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If a once-living artifact is discovered and analyzed many years after its death, with the remaining carbon-14 compared to the known constant level, an approximate age of the artifact can be determined.Using such methods, scientists determined that the age of the Shroud of Turin (made of linen, which comes from the flax plant, and purported by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ; Figure \(\Page Index\)) is about 600–700 y, not 2,000 y as claimed by some.For instance, leaks in underground water pipes can be discovered by running some tritium-containing water through the pipes and then using a Geiger counter to locate any radioactive tritium subsequently present in the ground around the pipes.(Recall that tritium, H, is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.) Tracers can also be used to follow the steps of a complex chemical reaction.
The thyroid gland in the neck is one of the few places in the body with a significant concentration of iodine.We know these steps because researchers followed the progress of the radioactive carbon-14 throughout the process.Radioactive isotopes are useful for establishing the ages of various objects.This exposure kills a lot of the bacteria that cause spoilage, so the produce stays fresh longer.Eggs and some meat, such as beef, pork, and poultry, can also be irradiated.