Oh no, it’s Cobalt 60!

Attention, Attention! You may be in contact with radiation from food that has been irradiated with Cobalt-60. So, what is Food Irradiation. Food Irradiation is when packaged food is put on a conveyor belt and passes through a radiation beam, in order to get rid of bacteria and keep the food fresher longer. Cobalt-60 is the most common radionuclide used for Food Irradiation. Cobalt-60 goes through a beta decay, which means a electron or positron is emitted from the nucleus. The half life of Cobalt-60 is 5.27 years. It would take about ten half lives, or about 50 years for 99.99% decay. Luckily, almost none of the Food that is irradiated is radioactive. The only other time that people would come into contact with radioactive Cobalt 60 is if they are unintentionally exposed while being medically treated, or if they find lost or misplaced medical and industrial materials that came in contact with Cobalt-60. This is good news, because people don’t have to go out of their way to avoid the radioactive effects of Cobalt-60. So, I hope that after reading this you aren’t scared of radioactivity, because radioactivity is all around us. Everything in the world contains tiny amounts of radioactivity. These are either made by interactions with cosmic radiation, or left over from the creation of the world. Radioactivity is a completely natural phenomenon. People cannot force atoms

to decay, atoms do this on their own to try and stabilize their nucleus.

 

www.physic.isu.edu

 

 

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