Radioactive Fallout


fallout, minute particles of radioactive material produced by nuclear explosions (see atomic bomb; hydrogen bomb; Chernobyl) or by discharge from nuclear-power or atomic installations and scattered throughout the earth's atmosphere by winds and convection currents. Heavier fallout particles tend to settle to earth around the explosion site and downwind from it soon after the explosion. Lighter particles may stay in the atmosphere for years. Radioactive decay products in fallout include strontium-90, potassium-40, carbon-14, and iodine-131. They may contaminate food supplies if taken up by plants and animals or contaminate water supplies by falling into streams. If they accumulate in the human body, they can form concentrated internal sources of dangerous radiation. Fallout may thus be a cause of leukemia, bone cancer, and other diseases. It can also cause genetic damage.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Radioactive Fallout: Selected full-text books and articles

The Enemy Within: The High Cost of Living near Nuclear Reactors: Breast Cancer, AIDS, Low Birthweights, and Other Radiation-Induced Immune Deficiency Effects By Jay M. Gould; Radiation and Public Health Project Four Walls Eight Windows, 1996
Librarian's tip: Chap. 8 "Fallout and Breast Cancer"
On the Home Front: The Cold War Legacy of the Hanford Nuclear Site By Michele Stenehjem Gerber University of Nebraska Press, 1997
Librarian's tip: "Fallout Tracking and Research" begins on p. 190
The Day the Sun Rose Twice: The Story of the Trinity Site Nuclear Explosion, July 16, 1945 By Ferenc Morton Szasz University of New Mexico Press, 1984
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "The Aftermath I: Fallout"
Our Synthetic Environment By Lewis Herber Knopf, 1962
Librarian's tip: "Fallout" begins on p. 175
Chernobyl Fallout and Outcome of Pregnancy in Finland By Auvinen, Anssi; Vahteristo, Mikko; Arvela, Hannu; Suomela, Matti; Rahola, Tua; Hakama, Matti; Rytomaa, Tapio Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 109, No. 2, February 2001
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Permissible Dose: A History of Radiation Protection in the Twentieth Century By J. Samuel Walker University of California Press, 2000
Librarian's tip: "The Fallout Controversy" begins on p. 18
Our Nuclear Future: Facts, Dangers, and Opportunities By Edward Teller; Albert L. Latter Criterion Books, 1958
Librarian's tip: Chap. X "The Radioactive Cloud"
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