Radioactivity PSA

Attention! This is an important announcement. The element Cobalt 60 is a dangerous radioactive isotope. This isotope is undergoing beta decay which results in negative particles. Cobalt 60 has a half life of 5.2714 years. As a result, it will take about 42.1712 years for 99% of the isotope to disappear.

This image exhibits general information on Cobalt 60.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/mexico/131209/mexico-5-men-arrested-over-cobalt-60-theft

This radioactive form of cobalt is produced as a by-product of nuclear reactor operations. We can protect humans from this Cobalt 60 when we don’t want to be exposed to it by being aware of any nuclear reactor leaks. Also, when undergoing certain medical treatments, the amount of exposure to this isotope can be discussed with the presiding physician, so as to limit possible risks. Lastly, Cobalt 60 is used in food irradiation, so it is important to make sure the energy balance in the nuclei of food atoms have not been disrupted by irradiation, which would make the food unstable or radioactive.

While it is important to be aware of harmful radioactive atoms, harmless radioactivity surrounds us on a daily basis. Natural sources of background radiation come in the form of cosmic rays, or radiation that reaches earth from outer space, animals, rocks, soil, and plants. This type of radioactivity is truly natural because it happens in nature without any human intervention. Artificial radiation comes from nuclear power stations, radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons testing, and x-rays.

The pie chart above exhibits the sources of radiation and their abundance. http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/add_aqa_pre_2011/radiation/backgroundradiationrev1.shtml

In conclusion, it is simply necessary to distinguish the harmful from the harmless to ensure that radioactive particles do not wreak havoc. Be aware that Cobalt 60 is one of those dangerous radioactive particles that can cause harm to humans.

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