Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 21, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963855 | Print ISBN: 9781412941860 | Online ISBN: 9781412963855| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Mark F. Brady
Radiation is simply energy released in the form of electromagnetic waves or particles. With reference to health, radiation generally refers to high-energy forms of radiation that have the potential to cause death of the cell or mutations in the DNA. Radiation has always been present everywhere on earth; indeed, radiation accounts for part of the baseline mutation rate in nature and so contributed to the evolution of life as we know it. The natural radiation that everyone is exposed to is referred to as background radiation and is the baseline rate against which other radiation exposures are compared. There are three general outcomes when radiation energy is transferred to cells and disrupts biological molecules: (1) ...