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Radioactive contamination

Contamination is a potential problem with any radioactive material except electrically generated X-radiation. If a material that contains radioactive isotopes is in a form that is easily dispersed (i.e. dusts, powders, liquids, gases) the radioactive substance can become attached to the exterior of the body by direct contact or airborne dispersion (e.g. dust, spray, mist, etc.). It may also enter the body through inhalation, ingestion or through an open cut or wound. In this sense, internal radioactive contamination poses much the same threat as any other chemical toxin or hazardous materials exposure. Once inside the body, alpha and beta emissions, which were not considered high risk in terms of external contamination, may produce damaging ionising radiation directly into the cells of the lymph system, blood and internal organs.