Radioactive Isotopes Essay

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Radioactive isotopes have many functions in our society today, though they are very dangerous, and can be harmful because of the radiation released from them. Radioisotopes are a version of a chemical element that has an unstable nucleus and emits radiation during its decay to a stable form. Radioisotopes have important uses in medical diagnosis, treatment, and research. Radioisotopes can cause mutations, illness, and possibly even death. Radio-isotopes are widely used in medicine as tracers that show up on X-ray film, and sometimes can destroy cancerous growths. The rays from radium are used in the treatment of skin diseases. Radiation from Co-60 and I-131 are used to diagnose and treat thyroid disorders. Co-60 is also used to kill bacteria in foods. P-32 is used in the treatment of leukemia and tumors. Tc-99 is used for the treatment of brain cancer. Na-24 in the form NaCl is used to study circulation of blood and is used in the study of metabolism of plants Co-60 and Cs-137 are used to destroy anthrax bacilli. Radioisotopes are also widely used in industry, because the radiation emitted by different radioisotopes can be used for rapid, accurate measurement of a materials thickness. The purity of materials can be established by means of radioisotopes. Radioisotopes are used as gamma ray sources to sterilize materials. In agriculture, radioisotope tracers can be used to check for proper distribution of pesticides. S-35 helps to study advantages and disadvantages of fungicides. Radioisotopes are used to detect pipeline leaks, and to trace underground water. They can also be used in forensic science, to assist in solving crimes. Also, they are used by archaeologists and related specialists to help establish the authenticity and age of specimens. Naturally occurring radio-isotopes are often used by geologists to establish the ages of rocks. Carbon - dating has

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