Radiation is energy that travels through material or space in the form of waves or streams of particles. It is present everywhere in our environment.

There are two kinds of radiation:

  • Ionizing radiation: radiation from both natural and manufactured radioactive materials, such as cosmic rays, nuclear power plants and x-ray machines.
  • Non-ionizing radiation: lower-energy radiation, such as ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, radio waves and microwaves.

Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation

Sunlight is the main source of ultraviolet radiation, which can damage the DNA in your skin cells. Ultraviolet radiation is a major factor in the development of skin cancer. Tanning beds are artificial sources of UV radiation.


Radon is a radioactive gas that has no colour, odour or taste. Found in some areas of B.C., radon is formed by the breakdown of uranium – a radioactive material found in soil, rock and groundwater. Outdoors, radon is not a concern because it is present in low concentrations. However, radon in buildings and other enclosed spaces tends to accumulate to high levels, and can cause lung cancer.

Electromagnetic Fields

Electromagnetic fields occur naturally, and are also created by equipment such as cell phones, Wi Fi, smart meters, microwave ovens, telecommunications towers, smart meters and radar.