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Radiation poisoning

Radiation poisoning, also called "radiation sickness", is damage to the (human or other animal) body from excessive exposure to ionizing radiation. The term is generally used to refer to acute problems caused by a large dosage of radiation in a short period. The symptoms of radiation poisoning include skin burns, fainting, fatigue, diarrhea, hair loss, and at extremely high dosages, death. Exposure to 400 roentgens in a short period is fatal within a few days in approximately half the cases; a dosage of 10,000 rads in a short period will cause unconsciousness and death.

Chronic exposure to radiation can lead to leukemia and other cancers.

Radiation poisoning can result from accidental exposure to natural or industrial radiation sources. People working with radioactive materials often wear film "badges" to monitor their total exposure to radiation.

Radiation poisoning caused illness and death after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, and was a major concern after the Chernobyl reactor accident.

See also Radiation.



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