Nuclear Radiation Effects: Beta Radiation

Do you know the nuclear radiation effects of Beta radiation? Do you know the dietary changes and supplements that science has shown will help protect you from exposure.

If you said no, do you think you should know?

Nuclear Radiation Effects

The nuclear radiation effects of beta radiation should be of special concern to parents of small children and unborn babies.

Beta radiation is a light weight, high energy, high speed (near the speed of light), short-range particle, being either an ejected electron or positron.

Beta particles are a form of ionizing radiation. The production of beta particles is called beta decay. The scientific designation is the Greek alphabet letter. Beta particles are either - (electron) or + (positron).

The + decay is part of the processes that occurs within stars or, if you are a Star Trek fan, or remember one of the weapons of choice of Ghost Busters, it was the theory of the weapons they used.

The most common Beta radiation, is associated with the fission materials commonly found in spent nuclear fuel.

Note Although this is way off to the outer limits of this topic, when you look at + decay, the math does not add up. What is missing is a particle called an antineutrino. Antineutrinos have a non-zero mass. This mass is too small to measure. Think of them of the antimatter equivalent of a neutrino. Have fun researching it if you like this kind of physics.

Characteristics of Beta Radiation (or Beta Decay)

Beta radiation can travel several feet in air. Has moderate ability to penetrate

Can penetrate human skin to the stratum basel layer of the epidermis. This is where new skin cells are produced.

Beta radiation is a medium energy radiation, more powerful than alpha radiation and less than gamma. Remember that alpha can be shielded by human skin, clothes, even a piece of paper. Beta radiation protection requires at least 10 mm of acrylic.

To put this in perspective, the epidermis, the outer layer of skin, is between .05 mm (on the eyelids) to 1.5 mm on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. On average, it is less than 1/16th of an inch. The epidermis is made up of five layers.

The surface layers of the epidermis (skin) are dead and are shed about every 2 weeks.

When high levels of beta radiation contaminants remain on the skin for a period of time, the risk of skin injury exists. This is because unlike Alpha radiation, it Beta radiation can penetrate the layers of skin.

Beta-emitting contaminants may also be harmful if inhaled, in-jested or otherwise allowed to enter the body.

Sources of Beta Radiation


Iodine-131 released in nuclear weapons tests, the Chernobyl accident, the Hanford Site in Washington State

phosphorus-32 has 14.3 day half life, emitting only beta rays, in treating polycythemia vera ( in the form of sodium phosphate P-32) chronic myelocytic leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and in localizing certain tumors during surgery.

strontium-90 used in cancer therapy.

Low energy and difficult to detect beta radiation emitters

hydrogen-3 (tritium)

carbon-14 Used in carbon dating, as a radioactive tracer in medicine, medical research, cosmic radiation


Clothing may provide limited protection against beta radiation. The denser the material, the greater the protection from Beta radiation.

Nuclear Radiation Effects: Beta Radiation Health Risks

If the particle ends up on the skin and stays there for a prolonged time,skin damage can occur. If the particle comes in contact with DNA within the cell, it can cause mutations. The mutation can end up being cancer.

Our young children and especially the unborn are at greatest risk for mutations due to their bodies natural rapid cell division going on in their bodies.

Young children and especially unborn babies are more vulnerable to these mutations due to the rapid rate of cell division going on in their bodies. The mutated cell divides continuously, making the damage in their case exponential. The same exposure would result in far less damage in an adult.

Just like alpha particles, beta particles can also cause serious damage to your health if they are inhaled or swallowed. For example, some materials that emit beta particles might be absorbed into your bones and cause damage if ingested.

A Simple Explanation of Radiation Poisoning

Acute and Chronic Exposure: The Difference

Radiation Poisoning Life Saving Treatment Option

Beta radiation is effective in treating cancer cells. Combining this type of radiation treatment with boosting glutathione levels has resulted in some doctors having vastly improved outcomes. The glutathione helps reduce the collateral damage to healthy tissue nearby.

Health care workers that are planning on, anticipate or are pregnant probably should make a job change away from working with radiation treatments. Others could take steps to ensure their health. Boosting your intercellular glutathione has been shown in scientific studies to offer tremendous health benefits, including those related to radiation exposure.

The Three Types of Radiation

The Effects of Nuclear Radiation: Alpha Radiation

The Effects of Nuclear Radiation: Gamma and X Radiation

Radiation Emergency Preparedness

There are other nuclear radiation effects. Check the other links above.

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