In terms of radiation dosage impact, the concentrations of such radioactivity in rainfall and other media (milk, flora, etc.) have been minimal. Any personal goods drenched with rainwater, wet or dry, represent no radiation danger to the wearer or user. Rain is radioactive because it contains traces of uranium and thorium. These elements are naturally occurring components of rock that form the Earth's crust. They are found in all soil and water, including clean drinking water.
Uranium is a heavy metal that occurs in nature combined with oxygen atoms (oxide) or chlorine atoms (chloride). Thorium is a rare earth element that also occurs in nature combined with oxygen or chlorine. Both uranium and thorium are present in the Earth's crust at very low levels. However, they can be concentrated by mining companies for use as fuel in nuclear reactors. The mining and processing of uranium ore can result in some contamination of land and water resources. This happens primarily due to acid drainage from abandoned mines or during the production of uranium enrichment material.
Some radionuclides are produced when uranium or thorium rocks are exposed to heat or high-energy particles from cosmic rays or atomic explosions. These include radon-220, protactinium-231, thallium-201, iodine-131, carbon-14, neon-22, and argon-40.
In actuality, radioactive rain is neither a new health risk or proof of a nuclear industry cover-up, but rather an indication of how many naturally occurring radioactive particles exist in the Earth's atmosphere. It emits alpha and beta radiation when it decays, converting into less-radioactive elements. The amount of radiation released into the environment is very small, but it is measured because these elements are so abundant they can be used as natural clocks to estimate how long ago a particle was released into the atmosphere.
Rain is made up of liquid water molecules that flow down from the clouds and evaporate, leaving solid particles behind. This process also removes any toxic substances from the cloud that may be present in the form of gaseous pollutants. As these particles descend back to earth again, some of them will decay due to radioactivity. Heavy metals such as uranium and thorium have a tendency to stay inside the nucleus of an atom after they decay, which means they remain chemically active even though they're no longer radioactive. These metals can then enter plants through the soil or get carried through the food chain by animals moving across contaminated areas or via airborne dust.
Natural radioactivity is caused by the presence of unstable atoms within our planet's crust that transform into more stable forms by emitting radiation. Uranium is one of the most common sources of natural radioactivity due to its high density and abundance within the Earth's crust. Other significant sources include potassium, radon gas, and carbon dioxide.
The "black rain" that fell after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic explosions was widely assumed to contain radioactive elements. The Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission conducted surveys from 1949 to 1961, which included a question concerning exposure to rain that occurred shortly after the blasts. They found that about 9% of respondents reported some degree of skin exposure to the rain and 2% reported full-body exposure.
However, more recent research has shown that while some parts of the rain did contain radiation, this effect was largely due to contamination by cesium-137 from nuclear weapons tests that were being conducted in the area at the time. Rain that fell farther away from these tests is not expected to be significantly contaminated.
Furthermore, high levels of radiation were not widespread throughout Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Levels decreased rapidly with distance from the explosions and were low outside the cities even though they are located near active volcanoes. The amount of radiation that reached the ground was also greatly influenced by wind direction; it was estimated that over 80% of the fallout that fell within 30 miles of the bombs' locations came from directions that would have exposed people to levels below what is considered dangerous.
Black rain has been seen before and after other major events involving nuclear weapons testing or military action. The first such event was in the months following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when reports began to surface of rain that was dark and tar-like.
Many persons who were exposed to black rain experienced acute radiation symptoms (ARS), with reports of nausea and diarrhoea lasting weeks. Other ARS symptoms include fever, a sore throat, and hair loss. Many persons who were exposed to black rain acquired cancer over time. Cancer risks increase with age and are higher for those who were exposed for many years.
Black rain is the name given to heavy precipitation that contains high levels of radioactive material from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. The rain was caused by radioactive gases that leaked from the damaged reactors. In March 2011, more than 100 million people in eastern Asia were affected by the storm that brought this pollution to their countries.
Radiation exposure can be divided into two types: acute exposure and chronic exposure. Acute exposure occurs either during a large dose of radiation or over a short period of time; it can cause death within seconds or days. Chronic exposure occurs over a long period of time; it may lead to illness or death but usually at a slow rate over months or years. Chronic exposure to low levels of radiation may not cause any problems; however, higher levels will often cause disease. Exposure to radiation can also cause genetic changes in cells that can lead to cancer later in life.
People were exposed to black rain while it was falling; therefore, the most important factor in determining health effects is how long someone was exposed to it.
Even sunshine, the most important kind of radiation, may be detrimental in excess. The kind of radiation known as "ionizing radiation" receives the most public attention. This radiation can cause biological damage by disrupting atoms and producing positive ions and negative electrons. It can also break chemical bonds, causing molecules to split into smaller components or ionize elements.
Ionizing radiation is found in astronomical rays, such as x-rays and gamma rays, as well as in particles from nuclear reactions, such as neutrons and protons. Ionizing radiation can also be produced by chemicals that contain uranium or other radioactive materials. Human beings are exposed to ionizing radiation through natural processes (such as sunlight and cosmic rays) and from man-made sources (such as radiology scans, uranium mining, and atomic energy facilities).
The main environmental concern associated with ionizing radiation is its potential to cause genetic mutations. These mutations can lead to the development of cancer. However, this risk is generally limited to people who are directly exposed to large amounts of radiation over a short period of time. Natural background levels of radiation are high enough to not require protection for the general population. In fact, some studies have suggested that there might be benefits of low level radiation exposure for health. Further research is needed to confirm these findings.
Drinking water sources will be tested for safety by scientists. Until such findings are released, the only water that is free of pollution is bottled water. Boiling tap water will not remove radioactive particles. Bottled water should be included in your emergency supplies. It is safer than contaminated tap water and lasts longer.
Contaminated water can lead to serious health problems if you consume it or use it to make food. Drinking water that has been spoiled by bacteria or other organisms can cause sickness. The toxins present in polluted water can also be absorbed through your skin or ingested with any food that has been washed in it. Children, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems are at risk for serious health consequences from drinking water that is contaminated with chemicals or bacteria.
Radiation from nuclear accidents can enter water sources through several processes. When uranium atoms decay, they release energy in the form of alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays. Some of this energy is taken up by other elements in the environment, but most reaches the water through rainfall or snowmelt. This energy can damage cells in animals' bodies just like it does in humans. Long-term exposure to high levels of radiation can lead to cancer. Radiation doses greater than 100 millisieverts (mSv) per year can increase the risk of developing cancer later in life. Annual limits vary by country but generally range from 0.1 to 10 mSv.