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.
Fake Science Alert: Fukushima Radiation Can’t Be Compared to Bananas or X-Rays , Zero Hedge, George Washington 04/01/2013 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.
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.
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…… http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-04-01/fake-science-alert-fukushima-radiation-can%E2%80%99t-be-compared-bananas-or-x-rays
Fake Science Alert: Fukushima Radiation Can’t Be Compared to Bananas or X-Rays,Zero Hedge, April 2013
“…….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) and 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: (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 ……. http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-04-01/fake-science-alert-fukushima-radiation-can%E2%80%99t-be-compared-bananas-or-x-rays
Their first piece of disinformation is to confuse the effects of external and internal radiation.
Entering the body, these elements – called internal emitters – migrate to specific organs such as the thyroid, liver, bone, and brain, continuously irradiating small volumes of cells with high doses of alpha, beta and/or gamma radiation, and over many years often induce cancer.
Fukushima: Nuclear Apologists Play Shoot the Messenger on Radiation Dr Helen Caldicott global research.ca March 15th, 2013 ”………Their first piece of disinformation is to confuse the effects of external and internal radiation. The former is what populations were exposed to when atomic bombs were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Internal radiation, by contrast, emanates from radioactive elements that enter the body by inhalation, ingestion, or by skin absorption. The grave effects of internal emitters are of the most profound concern at Fukushima – as indeed they continue to be at Chernobyl.
It is erroneous and misleading to use the term ”acceptable levels of external radiation” in assessing internal radiation doses. To do so is to propagate inaccuracies and to mislead the public worldwide and journalists who are seeking the truth about radiation’s hazards.
Hazardous radioactive elements being released in the sea and air around Fukushima accumulate at each step of various food chains (for example, into algae, crustaceans, small fish, bigger fish, then humans; or soil, grass, cow’s meat and milk, then humans). Entering the body, these elements – called internal emitters – migrate to specific organs such as the thyroid, liver, bone, and brain, continuously irradiating small volumes of cells with high doses of alpha, beta and/or gamma radiation, and over many years often induce cancer.
Further, many remain radioactive in the environment for long periods, posing danger for future generations.
Further, nuclear industry proponents assert that low doses of radiation produce no ill effects and are therefore safe. But, as a US National Academy of Sciences report concluded in 2007, no dose of radiation is safe, however small, including background radiation; exposure is cumulative, so that each dose (whether, for example, from a medical x-ray or from passing through the whole-body scanners soon to be introduced in Australian airports) adds to an individual’s risk of developing cancer during his or her lifetime.
Regarding Chernobyl, various seemingly reputable groups have issued differing reports on the morbidity and mortalities resulting from the 1986 radiation catastrophe. The World Health Organisation in 2005 attributed only 43 human deaths directly to the disaster and estimated an additional 4000 fatal cancers. In contrast, a 2009 report published by the New York Academy of Sciences comes to a very different conclusion. Its scientist authors estimated the number of deaths attributable to the Chernobyl meltdown at about 980,000.
Monbiot wrongly dismisses the report out of hand as worthless, but to ignore and denigrate an entire body of literature is arrogant and irresponsible……http://www.thedailysheeple.com/fukushima-nuclear-apologists-play-shoot-the-messenger-on-radiation_032013
Lynas’ waste plans a toxic pipe dream Aliran, 19 December 2012 Scientists and community leaders are concerned about radioactive waste from Lynas’ Malaysian plant but the company representative who took Wendy Bacon’s questions brushed off the criticism. This is the second of two articles about Lynas by Wendy Bacon “………Shutting down the critics
New Matilda asked to interview Lynas Executive Chairperson Nick Curtis but he was not available. Instead we interviewed a Lynas spokesperson who insists that the waste products of the Lamp project are “not hazardous in any way”. He refers to the safety record of Lynas which in “all of its constructions … has been achieved with zero lost time injury”.
When New Matilda suggested that problems are more likely to arise in the long term, even 20 or 30 years away, he replied: “I would be lying if I categorically tell you there is no risk in 20 or 30 years time from anything. What I can tell you is that the unanimous conclusion of all of the scientific experts from all of the different organisations that have investigated this material and everything else is that there will be no discernible risk for the public or anyone else from this facility.”
But this is far from true. Read more »
the agency [USA Dept of Energy] gave a $1.7 million grant to MIT, last month that will address among other things, the “difficulties in gaining the broad social acceptance” of nuclear power. MIT has also received millions of dollars from Tokyo Electric
Power Co (TEPCO), which is responsible for the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Since the turn of the century the US DOE has aggressively pushed the concepts of hormesis and adaptive response. It has spent a lot of money funding research around the world.
A Radioactive Conflict of Interest Robert Alvarez on the Conflict of Interest inherent within US DOE radiation research http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-alvarez/mit-radiation-study_b_1623899.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#sb=679403,b=facebook ”……..Observations based on radiation-exposed humans have long been considered of greater scientific importance, [than those conducted on mice] some which were obtained with a callous lack of ethics. In March 1954, after the U.S. exploded an H-bomb in the Marshall Islands that released a roughly comparable amount of cesium-137 as the Fukushima accident, Japanese fishermen and Marshallese were exposed to life-threatening doses of radioactive fallout while forcing Japan to confiscate four million pounds of fish.
Two years later, medical advisors to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC now DOE) secretly recommended returning the Marshallese people to their homes after being told they would be living in “by far the most contaminated place in the world.” At the meeting an AEC expert stated,” it would be very interesting to go back and get good environmental data… when people live in a contaminated environment…
While it is true that these people do not live, I would say, the way Westerners do, civilized people, it is nevertheless also true that they are more like us than the mice.”
Given this well-documented history of deception, why is the government reducing nuclear emergency preparedness and claiming no harm from radiation exposure, right after a major nuclear power disaster? The answer lies in the fact that since the 1940′s, the United States remains a major pillar of nuclear support here and around the world. Read more »
Nukers promoting contaminated food – the falsehoods of the Potassium excuse http://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/nukers-promoting-contaminated-food-the-falsehoods-of-the-potassium-excuse/http://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/nukers-promoting-contaminated-food-the-falsehoods-of-the-potassium-excuse/ I have blogged about this before. Attempts at selling contaminated food in the market of people’s lives by nuclear advocates has to stop in Japan and everywhere.
It will take me the weekend to finish this post as I gather the historic and current sources which show the Potassium equivalent dose (which the industry calls the banana equivalent dose) is a false, incorrect, wrong and deceptive fallacy.
In the interim, this wiki article explains the fallacy in brief:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_equivalent_dose
In brief: radio potassium (K40) is much a very small proportion of all potassium. It is far less radioactive per unit weight (amount, physical dose) than any biologically active fission product.
Potassium in any form is dangerous to the heart in excess, but potassium is a needed nutrient.
The body maintains a potassium balance therefore. This danger to the heart is a bio-chemical effect. The radiological nature of radio cesium (a potassium analogue) poses an additional threat to the heart and other soft tissue. Read more »
“We should pay particular attention to the fact that the presence of even relatively small amounts of Cs-137 in children from 10-30Bq/kg…leads to a doubling in the number of children with electrocardiographic disorders.”
200 Bq/kg, in a pregnant woman can result in fetal death according to the Belarus studies.
the longer someone stays in a contaminated area, eats contaminated food and/or raises a family in these conditions, the more damage will accumulate and the more, even what were once considered small doses, will have great detriment on health.
Deception in Sieverts: how a measure of radiation damage can actually be used to hide damage http://www.beyondnuclear.org/children-health/2012/8/17/deception-in-sieverts-how-a-measure-of-radiation-damage-can.html According to a research letter published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), levels of internal cesium
contamination after Fukushima are “low…much lower than those reported in studies years after the Chernobyl incident”.
However, longer-term, internal exposure to even low levels of cesium can cause a range of
diseases and pre-disease conditions, including cancer. The contamination levels found in the people examined in this research are within this range of concern. Read more »
There are two main anti-wind farm groups in Australia busily fomenting anxiety and opposition. One is the Waubra Foundation, a group of mainly wealthy individuals, none of whom live in or near the town of Waubra, near Ballarat. Several of them, NIMBY style, have opposed turbines near their own properties elsewhere. They are led by an unregistered doctor, Sarah Laurie, and a wealthy mining investor, Peter Mitchell who also has connections to the Landscape Guardians. Despite their name, the Guardians have never attempted to guard our landscape from over-zealous residential developers, open cut coal or coal seam gas mining. They only target wind farm developments. All three – Waubra, the Guardians and Mitchell’s mining investment company share a South Melbourne post office box.
Wind turbine syndrome: a classic ‘communicated’ disease https://theconversation.edu.au/wind-turbine-syndrome-a-classic-communicated-disease-8318?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+20+July+2012&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+20+July+2012+CID_be7f8aff1000afd17cabaf558b629431&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Simon+Chapman+investigates At the beginning of this year I started collecting examples of health problems some people were attributing to wind turbine exposure. I had noticed a growing number of such claims on the internet and was curious about how many I could find. Within an hour or two I had found nearly 50 and today the number has grown to an astonishing 155. Read more »
“The fact that plant life extension seems the most likely survival strategy of the nuclear industry raises serious safety issues. Most critically will be to what extent and for how long nuclear safety authorities will be in a position to withstand growing pressure from nuclear utilities to keep operating increasingly outdated technology”
We are glad to announce that the report is now available for free download at www.WorldNuclearReport.org. Mycle Schneider Consulting ,Independent Analysis on Energy and Nuclear Policy 9 July 12, Twenty years after its first edition, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2012 portrays an industry suffering from the cumulative impacts of the world economic crisis, the Fukushima disaster, ferocious competitors and its own planning and management difficulties.
Key results of the assessment include: Read more »
In dispraise of Integral Fast Nuclear Reactors Independent Australia, 5 July 12, Can only nuclear technocrats discuss nuclear issues — leaving the great unwashed out of the debate? Noel Wauchope considers the latest – but not necessarily the greatest – nuclear gizmo — Integral Fast Reactors. “….. It must be reassuring to the nuclear lobby to know that the great unwashed, the hoi polloi, the peasantry, have no idea about the differences between the various types of nuclear reactors now in operation — the Generation 2 and Generation 3 reactors. Let alone the new developing blueprints of Generation IV: Integral Fast Reactors, Lead Cooled Fast Reactors, Molten Salt Reactors, Sodium Cooled Fast reactors, Thorium Liquid Fuel reactors; the peasant mind boggles! And wait, like those old TV commercials – there’s more! – Generation V is now in the minds and on some bits of paper of the nuclear boffins.
Well, the nuclear priesthood is pretty safe in all this. They keep the argument narrowly technical, with pages and pages on the various technicalities of cooling systems, reprocessing of fuel systems, passive safety systems and so on; in other words, they induce in the public a kind of mindless torpor as they dazzle us with science.
At the same time, the nuclear priesthood, like some gifted but autistic child with specialist knowledge in just one area, seems to have little grasp of other issues concerning nuclear power — blinkered as they are in their apparent view that the technicalities are the whole story. This is the case with their latest propaganda for the ‘Integral Fast Reactor’ or IFR. Read more »
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