[ RadSafe ] Personal Radiation Protection

Howard howard.long at comcast.net
Thu Mar 17 22:12:41 CDT 2011

Cumulative dose, Cary. Dr. Orient must have flown many dozens of times.
Howard Long

On Mar 17, 2011, at 3:57 PM, "Cary Renquist" <cary.renquist at ezag.com> wrote:

> One needs to wonder about the usefulness of those stickers if they are
> indicating 100-250 mrad/carry-on baggage scan...
> I would expect ~3 orders of magnitude lower.
> ---
> Cary Renquist
> cary.renquist at ezag.com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
> [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Howard
> Sent: Thursday, 17 March 2011 15:05
> To: The International Radiation Protection MailingList
> Cc: aaps at aapsonline.org
> Subject: [ RadSafe ] Personal Radiation Protection
> Dr Jane Orient is Pres. and Exec. Dir. of Doctors for Disaster
> Preparedness, author of several books and physics teacher. Her
> translation to practical action here is from many years of working with
> experts like Kearney in Civil Defense.
> Don't Panic over Fukushima-but Do Something
> Mar 17, 2011
> By Jane M. Orient, M.D.
> The earth moved in Japan, and thousands of people were buried in rubble
> or washed out to sea. Hundreds of thousands are homeless, and suffering
> from thirst, hunger, and cold. Lacking reliable electricity, much of
> industry is shut down even if undamaged. 
> We don't know the total death toll as yet, but so far the score is
> earthquake and tsunami around 10,000; nuclear energy, 0. But the damaged
> nuclear reactors are nonetheless at the top of the news.
> The tsunami affected the other side of the Pacific too; some Americans
> lost their lives, or had to be rescued by the Coast Guard. The biggest
> fear, however, is not the tidal wave, but the prospect that demon
> radiation will cross the Pacific and rain down death. Potassium iodide
> tablets are selling out. Anti-nuclear activists call for shutting down
> nuclear energy.
> I wouldn't criticize people for buying potassium iodide; I already have
> some. If you ever really need it, you probably won't be able to get it.
> Don't assume that our government has stockpiled KI or other essentials. 
> There are a lot of other things that the Japanese need more right now,
> such as bottled water and food. You do have some of that stored away,
> don't you?
> Another need is for radiation monitoring instruments. More than 1,000
> RadStickers, postage-stamp sized detectors that instantly measure
> dangerous levels of radiation, have been sent to Japan as a gift by an
> American scientist. 
> One of my personal projects is to help distribute RadStickers to
> American firefighters and police officers so they will have them in the
> event of a real nuclear disaster, such as detonation of a terrorist (or
> North Korean) nuclear bomb. I have a RadSticker on my credit card, and
> also carry a credit-card sized SIRAD (self-indicating instant radiation
> alert dosimeter, see http://www.jplabs.com). In addition, I have a
> NukAlert, which is a dose-rate meter that chirps like a bird if it
> detects dose rates greater than 0.1 rad/hr (http://www.nukalert.com).
> My SIRAD is showing a dose of between 2 and 5 rads because I usually
> forget to take it out of my carry-on luggage before it goes through the
> x-ray machine. It has made about 20 trips through there by now. It makes
> me wonder how much the TSA agent gets from standing by the machine all
> day. It is shielded, of course, but how effectively? I don't see any of
> those lead aprons that x-ray technicians wear. If I worked for TSA, I'd
> have a SIRAD in my pocket. Agents used to be issued dosimeters.
> The main purpose of RadStickers is to prevent panic. They are not very
> sensitive, so they are not going to pick up background radiation, or the
> excess radiation from a load of bananas or pottery. The lowest reading
> is 25 rads. An acute dose of less than 100 rads probably wouldn't make
> you sick. A dose between 300 and 400 rads causes acute radiation
> sickness and a 50% chance of death. There's a widespread belief that the
> teeniest dose might increase your risk of getting cancer in 20 years,
> say adding 1% to the 25% risk you have anyway, but there is also much
> evidence that low doses are actually protective. 
> For perspective, here are some numbers. At the gate of one Japanese
> plant during a fire, the dose-rate was temporarily as high as 11,000
> microsieverts/hr, quickly dropping back to 600 microsieverts/hr. The
> level at the edge of the evacuation zone was 300 microsieverts/hr. In
> the older radiation-protection units, that's from 1.1 rem/hr down to
> 0.03 rem/hr. The dose from one chest x-ray is about 0.01 rem and from a
> full-body spiral CT scan up to 10 rem. (In this context 1 rem is about
> the same as 1 rad.) If you stood at the gate of the plant for 10 hours
> at the highest dose-rate, you'd get as much radiation as from the
> total-body CT scan. 
> Irresponsible terror-mongers have been distributing material on the
> internet predicting an instantly lethal dose of 750 rads hitting western
> and intermountain North America within 10 days. This is preposterous. 
> Senator Lieberman is calling for a moratorium on U.S. nuclear power
> plants. Actually, we have had the near equivalent ever since Three Mile
> Island killed nobody, with a loss of some $10 trillion to our economy.
> China and India are not considering any such nonsense.
> From the horror in Japan we should at least try to learn something.
> There are radiation threats in the world-the ones significant to the
> general population are from nuclear weapons. (Nuclear power plants
> absolutely cannot produce a nuclear explosion, though there have been
> explosions of hydrogen gas.) Americans have very little knowledge and
> less preparedness, and are thus highly vulnerable to merchants of fear. 
> You don't need to believe anything I or anyone else says about your
> radiation exposure. You can measure it for yourself with an instrument
> you can make from materials you probably have around the house. There
> were rudimentary instructions in Parade magazine in the 1950s. Good,
> field-tested instructions can be downloaded free from the internet
> (http://www.oism.org/nwss/s73p938.htm). Thousands of schoolchildren have
> successfully made a Kearny fallout meter. So can you.
> Let us do what we can to help people in Japan. Let us also improve our
> own knowledge of radiation and ability to survive catastrophes that are
> much more likely than a tsunami hitting the nuclear generating station
> near Phoenix.
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