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Frequently Asked Questions


FAQ
© U.S. Probation Office

What is radiation? What type of radiation is Fukushima related?

How can I be exposed to radiation?

What does 'half life' mean? What is the significance of the half life of radiation?

What are the potential effects/symptoms of radiation exposure to humans?

Is Alaska fish safe to eat? Why is the State of Alaska not testing fish for radiation exposure currently?


What is radiation? What type of radiation is Fukushima related?

Radiation exists all around us and is characterized in two forms-ionizing and nonionizing radiation. There are 3 basic types of radiation: Alpha radiation which is a heavy, very short-range particle and is actually an ejected helium nucleus. Beta radiation is a light, short-range particle and is actually an ejected electron. Gamma radiation and x rays are highly penetrating electromagnetic radiation. Gamma radiation or x rays are able to travel farther in air and human tissue. Fukushima reactors have been primarily composed of two gamma radioactive substances: iodine-131 and cesium-137.Learn More

How can I be exposed to radiation?

Radioactive materials give off a form of energy that travels in waves or particles, this energy is called radiation. Radiation is all around us both from natural and man-made sources. For example, when a person has an x-ray or flies on an airplane he or she is exposed to radiation.

What does 'half life' mean? What is the significance of the half life of radiation?

Half-life is the amount of time needed for a certain amount of radioactive material to be reduced to half. In humans the half life is the amount of time it takes the body to eliminated half of the exposed compound out of the body. Learn More

What are the potential health effects/symptoms of radiation exposure to humans?

The health effects of radiation depend on:

  • The amount of radiation absorbed by the body (the dose)
  • The type of radioactive material
  • How the radioactive material got in or on the body
  • The length of time a person was exposed

Exposure to large amounts of radiation over a short period of time can cause Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS). ARS symptoms may include: skin burns, nausea, or vomiting. Exposure to small amounts of radiation will not result in any health effects right away however long term exposure can lead to cancer. Learn More

Is Alaska fish safe to eat? Why is the State of Alaska not testing fish for radiation exposure?

Alaska fish are safe to eat. There is no reason to believe that consuming fish caught from Alaska waters would pose significant health concerns. Information from other states supports this. For example, fish caught off the coast of California have been tested for radiation, but excess cancer risks (risks that would not be expected to occur without this radiation exposure) from these levels have been calculated at approximately 2 in every 10 million people exposed (Fisher et al., 2013). This result is extremely low and is not considered a significant exposure risk. Furthermore, based on data from testing performed by FDA, European Union, NOAA and other states, seafood in Alaska does not have radiation levels that would be expected to cause a risk to human health.

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