Radiation is energy that travels in the form of waves or high-speed particles. It occurs naturally in sunlight. Man-made radiation is used in X-rays, nuclear weapons, nuclear power plants and cancer treatment.
If you are exposed to small amounts of radiation over a long time, it raises your risk of cancer. It can also cause mutations in your genes, which you could pass on to any children you have after the exposure. A lot of radiation over a short period, such as from a radiation emergency, can cause burns or radiation sickness. Symptoms of radiation sickness include nausea, weakness, hair loss, skin burns and reduced organ function. If the exposure is large enough, it can cause premature aging or even death. You may be able to take medicine to reduce the radioactive material in your body.
Environmental Protection Agency
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Radiation Protection (Environmental Protection Agency)
Treatments and Therapies
- DTPA (Diethylenetriamine pentaacetate) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Filgrastim (Neupogen) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Frequently Asked Questions on Potassium Iodide (KI) (Food and Drug Administration)
- Potassium Iodide ("KI"): Instructions to Make Potassium Iodide Solution for Use During a Nuclear Emergency (Liquid Form) (Food and Drug Administration)
- Potassium Iodide (KI) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Prussian Blue (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Airport Screening (Health Physics Society) - PDF
- Cancer in People Exposed to Nuclear Weapons Testing (American Cancer Society)
- Food Irradiation: What You Need to Know (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
- Nuclear Radiation and the Thyroid (American Thyroid Association) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Radiation Exposure and Cancer (American Cancer Society)
- Accidents at Nuclear Power Plants and Cancer Risk (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- Acute Radiation Syndrome (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Cell Phones and Cancer Risk (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- Consumer Products Containing Radioactive Materials (Health Physics Society) - PDF
- FDA Response to the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Facility Incident (Food and Drug Administration)
- Frequently Asked Questions about Cell Phones and Your Health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Radiation Exposure from Medical Exams and Procedures (Health Physics Society) - PDF
- Radiation Exposure in X-Ray and CT Examinations (Radiological Society of North America, American College of Radiology) Also in Spanish
- Radiation from Cardiac Imaging Tests (American Heart Association)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Radiation Exposure (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Ionizing radiation and stress: the analysis of the medical ray...
- Article: Enhancement of UV-induced nucleotide excision repair activity upon forskolin treatment...
- Article: Riboflavin and ultraviolet light: impact on dengue virus infectivity.
- Radiation Exposure -- see more articles
- Radiation pollution -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Also in Spanish
- National Center for Environmental Health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Also in Spanish
- What Parents Should Know about Medical Radiation Safety (Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging) - PDF
- What You Should Know About Pediatric Nuclear Medicine and Radiation Safety (Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging) - PDF
- X-Rays, Pregnancy and You (Food and Drug Administration)