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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Dangers of Radiation Exposure

Radiation is a naturally occurring form of energy that occurs in sunlight and sound waves. However, mankind has harnessed this power through nuclear materials, such as uranium, plutonium, and thorium. These materials can be utilized for weapons, electricity production, and medical devices. While radioactive materials have helped further things like clean energy and medical diagnostics, exposure to the radiation can cause serious damage to your health.

First, everyone experiences small doses of radiation throughout their lives. This is called background radiation. It comes from small amounts of radioactive materials in rocks and dirt, and it can also come from cosmic radiation. Additionally, most people at some point receive medical treatment that involves radiation, such as taking an x-ray. Over time, this low-intensity exposure is mostly harmless although it can increase your chance of developing cancer.

The frightening type of radiation exposure comes from a short-term, intense dose that causes radiation poisoning or sickness. This typically occurs due to radiation accidents. There are several different types of jobs that involve radiation and are therefore at risk for radiation poisoning, including:

Mining or handling nuclear materials
Working in a nuclear power plant
Testing or working with nuclear weapons
Nuclear pharmacists
X-ray technicians
Doctors who perform radiation cancer treatment, vascular embolization, etc.
If something goes wrong, like if the radioactive materials spill in a nuclear pharmacy, the pharmacists can be exposed to a high dose of radiation. This can cause radiation poisoning. Although there are several symptoms of this condition, they may only appear much later after the accident. Immediate signs of exposure include:

Red, painful skin burns
Welts or ulcers where the skin touched the radioactive material
Nausea
Diarrhea
Hair loss
Organ failure
Radiation sickness treatment depends on the extent of your exposure. Doctors must try to remove external contamination, such as radioactive particles on your clothing, as well as nuclear materials inside of your body. Sadly, there is no cure for radiation poisoning, and doctors attempt, instead, to fight the complications arising from the sickness, such as loss of bone marrow, increased risk of infection, etc.

If you have suffered from radiation sickness due to a nuclear accident at work, you may be entitled to workers' compensation to help with your pain and suffering. To discuss your case, contact a New Jersey workers' comp lawyer from Levinson Axelrod, P.A., today.

James Witherspoon

U.S. Armed Forces Nuclear, Biological And Chemical Survival Manual


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