[ RadSafe ] Greater than 86 billion harmless natural radiation hits to your body per day

parthasarathy k s ksparth at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Mar 23 19:29:13 CDT 2011

Bobby Scot,

National Radiological Protection Board , currently the UK Health Protection 
Agency published a telling visual in its 1987 version of " Living with 
Radiation", highlighting the break up each components of natural radiation 
hitting the body every hour:

From sky   100,000 cosmic ray neutrons and 400,000 secondary cosmic rays
From the air we breathe 30,000 atoms of radon, polonium, radioactive bismuth and 

From food 15 million potassium 40 atoms 7000 uranium atoms
From soil, building material 200 million gamma rays

I am not sure whether the 1973 version contains these data


From: "Scott, Bobby" <BScott at lrri.org>
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) MailingList 
<radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Cc: dietrich.averbeck at curie.u-psud.fr; Tony Brooks <tbrooks at tricity.wsu.edu>; 
"Morgan, William F" <wfmorgan at pnl.gov>
Sent: Thu, 24 March, 2011 5:01:34
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Greater than 86 billion harmless natural radiation hits to 
your body per day

Hi All:

Calculations (Feinendegen L. Health Physics 100(3): 274-276, 2011)
indicate that for each second it takes you to read these comments, your
body is receiving more than 1,000,000 (not a typo) radiation energy
deposition events (here called radiation hits) from natural radiation
sources. Many advocates the linear-no-threshold (LNT) hypothesis think
that just one extra beta radiation hit from an iodine-131 atom that was
previously released among other atoms from the damaged Fukushima nuclear
power facility in Japan could cause you to develop cancer.  Please note
that if the greater than 1,000,000 natural radiation hits to your body
during the last second did not harm you (which is very likely the case),
you have no reason to be concerned about one extra radiation hit from a
stray iodine-131 atom before your next greater than 1,000,000 hits from
natural radiation occur during the next second.  Multiply 1 million
radiation hits by (60 sec/min)x(60 min/hour)x(24 hours/day) and it can
be seen that each day we are likely receiving more than 86 billion
harmless radiation hits to our bodies from natural radiation.  This has
happened over millions of generations of mammals (humans included here)
since first originating on the planet, thanks largely to a hierarchy of
efficient natural defenses that have evolved [antioxidant defenses,
selective apoptosis of aberrant cells, anticancer immunity (Feinendegen
2011, as cited above; Scott BR. Health Physics 100(3):337-339, 2011)].
In fact, a small amount of extra radiation can amplify our natural
defenses (Scott 2011). The cited references are extended abstract that
relate to a special issue of the Health Physics Journal that contains
the "Proceedings of the Conference on Biological Consequences and Health
Risks of Low-Level Exposure to Ionizing Radiation In Honor of Victor P.
Bond"  [Health Physics 100 (3): 2011]. It is well established that large
amounts of radiation can cause harm. However, the harm after high doses
at least in part relates to suppression of the body's natural defenses.
Thus, biological responses after high and low radiation doses are not
the same which invalidates high- to low-dose extrapolation of cancer
risk based on the LNT hypothesis. The frequency assertion by so-called
experts that "there is no safe dose of radiation" related to the
Fukushima power plant in Japan should therefore be challenged by those
reporting the news. Interestingly, those making the implicated
LNT-related proclamation often reference the
descriptive-risk-models-based BEIR VII report but appear to be unaware
of the related biological-mechanisms-based French Academies Report that
challenged the finding of the BEIR VII Report related to the claimed
validity of the LNT hypothesis for radiation doses less than 100 mSv.

Bobby R. Scott

Senior Scientist

Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute

Albuquerque, NM, USA

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