Radiation refers to the emission of energy as electromagnetic waves or as moving subatomic particles, especially high-energy particles that cause ionization. There are many types of radiation, including radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays, and gamma rays. Some types of radiation are beneficial, such as the use of X-rays in medicine, while excessive exposure to other types, such as ultraviolet radiation from the sun or ionizing radiation from nuclear reactions, can be harmful.

There are two main types of radiation: ionizing and non-ionizing. Ionizing radiation has enough energy to remove tightly bound electrons from atoms, which can damage living tissue and increase the risk of cancer. Examples of ionizing radiation include X-rays, gamma rays, and alpha and beta particles. Non-ionizing radiation has less energy and cannot remove electrons from atoms. Examples of non-ionizing radiation include radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, and ultraviolet radiation.

Ionizing radiation can be naturally occurring, such as from cosmic rays or radioactive materials found in the earth, or man-made, such as from nuclear power plants or medical equipment. Non-ionizing radiation is typically man-made, such as from cell phones, televisions, and other electronic devices.

Exposure to ionizing radiation can cause a variety of health effects, including cancer, genetic mutations, and tissue damage. Non-ionizing radiation is generally considered to be less harmful, although excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause sunburn and skin cancer.

It is important to limit exposure to ionizing radiation as much as possible and to use protective measures, such as lead aprons, when working with sources of ionizing radiation. It is also important to take precautions to limit exposure to non-ionizing radiation, such as using hands-free devices to reduce exposure to radio-frequency radiation from cell phones and avoiding excessive sun exposure to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

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