Posts Tagged ‘half-life’

Strontium is chemically similar to calcium (note where it appears on the periodic table). If you lived in a city where there had been a nuclear accident, you and your family might be exposed to strontium-90, which is the principal health hazard in radioactive fallout because it can easily get into the water supply or milk and then be ingested by people.Strontium-90, which is a pure β-emitter, has a half-life of 28 years. This in turn gives rise to yttrium-90, which has a half-life of 64 hours and is a β-emitter in its own right, and the process finally leads to the stable zirconium-90.

Write about how the strontium-90 might accumulate in your body (teeth and bones) and how it might affect you. Include your ideas about how its half-life of 28.8 years would be important. Suggest ways that government agencies, such as your state’s department of health, might test for strontium-90. Where in your environment might scientists look for large concentrations of strontium?

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