Flexi Says: A low level of radiation occurs naturally in the environment. This background radiation is generally assumed to be safe for living things.Long-term or high-dose exposure to radiation can harm living things and damage nonliving materials such as metals.One reason radiation is dangerous is that it generally can’t be detected with the senses. It can be detected only with devices such as Geiger counters.Radiation has several important uses, including diagnosing and treating cancer. Long-term or high-dose exposure to radiation can harm both living and nonliving things. Radiation knocks electrons out of atoms and changes them to ions. It also breaks bonds in DNA and other compounds in living things. One source of radiation that is especially dangerous to people is radon. Radon is a radioactive gas that forms in rocks underground. It can seep into basements and get trapped inside buildings. Then it may build up and become harmful to people who breathe it. Long-term exposure to radon can cause lung cancer.