Radiation is the activity of subatomic particles traveling through space at high speeds, which can penetrate bodily cells. This penetration can disrupt the activity of cells, killing them, forming cancers, and causing birth defects in future generations. For this reason, medical professionals must be careful when using medical devices that transmit radiation, including x-rays and CAT-scans.
Radiation causes a process called ionization, in which an electron is pushed out of an atom’s orbit. The way that this is dangerous is when electrons from water molecules that are pushed out of orbit, or “free radicals,” attach to DNA molecules, thereby disrupting them. When the DNA molecules are disrupted, the damaged DNA starts to damage its cell. The cell can either die, or its usual way of reproducing can change, causing it to split rapidly. This results in cancer, which usually doesn’t become noticeable for decades. It can also create hereditary gene mutations, resulting in genetic defects in children.
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