Beta Radiation Effects


A light, short-range particle discovered in the 1900s by Henri Becquerel that emits fast radiation during radioactive decay and has the ability to penetrate deep into the human skin is called beta radiation. For years, this type of radiation has been used widely in the medical field and other industries.


Cancer is one of the primary health conditions that results from radiation. This happens when too much radiation has penetrated the skin layers deeply. Beta radiation might interfere with the natural processes of the human body and cause extreme damage to the tissues. It also might interfere with the body’s natural ability to repair and replace damaged tissue. As a result, the abnormal growth of cells known as cancer can occur.

DNA Changes and Cell Mutation

One of the most harmful effects of beta radiation is cell mutation or extreme changes in DNA. Fetuses whose mothers have been exposed to beta radiation are more susceptible to cell mutation. Usually, this happens when the radiation has already damaged the tissue responsible for cell repair in the body. There are two types of cell mutation: genetic and teratogenic. Genetic mutation occurs when the expectant mother is exposed to radiation and passes the effects of that exposure to the unborn fetus. Teratogenic mutation occurs when the fetus has been exposed to radiation while in the uterus. This type of exposure can occur during the mother's medical exam if an X-ray is involved. Also, if the expectant mother works in a nuclear plant or in an environment where radioactive or X-ray substances are used, such exposure might not negatively affect the mother but could pose unfavorable growth development on the fetus.

Radiation Sickness and Burns

Radiation sickness and burns are effects of beta radiation, which usually occur when an individual has been exposed to extended periods and high volumes of radiation. Also known as radiation poisoning, radiation sickness might cause premature aging to the exposed individual. Such exposure at very high levels can also be fatal.

Other Effects of Beta Radiation

Exposure to too much radiation can cause severe hair loss, extreme weakness, nausea and diminished organ function, which can be indicators of burns or illness because of the radiation. Hair loss can also be caused by the destruction of tissue responsible for hair growth.

Beta Radiation Uses

Beta radiation has been used by doctors to treat bone and eye cancer. It can be used to test the thickness of paper and other objects. Despite its advantages and benefits, however, beta radiation might cause health problems to those exposed for long periods.

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