RADIATION POISONING: Should We Be Worried?

As I start writing another earthquake has just hit Northern Japan preliminary reports states it is a 6.0.  There is no further information at this time.

My heartfelt prayers go out to all in Japan at this time.  There are many heroes diligently working at present in Japan.  The workers of the crippled nuclear power plant are exposing their bodies to potentially dangerous and lethal doses of radiation as they battle to save the facility.  They are doing this knowing in their hearts that probably they are dying doing this.  However, they are sacrificing themselves for the good of their country, no the world.

With all the uncertainty as to whether or not the radiation will hit other parts of the world, I have put together some excerpts of an article from Medical News Today that explains exactly in detail what is radiation and how it affects us. You can also read the full article here

What Are The Effects Of Radiation On Humans? What Is Radiation Poisoning?

Written by Christian Nordqvist,  Medical News Today  March 19th, 2011

Radiation takes place when the atomic nucleus of an unstable atom decays and starts releasing ionizing particles, known as ionizing radiation. When these particles come into contact with organic material, such as human tissue, they will damage them if levels are high enough, causing burns and cancer. Ionizing radiation can be fatal for humans.

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REM (roentgen equivalent in man) – this is a unit we use to measure radiation dosage. We use this measurement to determine what levels of radiation are safe or dangerous for human tissue. It is the product of the absorbed dose in rads and a weighting factor (WR), which accounts for how effective the radiation is in causing biological damage.

When an atomic bomb explodes, as in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII, people receive two doses of radiation: one during the explosion, and another from fallout. Fallout refers to the radioactive particles that float in the air after an explosion; they rise and then gradually descend to the ground. A dose of 100 rems will have probably cause some initial signs of radiation sickness, such as loss of white blood cells, nausea, vomiting, and headache. With a 300 rem dose you may lose hair temporarily – your nerve cells and those that line the digestive tract will be damaged. As the dose rises and more white blood cells are lost, the human’s immune system becomes seriously weakened – their ability to fight off infections is considerably reduced.

Exposure to radiation makes our bodies produce fewer blood clotting agents, called blood platelets, increasing our risk of internal bleeding. Any cut on the skin will take much longer to stop bleeding.

Millisieverts per hour (mSv) – this is a measure used more commonly by the International Commission on Radiological Protection. For example:

  • A gastrointestinal series X-ray investigation exposes the human to 14 mSv
  • Recommended limit for volunteers averting a major nuclear escalation – 500 mSv (according to the International commission on Radiological Protection)
  • Recommended limit for volunteers rescuing lives or preventing serious injuries – 1000 mSv (according to the International commission on Radiological Protection)

Radiation at and around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility – March 2011
Levels of radiation outside the plant have now fallen from 1,000 mSv an hour to 600-800 (18 March 2011).Below is a list of signs and symptoms likely to occur when a human is exposed to acute radiation (within one day), in mSv:

  • 0 to 250 mSv – no damage
  • 250 to 1,000 mSv. Some individuals may lose their appetites, experience nausea, and have some damage to the spleen, bone marrow and lymph nodes.
  • 1000 to 3000 mSv – nausea is mild to severe, no appetite, considerably higher susceptibility to infections. Injury to the following will be more severe – spleen, lymph node and bone marrow. The patient will most likely recover, but this is not guaranteed.
  • 3,000 to 6,000 mSv – nausea much more severe, loss of appetite, serious risk of infections, diarrhea, skin peels, sterility. If left untreated the person will die. There will also be hemorrhaging.
  • 6,000 to 10,000 mSv – Same symptoms as above. Central nervous system becomes severely damaged. The person is not expected to survive.
  • 10,000+ mSv – Incapacitation. Death. Those who do survive higher radiation doses have a considerably higher risk of developing some cancers, such as lung cancer, thyroid cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, and cancer of several organs.

Levels of Alert

Alert levels range from 0 to a maximum of 7.

In Japan on March 18th, 2011 the alert level was raised from four to five, the same as the 1979 Three Mile Island alert level.

In 1986, Chernobyl, on the other hand reached an alert level of seven.

Reducing the effects on the body

Oral potassium iodide, or KI should be taken immediately following ingestion of radioactive iodine in the event of an accident or attack at a nuclear power plant, or the detonation of a nuclear bomb. KI would be useless after a dirty bomb, unless it contained radioactive iodine, and even then it would only help to prevent thyroid cancer.

Depending on the level of radiation exposure and how sick the patient becomes, doctors may use antibiotics, colony stimulating factors, blood products, and stem cell transplant.

I personally wasn’t worried about the radiation reaching where I lived until I started reading the news today.  It never crossed my mind about the food and other exports from Japan.  They only now have stopped shipping the produce from Japan.  But what about anything else being shipped?  What about the produce already shipped since March 11th?  I have so many questions still but no answers to………

Have a great day!!

Donna

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About Donna

I am a Certified Reiki Practitioner, freelance writer, poet and mentor of Life.
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