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Why can radon be held in your hand without harm but if it's inhaled it very dangerous?

I was thinking that because radon emits alpha particles they wouldn't penetrate your hand? but if they were inhaled they wouldn't be able to escape out of your body and could possibly ionize some atoms in your body?

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  • $\begingroup$ ukradon.org/information : all you need to know about Radon. $\endgroup$ – Gert May 26 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ As a practical matter you're going to have a hard time holding a noble gas in your hand. $\endgroup$ – dmckee May 26 at 21:36
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee: yould hold it in some vial or other, although that might not be in the spirit of the question. $\endgroup$ – Gert May 26 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee If you froze it solid, you could juggle it in your hands... It's freezing point is around -71°C, just slightly colder than dry ice. $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring May 26 at 22:27
  • $\begingroup$ .... where can I buy some frozen radon? $\endgroup$ – ShapeOfMatter May 26 at 22:56
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Radon is an alpha emitter. Alpha radiation is short range and easily stopped by materials. When radon is in a container the radiation will therefore also be contained. However, when you inhale radon the atoms are in direct contact with tissue and will damage body cell DNA. Also daughter nuclei are harmful. For an overview of the health risks see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_effects_of_radon.

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  • $\begingroup$ "do when radon us in a" ? $\endgroup$ – Ineedhelp May 26 at 23:07

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