Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Radiation: Yesterday & Today

This month, we've taken a closer look at radiation and radioactivity. From its earliest discovery, radiation has been a bit of a mystery. 

I ran across the definition, history, uses, and medical impacts of radiation online at the Britannica website. It is very thorough and informative. Check it out.

Did you know that in 1896, Henri Becquerel announced the discovery of radioactivity to the Academy of Sciences in Paris? Thomas Edison's assistant died from a radiation-induced tumor as a result of too much x-ray exposure? And that during World War I, radium paint (a radium/phosphor mixture) was used on military aircraft instruments so they would glow in the dark and make night flying easier for pilots?

It wasn't until 1959 that the Federal Radiation Council was established and responsible for: 
  1. "Advising the President of the United States on radiological issues that affected public health;
  2. Providing guidance to all federal agencies in setting radiation protection standards; and
  3. Working with the States on radiation issues."
In 1970, Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Radiation protection fell under the EPA's Radiation Protection Division, which is responsible for protecting the public and environment from too much exposure to radiation. Good to know. Go science!

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