Radiation in water, food and household items, in metal.

Radiation in water, food and household items, in metal.

Good time of day. Today I want to tell you more about the radiation in the products. As I have already told you here https://radiation-info.com/en/2021/08/15/what-is-radiation-or-ionizing-radiation/ radioactivity is inherent in everything, the question is in what quantities. In general, the laboratory in which I work, and I think, in the laboratories located in your countries and cities, everything is examined, products, air, water and things. In this article I will tell you a little about where radioactive substances can appear in food, water and things, as well as how they are checked by special services. To begin with, let’s talk about water, food, and things.

Radioactive substances in the water.

By itself, water is not radioactive. In order for it to become dangerous from the point of view of radiation, a radioactive substance must get into it. Of course, we must understand that if the water is not distilled, then there are impurities of various substances in it. Some impurities are useful, some are not. We are talking about non-useful impurities, which at the same time are radioactive. Basically, in the water from what is in the radiation part, these are various components of the uranium series, lead, as well as radium (a natural substance), cesium and strontium (got into the water after nuclear tests and accidents), as well as plutonium, potassium (a natural substance), thorium, iodine (gets into radioactive accidents). Due to the fact that a person consumes water in large quantities, the standards for the content of various harmful substances are very strict. In Russia, in order to test food, water, or other items, spectrometers with lead protection from external radiation background are used. As I said in the previous ARTICLE, the natural background is always and everywhere. So the content of radioactive substances in the water should be much lower than the usual background.

Radiation in water, food and household items, in metal. No. 1
About radiation in water. Many parameters are checked in water, but for express tests, the total content of alpha and beta particles is checked.

Radioactive substances in food.

Radioactive substances get into food in various ways. Rather, they can get in. If these are products of plant origin, then radioactive substances enter the food at the growth stage. The plant grows and absorbs useful and harmful substances into itself (radioactive substances were found in the soil after a series of radiation disasters and nuclear weapons tests). As a result, we get a product with harmful substances inside.

Animal products. Actually, radioactive substances get into animal products as a result of consumption by animals of contaminated food of plant origin or water, as well as any other food contaminated with radioactive substances. As a result, the animal’s meat also becomes contaminated with radioactive substances. Moreover, if we are talking about cows, then the milk becomes contaminated.

During the Chernobyl disaster, the released radioactive substances (radioactive iodine) fell on the fields where cows were fed. After that, most of the milk became radioactive. Eyewitnesses of the events say that even with poor dosimeters, it was possible to register a significant change in the radioactive background near milk batches.

Well, nowadays, under normal conditions, food is checked like water, under lead protection, in order to exclude the influence of the natural background.

Radiation in water, food and household items, in metal. No. 2
About radiation in food. In food products, the specific activity of Caesium-137 and Strontium-90 is usually observed. These substances are most often contaminated with products.

Radioactive substances in household items.

It should be understood that many that the object that falls into your hands may be contaminated in two cases:

  1. An object is created from contaminated material (for example, a tree grew in a contaminated area and a chair was made from it).
  2. The object is polluted from the outside (we have a normal chair and radioactive fallout falls on it after a nuclear accident).
Radiation in water, food and household items, in metal. №3
The picture shows a man in the main protective suit of the MPS (Russia), with a search dosimeter.

If we have not had any radioactive accidents, then the object can be contaminated only as a consequence of paragraph 1. Here it is worth adding that some rocks of stone, for example natural granite, may contain radioactive substances such as thorium, radium and potassium, from which they will also be sources of radiation.

Summing up the above, items created from natural substances, wood, stones are usually checked… They are checked according to the principles described above (for food and water), except that the standards are completely different.

Of course, if a batch of products or items turned out to be contaminated, it is excluded from circulation. In Russia, all water entering people’s homes through the water supply system is checked for the content of harmful substances. Products are checked on and off the plan. Each new batch of products is pre-sent to special services for inspection. The rest of the goods are checked according to the residual principle. (it is possible in other regions in a different way).  Here is such a simple scheme of functioning of the protection of the population from radiation in food, water or household items.

P.s. About radiation in metal structures.

Radiation in water, food and household items, in metal. No. 4
A typical kind of scrap heap. The scrap metal lot must be checked for the presence of radioactive substances before entering this pile.

In general, there should be no radiation in the metal, but many companies (even if you do not see them or do not know about them) are engaged in the collection and processing of scrap metal.

Radiation in water, food and household items, in metal. No. 5
An approximate view of the plant where the metal is melted down.

So, when scrap metal arrives, the organization that collects scrap metal must check the batch for the presence of radioactive substances. But we are all people, and checking metal for radiation, too… people. So, when at the stage of receipt of a batch of metal, the source of ionizing radiation (radiation) located there is not detected, and this happens rarely. There is a risk that together with a good metal, a radioactive one will be melted down. This leads to the fact that the parts that will be manufactured in the future, for example, screws or water meter housings, will turn out to be radioactive. (this happened in Russia). The territory of the plant adjacent to the smelter will also be contaminated, as some of the radioactive substances will fly into the pipe and settle in the vicinity.

This is a rare event that is an emergency. Don’t worry, there are many services working to prevent such situations.

I remind you that if you are interested in details, you can always write your questions in the comments or refer to the scientific literature. Here I try to talk in simple language about the complex, often omitting important points.

You can also read about radiation here (Wikipedia): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation

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