All About Radium
What is the source of the radioactivity? Answer: Radium’s source is a radionuclide created by the decomposition of uranium and thorium in the environment.
What type of radiation does it produce? Answer: The type of radiation radium produces is toxic because it’s so highly radioactive.
Is this source most common in any particular areas? If so, where? Answer: According to the EPA.gov website, “Everyone has some exposure to radium because it is naturally occurring in the environment. Individuals may be exposed to higher levels of radium if they live in an area where there are higher levels of radium in rock and soil. Radium concentrations in food and air are very low.”
Is this radiation source dangerous to people? If so, who is at the highest risk of exposure? How can people protect themselves from it? Answer: Radium is around 1,000,000 times extra active than uranium. According to the EPA.org website, “Chronic exposure to high levels of radium can result in an increased incidence of bone, liver or breast cancer.” “As radium decays it creates a radioactive gas, radon. Radon is common in many soils and can collect in homes and other buildings. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.”
Do people use the radiation source for anything? If so, what? Answer: Since radium is highly toxic, there are little uses for it now. Radium-223 is at times used to treat prostate cancer that’s spread to bones. As bones consist of calcium and radium and calcium are in the same group, it can be used to treat cancerous bone cells. Radium-223 gives off alpha particles that are able to kill cancerous cells. Long ago, radium was once used in translucent paints, for instance in clocks and watch dials. Despite the fact that alpha rays couldn’t pass through the glass or metal of the watch casing, it’s now examined to be too dangerous to be used in those types of ways. My Citations: 1. “Radium – Element Information, Properties and Uses | Periodic Table.” Royal Society of Chemistry – Advancing Excellence in the Chemical Sciences, www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/88/radium.
2. “Radionuclide Basics: Radium.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 23 May 2017, www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclide-basics-radium.
3. “It’s Elemental.” It’s Elemental – The Element Radium, education.jlab.org/itselemental/ele088.html.