Nuclear radiation carbon dating
In actuality, most of the alpha particles never reach a sensitive tissue, such as a cell, and thus most of this energy is wasted.Indeed, most of the times an alpha particle does hit a cell, it kills the cell, but dead cells don't give rise to malignancies.
Other primordial radioelements may be present, such as Rn, is always present in the air we breath.Three of the above listed isotopes, Lead-210 (C), are both continuously being created by cosmic rays in the earth's upper atmosphere.Today, much of the Tritium in the atmosphere is manmade in nuclear reactors, but prior to the nuclear era the only source of H was cosmic ray bombardment of carbon.Lead-210 enters the human body primarily through the diet, but some fraction is inhaled from the air (from the decay of Rn), and some enters as a consequence of smoking cigarettes.Polonium-210 (not considered separately in the table above) also may enter the body by these routes, but a much larger fraction of its intake is from the smoking of cigarettes.The second of my reasons for not calculating dose has to do with my belief that the cell is actually a proper target for dose calculation, but we do not know how to account for repair processes which we know do exist within the body. In this location a radioactive decay has an excellent chance of doing damage to that cell's DNA.
Since every person on earth experiences about 4400 potential cell damages from K every second of their life, how is it so many of us are still here to ask such a question?
All living things, trees, plants, animals or fish, as they grow and consume food, continue to add and replace carbon in their structures.
However, after death, no new carbon atoms are added, so their Rb can also be used for dating, but only over much longer time periods.
No attempt has been made to express the dose that might be delivered to the body by the isotopes incorporated within the body. First, dose is defined as the energy delivered to a sensitive organ or tissue, divided by the mass of that tissue or organ.
It is this author's belief that we do not know the target we should use to calculate dose for any of these radioelements. We do know that radium mimics calcium within the body, and thus most of it is found in bone.
Does this imply that every time a radioactive atom decays in the body a cancer results?