Health effects from radiation poisoning: questions and answers

Again, of course we see no mention in this report about the effects of radiation INTERNALLY ABSORBED. The currently used models essentially ignore these effects because if they paid attention to them they would be forced to admit that very low levels of radiation absorbed internally can easily bind to DNA and cause many long term effects.


Also not mentioned is the fact that we are typically NOT subjected to the same isotopes that have been released at Fukushima. The plutonium and uranium isotopes are completely unnatural and the effects of exposure to these have no similarity to exposure to cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere such as while in an airplane. Again this is only EXTERNAL exposure (while in an airplane) and the type of radiation is very different.


So much bad information out there, I hope this helps put it in perspective…
-Joshua



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The danger of radiation leaks from Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant is rising after explosions at the site caused by Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said today.
As of 10:22am local time, radiation as high as 400 millisieverts was detected at the plant’s No. 3 reactor, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said at a briefing. That’s 20 times the annual limit for nuclear industry employees and uranium miners, according to the World Nuclear Association, a London-based advocate for the nuclear energy industry.
A radiation dose of 100 millisieverts a year is the lowest level at which any increase in cancer is evident, the London-based WNA said on its website. “This is a level that could harm people,” Edano said.
The station is about 220 kilometers (135 miles) north of Tokyo. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about radiation poisoning. The information is drawn from the World Nuclear Association, the Science Media Centre of Japan, the World Health Organization in Geneva, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington.
Q: What level of radiation is dangerous to human health?
A: One hundred millisieverts a year is the lowest level at which any increase in cancer is clearly evident. Above this, the probability of cancer occurrence increases with higher doses. A cumulative dose of 1,000 millisieverts would increase the incidence of fatal cancer by about 5 percent.
A single dose of 1,000 millisieverts causes temporary radiation sickness and decreased white blood cell count, but not death. A single dose of 5,000 millisieverts would kill about half those receiving it within a month.
Air crew on flights over the North Pole between New York and Tokyo are exposed to about 9 millisieverts of radiation a year, and a chest x-ray radiates about 0.1 millisieverts. Humans are exposed to about 2 millisieverts a year from naturally occurring radiation in soil and cosmic rays.
Q: What are the health consequences of radiation?
A: Exposure to high levels of radiation can cause acute radiation syndrome, or radiation poisoning, resulting in substantial damage to human body tissues, premature aging and possibly death. Prolonged exposure to lower levels is also associated with increased risk of ill health.
Q: What are the symptoms of radiation poisoning?
A: The first symptoms of acute radiation syndrome are typically nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms can start within minutes to days of exposure and can last for days. After that, a person with acute radiation syndrome may look and feel healthy for a short time, then become sick again with loss of appetite, fatigue, fever and possibly seizures and coma. This stage may last a few hours or several months. Radiation poisoning also typically causes skin damage.
Q: How is radiation poisoning treated?
A: Potassium iodide can be used to block radioactive iodine from being taken into the thyroid gland, protecting it from injury. It cannot protect other parts of the body or reverse damage to the thyroid once it has occurred. Prussian blue, a dye used by artists and manufacturers since 1704, can also be used to remove certain radioactive materials from the body. It should only be used under medical supervision.
Q: What is the worst-case scenario?
A: It depends on how much radiation leaks and the prevailing weather conditions. Radioactive iodine, or I-131, is heavier than air and won’t spread far in mild wind. Iodine 131 has a half-life of eight days, meaning it takes that eight days of decay to decrease by half.
Q: How do radioactive materials contaminate food?
A: Atomic bomb tests in Nevada during the 1950s and 1960s released I-131 into the atmosphere that was blown thousands of miles away. Animals grazing on pastures contaminated with I-131 had the radioactive material in their milk, which poisoned some children. People exposed to I-131 may have an increased risk of thyroid cancer.
Q: What is ionizing radiation?
A: Ionizing radiation is the energy or particles produced by unstable atoms of radioactive materials. Humans are exposed to low levels of radiation naturally from the Earth and the sun.



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