Diseases Caused due to Pollution by Radiations

Diseases Caused due to Pollution by Radiations:

The important diseases caused by radiations are Cancer, Leukaemia and Skin injuries. All the short wavelength, high energy radiations are harmful to human health. The three types of radiations which damage human health are-

  • Ultra-violet rays (or Ultra-violet radiations).
  • X-rays (or X-radiations).
  • Gamma rays (or Gamma radiations or Nuclear radiations).

Out of these three radiations, ultra-violet rays are quite dangerous to health, X-rays are more dangerous to health whereas gamma rays are the most dangerous to human health. The damage caused by the radiations to body cells is irreversible.

We get ultra-violet radiation from the sun. In fact, sun gives out three types of radiations: infra-red radiation, visible light and ultra-violet radiation. Out of these three, infra-red radiation and visible light are harmless to our body. Only the ultra-violet radiation is harmful to us. The harmful effects of ultra-violet radiation are that it affects the growth of cells in the human body, and interferes with other genetic and metabolic activities of the human body. A good point to note here is that our body cells have some in-built mechanism by which they can repair some of the damage caused by ultra-violet radiation. We are lucky that all the ultra-violet radiation emitted by the sun does not reach us on the earth. Most of the ultra-violet radiation is absorbed by the ozone layer, etc., present in the atmosphere. Only a small amount of the ultra-violet radiation given out by sun actually reaches us on the earth.

X-rays are also waves of short wavelength and have a quite high penetrating power. X-rays are emitted when cathode rays are made to fall on metal like tungsten. The harmful effect of X-rays is that it severely damages the human tissues when it is exposed to X-rays for long periods. So, a radiologist (a doctor doing an X-ray) or other technicians who handle X-ray machines and take the X-ray photographs of patients, again and again, fall in the high-risk category of radiation damage. This is because the prolonged exposure to X-rays even in small doses can cause severe damage to the body tissues.

Gamma rays are the extremely short wavelength radiations that are emitted during the nuclear fission process in a nuclear reactor or in an atom bomb. Because of their high energy and great penetrating power, gamma rays are much more dangerous than even X-rays. Gamma radiations is the most important constituent of nuclear radiations, the other constituents being alpha and beta particles (which do not cause much damage). The gamma radiation part of the nuclear radiation causes the maximum damage to our body. The harmful effects of nuclear radiations (or gamma rays) are given below-

  • Nuclear radiations inhibit many cell functions, disrupt cell membranes and reduce the effectiveness of enzymes.
  • Nuclear radiations damage genes and chromosomes.
  • Nuclear radiations can induce unwanted cell division.
  • Nuclear radiations destroy tissues, cells and blood corpuscles.
  • Nuclear radiations inhibit many cell functions, disrupt cell membranes and reduce the effectiveness of enzymes.
  • Nuclear radiations damage genes and chromosomes.
  • Nuclear radiations can induce unwanted cell division.
  • Nuclear radiations destroy tissues, cells and blood corpuscles.
  • Nuclear radiations can cause serious diseases like leukaemia and cancer.
  • Nuclear radiations can induce hereditary changes which can lead to the malformation of future generations.
  • Nuclear radiations cause permanent damage to the body cells, which cannot be repaired. There is no cure for the disease caused by nuclear radiations.
  • Since nuclear radiations are invisible and their effect is not felt immediately, so there is a risk of ignoring its dangers. The persons handling gamma radiation machines in hospitals for the treatment of cancer, fall in the high-risk category.

Destruction Caused by Large Scale Nuclear Radiations:

An example of the destruction caused by the large scale pollution by nuclear radiations comes from the unfortunate dropping of an atom bomb on Hiroshima in Japan during the Second World War. The tremendous nuclear radiations emitted by the explosion of an atom bomb killed thousands of people instantaneously. The health of survivors was also damaged severely by the action of these nuclear radiations. For example- the survivors of this atom bomb tragedy developed many kinds of metabolic disorders, skin lesions, cancer and chromosomal defects. All these defects produced by nuclear radiations are hereditary which can cause the malformation of future generations. Two accidents at the nuclear reactor sites in America and the erstwhile Soviet Union have also caused wide-spread nuclear pollution.


Air Pollution- Causes, Effects, and Control MeasuresGlobal Warming: Effects and Control Measures
Water Pollution- Causes, Effects, and Control MeasuresEnvironmental Imbalances
Solid Waste ManagementImportant Biogeochemical Cycles
Applications Of Laser And MaserWetland- Types & Importance

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: