Recent reports would have us believe that salmon have suddenly become radioactive as the result of the leakage of radioactivity from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan. But salmon have always been radioactive because they contain radioactive potassium just like we do. Have they become more radioactive as the result of the release of 26 billion Becquerel (Bq) into the Pacific Ocean as reported by Tepco? Unlikely when you consider that this is less than one Curie (Ci) of radioactivity and the oceans contain over 400 billion Ci of radioactivity, 380 from Potassium, 87 from rubidium and 1 from Uranium 238.
The Curie named after Madame Curie, the discoverer of radium, is the activity of one gram of Radium 226. This is defined as 37 billion disintegrations per second. The Becquerel is defined as one disintegration per second. Radioactive atoms lose protons or neutrons from their nuclei in the process of disintegration to become different elements with lower atomic weight. When Potassium 40 disintegrates, 11 gamma rays, 89 beta rays and 23 delta rays are produced during every 100 disintegrations. Every cell in our bodies contains a tiny amount of radioactive Potassium.
According to reports, Madame Curie was in the habit of carrying some radium with her wherever she went and she was highly radioactive herself as a result of years of working with radioactive substances. Electrometers discharged when she came near them according to reports. Nevertheless, she exceeded her normal life expectancy by ten years. Her experience lends support to Dr. T.D. Luckey’s opinion that we need more radiation than normal background radiation provides.
It is easy to be confused about ionizing radiation because few people know much about it and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards are sometimes unrealistic. For example, the EPA’s “level of concern” is listed as one millirem/year (mr/y) and its proposed maximum exposure is 100 mr/y, but the average American is exposed to a natural background radiation of 300 mr/y. Furthermore the limit for drinking water is 0.185 Bq/ Liter (Bq/L) but rainwater in Santa Fe has been measured at 33 Bq/L and over 200 samples of Maine drinking water averaged 1987 Bq/L. A recent measurement of 20 Bq/L in California rain water was high, when compared with EPA standards, but low in relation to Maine drinking water samples.
Concern that sterilization of food with radioactive cobalt will make it radioactive is misplaced. Furthermore our food is already radioactive because it naturally contains radioactive potassium. It is notable that “contaminated milk” analyzed during the Three Mile Island nuclear emergency contained only 0.814 Bq/L. This isn’t much compared with uncontaminated whiskey at 44 Bq/L and salad oil at 181 Bq/L. Even the air we breathe contains an average of 0.074 Bq/L.
Background radiation in America averages about 300 mr/y or 3 millisieverts (mSv) per year but people living on the Colorado Plateau are exposed to double that amount. Russians were evacuated from the Chernobyl area when background levels exceeded 500 mr/y, 100 mr/y lower than Colorado residents consider normal. On the other hand Iranians in Ramsari experience an average of 48,000 mr/y and people have been living in that town for over 2,000 years and eating food that is three times as radioactive as American food.
Radon is the major source of radiation for the average American at 200 mr/y. Radioactive Potassium inside your body generates 39 mr/y and is next in importance. Another 39 mr/y comes from medical X-rays. Radioactive elements in the soil provide 28 mr/y and cosmic rays another 27. Nuclear medicine provides 14 mr/y and exposure to consumer goods 10mr/y. Total average dose is estimated to be 363 mr/yr. Nuclear power plants provide less than 1mr/yr.
The National Academy of Sciences and the EPA would like you to believe that exposure to Radon is dangerous to your health, but Professor Bernard Cohen found that exposure to it in American homes appeared to be protecting people from lung cancer.
Furthermore, believe it or not, 20 years of exposure to 4.000 mr/y or 40 mSv/y of radiation from Cobalt in rebar in apartment building protected 10,000 people in Taiwan from cancer. Their cancer death rate was 3.5/ 100,000 person years and decreasing while the rest of the Taiwanese experienced a death rate of 116 per 100,000 person years which was increasing.
Calculations of excess deaths from “collective doses” of radiation from the Chernobyl disaster are based on an invalid equation and, as a result, the dead bodies of the victims have never been found. A simple illustration of the illogic is provided by Ed. Hiserodt: If 100 aspirin tablets is a lethal dose and 100 people take one aspirin, one of them will die. Nevertheless, the Health Physics and Radiological Health Handbook, would like you to believe that 4.5 people will die because the Global Collective Dose of Carbon 14 from nuclear power plants is 18,000 person-Sieverts and 4,000 person-Sieverts causes one excess death (according to collective dose theory). The French National Academy of Sciences’ opinion: “…analysis of biological data confirms the inappropriateness of the collective dose concept to evaluate population irradiation risks”
Finally the LNT, Low No Threshold Theory, has been masquerading too long. It is not and has never qualified as a theory. It was always an hypothesis because there was never any data supporting it. In fact Professor Cohen hoped to find that lung cancer death rates increased with increasing exposure to Radon during his EPA funded study. That would have validated the LNT. He spent a couple of years trying to make the data agree with the low no threshold hypothesis, but was unsuccessful. Instead he proved, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that increasing low dose, whole body ionizing radiation from Radon in American homes was associated with reduced lung cancer deaths. The French National Academy of Sciences also is on record, with a unanimous report which says: “the use of LNT in the low dose or dose rate range is not consistent with the current radiobiological knowledge”.
For more information see UNDEREXPOSED by Ed Hiserodt , RADIATION HORMESIS by Dr. T.D. Luckey or my book, SUPPRESSED MEDICAL SCIENCE.
JACK PHILLIPS – 9 February 2012