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Inside an ionization detector is a small amount (perhaps 1/5000th of a gram) of americium-241.
The radioactive element americium has a half-life of 432 years, and is a good source of alpha particles.
(The same ratio as in the atmosphere.) At the moment of death, no new carbon-14 containing molecules are metabolized, therefore the ratio is at a maximum.
After death, the carbon-14 to carbon-12 ratio begins to decrease because carbon-14 is decaying away at a constant and predictable rate.
Generally, that means that 37 billion atoms in the sample are decaying and emitting a particle of nuclear radiation (such as an alpha particle) per second.
Yes, our bodies are naturally radioactive, because we eat, drink, and breathe radioactive substances that are naturally present in the environment.
These substances are absorbed by our bodies, into our tissues, organs, and bones, and are constantly replenished by ingestion and inhalation.
From the radionuclides that are present in our bodies, the average man in the United States receives an effective dose of about 0.3 m Sv each year.
This is about one-tenth (or 10 percent) of the 3.1-m Sv dose that the average U. man who weighs 70 kg receives each year from all sources of natural background radiation (not including medical sources).