Background Radiation

Background radiation is low-level radition that is around us all the time. It comes from: 

  • naturally occuring unstable isotopes which are all around us - in the air, some foods, building materials and some rocks.
  • cosmic rays from space which mainly come from the sun. Most of Earth's atmosphere protects us from most of this radiation.
  • human activity - fallout from nuclear explosions or nuclear waste. This only represents a small amount of the total background radiation.

The amount of radiation you're exposed to and the amount your body absorbs is called the absorbed radiation dose. Radition dose varies depending on where someone lives or if someone has a job involving radiation.


Objects near a source of radiation are being irradiated by it, meaning they're exposed to it.

Irradiating an object doesn't make it radioactive.

Keeping radioactive sources in lead-lined boxes, standing behind barriers or being in a different room and using controlled arms all help to reduce


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