The radiations from the atomic blasts cause several health hazards. The radiations
carry high energy and remove electrons from atoms and attach them to other atoms producing positive and negative ion pairs. Hence, they are known as ionizing radiations. The ionization property of these radiations proves to be highly injurious to the protoplasm. The ionizing radiations of ecological concern are classified as follows:
These consist of streams of atomic or subatomic particles, which transfer their energy to the matter they strike.
(i) Alpha particles
These particles are large and travel few centimeters in the air. These cause large
amount of local ionization.
(ii) Beta particles
These are small particles characterized by having high velocities. They can travel a few
meters in space. These are capable of entering into the tissues for few centimeters.
Since alpha and beta particles have low penetration power they can produce harmful
effects only when absorbed, ingested or deposited in or near living tissues.
(iii) Electromagnetic radiations
Electromagnetic radiations include waves of shorter wavelengths. These are capable of
traveling long distances and can readily penetrate the living tissue. These include gamma rays. These can penetrate and produce effect even without being taken inside.