[ RadSafe ] Fwd: [New post] Radiation emitters Mixing Apples (External) and Oranges (Internal)

Jim Darrough darrougj at onid.orst.edu
Tue Aug 27 10:29:24 CDT 2013

This is total and complete "photoshop" of the facts in my opinion. Comparing
the damage caused by K-40 and Cs-137 in this manner, saying "our bodies have
adapted" to the Potassium and not the Cesium is ridiculous. K-40 has a 1.460
MeV gamma while Cs-137 has a 662 KeV (and 283 KeV gamma which occurs
infrequently). How can the writer of the article say Cs-137 is much more
dangerous just because it's not "naturally occurring"? Answer: You can't.

The only truth in this article that has any scientific merit is the
statement about internal vs. external radiation e.g., internal is much worse
than external. Although how someone comes up with "200 - 600 times greater"
makes me pause. Typically, unless a doctor has specific training in Health
Physics and radiological effects of ionizing radiation, they are just
"talking heads" or were baited into making some comment, ANY comment.

The obvious point is to once again sensationalize the Fukushima accident
with no regard to proper health physics and established science. And a total
disregard for esteemed scientists and physicians who DO know "how this all

I get tired of seeing this kind of pandering. Since I don't have a PhD or
even a degree in HP or Nuclear Physics, I am not really qualified to comment
though, so please ignore everything I said.

Jim Darrough
Health Physicist/RPT

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Roger Helbig
Sent: Monday, August 26, 2013 11:07 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Fwd: [New post] Radiation emitters Mixing Apples
(External) and Oranges (Internal)

This comes from a skilled wordsmith anti-nuclear zealot in Ukiah, California
and some of you might like to comment upon it directly to him
mulliganbooks at sonic.net - I think he is deliberately trying to
confuse people with his piece.   How much of a threat is Strontium-90
or Cesium?  I suspect that Dave has not been that candid with his audience
and has deliberately avoided anything that disagrees with his preconceived

Roger Helbig

Radiation emitters Mixing Apples (External) and Oranges (Internal)

by Christina MacPherson

Fukushima: Think Low Level Radiation Is Harmless? Think Again. UKIAH BLOG
In Around the web on August 25, 2013Time to combat radiation threat From
WASHINGTON'S BLOG ".....Moreover, radioactive particles which end up inside
of our lungs or gastrointestinal track, as opposed to radiation which comes
to us from outside of our skin are much more dangerous than general
exposures to radiation.

The National Research Council's Committee to Assess the Scientific
Information for the Radiation Exposure Screening and Education Program

Radioactivity generates radiation by emitting particles. Radioactive
materials outside the the body are called external emitters, and radioactive
materials located within the body are called internal emitters.

Internal emitters are much more dangerous than external emitters.
Specifically, one is only exposed to radiation as long as he or she is near
the external emitter.

For example, when you get an x-ray, an external emitter is turned on for an
instant, and then switched back off.

But internal emitters steadily and continuously emit radiation for as long
as the particle remains radioactive, or until the person dies - whichever
occurs first. As such, they are much more dangerous.

As the head of a Tokyo-area medical clinic - Dr. Junro Fuse, Internist and
head of Kosugi Medical Clinic - said:

Risk from internal exposure is 200-600 times greater than risk from external

See this, this, this and this.

By way of analogy, external emitters are like dodgeballs being thrown at
you. If you get hit, it might hurt. But it's unlikely you'll get hit again
in the same spot.

Internal emitters - on the other hand - are like a black belt martial artist
moving in really close and hammering you again and again and again in the
exact same spot. That can do realdamage.


There are few natural high-dose internal emitters. Bananas, brazil nuts and
some other foods contain radioactive potassium-40, but in extremely low
doses. And - as explained above - our bodies have adapted to handle this
type of radiation.

True, some parts of the country are at higher risk of exposure to
naturally-occurring radium than others.

But the cesium which was scattered all over the place by above-ground
nuclear tests and the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents has a much longer
half life, and can easily contaminate food and water supplies.
As the New York Times notes:

Over the long term, the big threat to human health is cesium-137, which has
a half-life of 30 years.

At that rate of disintegration, John Emsley wrote in "Nature's Building
Blocks" (Oxford, 2001), "it takes over 200 years to reduce it to 1 percent
of its former level."

It is cesium-137 that still contaminates much of the land in Ukraine around
the Chernobyl reactor.


Cesium-137 mixes easily with water and is chemically similar to potassium.
It thus mimics how potassium gets metabolized in the body and can enter
through many foods, including milk.

As the EPA notes in a discussion entitled " What can I do to protect myself
and my family from cesium-137?":

Cesium-137 that is dispersed in the environment, like that from atmospheric
testing, is impossible to avoid.

Radioactive iodine can also become a potent internal emitter. As the Times

Iodine-131 has a half-life of eight days and is quite dangerous to human
health. If absorbed through contaminated food, especially milk and milk
products, it will accumulate in the thyroid and cause cancer.

(In addition to spewing massive amounts of radioactive iodine 131, Fukushima
also pumped out huge amounts of radioactive iodine 129 - which has a
half-life of 15.7 million years. Fukushima has also dumped up to 900
trillion becquerels of radioactive strontium-90 - which is a powerful
internal emitter which mimics calcium and collects in our bones - into the

The bottom line is that there is some naturally-occurring background
radiation, which can - at times - pose a health hazard (especially in parts
of the country with high levels of radioactive radon or radium).

But cesium-137 and radioactive iodine - the two main radioactive substances
being spewed by the leaking Japanese nuclear plants - are not
naturally-occurring substances, and can become powerful internal emitters
which can cause tremendous damage to the health of people who are
unfortunate enough to breathe in even a particle of the substances, or
ingest them in food or water.

Unlike low-levels of radioactive potassium found in bananas - which our
bodies have adapted to over many years - cesium-137 and iodine 131 are brand
new, extremely dangerous substances.

And unlike naturally-occurring internal emitters like radon and radium -
whose distribution is largely concentrated in certain areas of the country -
radioactive cesium and iodine, as well as strontium and other dangerous
radionuclides, are being distributed globally through weapons testing and
nuclear accidents.


Christina MacPherson | August 27, 2013 at 5:23 am | Categories:
radiation, Reference | URL: http://wp.me/phgse-eGP

Comment    See all comments

Unsubscribe or change your email settings at Manage Subscriptions.

Trouble clicking? Copy and paste this URL into your browser:

Thanks for flying with WordPress.com
You are currently subscribed to the RadSafe mailing list

Before posting a message to RadSafe be sure to have read and understood the
RadSafe rules. These can be found at:

For information on how to subscribe or unsubscribe and other settings visit:

More information about the RadSafe mailing list