Risks of ionizing radiation

The ionizing radiation passing through a living cell can cause damage in two ways:

Direct damage – it may cause damage to the genetic material of the cell by ionizing the DNA molecule and breaking it.

Indirect damage – production of free radicals as a result of ionization of water molecules that can damage DNA.

A deterministic (certain) effect occurs when a person is exposed in a short time to a sufficiently large radiation intensity so that the exposure may cause damage to whole organs and even death.

A stochastic (probabilistic) effect occurs when a person is exposed to radiation at small intensities over time. The radiation causes DNA damage and the creation of mutations. Later, the radiation may cause cancer.

Possibilities of occupational exposure to ionizing radiation

Internal exposure – contamination caused by radioactive material in the form of gas or powder or liquid. 

Possibilities of infection penetration

The respiratory system, the digestive system, and the mucous membranes of the face. In this exposure, the radioactive substances cause tissue damage until the substance fades or until it is excreted through the urine.

External exposure – exposure to a source of radiation outside the human body.

The external exposure options are from radioactive materials and devices that emit radiation.