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© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Radioactive Fallout: Selected full-text books and articles

Fallout: A Study of Superbombs, Strontium 90, and Survival
John M. Fowler.
Basic Books, 1960
The Enemy Within: The High Cost of Living near Nuclear Reactors: Breast Cancer, AIDS, Low Birthweights, and Other Radiation-Induced Immune Deficiency Effects
Jay M. Gould; Radiation and Public Health Project.
Four Walls Eight Windows, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Fallout and Breast Cancer"
Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Physical, Medical, and Social Effects of the Atomic Bombings
Eisei Ishikawa; David L. Swain; Committee for the Compilation of Materials on Damage Caused by the Atomic Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Basic Books, 1981
Librarian’s tip: "Fallout" begins on p. 77
The Nuclear Lion: What Every Citizen Should Know about Nuclear Power and Nuclear War
John Jagger.
Plenum Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: "The Fallout" begins on p. 124
The Atomic Age: Scientists in National and World Affairs. Articles from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 1945-1962
Morton Grodzins; Eugene Rabinowitch.
Basic Books, 1963
On the Home Front: The Cold War Legacy of the Hanford Nuclear Site
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
Ferenc Morton Szasz.
University of New Mexico Press, 1984
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "The Aftermath I: Fallout"
Our Synthetic Environment
Lewis Herber.
Knopf, 1962
Librarian’s tip: "Fallout" begins on p. 175
Chernobyl Fallout and Outcome of Pregnancy in Finland
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
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
Edward Teller; Albert L. Latter.
Criterion Books, 1958
Librarian’s tip: Chap. X "The Radioactive Cloud"
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