Characteristics of Alpha Radiation
1. Alpha radiation is not able to penetrate skin.
2. Alpha-emitting materials can be harmful to humans if the materials are inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through open wounds.
3. A variety of instruments have been designed to measure alpha radiation. Special training in use of these instruments is essential for making accurate measurements.
4. A civil defense instrument (CD V-700) cannot detect the presence of radioactive materials that produce alpha radiation unless the radioactive materials also produce beta and/or gamma radiation.
5. Instruments cannot detect alpha radiation through even a thin layer of water, blood, dust, paper, or other material, because alpha radiation is not penetrating.
6. Alpha radiation travels a very short distance through air.
7. Alpha radiation is not able to penetrate turnout gear, clothing, or a cover on a probe. Turnout gear and dry clothing can keep alpha emitters off of the skin.