At any given time, the radiocarbon levels of living things and the atmosphere is ideally similar.
The proliferation of atmospheric thermo-nuclear testing in the early 1950s until 1963 added vast amount of artificial radiocarbon (bomb carbon) in the atmosphere, increasing global radiocarbon levels by almost 100% compared to the pre-1950 level.
The new isotope is called "radiocarbon" because it is radioactive, though it is not dangerous.
It is naturally unstable and so it will spontaneously decay back into N-14 after a period of time.
The neutron barrage makes the original carbon form into a radioactive isotope.
The Isotope appears to form rapidly and constantly making it apart of the carbon dioxide in the air and in life.
By comparing the activity of the Carbon-14 and the equilibrium levels of living organism a time can be found for this method to work.
Even though this method is highly reliable it does come with some drawbacks.
The same amount of carbon-14 is present in animals, which get their carbon by eating plants or other animals.
All living things therefore contain about one part per trillion of carbon-14.
the 1970s had higher radiocarbon levels in the air than the 1990s, and therefore so did individuals who were deceased during those times.– identify if an individual was living post thermo-nuclear weapons testing– illustrate when (to the decade) the individual lived/died in special circumstances– tell the age of an individual– identify the year of death of the individual NOTE: Publications are cited in literature indicating radiocarbon can be used to determine the approximate age of an individual by comparing teeth to bones.
Additionally, using the radiocarbon signature within trabecular bone vs cortical bone has been cited as a means of identifying which side of the bomb curve the individual lived (prior to 1963 or post 1963). You only need to include the confirmation code in the package.
AD 1963 marked the signing of the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) by the United States, United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union wherein it was agreed that nuclear weapons testing would no longer be performed above ground surface.