Eisenbud, Merril Institute of Environmental Medicine, New York University Medical Center, New York, New York.
Last reviewed:November 2020
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- Terrestrial nuclides
- Dose rates
- Radioactive anomalies
- Technological modification
- Building construction
- Combustion of fossil fuels
- Aircraft travel
- Medical procedures
- Nuclear weapons testing
- Nuclear power plants
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Radioactivity that originates from natural and anthropogenic sources, including radioactive materials in food, housing, and air, radioactive materials used in medicine, nuclear weapons tests in the open atmosphere, and radioactive materials used in industry and power generation. Natural radioactivity, which is by far the largest component to which humans are typically exposed, is of both terrestrial and extraterrestrial (cosmic) origin. About 340 nuclides are known in nature, of which 70 are radioactive and are found mainly among the heavy elements. The three nuclides responsible for most of the terrestrial component are potassium-40, uranium-238, and thorium-232 (Fig. 1). See also: Chemical element; Radiation; Radiation injury to plants and animals; Radioactivity
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