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RadTown USA Topics

Personal Exposure

Everyday activities and environmental factors in common locations such as homes, schools, or offices contribute to an individual's radiation exposure. Being aware of the sources in these locations allows you to better control your personal radiation exposure.

Use of Radioactive Materials

Industrial uses of radiation in equipment such as moisture and density gauges and consumer products such as ionizing smoke detectors are sources of radiation that if improperly handled can result in environmental contamination or personal exposure.

Radiation-Treated Materials

Food, mail, and other items are treated with radiation to kill pathogens. The materials that are treated do not become radioactive, although the processes that create them are potential sources of worker exposure or environmental contamination.


Radioactive waste often must be transported from its generation site to a disposal facility. Federal, state, and local governments and response agencies put rules and safeguards in place to prevent accidents and to prevent exposure in the event an accident does occur.

Radioactive Waste

Industrial processes that use radioactive materials or extract minerals from soil that contains naturally-occurring radioactive materials inevitably create radioactive waste.

Natural Radiation

Uranium, radium, plutonium, and most other radioactive materials have been present in Earth's crust since it was formed. Natural resources such as air, water, and soil may become contaminated when they come in contact with these naturally-occurring radionuclides.


Radiation is involved in many aspects of homeland security. Radiation is used in devices that help ensure our safety, such as smoke detectors and airport luggage screeners. It is also used in military applications, such as submarines and nuclear weapons. In addition, much of the cargo entering our ports is screened for radioactivity.


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