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What is radiation?

Radiation is energy that travels through space in the form of waves or particles. There are 2 types of radiation: ionizing and non-ionizing.

Ionizing radiation

Ionizing radiation is strong enough to damage cells in our bodies and increase the chance of developing cancer.
Sources of ionizing radiation include:

  • natural background radiation (includes cosmic rays from the solar system and radioactive materials in the soil and rocks)
  • background radiation from human activities (includes testing and using nuclear weapons as well as generating nuclear power)
  • radon
  • medical radiation

Non-ionizing radiation

Non-ionizing radiation isn’t as strong as ionizing radiation. But being exposed to some types of non-ionizing radiation can still harm you.

Sources of non-ionizing radiation include:


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