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 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)
- medical 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:
- radiofrequency fields (including cell phones, cell phone towers and microwave ovens)
- electromagnetic fields (including power lines and household appliances)
- ultraviolet (UV) rays (including the sun and indoor tanning beds)