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New research shows how low dose ionising radiation promotes cancer

Low doses of radiation promote cancer-capable cells, Science Daily 

New research in mice helps to understand the risks around exposure to low doses of radiation, such as CT scans and X-rays

Date
July 18, 2019
Source:
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Summary:
New research finds that low doses of radiation equivalent to three CT scans, which are considered safe, give cancer-capable cells a competitive advantage over normal cells.

Low doses of radiation equivalent to three CT scans, which are considered safe, give cancer-capable cells a competitive advantage over normal cells in healthy tissue, scientists have discovered. Researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge studied the effects of low doses of radiation in the esophagus of mice.

The team found that low doses of radiation increase the number of cells with mutations in p53, a well-known genetic change associated with cancer. However, giving the mice an antioxidant before radiation promoted the growth of healthy cells, which outcompeted and replaced the p53 mutant cells.

The results, published today (18 July) in Cell Stem Cell show that low doses of radiation promote the spread of cancer-capable cells in healthy tissue. Researchers recommend that this risk should be considered in assessing radiation safety. The study also offers the possibility of developing non-toxic preventative measures to cut the risk of developing cancer by bolstering our healthy cells to outcompete and eradicate cancer-capable cells……..

Low doses of radiation equivalent to three CT scans, which are considered safe, give cancer-capable cells a competitive advantage over normal cells in healthy tissue, scientists have discovered. Researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge studied the effects of low doses of radiation in the esophagus of mice.

The team found that low doses of radiation increase the number of cells with mutations in p53, a well-known genetic change associated with cancer. However, giving the mice an antioxidant before radiation promoted the growth of healthy cells, which outcompeted and replaced the p53 mutant cells.

The results, published today (18 July) in Cell Stem Cell show that low doses of radiation promote the spread of cancer-capable cells in healthy tissue. Researchers recommend that this risk should be considered in assessing radiation safety. The study also offers the possibility of developing non-toxic preventative measures to cut the risk of developing cancer by bolstering our healthy cells to outcompete and eradicate cancer-capable cells…….

Dr Kasumi Murai, an author from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said: “Giving mice an antioxidant before exposing them to low doses of radiation gave healthy cells the extra boost needed to fight against the mutant cells in the esophagus and make them disappear. However, we don’t know the effect this therapy would have in other tissues — it could help cancer-capable cells elsewhere become stronger. What we do know is that long term use of antioxidants alone is not effective in preventing cancer in people, according to other studies.” … https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190718150933.htm
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July 20, 2019 Posted by | radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Future space travellers will be, in reality, radiation guinea pigs

Space radiation hasn’t contributed to astronaut mortality — yet, study shows

An analysis of all living and dead astronauts and cosmonauts shows that radiation hasn’t contributed meaningfully to their mortality rates. Astronomy, By Korey Haynes , July 5, 2019 “ …………   they found no trend in the deaths suggesting any common cause, meaning radiation didn’t play a major role in the health outcomes of the astronauts and cosmonauts they studied.

Of course, this doesn’t mean humans are in the clear.

“We would expect that at some level of dose there should be adverse health effects,” Reynolds says. “We keep getting the answer ‘no.’ This doesn’t mean radiation isn’t harmful or greater doses wouldn’t be. But so far the doses have been low enough that we don’t see anything.”

That’s probably because the vast majority of space farers so far have spent most or all of their time in Earth orbit, where Earth’s magnetic fields still protect them from the majority of harmful space radiation. Only those 24 astronauts who ventured to the Moon went beyond Earth’s radiation protection, and they stayed for just a few days.

Reynolds says that it’s difficult to draw meaningful results from that tiny sub-sample of people.

By contrast, a Mars mission might last multiple years, and would take place almost entirely beyond Earth’s shielding.

Other researchers are looking at alternative ways of testing the dangers of radiation exposure. But it’s possible that the next round of human space explorers will be guinea pigs, much like the first generation, and only time will tell how radiation has affected them.http://www.astronomy.com/news/2019/07/space-radiation-hasnt-contributed-to-astronaut-mortality–yet-study-shows

July 18, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, space travel | Leave a comment

A heightened solar cycle, by chance, reduced the exposure of Apollo astronauts to space radiation

Space radiation: the Apollo crews were extremely lucky  The Conversation, Jim Wild
Professor of Space Physics, Lancaster UniversityJuly 17, 2019   “………..  There is potentially harmful radiation in space. So how did the astronauts survive it?

The term “radiation” is used to describe energy that is emitted in the form of electromagnetic waves and/or particles. Humans can perceive some forms of electromagnetic radiation: visible light can be seen and infrared radiation (heat) can be felt.

Meanwhile, other varieties of radiation such as radio waves, X-rays and gamma rays are not visible and require special equipment to be observed. Worryingly, when high energy (ionising) radiation encounters matter, it can cause changes at the atomic level, including in our bodies.

There are a several sources of ionising radiation in space. The sun continuously pours out electromagnetic radiation across all wavelengths – especially as visible, infrared and ultraviolet radiation. Occasionally, enormous explosions on the solar surface known as solar flares release massive amounts of X-rays and gamma rays into space, as well as energetic electrons and protons (which make up the atomic nucleus along with neutrons). These events can pose a hazard to astronauts and their equipment even at distances as far from the sun as Earth, the moon and Mars.

Potentially dangerous radiation in space also originates from outside our solar system. Galactic cosmic rays are high energy, electrically charged atomic fragments that travel at nearly the speed of light and arrive from all directions in space.

On Earth, we are protected from most of this ionising radiation. The Earth’s strong magnetic field forms the magnetosphere, a protective bubble that diverts most dangerous radiation away, while the Earth’s thick atmosphere absorbs the rest.

But above the atmosphere, the magnetosphere traps energetic subatomic particles in two radiation regions. These “Van Allen belts” comprise an inner and outer torus of electrically charged particles.

Lucky escape

So how did NASA solve the problem of crossing the Van Allen belts? The short answer is they didn’t. To get to the moon, a spacecraft needs to be travelling quickly to climb far enough away from the Earth such that it can be captured by the moon’s gravity. The trans-lunar orbit that the Apollo spacecraft followed from the Earth to the moon took them through the inner and outer belts in just a few hours.

Although the aluminium skin of the Apollo spacecraft needed to be thin to be lightweight, it would have offered some protection. Models of the radiation belts developed in the run-up to the Apollo flights indicated that the passage through the radiation belts would not pose a significant threat to astronaut health. And, sure enough, documents from the period show that monitoring badges worn by the crews and analysed after the missions indicated that the astronauts typically received doses roughly less than that received during a standard CT scan of your chest.

But that is not the end of the story. To get to the moon and safely back home, the Apollo astronauts not only had to cross the Van Allen belts, but also the quarter of a million miles between the Earth and the moon – a flight that typically took around three days each way.

They also needed to operate safely while in orbit around the moon and on the lunar surface. During the Apollo missions, the spacecraft were outside the Earth’s protective magnetosphere for most of their flight. As such, they and their crews were vulnerable to unpredictable solar flares and events and the steady flux of galactic cosmic rays.

The crewed Apollo flights actually coincided with the height of a solar cycle, the periodic waxing and waning of activity that occurs every 11 years. Given that solar flares and solar energetic particle events are more common during times of heightened solar activity, this might seem like a cavalier approach to astronaut safety.

There is no doubt that the political imperative in the 1960s to put US astronauts on the moon “in this decade” was the primary driving factor in the mission timing, but there are counterintuitive benefits to spaceflight during solar activity maxima. The increased strength of the sun’s magnetic field that permeates the solar system acts like an umbrella – shielding the Earth, moon and planets from galactic cosmic rays and therefore lessening the impact on astronaut radiation doses.  https://theconversation.com/space-radiation-the-apollo-crews-were-extremely-lucky-120339

July 18, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, space travel, USA | Leave a comment

Chernobyl radiation

The Real Chernobyl: Q&A With a Radiation Exposure Expert, UCSF, 

Ed note:  This article considers only external radiation emitters – fails to consider internal emitters

By Nicoletta Lanese  17 July 19, The Emmy-nominated HBO mini-series “Chernobyl,” which is a dramatized account of the 1986 nuclear power plant disaster, has rekindled conversation about the accident, its subsequent cleanup and the long-term impacts on people living near the power plant.

UC San Francisco’s Lydia Zablotska, MD, PhD, grew up in Ukraine, trained as physician in Belarus, and has studied the long-term health impacts of radiation exposure on the Chernobyl cleanup workers, local children and others in the region. Her research helped uncover the connection between radiation exposure, thyroid conditions and leukemia, and remains relevant to global health today.

We talked with her about the real-life health impacts from the disaster portrayed in the HBO miniseries. The following answers have been edited for length and clarity.

What kind of radiation were people exposed to at Chernobyl?

The first responders, including firefighters and nuclear workers who tried to put out the multiple fires and prevent the explosion of other reactors at the nuclear power plant, were exposed to large doses of gamma radiation. Gamma radiation originates during the decay of radioactive isotopes of uranium or plutonium used as a nuclear fuel in nuclear power plants. As a result of decay, packets of electromagnetic radiation, which consist of high-energy photons, are emitted and could penetrate body tissues and cause damage to cells and their genetic material. Subsequently, DNA mutations could lead to the development of cancer.

The miniseries shows some workers dying instantly from acute radiation syndrome – what symptoms did they really experience?

The latest report from the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effect of Atomic Radiation found 134 first responders who were diagnosed with acute radiation syndrome (ARS) after the Chernobyl accident. Of these, 28 died in the first four months, but not instantaneously. Then 19 more died over the next 20 years. But the majority of these survived and lived a long life after that. There were no cases of ARS among the general public living in cities and villages around the Chernobyl power plant.

Large doses of radiation could affect a number of systems in the body that are necessary for survival. Patients with ARS could develop a bone marrow syndrome, which suppresses their immunity, or a gastrointestinal syndrome, which could lead to damage to the lining of the intestines and associated infection, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance. Then, a couple days later, the circulatory system collapses so people start having blood volume issues and so forth. The whole body is essentially collapsing.

Can those exposed to intense radiation exposure “pass on” their radioactivity to others, as the HBO show suggests? 

There are types of radiation where human bodies could retain radioactive particles and remain radioactive over time, but this is not the type that was seen at Chernobyl. After gamma radiation has passed through the body, the person is no longer radioactive and can’t expose other people.

Based on what we know, at Chernobyl, there were also no effects on children who were exposed to radiation in utero.

How does radiation exposure relate to thyroid conditions?

We conducted two studies of thyroid conditions in children who lived at the time of the Chernobyl accident in affected areas in Ukraine and Belarus. We confirmed that the particular type of radiation in Chernobyl, radioactive iodine, could cause thyroid cancer. Unexpectedly, we also showed that radiation to the thyroid gland from ingesting radioactive iodine within two months after the Chernobyl accident by children and adolescents could lead to development of non-cancer thyroid diseases, such as thyroid follicular adenoma, thyroid benign nodules, and hypothyroidism.

We also showed that the youngest children were at the highest risk for developing these diseases. Children’s thyroid glands are very active and act as a sponge for iodine, because our body needs iodine. But our bodies cannot distinguish between dietary iodine, from salt or fish, and radioactive iodine. After the explosion of the nuclear reactor, parts of the core were dispersed in clouds and carried by the prevailing winds. This is how Belarus, which was in the path of winds in the first days after the accident, got really large doses. One of the most contaminated products was milk from pastured cows, mostly consumed by children.

What about leukemia?

We did a study of cleanup workers in Ukraine and confirmed that gamma radiation causes leukemia, as was found in atomic bomb survivors in Japan. Our truly unique finding was that radiation exposure can cause many types of leukemia, not just a select few. In particular, we showed that radiation doses of gamma radiation were associated with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the most prevalent type of leukemia in adult, Caucasian men. CLL was not increased in the study of atomic bomb survivors, but as our group at UCSF reported in a later study, CLL is very rare in Japan, so this finding could have been missed. ……  https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2019/07/414976/real-chernobyl-qa-radiation-exposure-expert 

July 18, 2019 Posted by | radiation, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

U.S. Bill: he Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2019

RECA bill calls for congressional apology to victims of radiation exposure,   http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/114180-reca-bill-calls-for-congressional-apology-to-victims-of-radiation-exposure18 Jul 2019, By Mar-Vic Cagurangan – For Variety  

HAGÅTÑA — The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2019, officially introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, includes a congressional apology to individuals exposed to radiation while either working in or living near uranium mines or downwind from nuclear weapon test sites.

The bill, introduced by New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and cosponsored by Guam Delegate Michael San Nicolas, would expand the coverage of the RECA program to include Guam and the Northern Marianas.

The RECA program is set to expire in 2022. The bill, if enacted into law, would extend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Trust Fund until 2045.

Other jurisdictions covered by the proposed RECA expansion are New Mexico, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Texas, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, South Dakota, North Dakota and Nevada.

“Tens of thousands of individuals, including miners, transporters, and other employees who worked directly in uranium mines, along with communities located near test sites for nuclear weapons, were exposed during the mid-1900s to dangerous radiation that has left communities struggling from cancer, birth defects, and other illnesses,” states a press release from Lujan’s office.

The RECA amendment legislation provides health and monetary compensations for individuals who were exposed to high levels of radiation that caused sickness, cancer and deaths in identified jurisdictions.

A similar bill was introduced by Sen. Mike Crapo in the U.S. Senate.

The 35th Guam Legislature is scheduled today, Thursday, to hold a public hearing on Resolution 94-35, supporting the passage of Crapo’s S. 947.

The bill does not include the CNMI.

In August 2018, CNMI Delegate Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan said the Northern Marianas should also be considered “downwinders.”

“Perhaps, because the [Northern] Marianas was not represented in Congress in 2005, we were not included in a congressionally mandated study of how fallout from nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands may have harmed people on downwind islands,” Sablan said in an August 2018 letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. “I think that inequity needs to be addressed.”

July 18, 2019 Posted by | employment, politics, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

New bill introduced in U.S. Congress will benefit Guam victims of radiation exposure

New bill introduced in Congress will benefit Guam victims of radiation exposure   https://pacificnewscenter.com/bill-introduced-in-congress-to-benefit-guam-victims-of-radiation-exposure/

Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), the U.S. House Assistant Speaker, introduced The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2019, which provides health and monetary compensations for individuals who were exposed to high levels of radiation that caused sickness, cancer, and deaths in New Mexico and other parts of the country, including Guam.

RECA was first passed in 1990 to ensure the federal government met its responsibilities to Americans who made sacrifices for national security. The new legislation has more than 35 co-sponsors, including Guam Congressman Michael San Nicolas.

“This legacy issue for the people of Guam is more than about policy; it is about cancer, it is about the major impact these diseases have on our families, it is about the life and death of loved ones past, present, and future, and we are humbled to join Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján in making this right,” San Nicolas said.

Without this legislation, the current authorization for RECA will expire in two years – leaving thousands without the ability to pay for their medical care for illnesses directly linked to the exposure.

Senator Therese Terlaje, who coincidentally is having a hearing tomorrow, July 18, on Resolution 94-35 (COR), which is related to RECA, said she wants to thank the New Mexico congressman and Congressman San Nicolas for the introduction of the House RECA bill.

“That’s very good timing for us as we hold this hearing tomorrow,” Terlaje said during an interview with Andrea Pellacani on NewsTalk K-57.

The senator would also like to thank Robert Celestial, president of the Pacific Association of Radiation Survivors (PARS) for his work and for building relationships that have ensured Guam’s inclusion in the House bill and in Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) compensation.

For his part: Celestial said: “The people of Guam thank and applaud Congressman Ben Ray Luján and sponsors for their compassionate and just recognition of the cancer and other ailments suffered on Guam from downwind exposure to nuclear fallout, as determined in a report to Congress 2005: “Assessment of the Scientific Information for the radiation exposure Screening and Education program ” by the National Academy of Sciences.”

Senator Terlaje’s Resolution 94-35 (COR) expresses support for S. 947, “The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2019,” which includes Guam residents exposed to radiation during nuclear testing in the Pacific from 1946 to 1962.

S. 947 was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Mike Crapo (R- Idaho) and would expand eligibility requirements and increase compensation for persons suffering health problems related to cancer caused by radioactive fallout from nuclear bomb tests.

Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Guam would be added to existing areas where victims can apply for compensation under the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act program (RECA). Qualified claimants are entitled to free medical care, health screening, and $150,000 compensation for certain illnesses.

In 2004, The National Academies of Science confirmed Guam’s exposure to radiation as “downwinders” and recommended that Guam be included under RECA. Fifteen years later, Terlaje said Guam is still fighting an uphill battle for inclusion. S. 947 is the eighth version of the RECA Amendment bill introduced in the last 12 years.

Senator Terlaje’s hearing on Resolution 94-35 (COR) will be held tomorrow, July 18, at 10 a.m., at the Guam Congress Building.

July 18, 2019 Posted by | health, OCEANIA, politics | Leave a comment

The first victims of the first atomic explosion might have been American children.

After a nearly half a century of denial, the US Department of Energy concluded in 2006, “the Trinity test also posed the most significant hazard of the entire Manhattan Project.

Ionizing radiation is especially damaging to dividing cells, so the developing infant, both before and after birth, is susceptible to radiation damage, as Alice Stewart, an epidemiologist who first demonstrated the link between X-rays of pregnant women and disease in their children,[12] first warned in 1956.[13]This damage may be seen years later with the development of leukemia and other cancers in children exposed in utero to ionizing radiation, as Stewart and others confirmed in subsequent studies.[14] By 1958, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation  recognized that, in the short term, radiation damage can be reflected in fetal and infant deaths.[15]

Fallout protection was not a priority for the Trinity explosion. 

The current body of historical evidence of harm, negligence, and deception—especially the evidence of increased infant death following the first nuclear explosion—should be more than enough for long overdue justice for the people in New Mexico who were downwind of Trinity.

Is cancer the legacy left by world’s first atomic bomb test?  

Trinity: “The most significant hazard of the entire Manhattan Project”  https://thebulletin.org/2019/07/trinity-the-most-significant-hazard-of-the-entire-manhattan-project/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Newsletter072219&utm_content=Nuclear_Trinity_071519

By Kathleen M. TuckerRobert Alvarez, July 15, 2019 For the past several years, the controversy over radioactive fallout from the world’s first atomic bomb explosion in Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945—code-named Trinity—has intensified. Evidence collected by the New Mexico health department but ignored for some 70 years shows an unusually high rate of infant mortality in New Mexico counties downwind from the explosion and raises a serious question whether or not the first victims of the first atomic explosion might have been American children. Even though the first scientifically credible warnings about the hazards of radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion had been made by 1940, historical records indicate a fallout team was not established until less than a month before the Trinity test, a hasty effort motivated primarily by concern over legal liability.

In October 1947, a local health care provider raised an alarm about infant deaths downwind of the Trinity test, bringing it to the attention of radiation safety experts working for the US nuclear weapons program. Their response misrepresented New Mexico’s then-unpublished data on health effects. Continue reading

July 16, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate change taking its toll on mental health

Feeling Anxious About Climate Change? Therapists Say You’re Not Alone

There’s no official clinical diagnosis, but the psychiatric and psychological communities have names for the phenomenon of worrying about the Earth’s fate: “climate distress,” “climate grief,” “climate anxiety” or “eco-anxiety”, People, By Victoria Knight , July 15, 2019 

Therapist Andrew Bryant says the landmark United Nations climate reportlast October brought a new mental health concern to his patients.

“I remember being in sessions with folks the next day. They had never mentioned climate change before, and they were like, ‘I keep hearing about this report,’” Bryant said. “Some of them expressed anxious feelings, and we kept talking about it over our next sessions.”

The study, conducted by the world’s leading climate scientists, said that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, by 2040 the Earth will warm by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius). Predictions say that increase in temperature will cause extreme weather events, rising sea levels, species extinction and reduced capacity to produce food.

Bryant works at North Seattle Therapy & Counseling in Washington state. Recently, he said, he has been seeing patients with anxiety or depression related to climate change and the Earth’s future.

Often these patients want to do something to reduce global warming but are overwhelmed and depressed by the scope of the problem and difficulty in finding solutions. And they’re anxious about how the Earth will change over the rest of their or their children’s lifetimes.

Although it is not an official clinical diagnosis, the psychiatric and psychological communities have names for the phenomenon: “climate distress,” “climate grief,” “climate anxiety” or “eco-anxiety.”

The concept also is gradually making its way into the public consciousness.

In a June 23 episode of the HBO series Big Little Lies, one of the main character’s young daughters has a panic attack after hearing about climate change in school. And other recently released TV shows and movies have addressed the idea.

An April survey by Yale and George Mason universities found that 62% of Americans were at least “somewhat worried” about climate change. Of those, 23% were “very worried.”

Both younger and older generations express worry, although younger Americans generally seem more concerned: A 2019 Gallup poll reported that 54% of those ages 18 to 34, 38% of those 35 to 54 and 44% of those 55 or older worry a “great deal” about global warming.

There is no epidemiological data yet to show how common distress or anxiety related to climate change is. But, people say these feelings are real and affect their life decisions.

Los Angeles residents Mary Dacuma, 33, and her husband decided not to have children because they worry about how difficult the world might be for the next generation. ……..https://people.com/health/climate-change-anxiety-affecting-americans-mental-health/

July 15, 2019 Posted by | climate change, psychology - mental health, World | Leave a comment

CANADA: A generation of children were given radiation treatment without warning of cancer risks  

CANADA: A generation of children were given radiation treatment without warning of cancer risks  https://www.thoroldnews.com/local-news/canada-a-generation-of-children-were-given-radiation-treatment-without-warning-of-cancer-risks-1581753m 14 July 19

No systemic investigation into how many children underwent radiation treatment in Canada for benign conditions has been done thus far

This article, written by Itai BavliUniversity of British Columbia, originally appeared on The Conversation .

On February 9, 2001, the Vancouver Sun published an article about Nancy Riva who lost her two brothers and was diagnosed with cancer as a result of thymus radiation treatment they received as children — in the belief that this would prevent sudden infant death.

Riva and her brothers were born in Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) in the late 1940s and underwent radiation treatment at the hospital as babies.

Radiation treatment for benign illnesses (that is not for treating cancer), like Riva’s inflamed thymus gland, was a standard medical practice worldwide during the 1940 and 1950s. The treatment was considered to be safe and effective for non-cancerous conditions such as acne and ringworm as well as deafness, birthmarks, infertility, enlargement of the thymus gland and more.

In the early 1970s, medical research confirmed the long-standing suspicion that children and young adults treated with radiation for benign diseases, during the 1940s and 1950s, showed an alarming tendency to develop thyroid cancer and other ailments as adults.

In our recent paper, published in the American Journal of Public Health, Shifra Shvarts and I have explored how health authorities in the United States responded to the discovery of the late health effects of radiation treatment.

Over two million people are estimated to have been treated with radiation in the U.S. for benign conditions. We show how an ethical decision at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago in 1973 to locate and examine former patients, who had been treated with radiation in childhood, led to a nationwide campaign launched in July 1977 by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) — to warn the medical community and public about the late effects of radiation treatment in childhood for a variety of diseases.

U.S. campaign promotes thyroid checkups

Media coverage of the Chicago hospital’s campaign had a snowball effect that prompted more medical institutions to follow suit (first in the Chicago area and later in other parts of the U.S.), resulting in the NCI’s campaign.

Hundreds of thousands of pamphlets were distributed in shopping centres across the U.S., asking people who had undergone radiation treatment to go to their family doctor for a thyroid checkup. In addition, television presenters opened their programs with warnings; notices were published in newspapers.

Meanwhile in Canada, an unknown number of patients, like Riva and her brothers, were treated with radiation. Interviewed by the Vancouver Sun in 2001, Riva wanted to raise public awareness about this issue, encouraging people who might have been treated with radiation as children to have their thyroid checked.

According to VGH’s officials, quoted in the article, locating former patients was logistically impossible. Spokeswoman Tara Wilson told Vancouver Sun reporter Pamela Fayerman:

“Under the Hospital Act, records only have to be maintained for 10 years after a patient’s last hospital admission, so it’s unlikely we would have these birth records, although people can still phone the hospital to check.”

No systematic investigation in Canada

Riva’s story raises the question of why the Canadian health authorities did not launch a campaign to warn the public, as happened in the United States. Early detection of thyroid cancer saved lives.

The U.S. campaign was known in Canada. On July 14, 1977 a Globe and Mail article titled, “U.S. increasing efforts to warn million potential cancer victims,” described the national program to alert the public of the late health effects of radiation treatment.

Moreover, in an article published in Annals of Internal Medicine in February 1978, two University of Toronto professors of medicine, Paul Walfish and Robert Volpé, discussed the long-term risk of therapeutic radiation and described the efforts made by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare to educate the American public about the late effects of the treatment.

To date, there has been no known attempt to systematically investigate how many children underwent radiation treatment in Canada for benign conditions and what has been done to alert the public and the medical community of the risks. From Riva we learn that in 2001 patients were still looking for advice.

Had the Canadian health authorities effectively warned the public of the long-term risk of radiation treatment, illnesses and deaths may have been prevented.

Perhaps some still could?The Conversation

Itai Bavli, PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (Public Health and Political Science), University of British Columbia

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

July 15, 2019 Posted by | Canada, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Radioactive polonium in cigarette smoke 

Radioactive polonium in cigarette smoke  https://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2008/08/29/radioactive-polonium-in-cigarette-smoke/

Category: Science blog August 29, 2008 Ed Yong  Cigarette smoke has been called many things – smelly, dangerous and cancer-causing for a start. But radioactive? Yes, that too. Tobacco smoke contains a radioactive chemical element called polonium-210. It’s the same substance that poisoned the Russian Alexander Litvinenko in London two years ago.

Now, a new study reported in the Independent and to be published in the American Journal of Public Health suggests that tobacco companies have known about the danger of polonium in cigarette smoke for over 40 years. Monique Muggli, who led the review, examined over 1,500 internal documents from tobacco companies. Most of these have never been published and were made available through legal action.

Muggli wrote, “Internal tobacco industry documents reveal that the companies suppressed publication of their own internal research to avoid heightening the public’s awareness of radioactivity in cigarettes.”

What happens when you inhale polonium?

Polonium-210 emits a type of radiation called alpha-radiation, which is very energetic and can seriously damage DNA. Thankfully, what alpha-radiation has in destructive ability, it lacks in penetrating power. Human skin is usually enough to stop it, but that’s of little consolation to people who inhale particles of polonium-210. That places the tissues of their lungs and airways in direct and close contact with these powerful sources of radiation.

Indeed, studies have detected polonium-210 in the airways of smokers, where they are concentrated in hot spots. They remain there because other chemicals in cigarette smoke damage the body’s cleaning systems, which would normally get rid of gunk in our airways.

As a result, polonium builds up and subjects nearby cells to higher doses of alpha-radiation. These localised build-ups lead to far greater and longer exposures to radiation than people would usually get from natural sources.

For example, one study found that a person smoking two packs a day is exposed to about 5 times as much polonium as a non-smoker but specific parts of their lungs could be exposed to hundreds of times more radiation. Another study estimated that smoking a pack-and-a-half every day exposes a smoker to a dose of radiation equivalent to 300 chest X-rays a year.

Do these doses lead to lung cancer? It’s hard to say, especially since the effects of polonium are only part of a wider range of damaging consequences caused by inhaling cigarette smoke. But animal studies certainly give us cause for concern.

Absorbed doses of radiation can be measured using units called rads, and experiments have shown that as little as 15 rads of polonium can induce lung cancers in mice. That’s only about a fifth of what a smoker would get if they averaged 2 packs a day for 25 years. Indeed, the lung tissues of smokers who have died of lung cancer have absorbed about 80-100 rads of radiation.

Where does polonium comes from?

Some tobacco plants are grown using fertilisers that contain a mineral called apatite. Apatite contains a radioactive element called radium, which can eventually decay into polonium-210.

But tobacco plants can also absorb radioactive elements directly from the air around them. These include both polonium, and other radioactive elements that eventually decay into it. Tobacco leaves are covered in sticky hairs, making them especially good at catching chemicals from the atmosphere around them. Studies in countries all over the world have found significant levels of polonium in local tobacco brands.

Is it possible to create a ‘safe’ cigarette by removing polonium? Simple answer – no. The newly retrieved documents reveal that the tobacco industry has tried in vain to remove the radioactive element by washing tobacco leaves, genetically modifying the plants or using filters. None of these methods appears to have worked, and indeed, an independent Polish study found that filters only absorb a very small amount of polonium-210.

Even if polonium could be removed, it would be a shallow victory, for the radioactive element is just one of at least 69 cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke. They are 69 very good reasons to never touch a cigarette again.

July 15, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Trip to check radiation after 1989 sinking of Russian sub 

AP News July 5, 2019  COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A joint Norwegian-Russian expedition will assess whether a Russian submarine that sank 30 years ago is leaking radioactive material, Norwegian authorities said Friday.

The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority say Norwegian research vessel G.O. Sars will set off Saturday from Tromsoe, northern Norway, to the Arctic Barents Sea where the Komsomolets submarine sank in 1989. Forty-two of the 69 crewmen died in a fire, and the submarine’s nuclear reactor and two nuclear warheads are still on board.

The agency said a Norwegian-built remote-controlled submersible would be used and the work “would be demanding” as the submarine “lies deep” at about 1,700 meters (5,610 feet)…… https://www.apnews.com/dd6e18dafde14bf799de6d9b5f13fccd

July 8, 2019 Posted by | oceans, radiation, Russia | Leave a comment

Breast cancer: a personal story – connection with nuclear radiation is never explored.

contributed by Kitty  6 July 19  My Boobs Were Busy Breastfeeding My Newborn. Then They Turned On Me.”

The lady worked in South Korea. There are 22 beatup old Nuclear Reactors in South Korea, spewing Tritium and other radionuclides into the small country. Not to mention Fukushima. These factors are never considered, when they write articles like about cancer like this. It is anethema to the Nuclear Security State. The story is tragic. The lady’s ongoing tragedy is not fully explored. A toddler, chemo-therapy while pregnant, advanced inflammatory breast cancer. The story is white-wahsed according to the ongoing ignoraing of Nuclear pollution and cancer, in nuclear countries.

Excerpts from
My Boobs Were Busy Breastfeeding My Newborn. Then They Turned On Me.

m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5d1cd4f3e4b0f312567db790

“i was relieved to be able to dismiss my lumps, since I had a very active 2-year-old who I was trying to potty train, an intense full-time job, and was living abroad in Seoul, South Korea, with no family or close friends around other than my husband.”

LATER

Two days later I received a call. The biopsy results were in. It was a metastatic adenocarcinoma. “We think it originated from your breast,” the radiologist said.

“Excuse me,” I asked. “Did you just tell me that I have cancer?” He asked me to come in for a mammogram, but provided no other information. I went into a tailspin. ”

“After receiving my mammogram, the scans came up immediately. I could clearly see a mass in my right breast. This was not a clogged duct. It was breast cancer. How did this happen to me? I wondered. I thought I had done all the right things!”(blaming herself)

AS IF DOING ALL THE RIGHT THINGS MAKES ANY DIFFERENCE NOW THAT 1 IN 8 WOMEN DEVELOP BREAST CANCER

The holistic doctor said the cancer was from having a root canal as a child or, maybe the guilt of having been adopted.
The allopathic doctors, blamed her lactation while pregnant, for the cancer and not catching it. Always blame the victims. Never look at the most carcinogenic substances in the universe that are so abundance in HYPER-NUCLEARIZED industrial states like South Korea, Japan, Russia, France The USA , where there are dozens of radionuclide leaking, reactors in each country.

July 6, 2019 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, South Korea | 1 Comment

The Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe is not over.

You’ve seen the TV series, now understand the Chernobyl catastrophe is far from over.  https://www.smh.com.au/national/you-ve-seen-the-tv-series-now-understand-the-chernobyl-catastrophe-is-far-from-over-20190625-p5217u.html By Helen Caldicott, 4 July 19   It is 33 years since the radioactive accident at Chernobyl. The HBO miniseries Chernobyl has re-awakened interest in this dreadful moment in history. But Chernobyl is by no means over. And with commentators once again flagging the idea of overturning Australia’s long-standing opposition to a home-grown nuclear industry – and even suggesting our own nuclear weapons – it is timely to revisit its consequences.

The Chernobyl death toll is highly contentious, from the absurdly low 31 following the initial blast trauma to 4000 (the conclusion of a joint consortium of the United Nations and the governments of UkraineBelarus, and Russia in 2005 and 2006) to 93,000 (Greenpeace’s prediction in 2006).
However, there is the study Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, published by the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009, which covers more than 5000 medical and epidemiological papers from the Ukraine, Russia, Europe and Britain. It was authored by three noted scientists: Russian biologist Dr Alexey Yablokov, former environmental adviser to the Russian president; Dr Alexey Nesterenko, a biologist and ecologist in Belarus; and Dr Vassili Nesterenko, a physicist and, at the time of the accident, director of the Institute of Nuclear Energy of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.

Their book – while the subject of both positive and negative reviews, and not peer-reviewed by Western standards – concludes some 985,000 people died prematurely, mainly of cancer, as a result of the Chernobyl accident. Despite its limitations, it “is a treasure trove of data that if taken as a whole is overwhelming”, according to the noted evolutionary biologist Tim Mousseau.

Millions were initially exposed to very high doses of radiation from short-lived isotopes. But the report indicates that medical effects will continue to impact millions of exposed people because 40 per cent of the European land mass is polluted , and will remain contaminated for thousands of years by long-lived isotopes – plutonium 239, 238 and 241, americium 241, cobalt 60 and technetium 132. Parts of Turkey and Britain also received high fallout, which affected their crops and livestock.

A large body of literature now records the medical impact. In Belarus and nearby regions, 90 per cent of children were once healthy, now only 20 per cent, says the Chernobyl study. A million children still live in highly radioactive areas.

The study reports ongoing abnormalities of the immune system led to increased cases of bacterial and fungal infections, chronic joint and bone pain, osteoporosis, periodontal disease and fractures. Strontium 90 and plutonium concentrate in bones and teeth.

Premature ageing with heart attacks, hypertension, strokes and type 2 diabetes and alopecia are recorded in children. Multiple endocrine abnormalities including diabetes, hypo and hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease, as well as menstrual disorders, have increased as cesium concentrates in endocrine organs and cardiac muscle.

Intellectual retardation was recorded in babies who were in utero at the time of the accident. A noted embryologist, Wladimir Werteleki, recorded high incidences of microcephaly and microphthalmia in babies and severe neural tube defects in the Polissia region of the Ukraine related to very high levels of cesium 137 and 134 in the food eaten by pregnant women. Increased incidence of congenital cataracts, retinal pathology and adult cataracts occur in many European countries.

The Chernobyl study indicated that thyroid carcinoma arose two to four years after the accident, in Belarus increasing to 7000 cases by 2000 and, despite surgery, 30 per cent were aggressive and had metastasised. Congenital thyroid cancer in newborns also was documented.

Increases in a wide range of cancers – including stomach, colon, bladder, pancreas, breast and leukemia – are still recorded in the Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Germany, the UK, Greece, Rumania and Europe.

Many thousands of children have been born with severe teratogenic deformities and homes around the Chernobyl area house hundreds of these children.

The Chernobyl study also found that of the 830,000 mainly young men known as ‘‘liquidators’’ – who were recruited from all over the Soviet Union to help clean up the contaminated area and were exposed to massive doses of radiation –112,000 to 125,000 died within the first 19 years.

Tim Mousseau has also conducted surveys of wildlife and birds in the exclusion zones, revealing genetic and chromosomal abnormalities, sterility in male swallows, small brains, tumours, and other anatomical abnormalities.

A huge and ill-informed debate persists about how many people have died as a result of Chernobyl. Sadly, the World Health Organisation has supported the International Atomic Energy Agency, which promotes nuclear power, in the estimate of about 4000 deaths related to Chernobyl.

Much of the data is more than a decade old. There is an urgent need for further extensive epidemiological studies on the exposed populations in Russia, the Ukraine, Europe, England, Turkey and other countries, and for treatment and support to be instituted for the many thousands of victims now and in the future. Because the long-lived radiological contamination of the soil and subsequent bio-concentration of the radioactive isotopes in the food chain will continue to poison children and adults for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Dr Helen Caldicott is an Australian physician, author and founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, which was among the international groups of doctors awarded the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | children, environment, health, history, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Dramatic rise in cancer rates in Basra, where depleted uranium weapons were used

Cancer hits Iraqi oil city of Basra,   https://menafn.com/1098716339/Cancer-hits-Iraqi-oil-city-of-Basra  MENAFN – Iraq Business News) By Mustafa Saadoun forAl Monitor 3 July 19, The deputy governor of Basra province, Zahra al-Bijari, claimed June 6 that cancer rates have been growing dramatically in the province as a result of pollution, both from oil production and from depleted uranium dust that a doctor says is causing “another Hiroshima.”
The province of Basra is registering 800 new cases of cancer per month, according to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights, which attributed the cause to ‘multiple reasons, including environmental pollutants, whether in the air such as emanating from oil combustion, in water and soil, and resulting from effects of war.’

July 4, 2019 Posted by | depleted uranium, health, Iraq | Leave a comment

USA Bill to compensate “downwinders,” uranium workers, for radiation-caused illnesses

Bill Would Expand Benefits for Tribal Members and Others Exposed to Cold War Radiation   https://www.knau.org/post/bill-would-expand-benefits-tribal-members-and-others-exposed-cold-war-radiation,   JUL 2, 2019 A bill in the U.S. Senate would expand compensation for those sickened by Cold War-era nuclear weapons testing and uranium mining. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, many tribal members in the Southwest were left out of the original program.

The bill would amend the 1990 Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, or RECA. It provides restitution to many people known as “downwinders,” along with uranium mine workers throughout the West.

However, residents in some areas of the Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico and other states aren’t covered, along with miners who worked during much of the 1970s. Many are tribal members who suffer from lung disease, cancer and other health problems they attribute to working in the mines and being exposed to radiation.

The current Senate bill would broaden eligibility for compensation and medical benefits. Navajo President Jonathan Nez and a group of former tribal uranium miners are pushing for its approval.

The U.S. tested nearly 200 atmospheric nuclear weapons between 1945 and 1962. About 30 million tons of uranium ore was mined on or near the Navajo Nation until the mid-1980s.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | health, politics | 2 Comments