A Safe Level of Radiation – Updated
I’ve been hearing this term on our worthless American corporate news the past couple weeks and it makes my head want to explode. Either none of the news casters ever went to school or they forgot everything they learned. I also hear them say that the half-life is only some number of days.
To start with, the reason radiation causes cancer along with a whole host of other mutilations is because the nuclear atoms split apart and the components blast through the human body like a hot knife through butter. In the process of blasting through our cells, the electrons destroy parts of the DNA strands in our cells.
So, when the DNA gets mutilated, either the cell dies or it survives with the new defective DNA (mutation). The mutated cell no longer has the ability to self-regulate its growth so it begins to grow unrestrained. Now we have cancer.
So, how many electrons does it take to cause terminal cancer?
One electron hitting the wrong place in a cell and you have cancer.
When scientists say a safe level, they mean statistically safe. In other words, if your chances of getting cancer from a disaster is only 1 in 100,000 then that’s pretty safe. But if there are 100,000 people living in the area, like in Japan, that means that at least one of those people will get cancer even though it’s considered “safe”. You can be that lucky one.
There is no safe level of radiation.
The term half-life is the amount of time it takes for only half of the material to lose its radioactivity. This doesn’t mean it’s safe after that time, it means it’s only half as lethal. In other words, it’s still unsafe but it will now only kill half as many people.
Once it’s lost half of it’s poison, it takes another of those half-lives before it loses another half of it’s poison. In other words, it will become half as lethal with the passing of each half life. Using the example of radioactive iodine, the half life is 8 hours. That means that in a population of one million people, if the level of radiation was enough to kill half the population, after eight hours, it would still be strong enough to kill 250,000, and another eight hours later it would kill another 125,000.
Half life is not the end of the disaster, that’s only a fraction of the total time it will take to dissipate.
Remember, there is no safe level of radiation. That’s why we can have cancer even if we don’t get purposely irradiated.
And, even with a half life of eight hours, it can take a long time before the risk becomes low enough to forget.
Radioactive Iodine has a half-life of 8 days, not 8 hours.