# 32.2 Biological effects of ionizing radiation  (Page 8/20)

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## Test prep for ap courses

A patient receives A rad of radiation as part of her treatment and absorbs E J of energy. The RBE of the radiation particles is R . If the RBE is increased to 1.5 R , what will be the energy absorbed by the patient?

1. 1.5 E J
2. E J
3. 0.75 E J
4. 0.67 E J

(b)

If a 90-kg person is exposed to 50 mrem of alpha particles (with RBE of 16), calculate the dosage (in rad) received by the person. What is the amount of energy absorbed by the person?

## Section summary

• The biological effects of ionizing radiation are due to two effects it has on cells: interference with cell reproduction, and destruction of cell function.
• A radiation dose unit called the rad is defined in terms of the ionizing energy deposited per kilogram of tissue:
$1 rad=\text{0.01 J/kg}.$
• The SI unit for radiation dose is the gray (Gy), which is defined to be $1 Gy = 1 J/kg = 100 rad.$
• To account for the effect of the type of particle creating the ionization, we use the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) or quality factor (QF) given in [link] and define a unit called the roentgen equivalent man (rem) as
$\text{rem}=\text{rad}×\text{RBE}.$
• Particles that have short ranges or create large ionization densities have RBEs greater than unity. The SI equivalent of the rem is the sievert (Sv), defined to be
• Whole-body, single-exposure doses of 0.1 Sv or less are low doses while those of 0.1 to 1 Sv are moderate, and those over 1 Sv are high doses. Some immediate radiation effects are given in [link] . Effects due to low doses are not observed, but their risk is assumed to be directly proportional to those of high doses, an assumption known as the linear hypothesis. Long-term effects are cancer deaths at the rate of $\text{10}/{\text{10}}^{6}\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}\text{rem·y}$ and genetic defects at roughly one-third this rate. Background radiation doses and sources are given in [link] . World-wide average radiation exposure from natural sources, including radon, is about 3 mSv, or 300 mrem. Radiation protection utilizes shielding, distance, and time to limit exposure.

## Conceptual questions

Isotopes that emit $\alpha$ radiation are relatively safe outside the body and exceptionally hazardous inside. Yet those that emit $\gamma$ radiation are hazardous outside and inside. Explain why.

Why is radon more closely associated with inducing lung cancer than other types of cancer?

The RBE for low-energy $\beta$ s is 1.7, whereas that for higher-energy $\beta$ s is only 1. Explain why, considering how the range of radiation depends on its energy.

Which methods of radiation protection were used in the device shown in the first photo in [link] ? Which were used in the situation shown in the second photo?

(a)

What radioisotope could be a problem in homes built of cinder blocks made from uranium mine tailings? (This is true of homes and schools in certain regions near uranium mines.)

Are some types of cancer more sensitive to radiation than others? If so, what makes them more sensitive?

Suppose a person swallows some radioactive material by accident. What information is needed to be able to assess possible damage?

## Problems&Exercises

What is the dose in mSv for: (a) a 0.1 Gy x-ray? (b) 2.5 mGy of neutron exposure to the eye? (c) 1.5 mGy of $\alpha$ exposure?

(a) 100 mSv

(b) 80 mSv

(c) ~30 mSv

Find the radiation dose in Gy for: (a) A 10-mSv fluoroscopic x-ray series. (b) 50 mSv of skin exposure by an $\alpha$ emitter. (c) 160 mSv of ${\beta }^{–}$ and $\gamma$ rays from the ${}^{\text{40}}\text{K}$ in your body.

How many Gy of exposure is needed to give a cancerous tumor a dose of 40 Sv if it is exposed to $\alpha$ activity?

~2 Gy

What is the dose in Sv in a cancer treatment that exposes the patient to 200 Gy of $\gamma$ rays?

One half the $\gamma$ rays from ${}^{\text{99m}}\text{Tc}$ are absorbed by a 0.170-mm-thick lead shielding. Half of the $\gamma$ rays that pass through the first layer of lead are absorbed in a second layer of equal thickness. What thickness of lead will absorb all but one in 1000 of these $\gamma$ rays?

1.69 mm

A plumber at a nuclear power plant receives a whole-body dose of 30 mSv in 15 minutes while repairing a crucial valve. Find the radiation-induced yearly risk of death from cancer and the chance of genetic defect from this maximum allowable exposure.

In the 1980s, the term picowave was used to describe food irradiation in order to overcome public resistance by playing on the well-known safety of microwave radiation. Find the energy in MeV of a photon having a wavelength of a picometer.

1.24 MeV

Find the mass of ${}^{\text{239}}\text{Pu}$ that has an activity of $\text{1.00 μCi}$ .

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