Fake Science Alert: Fukushima Radiation Can’t Be Compared to Bananas or X-Rays

http://www.terry.ubc.ca/wp-content/uploads/banana_equals_boom.png

Nuclear Energy Apologists Are Going Bananas

Nuclear apologists pretend that people are exposed to more radiation from bananas than from Fukushima.

But the EPA explains:

The human body is born with potassium-40 [the type of radiation found in bananas] in its tissues and it is the most common radionuclide in human tissues and in food. We evolved in the presence of potassium-40 and our bodies have well-developed repair mechanisms to respond to its effects. The concentration of potassium-40 in the human body is constant and not affected by concentrations in the environment.

Wikipedia notes:

The amount of potassium (and therefore of 40K) in the human body is fairly constant because of homeostatsis, so that any excess absorbed from food is quickly compensated by the elimination of an equal amount.

It follows that the additional radiation exposure due to eating a banana lasts only for a few hours after ingestion, namely the time it takes for the normal potassium contents of the body to be restored by the kidneys.

BoingBoing reports:

A lot of things you might not suspect of being radioactive are, including Brazil nuts, and your own body. And this fact is sometimes used to downplay the impact of exposure to radiation via medical treatments or accidental intake.

***

I contacted Geoff Meggitt—a retired health physicist, and former editor of the Journal of Radiological Protection—to find out more.

Meggitt worked for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and its later commercial offshoots for 25 years. He says there’s an enormous variation in the risks associated with swallowing the same amount of different radioactive materials—and even some difference between the same dose, of the same material, but in different chemical forms.

It all depends on two factors:

1) The physical characteristics of the radioactivity—i.e, What’s its half-life? Is the radiation emitted alpha, beta or gamma?

2) The way the the radioactivity travels around and is taken up by the body—i.e., How much is absorbed by the blood stream? What tissues does this specific isotope tend to accumulate in?

The Potassium-40 in bananas is a particularly poor model isotope to use, Meggitt says, because the potassium content of our bodies seems to be under homeostatic control. When you eat a banana, your body’s level of Potassium-40 doesn’t increase. You just get rid of some excess Potassium-40. The net dose of a banana is zero.

And that’s the difference between a useful educational tool and propaganda. (And I say this as somebody who is emphatically not against nuclear energy.) Bananas aren’t really going to give anyone “a more realistic assessment of actual risk”, they’re just going to further distort the picture.

Most “Background Radiation” Didn’t Exist Before Nuclear Weapons Testing and Nuclear Reactors

Nuclear apologists also pretend that we get a higher exposure from background radiation (when we fly, for example) or x-rays then we get from nuclear accidents.

In fact, there was exactly zero background radioactive cesium or iodine before above-ground nuclear testing and nuclear accidents started.

Wikipedia provides some details on the distribution of cesium-137 due to human activities:

Small amounts of caesium-134 and caesium-137 were released into the environment during nearly all nuclear weapon tests and some nuclear accidents, most notably the Chernobyl disaster.

***

Caesium-137 is unique in that it is totally anthropogenic. Unlike most other radioisotopes, caesium-137 is not produced from its non-radioactive isotope, but from uranium. It did not occur in nature before nuclear weapons testing began. By observing the characteristic gamma rays emitted by this isotope, it is possible to determine whether the contents of a given sealed container were made before or after the advent of atomic bomb explosions. This procedure has been used by researchers to check the authenticity of certain rare wines, most notably the purported “Jefferson bottles”.

As the EPA notes:

Cesium-133 is the only naturally occurring isotope and is non-radioactive; all other isotopes, including cesium-137, are produced by human activity.

Similarly, iodine-131 is not a naturally occurring isotope. As the Encyclopedia Britannica notes:

The only naturally occurring isotope of iodine is stable iodine-127. An exceptionally useful radioactive isotope is iodine-131…

(Fukushima has spewed much more radioactive cesium and iodine than Chernobyl. The amount of radioactive cesium released by Fukushima was some 20-30 times higher than initially admitted. Japanese experts say that Fukushima is currently releasing up to 93 billion becquerels of radioactive cesium into the ocean each day. And the cesium levels hitting the west coast of North America will keep increasing for several years. Fukushima is still spewing radiation into the environment, and the amount of radioactive fuel at Fukushima dwarfs Chernobyl.)

As such, the concept of “background radiation” is largely a misnomer. Most of the radiation we encounter today – especially the most dangerous types – did not even exist in nature before we started tinkering with nuclear weapons and reactors. In a sense, we are all guinea pigs.

Mixing Apples (External) and Oranges (Internal)

Moreover, radioactive particles which end up inside of our lungs or gastrointestinal track, as opposed to radiation which comes to us from outside of our skin are much more dangerous than general exposures to radiation.

The National Research Council’s Committee to Assess the Scientific Information for the Radiation Exposure Screening and Education Program explains:

Radioactivity generates radiation by emitting particles. Radioactive materials outside the the body are called external emitters, and radioactive materials located within the body are called internal emitters.

Internal emitters are much more dangerous than external emitters. Specifically, one is only exposed to radiation as long as he or she is near the external emitter.

For example, when you get an x-ray, an external emitter is turned on for an instant, and then switched back off.

But internal emitters steadily and continuously emit radiation for as long as the particle remains radioactive, or until the person dies – whichever occurs first. As such, they are much more dangerous.

As the head of a Tokyo-area medical clinic – Dr. Junro Fuse, Internist and head of Kosugi Medical Clinic – said:

Risk from internal exposure is 200-600 times greater than risk from external exposure.

See this, this, this and this.

By way of analogy, external emitters are like dodgeballs being thrown at you.  If you get hit, it might hurt.  But it’s unlikely you’ll get hit again in the same spot.

Internal emitters – on the other hand – are like a black belt martial artist moving in really close and hammering you again and again and again in the exact same spot.  That can do real damage.

There are few natural high-dose internal emitters. Bananas, brazil nuts and some other foods contain radioactive potassium-40, but in extremely low doses. And – as explained above – our bodies have adapted to handle this type of radiation.

True, some parts of the country are at higher risk of exposure to naturally-occurring radium than others.

But the cesium which was scattered all over the place by above-ground nuclear tests and the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents has a much longer half life, and can easily contaminate food and water supplies. As the New York Times notes:

Over the long term, the big threat to human health is cesium-137, which has a half-life of 30 years.

At that rate of disintegration, John Emsley wrote in “Nature’s Building Blocks” (Oxford, 2001), “it takes over 200 years to reduce it to 1 percent of its former level.”

It is cesium-137 that still contaminates much of the land in Ukraine around the Chernobyl reactor.

***

Cesium-137 mixes easily with water and is chemically similar to potassium. It thus mimics how potassium gets metabolized in the body and can enter through many foods, including milk.

As the EPA notes in a discussion entitled ” What can I do to protect myself and my family from cesium-137?”:

Cesium-137 that is dispersed in the environment, like that from atmospheric testing, is impossible to avoid.

Radioactive iodine can also become a potent internal emitter. As the Times notes:

Iodine-131 has a half-life of eight days and is quite dangerous to human health. If absorbed through contaminated food, especially milk and milk products, it will accumulate in the thyroid and cause cancer.

(In addition to spewing massive amounts of radioactive iodine 131, Fukushima also pumped out huge amounts of radioactive iodine 129 – which has a half-life of 15.7 million years. Fukushima has also dumped up to 900 trillion becquerels of radioactive strontium-90 – which is a powerful internal emitter which mimics calcium and collects in our bones – into the ocean.).

The bottom line is that there is some naturally-occurring background radiation, which can – at times – pose a health hazard (especially in parts of the country with high levels of radioactive radon or radium).

But cesium-137 and radioactive iodine – the two main radioactive substances being spewed by the leaking Japanese nuclear plants – are not naturally-occurring substances, and can become powerful internal emitters which can cause tremendous damage to the health of people who are unfortunate enough to breathe in even a particle of the substances, or ingest them in food or water.

Unlike low-levels of radioactive potassium found in bananas – which our bodies have adapted to over many years – cesium-137 and iodine 131 are brand new, extremely dangerous substances.

And unlike naturally-occurring internal emitters like radon and radium – whose distribution is largely concentrated in certain areas of the country – radioactive cesium and iodine, as well as strontium and other dangerous radionuclides, are being distributed globally through weapons testing and nuclear accidents.

Cumulative and Synergistic Damage

A military briefing written by the U.S. Army for commanders in Iraq states:

Hazards from low level radiation are long-term, not acute effects… Every exposure increases risk of cancer.

(Military briefings for commanders often contain less propaganda than literature aimed at civilians, as the commanders have to know the basic facts to be able to assess risk to their soldiers.)

The briefing states that doses are cumulative: the more times someone is exposed, the greater the potential damage.

In addition, exposure to different radioactive particles may increase the damage. Specifically, the International Commissionon Radiological Protection notes:

It has been shown that in some cases a synergistic effect results when several organs of the body are irradiated simultaneously.

(“Synergistic” means that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.)

Because different radionuclides accumulate in different parts of the body – e.g. cesium in the muscles, kidneys, heart and liveriodine in the thyroid,  and strontium in the bones – the exposure to many types of radiation may be more dangerous than exposure just to one or two types.

As such, adding new radioactive compounds like cesium and iodine into the environment may cause synergistic damage to our health.

The Bottom Line

Even though the nuclear industry and government have been covering up the dangers of radiation ever since nuclear weapons were invented, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that even low levels of radiation can damage our health.

Postscript: Any environmentalist who thinks that nuclear power is necessary to reduce greenhouse gasses has fallen prey to false propaganda from the nuclear industry.

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  • Thud

    Poison becomes powerfull medicine, it’s just the dose…
    Radiation hormesis, why should it not work similarily? Ever heard about the Taiwanese apartments with Cobalt-60?
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2477708/

    • Voodude

      Thud is correct. An unexpected “experiment” was conducted on residents in Taiwan in the 1980s. Steel used to construct apartments was “inadvertently” contaminated with the high-energy gamma-ray emitter, 60Cobalt. The residents were dosed. Cancer rates plummeted, well below the normal Taiwanese resident. A normal dose is 3-6 mSv, and 1,100 of the residents received around twenty times the normal exposure. 8,000 people received around ten to fifteen times the normal exposure.

      Chen, W. L., et al. 2007 “Effects of cobalt-60 exposure on health of Taiwan residents suggest new approach needed in radiation protection.” Dose-Response

      http://users.tricity.wsu.edu/~tbrooks/PBNC_2004_Adaptive_Response/16_Chen.pdf

      • Punk Weasel

        Are you trolls trying to say a nuclear meltdown is good for you. There’s nothing to worry about! Are you friggin nuts. What is the point of all this crap you trolls post, distraction disinformation what? It’s all rubbish and not on topic.

        • VooDude

          Hormesis is no joke.
          The fear of radiation does you more harm than the radiation would ever do.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9d1fe99e6942ebc9dc2ea4a85f183fde14d01b58581f34c3fe5baa4c41ecdbe7.jpg

          ”The continued application of the invalid linear dose–response model for cancer risk assessment raises enormous fear about the safety of exposures to small doses of radiation (and chemicals). Linking low radiation to a “risk of health effects” and the emergency measures to mitigate exposure to low radiation levels has caused and continues to cause many premature deaths and enormous psychological suffering of large populations who received small radiation exposures.”

          ”It is time for the scientific community to urge the US National Academy of Science to recognize its error and abandon the politicized science it fostered in 1956.”

          Cuttler, Jerry M. 2014 “Leukemia incidence of 96,000 Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors is compelling evidence that the LNT model is wrong.” Archives of toxicology

          http://www.dry.ineacademy.com/Cuttler-2014_Arch_Toxicol_Leukemia_Hiroshima_LNT_model_wrong.pdf

    • Punk Weasel

      Yes and the dose in areactor meltdown is about 1 trillion times higher than what you are suggesting.

  • Mixing apples and oranges? You’re mixing apples and onions. ANY of the 14 naturally-occurring elements ingested will produce exposure. There is no such thing as “net-zero). Plus, the bit about most natural background didn’t exist before nuclear weapon detonations (and nuke plants) is a boldfaced LIE! Either thet, or you have no idea what you are talking about. And, “Cesium in the reproductive organs”? It’s a muscle-seeker, PERIOD! And, the above is just the tip of the ice-berg. If this were court testimony, you would be held in contempt! Tell it like it is! Enough with your fairy tales.

    • AldivosTarril

      “Even the very lowest levels of radiation are harmful to life, scientists have concluded in the Cambridge Philosophical Society’s journal Biological Reviews. Reporting the results of a wide-ranging analysis of 46 peer-reviewed studies published over the past 40 years.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121113134224.htm

      Nukes add radiation to our biosphere which exposes billions of people to risk of cancer and death. People who compare bananas or granite rock with the kind of radioisotopes released by nukes simply do not know what they are talking about. Or they are liars.

      • novelPhenomena

        Is the type of radiation released by potassium-40 the same as the type of radiation from Caesium-137?

        • nuclearexpert

          Yes, it is. They both emit gamma rays. K-40 emits a 1460 keV gamma ray while Cs-137 emits a 661.7 keV gamma ray (both of those are the most likely gamma ray energy to be emitted during decay).

          • Dennis Mitton

            @nuclearexpert, Right in concept but not quite exact: K-40 emits gamma and beta radiations, while Cs-137 is a pure beta emitter. It’s metastable daughter Ba-137, though, dose emit gammas.

        • AldivosTarril

          Eating a banana is not the same as ingesting Cs-137. That’s why we don’t evacuate tens or hundreds thousands of people because of bananas.

          The nuke liars really shot themselves in the foot with their banana propaganda.

          • Voodude

            “we don’t evacuate tens or hundreds thousands of people” … People were evacuated because of fear. More people died of evacuation than died of radiation effects. A really old man just committed suicide because of the evacuation, not because his home was ‘contaminated’ …

            ”The number of radiation casualties from the March 2011 meltdown of Fukushima nuclear reactors stands at zero. In Fukushima Prefecture, the casualties from radiation terror number more than 1,600, exceeding direct deaths from the natural disaster in that area, because of government-mandated evacuation that forced people from their homes and usual support systems into crowded evacuation centers. The U.S. is vulnerable to the same radiation terror as occurred in Japan because of using the wrong dose-response model, which is based on the linear no-threshold hypothesis (LNT), for assessing radiation health risks. The effects of low-dose radiation are in fact grossly misstated.”

            Orient, J. 2014 “Fukushima and reflections on radiation as a terror weapon.” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons

            http://www.jpands.org/vol19no2/orient.pdf

            The excess dose that residents of most of Fukushima Prefecture’s towns and villages is +3 mSv or less (with one region reaching +5mSv). Contrast that with living in Florida (+0) or living on Colorado’s High Plateau (+3 mSv). Should the USA permanently evacuate the Denver area, or the Salt Lake City area?.

            The natural background radiation of the high Colorado Plateau is double the radiation dose of Florida, or Texas … Denver is twice what Chicago is …

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/612c0d347ca16ddef36b0a66dabf6127eba0729b4497840a930db494aa09ea94.jpg

            Let’s look at the LIFE EXPECTANCY in that high radiation area: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/56f53d6e47f06926ec41c438a689c421d53a06f8e963bc00e8624af76ad4c6d5.jpg

            Oh, gee, life expectancy is higher than the surrounding Colorado area … Longer life from more radiation?

            Let’s compare the ADDITIONAL DOSE (about +3 mSv) from living in the Denver area to the additional dose from living in the towns and villages surrounding Fukushima’s damaged reactors (also +3 mSv except for one area that reaches +5mSv)

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e4a3d679a44c971f760cff9bb490405158976f03221de44669ee4579eae0e5a2.jpg

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e4a3d679a44c971f760cff9bb490405158976f03221de44669ee4579eae0e5a2.jpg

            Most of the Fukushima Prefecture is as inhabitable as the High Colorado Plateau of the Denver area.

            Today I found out

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/db44419f515841413b28af82003234bfcada0e33dc93c90d45f08e63517dbfc6.jpg

          • Punk Weasel

            I visited a web site today that tried to tell me fallout from a nuclear bomb wasn’t so bad. Who are these people! Are they people? If so is it possible to be so stupid? What am I saying…..just tune into any channel on the tv!

        • Dennis Mitton

          Cesium and potassium do have very similar emissions. Both emit beta radiation in the range of around 1.3-1.5 kev. And the body makes no differentiation between radiation types. Contrary to Aldivos’s statement below a micro-Curie of K-40 from a banana will be virtually the same as ingesting a micro-Curie of Cs-137 with the main difference being cesium’s 70 day biological half-life (the time it takes your body to ride half the chemical) to potassium’s 30.

          • Punk Weasel

            You forget the part about cs-137 accumulating in your bones and bombarding your marrow with constant radiation. Then all systems start shutting down followed by haemorrhaging pretty much everywhere. You should visit a radiation poisoning unit one day. Such fun.

          • Dennis Mitton

            Cesium is not considered a bone seeker but is considered a whole body contaminant typically hiding out in muscles. That doesn’t lessen the concern of exposure, though. I’m sure that visiting a radiation poisoning unit would be an horrific experience, much like a burn center. The human body starts “shutting down” from radiation exposure in the range of hundreds of REM, levels never approached under any kind of normal or natural situation or phenomenon.

            And if you are truly worried about constant bombardment of radiation emissions you already know you are out of luck. The stuff is as ubiquitous in the air as radio waves carrying horrible classic rock. In fact you yourself expose everyone around you. Don’t you feel ashamed?

      • nuclearexpert

        Wrong wrong wrong. It’s actually suggested that low levels of radiation are healthy. Check out radiation hormesis.

        • AldivosTarril

          You produce a “suggestion” in response to science?

          National Academy of Sciences: “The committee concludes that the assumption that any stimulatory hormetic effects from low doses of ionizing radiation will have a significant health benefit to humans that exceeds potential detrimental effects from the radiation exposure is unwarranted at this time.”

          In other words, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Keep working on your “expertise”!

      • Voodude

        “Nukes add radiation to our biosphere” … but, what radiation was there, in our biosphere, prior to mankind’s Atomic Age? A tremendous amount. Most of the typical person’s dose is from medical procedures, which varies from person to person … Aside from medical exposure, the majority of your radiation dose comes from naturally occurring 222Radon. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ee7ab5ff723b006e6a1265380f4ba4cdaf3412123013b2959b08b008790833cd.jpg

        The exposure to natural radiation sources is about 3mSv for some places, like Florida, Texas … and around 6mSv for other areas, like the high Colorado Plateau (the Denver area), Utah’s Salt Lake City, etc.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/612c0d347ca16ddef36b0a66dabf6127eba0729b4497840a930db494aa09ea94.jpg

        “People who compare bananas or granite rock with the kind of radioisotopes”

        It matters little what radioisotopes you get exposed to; what matters is the dose you receive from it.

        Dose factors all that in. An external beta or alpha Bq is not the same as an internal Bq. But the Sv or Gray rating of dosage takes that into account. A Bq of Alpha (internally) is 20X a Bq of Gamma … but a Gray is a Gray is a Gray, regardless of the emission of an Alpha, Beta, Neutron, or Gamma. Similar calculations go into a Sievert.

        Your single largest internal damage from radioactive material comes from naturally occurring 40K, radioactive potassium. 170 μSv of a total 306 μSv. 120 μSv comes from ingested (or inhaled) Uranium or Thorium … almost totally natural, very little of that is from Mankind’s Atomic Age “contamination”.

        • ErnestTheYounger

          Radiation around the natural background levels turns out … surprise! to be not harmful. It might be beneficial, but it is difficult to test that. It also seems (from comparing areas with different levels of natural background) that several times the natural background level of external radiation is not a risk.

          Unfortunately, further followup on the Taiwan apartment buildings built with contaminated steel did not show any benefit; the short version is that it is not clear yet whether the low level radiation caused a net harm, a net good, or a wash, but there are signs of harm for people who were under 30 when they moved into the buildings.

          Radioactive radon, strontium, cesium and other elements that remain in the body are bad news, there’s no real doubt on that point.

          • Voodude

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/625d7c71d9e427b278a96cf00378531a9d3de675a1d82b4af1338ffbc96b6ff6.jpg Hi, Mr. Younger (ya never know, what with the nicknames we use) … thanks for the pleasant comment. While I wouldn’t go out and deliberately ingest strontium (the bone-seeker) … the literature I’ve read, by the absence of strontium commentary, seems to be low on the list. Everybody focuses on 137Cs. Even Pu is ignored. Oh, 131I is talked about, but after that is gone, 137Cs is all that anyone talks about. Cs does not remain in the body … (mostly) it is a salt and you pee it out. The half-life is well less than a year. The continuous ingestion of (totally natural) 210Po, especially from seafood, hammers your insides with α – you’d have to eat a lot of anthropogenic nuclides to just equal out the 210Po dose. So, your “bad news” is really just a “meh.” Well, for most of us, anyway. Fukushima is not the end of the world.

            You mention the 60Co rebar, and “followup” – but you didn’t leave behind any citations.

            J Orient mentioned the Taiwan incident, and I read this:

            ”… a different approach can be derived from the observed health effects of the serendipitous contamination of 1700 apartments in Taiwan with cobalt-60 (T1/2 = 5.3 y). This experience indicates that chronic exposure of the whole body to low-dose-rate radiation, even accumulated to a high annual dose, may be beneficial to human health. Approximately 10,000 people occupied these buildings and received an average radiation dose of 0.4 Sv, unknowingly, during a 9-20 year period. They did not suffer a higher incidence of cancer mortality, as the LNT theory would predict. On the contrary, the incidence of cancer deaths in this population was greatly reduced – to about 3 per cent of the incidence of spontaneous cancer death in the general Taiwan public. In addition, the incidence of congenital malformations was also reduced – to about 7 per cent of the incidence in the general public. These observations appear to be compatible with the radiation hormesis model.”

            Chen, W. L., et al. 2007 “Effects of cobalt-60 exposure on health of Taiwan residents suggest new approach needed in radiation protection.” Dose-Response

            http://users.tricity.wsu.edu/~tbrooks/PBNC_2004_Adaptive_Response/16_Chen.pdf

          • Voodude

            Yes, the “high background” radiation studies.

            Orlando: about 3 mSv annually

            Denver: about 6 mSv – twice that of Florida

            Cervo Valley (Province of Verceli, Piemonte, Italy) – about 3X the normal dose

            Yangjiang, China (pop. 80,000) 35 mSv/year

            Kerala, India (pop. 100,000), 38 mSv/year

            Guarapari, Brazil (pop. 73,000), 50 mSv/year

            Ramsar in Iran, about 2000 people are exposed to at least 250 mSv/yr

            Studies of these places (Yangjian, Kerala, Guarapari, Ramsar) show either no ill effects from living in the high-radiation areas, or … they don’t have adequate medical records to show harm … No increase in cancers, no genetic or birth defects.

            Cancer is one disease that the first world has no cure for. As we cure, or fix most of everything else, then it appears as if cancer were on the rise … Truth is, when people don’t die young, from car accidents (cars are a lot safer) or heart attacks, strokes, childhood diseases that we now have vaccines for … those folks, who benefitted from the modern medicine, will, unfortunately, probably get cancer. Everybody will die of something. Those who don’t die at age 60 from a heart attack, now die of cancer (well, something like that).

            Hendry et al. 2009 reluctantly admits, with qualifications, that no association with High natural background radiation and increased cancer risk can be found, even though the team’s editorial slant is against the concept of a little radiation being any good for you…

            ”The [High natural background radiation] area of Yangjiang County (Guangdong province) in the south of China consists of two regions (Dong-anling and Tongyou) … a total area of about 540 km2 [12]. More than 125,000 people … whose families have lived in those areas for six or more generations comprise 90% of the population. … The average annual effective dose was reported to be 6.4 mSv, … about three times higher than that of control areas.”

            ”A more recent analysis for the Yangjiang area was performed based on an extended followup of the cohort over 20 years [30]. Mortality rates from cancer were not observed to differ between [High natural background radiation] areas and control areas in China over 20 years. There was also no association observed between cancer mortality and external radiation dose

            ”The rate of hereditary and congenital diseases has also been studied in China, in a population of 13,000 children less than 12 years old who were born in the [High natural background radiation] areas. A total of 31 different diseases were considered. Overall, no difference in rates was observed between those born in [High natural background radiation] and control areas.”

            ”… stable-type chromosomal aberrations were analysed … no statistically significant difference was observed between the results in [High natural background radiation] and control areas. The contribution of increased exposure to natural radiation on the induction rate of translocations did not have a significant effect … ”

            India’s ”Kerala is a densely populated, … Its 360,000 inhabitants, who generally have low migration rates, … range of 1 to about 45 mSv y−1”

            That’s about fifteen times the normal background radiation dose.

            ” … chromosomal aberrations were analysed in 14,217 newborns in the Kerala region … No correlation was found between the background radiation dose and the frequency of chromosomal abnormalities.”

            ”… ecological studies indicated geographical variations of cancer incidence within Karunagappally, but with no relation with the geographic distribution of exposures …”

            ”A study of lung cancer risk has been conducted, … dose was derived from measured dose rates at the place of residence. No significant association was observed in relationship to the external dose, …”

            ”Ramsar is a northern coastal city in Iran with … water has … up to 146 kBq m−3 and it flows into the surrounding areas, adding more radioactive residues to the existing radioactivity in the environment. … “

            146,000 Bq/m^3 (compare that with Fukushima’s Caesium contamination of waters off the coast of western North America, at about 3-30 Bq/m^3. Not kBq!) That quote says kBq!

            ”… 50 long-term inhabitants of Ramsar (with annual effective doses between 1.6 and 42 mSv)”

            ”Considerable investment in a local cancer registry would be needed to draw any conclusions.”

            ”No formal epidemiological study has been conducted in [High natural background radiation] areas of Brazil.” (2009)

            ”Overall, these studies demonstrated no increased risks in the [High natural background radiation] areas compared to control/reference populations.”

            ”These international efforts have confirmed the existence of a significant risk of lung cancer associated to indoor radon exposure. Furthermore, the order of magnitude of these estimations agrees well with extrapolations from studies on miners.”

            ”There is a minimal level of [High natural background radiation] dose rate, below which, the effect of radiation becomes undetectable …”

            ”Studies of human exposure to [High natural background radiation] pose many problems, and several researchers have generally concluded that such studies are unlikely to provide definitive answers, even under the best of circumstances [73]. The limitations of studies of exposure to [High natural background radiation] are several; for example, many countries that contain [High natural background radiation] areas do not have well-documented health statistics, in particular, organ-specific cancer rates.” … A large part of the difficulty facing new health effects studies of [High natural background radiation] areas is the absence of well-documented cancer rates

            Hendry, Jolyon H., et al. 2009 “Human exposure to high natural background radiation: what can it teach us about radiation risks?.” Journal of radiological protection

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030667/

      • Voodude

        “”Even the very lowest levels of radiation are harmful to life…”

        ”Careful long-term follow-up of the atomic bomb survivors does not support the claim that the tiniest dose of radiation is harmful.”

        ”And we know that trivial amounts of radiation do not cause cancer or other harm, and that computer models that multiply trivial individual radiation doses by millions of people to get thousands of cancer deaths are not just improbable. They are not conservative. They are simply wrong….

        Orient, J. 2014 “Fukushima and reflections on radiation as a terror weapon.” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons

        http://www.jpands.org/vol19no2/orient.pdf

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9ec82f2af8e0e3b1cd73b27d1f9c8192a38e8c947bda06eca40e0eb74c8dc341.jpg

        Doss, Mohan 2012. “Evidence supporting radiation hormesis in atomic bomb survivor cancer mortality data.” Dose-Response

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3526329/

      • Voodude

        “Even the very lowest levels of radiation are harmful to life…”

        The actual data contradicts your opinion…

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/48a26aba8070b0d9e7323baec3dcc063422f7807d73b78dbe226a7eed4f8a393.jpg

        Chen, W. L., et al. 2007 “Effects of cobalt-60 exposure on health of Taiwan residents suggest new approach needed in radiation protection.” Dose-Response

        http://users.tricity.wsu.edu/~tbrooks/PBNC_2004_Adaptive_Response/16_Chen.pdf

      • Voodude

        Ok, so your reject bananas, and ignore the very real radiation from “granite rock” (it isn’t the granite, but the trace Uranium and Thorium that comes with it). So, how about comparing “Nukes” with the atomic bomb tests?

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a80b1cbd7e7ca4a01a247eb4054e4309d90efb852c7d0cc2770acfe534edb84c.jpg

        Lin, W., et al. 2015 “Radioactivity impacts of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident on the atmosphere.” Atmospheric Environment

        http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Wuhui_Lin/publication/269463321_Radioactivity_impacts_of_the_Fukushima_Nuclear_Accident_on_the_atmosphere/links/548c2f180cf2d1800d7dbf81.pdf

      • Rolf Dupont Hansen
        • Punk Weasel

          Usual misinformation. You must have your troll manual open on your desk. Don’t forget the selfie from Fukushima.

    • Voodude

      Leslie C is correct. Caesium is a salt. You pee it out, just like potassium. Potassium leaves the body a little quicker than Caesium, but then again, radioactive potassium is everywhere, so the next food item you ingest has radioactive K40 in it, yet the radioactive Caesium is decreasing rapidly from food items:

      • Mark

        Wrong troll. Caesium 137 is a radionuclide, deadly and a bone seeker. You die horribly in a fallout scenario. You conveniently getting your caesiums mixed up.

        • VooDude

          40Potassium is also a radionuclide. Potassium forms a salt … you pee it out. KCl, Potassium Chloride … a salt.

          … as far as “seekers” are concerned, Caesium is not a “bone-seeker” (Strontium is). Caesium is, essentially, a “muscle” seeker … and has a biological half-life of about three months in a human …

          ”Cesium is mainly absorbed by muscles, and due to long physical half-lives of its radioisotopes (30 years for 137Cs and 2.1 y for 134Cs) it remains in the body until it is excreted (10-100 days biological half-life).”

          Povinec, Pavel P., and Katsumi Hirose 2015. “Fukushima radionuclides in the NW Pacific, and assessment of doses for Japanese and world population from ingestion of seafood.” Scientific reports http://www.nature.com/srep/2015/150312/srep09016/full/srep09016.html?WT.ec_id=SREP-704-20150317

          ”…significant for Cs distributions in fish is that the biological loss rate is quite fast, on the order of one to a few percent per day, leading to a presumed steady-state biological half-life of about 50 days for fish (MAFF, 2012)… ” http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/27-1_buesseler.pdf

    • Mark

      Wow, at least they trying to do something about the nonsense and misinformation being spewed out there. Not sure what the point of your stupid comment was except to once again belittle and undermine which suggests you are a sub-human troll. By the way it’s a bone seeker not a muscle seeker. It attacks the very core of the human body and destroys from within.

  • Deborah Rodriguez

    These videos posted on youtube will give you the learning curve you need. Learn everything you can about this radiation that is circling our earth.

    Queen Elizabeth, Queen Beatrice and Barbara Bush have much in common…evil, evil, evil.

    I have embraced the horror, I own my own horror. I have no choice.

    Nuked Radio Special: Nuked in the skies w/ Leuren Moret part 2
    10 celebrities displaying symptoms of possible radiation sickness after excessive flying. Historically, some famous actors and actresses have been nuked before…so it wouldn’t be the first time.

    Part 1: Kim Kardashian, Lil Wayne, Kelly Osbourne
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_tRTB..

    Part 2 NUKED IN THE SKIES: Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Justin Bieber & more.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii99KNruzUo

    Program recorded March 25th, 2013.
    Air date March 29th, 2013.

    A more detailed look at our current situation can be found here:

    2 years of Fukushima Part 1:Current status of Fukushima & comparisons to Chernobyl
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w34cWe

    2 years of Fukushima Part 2: Excess Mortality & Fallout Avoidance
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52gwtU

    2 years of Fukushima Part 3: Synergistic Relationships between Chemicals & Radiation: Multiplier Effect
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9Pigr

    2 years of Fukushima Part 4: Mutations in Plants, Animals & Humans: Chernobyl, Three Mile Island & Fukushima
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-86qf

    2 years of Fukushima Part 5: What we learned from Atmospheric Testing
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EsE-m

    2 years of Fukushima Part 6: How do we fix it?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXSAmD

    Archive of past shows: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=

    Best of Leuren Moret playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=

    Leuren Moret’s email: leurenmoret@yahoo.com

  • Marty

    This is great article with references to back up the main points. Bravo. Cesium 137 is not emitted by bananas. It is dangerous. More has been released by fukishima than Chernobyl and there is no end in sight. Thanks for writing real journalism.

    • nuclearexpert

      Cesium 137 emits alpha particles which aren’t dangerous to humans unless ingested. You obviously don’t have the first clue of what you’re talking about.

      • AldivosTarril

        When Cs-137 is ingested due to nuke radiation leaks then people get cancer and die.

        Keep working on your “expertise”!

        • Voodude

          “When Cs-137 is ingested due to nuke radiation leaks then people get cancer and die.”

          Anyone who ate seafood from the Northern Hemisphere’s oceans, since the sixties, ate radioactive 137Cs.

          Post-Fukushima, the dose you would have acquired from eating only contaminated pacific blue-fin tuna, every time you ate seafood:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/248854d67b87f166ba5f21aeda3cfa8a9e3f203486bf54932a48a1fbb18cfe46.jpg

          …compared to the dose you’d get from the natural 210Po and natural 40K in that same tuna …

          0.90 μSv from Caesium
          12.70 μSv from 40K
          558 μSv from 210Polonium

          0.16% of your dose came from Caesium.
          97.6% of your dose came from natural Polonium

        • Voodude

          “When Cs-137 is ingested due to nuke radiation leaks then people get cancer and die.”

          Anyone who ate seafood from the Northern Hemisphere’s oceans, since the sixties, ate radioactive 137Cs.

          The bomb tests contaminated the northern hemisphere with radioactive Caesium. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d650cfd969eb43ec94628c9538bc3bb050787778ad60c12347fcf1e887bca3ad.jpg

          Ten months after Fukushima, Northern Pacific Ocean sample sites at tropical locations through sub-arctic sampling sites all showed 0.5 to 3 Bq/m^3 of seawater (with a few around 30Bq)… but natural 210Polonium is about 2000 Bq, and 40K, 11,000 Bq per cubic metre.

          The radioactive material in a cubic metre of seawater, without any contamination, is around 13,000 Bq/m^3. That’s the natural portion.

          If you had a chance to be a tourist in the Dead Sea, would you swim in it? I would. The excess salt makes a tremendous buoyancy. The Dead Sea has more than 183,000 Bq/m^3 of radioactive material in it. Natural radioactive material ” … found in the Persian Gulf (22 Bq/kg) [22,528 Bq/m^3], the Red Sea (15 Bq/kg) [15,360 Bq/m^3], and the eastern Mediterranean (14.6 Bq/kg) [14,950 Bq/m^3]. ”The average activity (both natural and anthropogenic) for the world’s oceans is 13.6 Bq/kg water. [13,926 Bq/m^3] More than 88% of this activity is due to the naturally occurring potassium isotope 40K [12,255 Bq/m^3]”.

          P. Varskog 2003
          Naturally occurring radionuclides in the marine environment – an overview of current knowledge with emphasis on the North Sea area
          Norse Decom AS http://www.forskningsradet.no/csstorage/vedlegg/radionuclides_marine_environment.pdf

          • Mark

            Wow, there must be an army of you A hole trolls out there spewing out misinformation. How do you live with yourselves. Some c-137 in seawater is little different to a major fallout scenario. There are 451 reactors around the world and around 225,000 tons of HLW in cooling ponds. Tell me how you get on when that lot goes into melt down.

        • Mark

          Depends. In a high level contamination scenario you die horribly and quickly.

      • Dennis Mitton

        No, Cs-137 does not emit alpha radiation.

      • Mark

        Hello sub-human troll. In a fallout scenario you ingesting it via dust, water, food etc. You obviously a paid stupid troll.

    • Voodude

      “More has been released by fukishima than Chernobyl”

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/072ae9c98a00546c107803151f756ebc5d1beefcc0e0897080c5423a9558ae86.jpg

      Chernobyl was ten times bigger than Fukushima. The bomb tests were a hundred times bigger than Fukushima and Chernobyl combined.

      Lin, W., et al. 2015 “Radioactivity impacts of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident on the atmosphere.” Atmospheric Environment

      http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Wuhui_Lin/publication/269463321_Radioactivity_impacts_of_the_Fukushima_Nuclear_Accident_on_the_atmosphere/links/548c2f180cf2d1800d7dbf81.pdf

      ”The Fukushima nuclear accident (Mar. 11, 2011) … The release of radionuclides into the environment in the course of this accident has only been exceeded by the Chernobyl nuclear accident and the cumulative release from atmospheric nuclear explosions”

      Merz, Stefan, Katsumi Shozugawa, and Georg Steinhauser 2015. “Analysis of Japanese Radionuclide Monitoring Data of Food Before and After the Fukushima Nuclear Accident.” Environmental Science & Technology

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4351624/ https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/072ae9c98a00546c107803151f756ebc5d1beefcc0e0897080c5423a9558ae86.jpg

    • Mark

      Don’t forget strontium 90.

  • ChuKo

    Both the nuclear power plant industry, the military, and the medical-dental industry have been promulgating misleading comparisons to ionizing radiation, apart from the banana story. Such as that medical x-rays are comparable to a day in the sun or a flight in an airplane (discussed in “The Mammogram Myth” by Rolf Hefti).

    Radiation hormesis is another deceptive notion, failing to account for the supra-linearity of radiation toxicity and the real biological effects and nature of ionizing radiation.

  • Fear Sales, and most people will swallow it whole. This is beneficial for supporting both big subsidies for wind and solar AND ensuring any reduction in the burning of fossil fuels would result in very high energy bills and/or blackouts.
    Please people get your information from multiple credible sources with different points of view.
    Don’t just believe BoingBoing when he tells you Wikipedia is wrong.

    • Punk Weasel

      Troll. Are you even part of the human race. I wonder sometimes.

  • Dennis Mitton

    Yes. Fake science. One of the most glorious collections of pseudo-science I’ve seen since the last Bigfoot movie. But I have to say thanks. I read this a wile ago and noticed a reference to the EPA saying that our bodies have developed repair mechanism for radiative via evolution. I looked it up , wrote the EPA and explained how this is not possible and they have changed the Rad Town listing. Score one for real science! I tell all about it at http://www.dennismitton.wordpress.com/

    • Mark

      One of the many Trolls out there posting rubbish mainly because this article clearly exposes most of their nonsense. This article is aimed squarely at you monsters. Good luck with your evolutionary repair mechanisms in case of major fallout. LOL

  • MIMI CHALK

    Does anyone know where I can find a blank “K 40 Form” to fill out?

  • Voodude

    “Postscript: Any environmentalist who thinks that nuclear power is necessary to reduce greenhouse gasses has …”

    That’s gases, as in “Greenhouse gases” – the plural of gas.
    An action taken, by a person who fills up his truck with petrol, is a person who gasses up his truck.

  • Voodude

    “Naturally-occurring internal emitters like radon and radium – whose distribution is largely concentrated in certain areas of the country”

    First off, natural emitters are distributed throughout the world, not just your country.
    Secondly, not very many places can avoid naturally occuring radiation emissions…

  • Voodude

    “radioactive cesium and iodine, as well as strontium and other dangerous radionuclides, are being distributed globally through weapons testing and nuclear accidents.”

    Distributed globally, yes, but not uniformly:

  • Voodude

    “But cesium-137 and radioactive iodine – the two main radioactive substances being spewed by the leaking Japanese nuclear plants – are not naturally-occurring substances,”

    Yes, they are. Even Plutonium is natural. Not that it makes any difference at all, except technically.

    All of the plutonium we deal with is man-made. All the radioactive Caesium is, too. But, for history’s sake, The Shibata Prize was awarded to P. K. Kurota for the discovery of natural Plutonium, in meteorites, Lunar samples, carbonaceous chondrites, and, in the 1970s, 244Pu in the Oklo pit in Gabon, Africa.

    The first uranium reactors were in Gabon, Africa … they spewed forth Plutonium and radioactive Caesium approximately two billion, to 1,950 Million years ago …

    Gauthier-Lafaye, François, and Francis Weber 2003. “Natural nuclear fission reactors: time constraints for occurrence, and their relation to uranium and manganese deposits and to the evolution of the atmosphere.” Precambrian Research

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301926802001638

    ”Nature, not man, had constructed the world’s first nuclear fission reactor. Eventually, six reactor zones were identified in the Oklo pit [in modern-day Gabon, Africa] …

    Cowan, George A. 1976 “A natural fission reactor.” Scientific American

    http://brendans-island.com/blogsource/20101015ff/a-natural-fission-reactor.pdf
    The Shibata Prize was awarded to P. K. Kurota:
    https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/geochemj1966/26/1/26_1_1/_pdf’ defer=’defer

    • Punk Weasel

      And the point of all this rubbish. Distraction? 1,950 million years ago? huh. The sun is a nuclear reactor. Do you plan on living on the sun?

      • VooDude

        The point is, those radioactive isotopes are produced, naturally. The statement,

        “But cesium-137 and radioactive iodine – the two main radioactive substances being spewed by the leaking Japanese nuclear plants – are not naturally-occurring substances,”

        is false, and I provided plenty of references to prove my point.
        That my point escapes you, and thwarts your alarmist rant … well, I can read it to you, but I can’t understand it, for you.

  • Rolf Dupont Hansen

    LOL thats pretty much the most ignorant shit, on the internet. A scientific ignorant trying to to tell people that theres a difference between natural or manmade radioactivity. Well you missed that ceasium has a low biological half-life and you pretty much pis it out, unlike natural isotopes you accumulate 24/7 and a human on 70kg has like 10000Bq naturally in the body. Just to double that you have to like eat many tons of fish catched right of the fukushima cost every day. And even if you double that it would not do any harm to you. 1Bq represents 1 atom decaying in 1 second, so its a very small unit. By the way the radioactive iodine that poses the greatest healthrisk(because it the only isotope that the body utilises and concentrate in 1 organ, and has a short halflife that makes it a hard emitter) has a very low halflife, and are gone 3 months after the accident.

    And then there is all the science thats dismiss that low dose radiation do any harm to the body and the LNT model that EPA uses are a cherrypicket bungus model with no grounds in science, only simplified pseudoscience like this shit…

    Actually its the shit like this that actually do the harm:

    http://bigthink.com/risk-reason-and-reality/how-cancerphobia-and-radiophobia-have-harmed-hundreds-of-children-in-fukushima

    http://www.asahi.com/sp/ajw/articles/AJ201604040044.html

    http://www.news-medical.net/news/20160316/Low-levels-of-radiation-exposure-does-not-affect-health-study-finds.aspx

    http://www.news-medical.net/news/20160323/Novel-approach-to-cancer-risk-assessment-maximizes-public-health-benefits.aspx

    https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/confusing-overdiagnosis-for-an-epidemic-of-thyroid-cancer-in-japan-after-fukushima/

    https://issuu.com/johna.shanahan/docs/140701_fukushima_and_radiation_as_a

    Either inform yourself, or do not ever write anything online again!

    • Mark

      TROLL

      • Rolf Dupont Hansen

        Yes you are Mark, as everybody can see from the complete lack of real context in your post…

    • Punk Weasel

      Send me a selfie of yourself standing somewhere in Fukushima prefecture eating some locally grown produce. Posting links to stupid pro nuclear power web sites doesn’t exactly elevate your credibility. btw good luck “pissing out” cesium 137. It’s a bone seeker radionuclide. You might be urinating but it will be thick red blood.

      • Rolf Dupont Hansen

        Lol, here some real science for you describing how silly your arguments are, if you dare to read it, you seem afraid of knowledge and facts:

        http://www.earthtouchnews.com/oceans/oceans/heres-your-go-to-source-for-debunking-all-the-fukushima-fables

        • Punk Weasel

          You digging a deeper hole with your “scientific” links. Your last sentence by the way is highly debateable.

          • Rolf Dupont Hansen

            LOL, You talking debate? Why dont you read my links and make and argument against that? That is the defining of debate! The defining of you personal bullshit, is in popular words trolling and the real scientific reason is cognitive dissonance and often a nasty personality disorder, or in other words, you show all the world you are either just stupid or a stupid prick…

  • Punk Weasel

    Excellent article exposing most of the troll arsenal of misinformation and half truths. I have no doubt they will start crawling out of whatever dung pile they live in when I post this comment.

    I worked in the industry as a safety and risk analyst. I simply couldn’t handle the monumental level of stupidity and misinformation I had to deal with. The truth is terrifying. I don’t think people quite grasp how dangerous nuclear energy is particularly if reactors are left unattended due to some catastrophe. I blame certain so called “Green” movements for that. When I read their anti-nuclear stance I’m not surprised that many people have a sort of Ho Hum approach to nuclear. It’s so feeble I believe it’s deliberate misinformation. They telling you the trivia and avoiding the truly scary parts.
    Nuclear energy is a ticking extinction level time bomb and it WILL go off. Many people imagine that if a nuclear reactor is left UNATTENDED (unmanned) for whatever reason, say global pandemic, that nuclear reactors have a fail safe shut down. That’s primary Myth number one. They don’t. They scram which is the insertion of control rods into the core to stop criticality. However the core is still super hot and radioactive. It requires cooling and it takes years to cool down. This is an active management process requiring human involvement and lots of cooling water/coolant being pumped around the core. In the US they are required to keep 24 hours worth of backup diesel to run the cooling systems. None have more than a few days worth. So within a few days of being unattended the core becomes exposed. Decay heat will cause meltdown within an hour and a high probablity of breach of containment within 2 or 3 hours owing to rapid heat escalation. Huge amounts of radionuclides will be released into the atmosphere and groundwater. There are 99 reactors in the US alone!
    Giant myth number 2: Nuclear waste is radioactive stuff that you stick in the ground in concrete barrels. It might leak a little but I’ll be ok. Wrong. HLW (high level waste) is spent fuel rods and is extremely dangerous and will meltdown or catch fire if cooling systems fail. It’s kept in cooling pools because of decay heat. There may be a couple of tons of radioactive fuel in a reactor. There can be hundreds of tons in a single HLW cooling pool (far bigger than any nuclear missile and that’s just 1 pool). Many of them are right next to the reactor! As of today there are 451 nuclear reactors around the world and many more HLW cooling pools. France alone has 58 reactors. Globally there is around 225,000 tons of HLW in cooling pools. There is simply no where to hide on the planet and no way to survive if even a fraction of this amount melts down.
    Nuclear energy is based on one huge and fatal assumption; That no catastrophe will strike mankind and the reactors will always be manned. History has proven how insane and ludicrous this assumption is. War, EMP, Disease, Economic collapse etc. can all strike at any moment. We have in effect built the Doomsday machine. If any catastrophe strikes the globe or even just the US or France for example, it is quite literally the end. Be warned there is an army of trolls out there who pop up like clockwork whenever this issue comes up trying to distract, belittle and discredit.