Ionizing radiation is emitted when radioactive substances decay. Radioactive decay occurs when the nucleus of an atom spontaneously decays by emitting a particle (an alpha particle, an electron, or one or more neutrons).

The four forms of ionizing radiation are alpha particles, beta particles, gamma rays, and x-rays. NORM, or Naturally Occurring Radiation, is found in the earth, our bodies, the water, the soil, the air and the sun.

The common units of measurement for radiation are the Roentgen (R) for unit of radiation exposure, Radiation Absorbed Dose (RAD) for the absorbed dose per unit of time, and the Roentgen Equivalent for Man (REM).

For practical purposes:


Counts per Minute (CPM) is a measure used for alpha and beta Particles, while mR/hr are used for gamma & x-rays.

Occupational exposure limits exist for radiation and are based on occupation and normal background levels.  Exposure to radiation is dependent on the dose and dose rate, the time and distance of the exposure, and the method of shielding being used.  Radiation can cause burns or radiation sickness. Symptoms of radiation sickness include nausea, weakness, hair loss, skin burns and reduced organ function. If the exposure is large enough, it can cause premature aging – or even death. Make sure your employees are equipped with the right instruments to measure radiation.

Levitt-Safety offers a variety of handheld radiation monitors for general purpose radiation, emergency response and field and lab surveys.  We also carry personal dosimeters and fixed area monitors to suit your individual requirements. Contact us today for more information.


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