Uses of radiation in radio dating
In addition, radiation has useful applications in such areas as agriculture, archaeology (carbon dating), space exploration, law enforcement, geology (including mining), and many others.For additional information, see the following topics on this page: Hospitals, doctors, and dentists use a variety of nuclear materials and procedures to diagnose, monitor, and treat a wide assortment of metabolic processes and medical conditions in humans.By measuring this difference, archaeologists are able to determine the object's approximate age.We could talk all day about the many and varied uses of radiation in industry and not complete the list, but a few examples illustrate the point.For example, in the upper levels of our atmosphere, cosmic rays strike nitrogen atoms and form a naturally radioactive isotope called carbon-14.Carbon is found in all living things, and a small percentage of this is carbon-14.Similarly, radiation is used to help remove toxic pollutants, such as exhaust gases from coal-fired power stations and industry.
In such procedures, doctors administer slightly radioactive substances to patients, which are attracted to certain internal organs such as the pancreas, kidney, thyroid, liver, or brain, to diagnose clinical conditions.
X-rays and other forms of radiation also have a variety of therapeutic uses.
When used in this way, they are most often intended to kill cancerous tissue, reduce the size of a tumor, or reduce pain.
In irradiation, for instance, foods, medical equipment, and other substances are exposed to certain types of radiation (such as x-rays) to kill germs without harming the substance that is being disinfected — and without making it radioactive.
When treated in this manner, foods take much longer to spoil, and medical equipment (such as bandages, hypodermic syringes, and surgical instruments) are sterilized without being exposed to toxic chemicals or extreme heat.