Learn more physics!
How does beta radiation penetrate biological material?
- James Little Monkie Jacobs (age 17)
Aquinas College, UK
Let's start with the beta particle. A beta particle is just an electron
that gets shot out of the nucleus of an atom during radioactive decay.
It can sometimes trave a few meters through the air, but has a hard
time penetrating very far into your body. However, beta radiation can
penetrate human skin to the "germinal layer," where new skin cells are
produced. If beta-emitting contaminants are allowed to remain on the
skin for a prolonged period of time, they may cause skin injury.
(republished on 07/21/06)
Follow-up on this answer.