Health effects of radiation

Ionizing radiation

Radiation can cause immediate health effects when there is exposure to relatively high doses (greater than 1000 millisieverts) of radiation over a very short period of time. This is known as "acute" exposure. Health effects from acute exposure can include skin redness, hair loss, radiation burns and acute radiation syndrome.

Chronic exposure to radiation at lower doses over a long period of time (years as opposed to seconds) can have long-term health effects. The most common long-term effect of chronic radiation exposure is an increased risk of cancer. The amount of radiation that the average Canadian is exposed to from naturally occurring and artificial sources is not a health concern.

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