[ RadSafe ] radiophobia, alchemy

Steven Dapra sjd at swcp.com
Sat Apr 8 08:27:11 CDT 2006

At 01:08 PM 4/8/06 +0200, you wrote:
>In following up the Sterigenics (Fleurus, Belgium) radiation accident I 
>stumbled across the text following below.
>I could not resist the temptation to circulate this testimony of a 
>medieval alchemistic worldview flourishing in an alleged age of 
>enlightenment and being disseminated by one of our most advanced 
>technological achievements ... :-(
><http://www.organicconsumers.org/irrad/SteriGenicsIL.cfm>  (20060408)

Apr. 8

         I read this article.  It's not medieval alchemy at work, as you 
will soon see; and some people seem to be more enlightened about making 
money than about being honest.  (The two linked articles appear to be the 
same, except for the dates on them.)  Assuming that all the events reported 
actually happened, it sounds like SteriGenics (and some of the other food 
irradiation firms) suffer from gross incompetence and a noticeable 
inability to be truthful.  Could the food irradiation industry be shooting 
itself in the foot?

         The quote below explains why SteriGenics said that stuff about 
Co-60 being absorbed in food, etc.  To make a short story shorter, the 
company was trying to evade taxes.  You would think --- wouldn't you? --- 
that the owners of the company would realize how foolish they will look 
when this crass silliness becomes public knowledge.

"In 1996, SteriGenics lost a California Appeals Court decision in the case 
SteriGenics v. County of Orange [No. G014938. Fourth Dist., Div. Three. Jul 
31.] In 1989, the county assessed property taxes against the cobalt 60 in 
Sterigenics' possession from 1985 to 1989. Sterigenics paid the taxes but 
sought a refund, arguing the material was business inventory under section 
219 of the Revenue and Taxation Code. Sterigenics maintained that cobalt 60 
qualifies for the exemption because it is  'delivered to [its] customers as 
part of its services.'  Sterigenics explains,  'cobalt-60 'loses' part of 
itself (mass), which loss becomes radiation that is absorbed and 
permanently retained by the customers' products.... Unlike energy absorbed 
in the form of heat (which dissipates), the energy absorbed from cobalt-60 
by those products permanently alters their energy states and [47 
Cal.App.4th 1545] molecular bonds. The cobalt-60 does not leave the 
customers' products once it is absorbed, and thus it is delivered to the 
customer as part of [its] regular, nonprofessional services 
....'  Sterigenics was wrong, but it betrays that the company will make 
false claims in a court of law only to marginally improve its financial 

Steven Dapra
sjd at swcp.com

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