[ RadSafe ] Fwd: Radiation testing in California.

Chris Alston achris1999 at gmail.com
Sun Sep 29 11:29:45 CDT 2013


Making accurate, meaningful measurements of environmental samples is
not a trivial undertaking.  Please bear in mind that excellent
scientists, with a lot of experience, strong technical support in the
field and in the lab, and a plethora of carefully *calibrated*
instrumentation, work hard to do this well.  Then, as you mention, you
are using a type of Geiger-Mueller counter.  This is a very blunt
instrument to use in measurements of environmental samples, primarily
because you have no useful way to discriminate between the various and
many radionuclides (all that a GM counter tells you is the number of
events which occurred in the GM tube).  It is great for very fast
screening, in certain situations, since one can easily tell, say,
which people in a group need to take a shower, and which of them do
not.  But it is not for measurements which one intends to distinguish
normal environmental radioactivity from man-made "contributions",
other than at the grossest level.  For that, you really need to do at
least minimal spectroscopy.

But, the first question I would ask is: what are you calling
"background"?  In my favorite example, potassium-40 (K-40), a
primordial radionuclide, is generally present in our environment at an
elemental specific activity of ~ 800 picocuries per gram of potassium
(Eisenbud, M.  "Environmental Radioactivity" 4th editiion; if I were
you, I would buy a copy of the most recent edition of this
indispensable reference, and read it cover to cover).  So, you should
expect to find that nuclide in, e.g., foodstuffs and seawater and
soil, in widely varying concentrations (pCi K-40 per kilogram or liter
of sample).  So, that is a *single*, though very important, component
of the true *analytical* background, for which you need to account in
your measurements of your samples.  I shall not even try to address
the confounding problems presented by the naturally occurring nuclides
of the uranium- and thorium-series.

Hope this helps.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Max Levin <drmaxlevin at me.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 7:06 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Radiation testing in California.
To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
My name is Max. I am a Holistic Chiropractor in L.A. and have a long
background in health-science.
I am looking for a little perspective and was hoping that you may have
some useful information and experience to share.
As you might expect , I have been following the events beginning with
and following the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in MArch 2011.   There
was very little public information the first 2 years, and anyone who
might know a thing or two  was not concerned a bit,  but it left a bad
taste in my mouth.   Being a level 7 on the INES  was nothing to
ignore.   So,  I began to spend more time looking for information.
the past several months there has been a flood of stories and blogs
and eventually the mainstream media began doing some pretty crappy
reporting.   It has been an education with a steep learning curve and
after sorting the data from the hype , i feel i have good grasp on
what I know and what i still need to learn.
with few exceptions ( Berk. Dept of Nuclear Engineering) there has
been little testing of local soil, dairy, meats, air, water and marine
life from the our Pacific west coast.    And what has been done seemed
to have ceased over a year ago.
I decided to do what I could to evaluate the contamination level of my
I few weeks ago I  purchased  a Mazur PRM-9000. Im sure you are
familiar with it (  it is a radiation monitor with a pancake style
geiger -mueller tube with a mica window.)   I understand its
limitations , but it is a start.
Thank you for your time.
Dr. Max

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