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Skin Contamination

Skin contamination is something that might occur, for instance, if liquid radioactive materials are accidentally dripped onto the skin. Alpha particles do not penetrate the dead layer of skin. Some beta particles can deliver a skin radiation dose if they are on the skin long enough. Some x- and gamma-ray emitters can also deliver a skin radiation dose but, additionally, they may be a hazard to other body tissues because the x or gamma ray-emitting radioactive material is sitting on the skin and the x or gamma rays can pass through the skin into the body.

Radioactive material on the skin that is absorbed or passes through a cut and gets inside the body is considered an internal radiation hazard.