Wherever we go, we as well as our forefathers, have been exposed to
some sort of radiation.
Most of it from natural sources and some manmade – occasionally dangerous.
BUT
We are also exposed to a lot of (deliberate?) misunderstandings about radiation sickness.
This is the reason for the following which is only an attempt to summarize existing and easily available knowledge.
Sometimes I could not avoid exposing obvious false “information” produced by so-called green organizations, specializing in scaremongering.

Units

Bq Becquerel
1 Bq is one radioactive decay per second and is a very small unit. One adult human contains about 4,500 Bq from natural sources. More can be found form World Nuclear
Sv Sievert
The Sievert is a measure of the health effect of ionizing radiation on the human body.
Also here World Nuclear gives a good overview of the situation.
A very illustrative, and apparently reliable, Radiation Dose Chart is provided by Wikimedia.
As the Sievert is a very high unit, the mSv is used in most literature as well as in the following.

Symptoms

Radiation sickness is generally associated with acute exposure and has a characteristic set of symptoms that appear in an orderly fashion.
In this way it is not difficult to dismiss a lot of claims, where all types of illnesses  are attributed to radiation.

  • A specific list of symptoms is found on Med Lines.
  • A more general description is found on Wikimedia.
  • Without giving references I write, that death form radiation can be very slow and painful.
  • It has not been possible to find anything reliable about other types of symptoms, such as long term diseases, except for cancer, which, contrarty to horror-stories, is rare.
  • Almost all calculations of future deaths, mostly from cancer, are based upon the assumption that even small doses of radiation are harmful.
    However this assumption is so much on the safe side, that it is obviously wrong.

Short time doses

(At accidents and especially after the nuclear bombing in Japan)

  • 100 mSv: There has never been recorded harm to persons exposed to doses below 100 mSv
  • However, 20 mSv is claimed by anti-nuclear activists to give increased risk of cancer, especially for small children.
    (1 % extra risk for new-born girls.)
    You will not find anything about how it should be possible to collect reliable data – considering the almost impossible task to know the actual exposure and the natural variation in cancer risk.
  • 500 mSv: Careful monitoring of survivors after the nuclear bombing in Japan shoved that persons exposed to 500 mSv or below did not have a shorter average lifetime than the rest of the population.
    (500 mSv as a single exposure will cause minor symptoms of acute radiation sickness, and is more than 100 times what is normally allowed)
  • 3000 mSv resulted in half of the exposed died and the survivors will have an average live length 2.6 years less than the general population.
    A little more and reference: Se http://wp.me/p1RKWc-1iq
  • At an experiment going wrong and turning into “criticality” a chemist, Cecil Kelley died from a 200 microseconds blast of neutrons and gamma radiation.
    Although the radiation he received was some seven times the deadly doze, he was fully conscious some time, and it took 35 hours before he died.
    Contrary to general misunderstanding, such a criticality can not develop into anything like a nuclear explosion.
    Later, the greedy widow got a huge compensation form the hospital because some organs had been removed for further tests.

Intermittent exposure and long term exposure

Both dose and dose rate contribute to the severity of acute radiation syndrome.

  • It is the reason for treatment with radiation against cancer is not given as one single doze.
  • Similarly writes Vidneskab.dk that it is only if you are exposed to an annual radiation dose more than 1.000 mSv, it starts to become disturbing.

Next Generation

Contrary to all expectations and numerous horror stories, there has never been observed genetic damage to children born to parents who have been exposed to even very high doses of radiation.
However, for children still “in the womb” there has been cases of stillbirth and horrific deformities.
This was seen in Japan after the nuclear bombs, but nowhere else.
See http://wp.me/p1RKWc-ea

Even Der Spiegel (2016 April 26) has seen the following:
The scariest consequence is damage to the genome.
But for the body, even that kind of damage is not necessarily a dramatic event in the near term.
Every single cell experiences it thousands of times every day.
Often enough, the attack comes from inside: Cell metabolism creates aggressive molecules, so-called oxygen radicals, that continuously impair DNA.

Long-time doses and Chronic Radiation Poisoning

Very little is known – or to be more precise agreed upon – the effect of slowly, but steadily exposure to radiation.
The following is the essence of what I have been able to find:

  • High dozes-rate will result in death from acute radiation poisoning before you will develop chronic radiation poisoning.
    Therefore you have to be steadily exposed for a minimum of seven years in order to get Chronic Radiation Poisoning.
  • The Walters Incident. (Radon)
    100,000 Bq/m^3 was found in the basement of an occupied building without having caused harm to the inhabitants.
    It is far more than the accepted limit (200 Bq/m^3).
  • 1,000,000 Bq/m^3 can be found in unventilated mines.
    It was first recognized in 1530 by Paracelsus in his description of a wasting disease of miners.
    Sure, it was what is now recognized as “chronic radiation poisoning.”
    See also http://wp.me/p1RKWc-ec
  • Typical domestic exposures are about 100 Bq/m^3 indoors and
    10-20 Bq/m^3 outdoors.
  • Natural Radiation EU Natural background radiation is found to vary a lot – even within Europe.

Highest reported levels of natural radiation is found in the area around  Ramsar in Pakistan.
In some places this radiation is 200 times more than the natural background radiation elsewhere.
This is far above what is allowed for workers at nuclear power plants.
However, there has been no reports of ill health or other adverse effects among the local people who have lived in the area for generations.
This has given rise to the term “The Ramsar Paradox”
Genetic selection over many years may explain. (Something)

The little we know

  • For damage from radiation, as well as all other damage to the human organism, the natural healing process will ‘try to repair’. Chronic radiation poisoning will only happen if this natural ‘repair mechanism’ cannot follow the damage done by the continuing radiation.
    More see here.
  • After the Kyshtym Disaster 66 cases were diagnosed.
  • The Russian spy Litvinenko, and others have been assassinated using radiation poisoning (Pu210).
    These deaths were from slowly progressing, but still “acute”, radiation poisoning.
  • Sure, you will also find many horror stories and conspiracy theories about chronic radiation poisoning.

However

  • Taipai CancerThere are several well documented claims of positive influence of moderate exposure to radiation.
    I have tried to summarize here.

Deliberate Exposure – Health Seekers.

The magic cure
Just as much as radon and radiation is feared, it has been seen as a magic cure for all types of illnesses.
For a period around 1915 radioactive water was the fashion, until some rich and enthusiastic people overdosed and died a horrible death.
Radon baths ————————————————–Radon Treatmeng
It should be noted that now, as well as long before radon and radioactivity was known, health seekers have been frequenting locations, where they receive “radon-treatment” for all types of illnesses.
On the internet you may find several advertisements for spas and clinics, as for instance: here, here and here.
Radon in ”Health Water”
Even radon mineral water is regulated: The minimum strength should be 74 Bq/L, but the following is found:
Merano: 2000 Bq/L and
Lurisia (Italy): 4000 Bq/L
All of us carry around with some 65 Bq/kg as part of the human body.

Unjustified Claims

Based upon this, and much more, I dare to say that at least the following is based upon falsification.

  • From Greenpeace: No more Chernobyl
    “It is now more than 20 years since the Chernobyl nuclear accident, which affected millions of people in western Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
    The disaster was the fault of a hundred times more radiation than the nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    Today, more than twenty years later, the nightmare continues for thousands of people.”

    If you check the details, it is easy to see that Greenpeace has lost their credability.
  • From YouTube Ocean of Death:
    Here you may wonder how the many fish can be so sensitive that the increase in radiation from 11,000 to 11,007 Bq/m^3 has caused the disaster shown.
    For details: See http://wp.me/p1RKWc-yI
  • Also from YouTube “Fukushima Death Cloud kills hundreds on US Warship”.
    Many of the claims, if not all, are related to diseases or injuries that cannot be attributed to radiation.
    Here it should be remembered, that in America everybody tries to sue for damage, if they can find the slightest reason. Further, it may be cheaper to settle for a minor “compensation” and in this way close the file.
  • The record is probably reached with “data” regarding injuries after the accident at Chernobyl:
    A million deaths (already) and seven million in the future.
    OK
    If we wait long enough we will be dead – all of us.
  • At the same place it is reported that 70,000 cleanup workers became disabled due to radiation sickness.
    The latter is clearly contrary to medical experience, most from the nuclear bomb attacks on Japan, where it was found that if you get radiation sickness, you will either die or recover after some time.
  • Similary, with no justification, claims were settled “out of court” after the Three Mile Accident.

Damage to the Genome

From Der Spiegel (2016 April 26) you have:
The scariest consequence is damage to the genome.
But for the body, even that kind of damage is not necessarily a dramatic event in the near term.
Every single cell experiences it thousands of times every day.
Often enough, the attack comes from inside: Cell metabolism creates aggressive molecules, so-called oxygen radicals, that continuously impair DNA.

Fear of the unknown

Radiation and radiation-sickness is difficult to understand and feared by many.
Now I must apologize for the following.

  • Some people fear flying although the taxi drive to the airport is more dangerous.
  • In the “good old times”, many Germans had a nice holiday in what was a very peacefull Yugoslavia.
    Some of them came home in a coffin.
    – You know: Bad roads and bad drivers.
    But one year one man came home with only one leg because the other had been eaten by a shark.
    The following year, the flow of holiday-seekers was halved.
    Soon it was back to normal.

Helped by a hungry press this natural fear of the unknown has been cleverly used by so-called green organizations.

  • In Denmark, a boy at the beach can see something in Sweden, at the other side of Øresund.
    – What is it?
    – It is Barsebäck (A nuclear reactor.)
    – Mama I want to get home! (to safety)
  • In Tanzania, a friend of mine – a good English woman – followed the Chernobyl accident, relayed from the BBC TV.
    She saw how the radioactive cloud started to engulf the whole world.
    She went in to say good bye to her sleeping children.
    “For now we are soon going to die all of us.”
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