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Most people think nuclear radiation is a manmade danger, but numerous natural sources of “background” radiation, like cosmic rays from the sun and radon in the atmosphere, exist in everyday life. Potassium, present in most foods and an essential element in the human body, is also a major source of natural radiation. With the Natural Radiation: Activity and Half-Life of Potassium-40—ChemTopic™ Lab Activity, measure the radioactivity of potassium chloride and determine the half-life of the radioactive isotope potassium-40.