Question Video: Recalling Which Parts of the Body Can Be Damaged by Nuclear Radiation | Nagwa Question Video: Recalling Which Parts of the Body Can Be Damaged by Nuclear Radiation | Nagwa

Question Video: Recalling Which Parts of the Body Can Be Damaged by Nuclear Radiation Science

Which of the following statements correctly describes what parts of the human body can be damaged by absorbing nuclear radiation? [A] Only skin, hair, eyes, and other external body parts can be damaged. [B] Only blood cells can be damaged. [C] All parts of the body can be damaged.

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Video Transcript

Which of the following statements correctly describes what parts of the human body can be damaged by absorbing nuclear radiation? (A) Only skin, hair, eyes, and other external body parts can be damaged. (B) Only blood cells can be damaged. (C) All parts of the body can be damaged.

This question is asking us to identify what parts of the human body can be damaged by nuclear radiation that is absorbed by the body.

Recall that there are different categories of nuclear radiation and that these different categories can enter the human body in different ways. Some types of nuclear radiation can penetrate the skin. When this occurs, the nuclear radiation can be directly absorbed by internal organs. Some types of nuclear radiation cannot penetrate the skin. When this occurs, the nuclear radiation is instead absorbed by the skin. A source of nuclear radiation may be unintentionally swallowed or inhaled. This allows nuclear radiation to be absorbed inside the body even if it cannot penetrate the skin. This is very dangerous as internal organs can be fatally damaged by nuclear radiation.

All living organisms, including humans, are made of cells. These cells can be in the skin or in internal organs. Nuclear radiation can transfer energy to the cells of a living organism. The two main energy transfers to cells that have absorbed nuclear radiation are thermal energy and chemical energy.

Chemical energy transferred to a cell by nuclear radiation causes chemical reactions. These chemical reactions change the normal function of cells and can cause the following symptoms: blindness, hair falling out, internal bleeding, organ failure.

When thermal energy is transferred to a cell by nuclear radiation, energy is dissipated in the cell. If this energy dissipation occurs in cells of the skin, the effect is similar to sunburn. When going outside without protection, our skin will absorb the Sun’s radiation and can become red and burnt. The Sun, a source of nuclear radiation, has transferred thermal energy to the cells in our skin. Different categories of nuclear radiation can transfer thermal energy to cells beneath the skin.

We have stated that when chemical energy is transferred to cells, blindness and hair loss can occur. Hence, hair and eyes are damaged by absorbing nuclear radiation. We have also stated that cells in skin can absorb nuclear radiation and that thermal energy transferred to the cell causes burns. Hence, option (B), which states that only blood cells can be damaged, cannot be the correct answer. Blood cells are under our skin in different parts of the body.

We have said that some categories of nuclear radiation can penetrate the skin. We have also said that nuclear radiation can transfer energy to cells. Option (A) cannot be the correct answer as blood cells are a type of cell, so they can be damaged by this penetrating radiation.

Therefore, the correct answer must be (C). All parts of the body can be damaged.

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