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12/5/2005 Radiation/ Technology / Space / Pluto mission comes with risk of Florida plutonium release.

"NASA plans to stage the world's first mission to Pluto next month, launching a plutonium-powered spacecraft on an Atlas 5 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. plutomissionDestined to explore the icy edges of the solar system, the probe is equipped with a generator that will convert heat from the decay of 24 pounds of plutonium into electricity to heat and run the spacecraft systems.

Government studies show that the mission poses more danger to Central Florida than a typical rocket launch. So much so, in fact, that White House approval -- which is expected early next year -- is required to give the go-ahead for launch. There is a 1 in 350 chance that a launch area accident could release radioactive plutonium somewhere in a six-county area surrounding Cape Canaveral, according to a review of public records and interviews with government officials." - floridatoday

5/24/2005 Radiation (kcra) . Residents Claim Neighbors Bombarding Them With Radiation.

The D'Souza family lives in the home on Timberwood Court, and claims the aluminum pieces radiationhouseare necessary to protect them from unknown neighbors who have been bombarding them with radio waves and making them sick.

"(It's) a shield to protect against radiation, because microwave radiation is reflected off of aluminum, so it's a protective measure," resident Sarah D'Souza said. The D'Souzas said the bombardment began after the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and that the radio waves have caused them health problems ranging from headaches to lupus. ... The D'Souzas said they will comply with the order and remove the sheet metal, but they also plan to gather evidence to show city officials what they believe is a problem with radiation.

Tin foil hat, tin foil house? It will be interesting to see the evidence. Radiation is real and the doses are increasing with our technology, but the low level effects on biology are not well documented.

9/8/04 Tech Super clothes. "Garment firm Crocodile has come out with a brand new line of radiation-free shirts and trousers. So now you no longer have to worry about the radiation from your cell phonehurting your heart or reducing your sperm count." China also has an anti-radiation garment. Levis will release anti-rad Dockers pants. You can buy some shielding fabric. I may be able to find some S-Fit Pants in London. Some clothes block UV radiation better than others, but that won't get you inside the plane anyway. What radiation will cause the most damage during an 11 hour international flight? X-rays? Gamma? Try this link "radiation exposure doubles with every 6,500 feet of altitude." Learn more about the sun here. Interesting page on solar storms here. Idea: Take RAD-Alert 50 radiation monitor to measure dosage I get on the flight.

"flights over the polar regions sustain double the radiation as flights over the equator. In other words, the Los Angeles-London nonstop has more radiation than the flight which transits New York."

"Estimate your exposure. The FAA has created a computer program called "CARI-5E" [now CARI6M 3.5 MB] that you can use to estimate the [galactic cosmic radiation] exposure that you will receive on a particular flight over a particular route at a particular altitude. ... Keep in mind, however, that the estimates produced by this program do not take into consideration the increased radiation exposure due to solar flare activity." No Heliocentric Potentials were listed for September, so I wrote requesting them. Using a figure of 800, and crusing altitude of 32,900 feet from SF to London. I got a figure of 47.4 microsieverts. (1 microsieverts = .1 mRem ) Well, according to this, then, I'll only be getting about 11 mRem both ways. This compares to the radiation of a Dental x-ray. Not bad. Wonder how accurate it is

10/30/02: Digital radiography is a type of X-ray that uses a small sensor instead of the film used in conventional X- rays. Digital radiography uses about one-sixth the dose of radiation. "It's cost-efficient, and it uses from 40 percent to 90 percent less radiation than the film system uses" says Dr. Adam E. Cortese, a general practitioner from Rio Linda, Calif.

10/24/03: Does radiation shorten life? "Many studies have been performed on mice to determine the effects of X-rays and gamma radiation on longevity. However present evidence suggests a shortening of human life of 11% per 1,000 rads for an entire lifetime. Since ... the average dosage a man receives is only 12 rads in a lifetime (0.192 rad/yr x 67 yrs), we can see that present radiation levels have no effect on reduced longevity." Based solely on the paragraph above "no effect" is wrong. If you live to be 67 that is 24,455 days on Earth. If we apply a linear model to the above, 1000 rads subtracts 2690 days ( because 2690 is 11% of 24455). This translates to 2.69 days off of your life per rad! In other words, a person who lives to be 67 will have a life that is shortened on average by 32 days from those 12 rads.

10/24/03: Background radiation has risen thanks in part to nuclear and military testing and the nuclear power plant accidents like Chernobyl. Chernobyl in 1986 released the lethal contents of 80 percent of its reactor core, radiation roughly equivalent to the explosion of one thousand Hiroshima bombs. If this paper is correct, Hiroshima released about 1 million curies of radiation, so Chernobyl would have released a billion curies. "In 1987, the government officially doubled its estimate of the background radiation to which North Americans are exposed in a year -- from 170 millirem (mR) to 360 mR per year."

The average lifespan for women is now 79 vs. 74 for men. 11% of 74 is about 8 years, 1 month and 20 days off ... if you happen to get 1000 rads. Combining the two figures, the average man and woman will now die 2.5 months early. ( Here is a recent chart by someone monitoring background radiation in California. )

The rad represents a certain dose of energy absorbed by 1 gram of tissue. (For most purposes, 1 rad = 1 rem = 0.01 sievert = 0.01 gray). Okay, how many rads have you had? This is avoidable radiation ( values in mrads. )

595 to 710 mrads - - Upper GI Series
.5 to 400 mrads - - Dental Bite-Wing
78 to 330 mrads - - Skull
44 to 143 mrads - - - Chest

NOTE: The dose of radiation needed for one chest x-ray has dropped from 20 rads in the 1920's to under 0.2 rads in 1995 - 1

Typical chest x-ray exposure: 10 - 100 mrads. Exposure of 50 rads causes radiation sickness. Dosages exceeding 200 rads can cause death. - 2

Since 1 mrad = 0.001 rad then it takes 1000 mrads to take 2.69 days off of your life (this is not a confirmed fact, it is just an estimate based on our guess from above). For every dental bite-wing x-ray (400 mrad) , subtract one day plus one hour and 49 minutes from your life. Said another way, a day is subtracted for every 371.7 mrads. A single dental bite-wing x-ray gives you over a YEARS WORTH of radiation damage. From now on, no more x-rays unless needed to save my life!

It gets worse. One doctor and physicist says that there is NO SAFE DOSE of x-rays. His page addresses a hypothesis that "Medical radiation is a highly important cause (probably the principal cause) of cancer mortality in the United States during the Twentieth Century." Ah CRAP! I wish I'd read this many many years ago. I've had so many damn dental x-rays, a full "round the head" x-ray for braces, chest x-rays for bronchitis, even an upper GI. Crap crap crap! The bastards are killing us all!!

Okay, in the case of the Upper GI, it was needed and I'm glad I had it becuase the reduced stress of knowing the cause of my chest pain (not a heart problem!) was worth the loss of a few days of life.

Luckily, there is some hope. There are those who say if you have the right nutrients, you can't get cancer. "Vitamin C, the amino acids L-lysine and L-proline, and a green tea extract known as Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) work together synergistically to stop the spread of cancer cells through connective tissue." That's good to know. I hope Dr. Rath is right about that.

10-28-02: Hot Pussycat: Whitman, Ma man fined $2,800 for tossing radioactive cat litter. This (hyperthyroidism) treatment makes the cat radioactive for weeks. Thomas Burnett, a Whitman public works commissioner, said any radiation in trash is too much. Funny story, but the dumping of low-level radioactive waste in our landfills is a real and growing problem. Why? Because waste gets out of landfills and into our water. Check out zerowasteamerica.