survey meters/GM counters. Decontaminants of use Decon90 and 1% nitric acid.

Personal Safety Precautions & Monitoring.

Personal Monitoring Dosimeter


Patient Safety And Patient Material Disposal 

Use minimum necessary dose of radiation. Prefer to use of isotope of shorter half life. Keep the patient isolate if possible. Patient waste/excreta should not be flushed down the drain, but collected and disposed with other radioactive waste using polythene containers. Minimize all intubation and sampling after radioactive injection.

Radioactive Waste Disposal    

The excess radioactivity should be stored behind RCC/lead shield for at least 6 half lives, to reduce to 1%. Collect and properly store all radioactive waste in polythene bags. Liquid waste can be disposed off in a suitable sink, nearest to the main drain, depending on the rate of flow. All other waste /disposal should be buried under 2meter below the surface of earth at a suitable remote area.

Waste Tag

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