The beta particle has a small mass and is positively or negatively charged. Positively
charged beta particles are called positrons and have an electrical charge of plus one.
Negatively charged beta particles are high-energy electrons and have an electrical charge
of minus one.
A negatively charged beta particle is physic ally identical to an electron.
The beta particle ionizes target atoms due to the force between itself and the electrons of
the atom. Both have a charge of minus one.
Because of its charge, the beta particle has a limited penetrating ability.
The range in air of beta particles depends on the energy of the beta particle. In the case
of tritium (H-3), the range is only an inch; in the case of phosphorous -32 (P-32) or
strontium-90 (Sr-90), the range is 20 feet in air.
Beta particles are typically shielded by plastic, glass, or safety glasses.
If ingested or inhaled, a beta emitter can be an internal hazard when the source of the
beta radiation is in close contact with body tissue and can deposit energy in a small
volume of living body tissue.
Externally, beta particles are potentially hazardous to the skin and eyes.
Provide facility-specific information on the additional risks or concerns from high-
energy beta sources (e.g., P-32, Y-90), as appropriate.
(Insert facility-specific information.)