INSIDIOUS ISOTOPES by Carol Wolman, MD
INSIDIOUS- causing harm in a way that is gradual or not easily noticed
ISOTOPE– any one of various forms in which the atoms of a chemical element can occur
I’m writing this now because of two alarming developments in the US:
1) The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has cancelled a study that would have examined cancer and its connection to U.S. nuclear facilities.
2) The NRC is seriously considering a proposal to eliminate the
“Linear No-Threshold” (LNT) basis of radiation protection that the U.S. has used for decades and replace it with the “radiation hormesis” theory—which holds that low doses of radioactivity are good for people.
The current U.S. requirement that nuclear plant operators reduce exposures to the public to “as low as reasonably achievable” would be tossed out the window. Emergency planning zones would be significantly reduced or abolished entirely. Instead of being forced to spend money to limit radiation releases, nuclear utilities could pocket greater profits. In addition, adoption of the radiation model by the NRC would throw the entire government’s radiation protection rules into disarray, since other agencies, like the EPA, also rely on the LNT model.
Comments on this, due by Nov. 19th, may be sent to:
Docket ID NRC-2015-0057
Clearly, we are being brainwashed into ignoring the danger of radiation.
Harmful isotopes lurk wherever “depleted” uranium weaponry has been used, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia. They cause spontaneous abortions, deformed babies, childhood and adult cancers.
The wrecked reactor at Chernobyl continues to release radioactive vapors over Europe, and the complex at Fukushima Daiichi continues to poison the Pacific at the rate of at least 300 tons/day of radioactive water.
In response, the Japanese government has gone so far as to increase the public limit for radiation in Japan from 1 mSv to 20 mSv per year, while its scientists are making efforts to convince the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) to accept this enormous increase. Read more: http://sputniknews.com/analysis/20150820/1025992771.html#ixzz3kvSRRlNa
There are 437 operative nuclear power plants world wide, and another 68 under construction. A dozen more are at the planning stage. Many of them are in areas which could be hit by an earthquake, volcano, tsunami, flood, typhoon or hurricane. The 1986 Chernobyl disaster was caused by human error.
Radiation harms all life forms by attacking the DNA, especially of quickly dividing cells, such as are found in fetuses and young organisms. In older creatures, it accumulates and causes cancer, heart disease and other ills. In high doses, it is lethal, either immediately or over a period of weeks, depending on the exposure. Cancer started skyrocketing in 1945, after the bombs were exploded over Fukushima and Nagasaki, and rates have continued to rise.
Yet little attention is paid by politicians and the media to this threat to all life, which in the long run, is more dangerous than climate change. This paper seeks to raise awareness, demystify, and educate about the insidious threat posed by various isotopes.
RADIATION IS INSIDIOUS, because at low to moderate doses, it is undetectable by sense organs. It is invisible, inaudible, has no taste, smell or touch. Specialized, pricey equipment is needed, to know that it is present. The science is complex, daunting. Many people would prefer not to know whether their food, air and water is radioactive, since they feel helpless to do anything about it. Since the harm is gradual, not immediate, radiation is easy to ignore or deny.
No one wants to discuss nuclear pollution and its effects. As we enter election season, there’s lots of discussion about the economy, global warming, same sex marriage, and a host of other public topics, but no one mentions the.massive dieoffs in the Pacific, that may be partially due to radioactive isotopes from Fukushima. No one talks about the aging reactors in this country that need to be taken offline, or the fires in the nuclear storage facility in Carlsbad, NM.
The nuclear industry is international and powerful. It controls the UN agencies whose mission is to safeguard the planet from radiation- agencies such as IAEA- International Atomic Energy Commission, UNSCEAR- United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, WHO- World Health Organization.
These agencies have put out numerous reports downplaying the health effects of nuclear accidents. They claim no deaths from Fukushima radiation, despite the sick and dying sailors who were caught in the plume on the ship SS Reagan, or the 100 odd children around Fukushima already diagnosed with thyroid cancer, or the employees of the plant who have died or are dying.
Plankton, the tiny ocean plants that form the food platform for larger marine life, concentrate mineral elements from the water, and it has been found that radioactivity may be concentrated in this manner by as much as a thousand fold. Thus, for example, one gram of plankton could contain a thousand times as much radioactivity as a gram of water adjacent to it. The radioactivity from these plankton which form a portion of fish diet tends to concentrate in the liver of the fish, and, if sufficiently high levels of contamination are encountered, could have a marked effect upon the ecology of an ocean area and the safety of its bounty.
Yet, there are NO official statistics on radiation in air, water or food in the US. The FDA doesn’t test for radiation, nor does the National Weather Bureau.
MANY RADIOACTIVE ISOTOPES are biologically harmful, yet an internet search with google or yahoo for harmful isotopes yields no information, although there are plenty of articles on medical uses of radioactive isotopes. The following list is incomplete, garnered over the years from people who make it their business to study and disseminate this information- e.g. Helen Caldicott, MD, Ace Hoffman, Karl Grossman.
Tritium is H3O, and mixes completely with water, H2O, the fundamental stuff of life. Its half-life (time it takes for half of it to become stable) is 12.4 years. Although most of it passes through the alimentary tract of higher vertebrates with no ill effects, a small amount may be absorbed, and emitting beta rays, cause cancer over time. Its effect on marine life is not well known, but it does bioaccumulate, first in plankton, then up the food chain. It can enter the systems of mollusks, fish and other sea plants and animals directly, as they filter water as part of “breathing” and eating.
It’s considered dangerous enough that US nuclear plants, which produce huge amounts of tritium, are only allowed to release tiny quantities. Tritium has not been removed from otherwise cleaned water being discharged from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear complex, and so a vast amount of tritium has flowed into the Pacific from that site over the past 41/2 years. How much this is contributing to the massive dieoffs is not known, and not being studied directly.
For a good overall discussion of tritium, see Ace Hoffman’s paper” http://www.animatedsoftware.com/environment/tritium/2006/EPATritiumStandard.htm
Strontium 90, with a half-life of 28 years, never occurs naturally. It is man-made by the nuclear fission reaction. Strontium 90 is a “bone seeker.” It mimics calcium and if a bone is deficient in calcium, it will take up Strontium 90 in place of the calcium.
But whereas calcium will make your bones strong, Strontium 90 gets deposited in the bones and bone marrow and causes bone cancer and cancer of the tissues nearby. It can also get into the blood and cause leukemia. Babies and pregnant women are the most sensitive to the effects of radiation. If a pregnant woman is drinking milk that has radioactive Strontium 90 in it, the fetus will concentrate that radioactivity. If a woman who is breastfeeding is drinking radioactive milk, the Strontium 90 will concentrate in her breast milk and thus get transferred to her baby. It was the Strontium 90 concern that fueled the Ban the Bomb movement of the 50’S and 60’s, and forced a halt to above ground nuclear testing.
Iodide 131 is released in quantity after a nuclear explosion. While it has a short half-life, only 8 days, it targets the thyroid and causes thyroid cancer easily. There have been at least 50,000 cases from the Chernobyl accident, and the rate is over 36% in Belarusans who were heavily exposed before the age of 2. Near Fukushima, only 4 years post accident, there are already over 100 cases of thyroid cancer in children.
Cesium 134 (half-life 4 years) and Cesium 137 (half-life 28 years) both are produced in quantity by nuclear explosions. They follow potassium pathways, lodging in muscle, including the heart. Cesium-137 bioconcentrates in the endocrine and heart tissues, as well as the pancreas, kidneys and intestines, and causes damage to these organs.
Many other radioisotopes are biologically harmful. Here is a partial list of isotopes released from Fukushima:
γ-ray nuclide : 60Co, 94Nb, 137Cs, 152Eu, 154Eu
β-ray nuclide : 3H, 14C, 36Cl, 41Ca, 59Ni, 63Ni, 79Se, 90Sr, 99Tc, 129I, 241Pu
α-ray nuclide : 233, 234, 235, 236, 238U, 237Np, 238,239,240,242Pu, 241,242m,243Am, 244,245,246Cm
1) A simple Geiger counter can be had for under $100. The ability to detect increases in radiation oneself rather than relying on biased government or industry sources is empowering. Every household should have one.
2) There are numerous ways to counteract radiation exposure. A good website is:
3) Government monitoring of radiation in air, food and water, by bodies independent of the nuclear industry, should be happening on the local, national and international levels. While there is some monitoring going on by private groups such as Safecast, the lack of official figures shows the blackout. Changing this would take intensive lobbying.
4) All nuclear reactors should be phased out- there are many groups working on this.
5) Same with nuclear weapons- the most dangerous of all.
Carol S. Wolman, MD is a psychiatrist in Northern California. A lifelong peace activist, she is helping to distribute a Peace Plan for the Holy Land- email her for a copy.
As the Green candidate for Congress in California District 1 in ’08, she got the most votes of any third party candidate in the country- 8.4%. Her campaign videos can be seen at www.paracove.com. She also was coordinator of the New Broom Coalition, for a clean sweep of Congress, and a leader of the impeachment movement.