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Definition of Beta particle

Beta particle: An electron ejected from the nucleus of a decaying atom. Although beta particles can be stopped by a thin sheet of aluminum, they can penetrate the dead skin layer, potentially causing burns. They can pose a serious direct or external radiation threat and can be lethal depending on the amount received. They also pose a serious internal radiation threat if beta-emitting atoms are ingested or inhaled.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=30766
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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