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ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION FROM LOW-MASS STARS COULD RENDER PLANETS UNINHABITABLE

Astrobiology Magazine, By Amanda Doyle – Apr 19, 2018

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April 20, 2018 Posted by | radiation | Leave a comment

The Mechanism of DNA Damage by UV Radiation

  News Medical Life Sciences, 

Solar ultraviolet radiation (UV) exposure triggers DNA damage, a preliminary step in the process of carcinogenesis. 

The stability of DNA is extremely important for the proper functioning of all cellular processes. Exposure to UV radiation alters the structure of DNA, affecting the physiological processes of all living systems ranging from bacteria to humans.

Ultraviolet Radiation

Natural sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D, an important nutrient for the formation of healthy bones. However, sunlight is also a major source of UV radiation. Individuals who get excessive UV exposure are at a great risk of developing skin cancers. There are three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB and UVC.

  • UVC rays (100-280 nm) are the most energetic and damaging of the three rays. Fortunately, UVC is absorbed by the ozone layer before reaching the earth’s surface.
  • UVA rays (315-400 nm) possess the lowest energy and is able to penetrate deep into the skin. Prolonged exposure has been linked to ageing and wrinkling of the skin. UVA is also the main cause of melanomas.
  • UVB rays (280-315 nm) possess higher energy than UVA rays and affect the outer layer of the skin leading to sunburns and tans. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are caused by UVB radiation.

DNA Damage by UV Radiation

DNA is composed of two complementary strands that are wound into a double helix. The hereditary message is chemically coded and made up of the four nucleotides adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C).  UVB light interferes directly with the bonding between the nucleotides in the DNA. ……….

https://www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/The-Mechanism-of-DNA-Damage-by-UV-Radiation.aspx

April 11, 2018 Posted by | radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Radiation contamination of 45 Hanford nuclear workers

42 Hanford workers contaminated with radiation, Seattle Times, March 24, 2018  The final results of worker tests after a December spread of contamination found that 11 Hanford workers had inhaled or ingested radioactive particles from demolition of the nuclear reservation’s Plutonium Finishing Plant.  By Annette Cary Tri-City Herald ioactive contamination from demolition of the nuclear reservation’s Plutonium Finishing Plant.

March 25, 2018 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Increased UV radiation brings increased skin cancer risk

Going to extremes: UV radiation is on the way up, https://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/going-to-extremes-uv-radiation-is-on-the-way-up-20180308-p4z3cp.htmlSMH, Nigel Gladstone 

The combination of a thinning ozone layer and farming practices in India may add up to more days of extreme ultraviolet radiation across Australia.

Sun-Herald analysis of daily UV index readings since 1997 in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane found the number of days when ultraviolet radiation reached or passed extreme levels had risen slightly.

The amount of UV that hits Australia is influenced by fluctuations in cloud cover, ozone levels and the solar cycle.

In Sydney, four of the 10 highest UV index days since 1996 have been recorded since December 2016.  While the ozone layer is recovering over the poles, it is thinning in mid-latitudes from Russia to the Southern Ocean below Australia, a study published last month in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics found.

“Decreases in ozone are less than we saw at the poles before the Montreal Protocol was enacted [in 1987], but UV radiation is more intense in these regions and more people live there,” said report co-author Joanna Haigh, from Imperial College London.

The weather bureau studied UV radiation in Australia between 1959 and 2009 and found an annual increase of 2 to 6 per cent since the 1990s, above a 1970-80 baseline. The bureau found these changes were related to ozone depletion.

Associate Professor Clare Murphy, from the school of chemistry at Wollongong University, said ozone trends were not fully understood.

“The largest factor involved in mid-latitude ozone depletion is the nitrogen cycle, which operates by nitrous oxide turning into reactive nitrogen in the stratosphere,” Dr Murphy said.

Nitrogen fertiliser is converted into nitrous oxide by soil microbes, creating a stable greenhouse gas that can reach the stratosphere, where the ozone layer protects the earth from most of the sun’s UV radiation,” she said. “However, once in the stratosphere, nitrous oxide is broken down by high energy radiation from the sun to become reactive nitrogen, which can deplete ozone.”

Dr Murphy said that last century, concerns about ozone depletion centred on “chlorine chemistry” (CFCs) because of the massive hole over the poles. “Now it’s nitrous oxide, which almost stopped the Concord from flying because they were worried about reactive nitrogen in the stratosphere.”

Nitrous oxide damage to ozone is ubiquitous, whereas damage from CFCs creates a hole during extreme weather years over the Antarctic, Dr Murphy said.

Nitrous oxide was identified as the most damaging substance to the ozone layer in the 21st century by a 2009 study published in Science. That study also suggested one of the best ways to address the problem was to give insurance to Indian farmers.

“In India, particularly, they’re putting in 10 times more nitrogen fertiliser on their crops than they need to because if a crop fails they may starve,” Dr Murphy said. “Insurance could pick up the loss.”

Robin Schofield, director of Melbourne University’s environmental science hub, said UV in Australia should be trending downwards because factors such as surface ozone, which is contained in smog, is on the rise and there is evidence of a recovery of stratospheric ozone.

The UV Index and skin cancer

The UV index relates to the intensity of sunburn-producing UV radiation. Sun protection is recommended when the UV Index is above 3 in clear sky conditions. The higher the number, the more severe.

11+ = Extreme. Avoid sun exposure between 10am and 4pm due to extreme risk of harm.

8-10 = Very High. Unprotected skin and eyes may be damaged and can burn quickly.

6-7 = High. Protection against skin and eye damage is needed. Reduce time in the sun between 10am and 4pm.

3-5 = Moderate. Stay in the shade near midday when the sun is strongest. Moderate risk of harm.

1-2 = Low. There is a low danger from the sun’s UV rays for the average person.

Note: UV intensity can nearly double with reflection from snow or reflective surfaces such as water, sand and concrete.

Heather Walker, Cancer Council Australia’s skin cancer committee chair, said UV is the most common cause of skin cancer but the council has not seen any evidence of a trend of more extreme or high UV days.

“Queensland is the skin cancer capital of Australia and they get more UV all year round,” Ms Walker said. “Skin cancer rates continue to rise but look like they may be stabilising over the next few years in all age groups except for the under 40s.”

The continued high rate of skin cancer in Australia is partly due to the ageing population, because cancer is a disease of ageing, Ms Walker said.

Brisbane average monthly maximum UV index.
Brisbane average monthly maximum UV index.Photo: Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

But skin cancer rates are falling for people under 40, she said, because they have had the benefit of Sunsmart messages [slip, slop, slap, seek shade and slide on sunglasses], which started in the 1980s.

“This is a message we need to keep reinforcing, because as it was put to me: ‘you don’t tell your children to brush their teeth once and expect them to do it for the rest of their lives’.”

Because UV and heat are not related, people often get sunburnt when there is no sun.

“The heat will rise and continue to rise in the afternoon, whereas UV is more of a bell curve shape that peaks in the middle of the day. And that’s why the advice is to avoid being outside in the middle of the day.

“Cool and cloudy days when the UV is high, that’s when people are most likely to be caught out because they don’t think they need sun protection.”

March 25, 2018 Posted by | radiation | Leave a comment

Links between cellphone electromagnetic radiation and heart and brain tumours

Italian study links cellphone radiation to heart and-brain tumors  https://www.ewg.org/release/italian-study-links-cellphone-radiation-heart-and-brain-tumors#.WrVYStRubGg    Alex Formuzis (202) 667-6982  alex@ewg.org, MARCH 22, 2018   WASHINGTON – Laboratory animals exposed to cellphone radiation developed heart and brain tumors similar to the types seen in some studies of human cellphone users, according to an Italian study published today. EWG said the findings reinforce the need for people, especially children, to exercise caution when using cellphones and other radiation-emitting devices.

The study by the Ramazzini Institute, published in the journal Environmental Researchsupports the findings of the federal National Toxicology Program. Last month, the NTP reported that male rats exposed to radio-frequency radiation at levels including those emitted by cellphones had a greater chance of developing malignant brain cancer, and tumors in the heart and other organs.

The Ramazzini Institute’s research found that male rats exposed to the radio-frequency radiation emitted by cellphones using GSM networks had a greater chance of developing heart tumors and hyperplasias affecting Schwann cells, which support the peripheral nervous system. Schwann cell tumors were also observed in human epidemiological studies of tumor incidence in cellphone users, and in the NTP studies of lab animals.

“The Italian study reinforces the need for a precautionary approach when it comes to radiation from phones and other devices, especially for young kids,” said Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., senior science advisor at EWG. “Children’s bodies develop through the teenage years and may be more affected by cellphone use. As new telecom networks are built around the country, in-depth assessment of children’s health risks from cellphone radiation is essential.”

In 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on  Cancer declared the kind of radiation emitted by cellphones a “possible carcinogen” based on human epidemiological studies that found increased gliomas and acoustic neuromas in long-term cellphone users. The data on health effects of cellphone radiation in laboratory animals collected by the NTP and the Ramazzini Institute studies support the earlier evidence from human studies that cellphone radiation increases the risk of cancer.

EWG has been at the forefront of public interest organizations raising concerns about connections between cellphone use and cancer. EWG’s 2009 Science Review on Cancer Risks and Children’s Health summarized comprehensive studies showing a variety of health harms linked to long-term cellphone use. This included increased risk of brain tumors; lower sperm counts, motility and vitality among men; neurological effects; and changes in brain metabolism.

While the public debate on cellphone radiation risks has focused on cancer, which  progresses slowly in response to lifelong exposures, a growing body of research suggests that even shorter exposures could cause harm. In a study published last year, Kaiser Permanente researchers reported that pregnant women exposed to radio-frequency radiation from sources such as wireless devices and cell towers had nearly a threefold greater frequency of miscarriage.

In December 2017, the state of California issued official guidelines advising cellphone users to keep phones away from their bodies. The state Department of Public Health also recommended that parents consider reducing the amount of time their children use cellphones, and encourage kids to turn the devices off at night.

To help concerned consumers, EWG has created tools and tips for reducing exposure to cellphone radiation. This includes EWG’s Guide to Safer Cellphone Use and Six Questions About Cellphone Radiation and Your Health.

For more information about how studies on laboratory animals can help answer the questions about human health risks from radio-frequency radiation, read EWG’s Comments to the National Toxicology Program on the NTP cellphone radiation study.

March 23, 2018 Posted by | Italy, radiation | 1 Comment

Informational power to the people: Safecast volunteers monitor Fukushima radiation

 

NGO Safecast co-founder Pieter Franken explains to schoolgirls how to assemble a Geiger counter kit in their classroom in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture. 

Tracking Fukushima’s radiation , https://www.shine.cn/feature/lifestyle/1803181780/  Source: AFP   Editor: Fu Rong     Beneath the elegant curves of the roof on the Seirinji Buddhist temple in Japan’s Fukushima region hangs an unlikely adornment: a Geiger counter collecting real-time radiation readings.

The machine is sending data to Safecast, an NGO born after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster that says it has now built the world’s largest radiation dataset, thanks to the efforts of citizen scientists like Seirinji’s priest Sadamaru Okano.

Like many, Okano lost faith in the government after the nuclear meltdown seven years ago.

“The government didn’t tell us the truth, they didn’t tell us the true measures,” he said.

Okano was in a better position than most to doubt the government line, having developed an amateur interest in nuclear technology 20 years earlier after the Chernobyl disaster. To the bemusement of friends and family, he started measuring local radiation levels in 2007.

“The readings were so high, 50 times higher than natural radiation,” he said of the post-disaster data. “I was amazed. The news told us there was nothing, the administration was telling us there was nothing to worry about.”

That dearth of trustworthy information was the genesis of Safecast, said co-founder Pieter Franken, who was in Tokyo with his family when disaster hit. Franken and friends had the idea of gathering data by attaching Geiger counters to cars and driving around.

“Like how Google does Street View, we could do something for radiation in the same way,” he said. “The only problem was that the system to do that didn’t exist and the only way to solve that problem was to go and build it ourselves. So that’s what we did.”

Within a week, the group had a prototype and got readings that suggested the 20-kilometer exclusion zone declared around the Fukushima plant had no basis in the data, Franken said.

“Evacuees were sent from areas with lower radiation to areas with higher radiation” in some cases, he said.

The zone was eventually redrawn, but for many local residents it was too late to restore trust in the government.

Okano evacuated his mother, wife and son while he stayed with his flock.

A year later, based on his own readings and after decontamination efforts, he brought them back. He learned about Safecast’s efforts and in 2013 installed one of their static counters on his temple.

“I told them: ‘We are measuring the radiation on a daily basis… so if you access the (Safecast) website you can choose (if you think) it’s safe or not’.”

Norio Watanabe has been a Safecast volunteer since 2011. In the days after the disaster evacuees flocked to Koriyama, which was outside the evacuation zone. He assumed his town was safe.

He sent his children away, but stayed behind to look after his mother, a decision he believes may have contributed to his 2015 diagnosis of thyroid cancer.

“As a scientist, I think the chance that it was caused by the Fukushima accident might be 50-50, but in my heart, I think it was likely the cause,” he said.

His thyroid was removed and is now healthy, but Watanabe worries about his students, who he fears “will carry risk with them for the rest of their lives.”

“If there are no people like me who continue to monitor the levels, it will be forgotten.”

Safecast now has around 3,000 devices worldwide and data from 90 countries. Its counters come as a kit that volunteers can buy through third parties and assemble at home.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, PERSONAL STORIES, politics, radiation | Leave a comment

Let’s not forget the facts on ionising radiation: there is no “safe level”

Another Voice: Nuclear Power, part 1, Radiation http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/article/NP/20180318/LOCAL1/180319910 Crispin B. Hollinshead   

March 19, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

More bad news on the danger to astronauts of space radiation

There’s more harmful radiation in space than previously thought, UNH study says https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/science/2018/03/15/radiation-could-cause-serious-long-term-health-effects-for-astronauts-study-says/XW1W77m   

Space travel just got even more complicated.

University of New Hampshire researchers recently concluded there’s at least 30 percent more dangerous radiation in our solar system than previously thought, which could pose a significant risk to both humans and satellites who venture there.

In their study, published Feb. 22 in the journal Space Weather, the researchers found that astronauts could experience radiation sickness or possibly more serious long-term health effects, including cancer and damage to the heart, brain, and central nervous system, said Nathan Schwadron, a space plasma physics professor at UNH and lead author of the study.

“Both concerns are very serious, but what we’re seeing in deep space is that over time, radiation seems to be getting worse,” Schwadron said.

Why is it getting worse? The sun’s activity has been low, the lowest it’s ever been during the Space Age, which began in 1957 with the launching of Sputnik, the world’s first satellite.

That’s bad because an active sun intensifies the sun’s magnetic field, which shields our solar system from cosmic rays, the university said in a statement.

“When we started sending human beings to the moon in the late 50s, the solar activity cycles were fairly strong, so the number of cosmic rays were lower,” Schwadron said. “But now the cosmic rays number is going up.”

Scientists expect the solar activity levels to vary, but they don’t know why the current activity is so weak, he said.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, technology | Leave a comment

Harmful effects of radiation on Fukushima’s macaque monkeys

Stark health findings for Fukushima monkeys https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2018/03/11/stark-health-findings-for-fukushima-monkeys-of-concern-for-humans/ By Cindy Folkers

March 14, 2018 Posted by | environment, Fukushima continuing, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

The power of the people – Safecast gets the facts on Fukushima radiation

Safecast operates using measurements captured by volunteers. Data is verified and validated when two randomly selected people take the same measurement of the same place. Safecast’s reliable system means local people could count on its data and stay informed. Around 3,000 Safecast devices are deployed worldwide, and 100 to 150 volunteers regularly contribute their time and effort to the project.

As Safecast’s power and influence in society — both inside and outside of Japan — expanded, so did its technologies.

“We are a pro-data group, we are not an activist group,”

Radiation monitoring group formed during Fukushima nuclear disaster now a source of global data https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/03/09/national/radiation-monitoring-group-formed-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-now-source-global-data/#.WqLraB1ubGg  BY NAOMI SCHANEN STAFF WRITER 

Back in 2011, soon after the 3/11 disaster, Safecast was born. Today, the global volunteer-centered citizen science organization is home to the world’s largest open data set of radiation measurements.

Safecast was a response to the lack of publicly available, accurate and trustworthy radiation information. The group initially set out to collect radiation measurements from many sources and put them on a single website. What the volunteers quickly realized was that there was simply not enough official data available.

Soon after the disaster, members attached a homemade Geiger counter to the side of their car and drove around Fukushima taking measurements. They quickly noticed that radiation levels were radically different even between streets, and that the government-issued city averages were far from sufficient as data that could be used by citizens to determine the safety of their areas.

Within weeks the group’s members decided to build their own Geiger counters and collect the data themselves. They picked the name Safecast the following month.

For months after the nuclear disaster began, the government released only very limited information about the spread of radiation. The first informative map of radiation levels in Fukushima, based on aerial surveys, was not available until May 2011. The first map with an adequate level of detail to show contamination in the Tokyo metropolitan area, including infamous “hot spots” in cities such as Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, was not released until October that year. As confusion spread and triggered panic among citizens, Safecast was determined to commit itself to one thing: openness. “What Safecast proves is that all the preparation in the world — all the money in the world — still fails if you don’t have a rapid, agile, resilient system,” explains Joi Ito, Safecast co-founder and director of MIT Media Lab, on Safecast’s website.

In 2012, Safecast began working with municipal governments in Fukushima to put Geiger counters on postal delivery cars and collect data. As international attention on the group’s activities grew, Safecast was invited to present its findings at an expert meeting at the International Atomic Energy Agency in February 2014.

Safecast operates using measurements captured by volunteers. Data is verified and validated when two randomly selected people take the same measurement of the same place. Safecast’s reliable system means local people could count on its data and stay informed. Around 3,000 Safecast devices are deployed worldwide, and 100 to 150 volunteers regularly contribute their time and effort to the project. “How do you make a trustworthy system where the people don’t have to trust each other?” Azby Brown, Safecast’s lead researcher, asked during a recent interview at its Shibuya office.

As Safecast’s power and influence in society — both inside and outside of Japan — expanded, so did its technologies. The group’s first mobile device, named “bGeigie” with b standing for bento (boxed lunch), was built and deployed in April 2011. The first of these needed to be tethered to a laptop for data collection. But the group soon developed all-in-one devices. They were gradually shrunk, and the “bGeigie Nano” sold as a kit is now the organization’s main machine. It’s compact and able to accumulate all of the data it captures onto a memory card.

In December, Safecast members were given a special tour of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings’ gutted Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The operator allowed them, for the first time ever, to bring their sensors on site and openly measure radiation there during the hourlong tour, with the clear understanding that they would publish the data and radiation maps openly online. “We consider it an important step towards transparency on Tepco’s part,” Brown said in an email. Then in January, Safecast managed to install a “Solarcast Nano,” a solar-powered real-time radiation monitor, on the fence of an abandoned facility for the elderly about 2 km from Fukushima No. 1. It is the closest independent real-time data-collection point to the crippled plant. Over the years, the group has collected over 90 million data points worldwide. Each data point comes with a string of data containing the time, GPS coordinates and a radiation measurement.

It’s been seven years since the devastating earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent meltdown of the nuclear power plant, so why is Safecast’s work still relevant today?

“We are a pro-data group, we are not an activist group,” said Pieter Franken, another Safecast founding member. Safecast is constantly supplying local people with up-to-date information on radiation conditions, allowing them to make crucial decisions such as where and when evacuees can move back. Many locals are also volunteers, motivated by their emotional attachment to the area and determined to do their part in rebuilding their hometown, the group said.

While most of Safecast’s volunteers in Japan are Japanese who wanted to help out as much and as quickly as they could with the skills that were available, the unique composition of the group’s core members — many of whom are non-Japanese and hailing from diverse academic and professional backgrounds — has given the group the advantage of an outside perspective, and an agility that locals lacked. Franken is a computer scientist who has worked in the financial industry for over 25 years, while another founding member, Sean Bonner, has worked in community activism and is currently an associate professor of media and governance at Keio University. And Brown, who is a senior adviser at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology and also teaches at other Japanese universities, is a design and architecture expert. “A true Japanese company would have spent two years making the perfect Geiger counter before they would have released anything,” said Franken. “You need a little bit of extra impulse,” he added. “I think that is where, if you look at the composition of this group, some of us were in a unique position because of our ability to work in Japan, but also work with people outside to provide that spark to go and do it.”

In fact, as Brown explained, they have the ability to work as foreigners in Japan — without facing the social consequences of speaking out, criticizing or breaking rules that have prevented many Japanese and local firms from being able to help out as much as they wanted to. At the same time, most key members of Safecast are long-term residents of Japan and their desire to help amid the disaster was deeply rooted. “Not one of us flew away or would even think of abandoning our home just because there is a disaster. We live in Japan; this is our home,” said Joe Moross, a Safecast engineer and expert on radiation and environmental sensors.

Unfortunately, the environmental effects of the nuclear disaster will persist for decades. Brown believes that because cesium is known to migrate slowly into the soil, there is a possibility that some plants and trees will show higher levels of radioactivity in five to 10 years as the cesium reaches their roots.”We have to keep the pressure up and the only way to do this is to consistently keep on going, even if there is no disaster,” explained Franken. Holding workshops for high school and college students both in Japan and around the world, Safecast is continuing to expand its dominance in the field of independent radiation monitoring. Franken explained that by hosting these events, Safecast hopes to increase its volunteers and people’s awareness about the nuclear issues at hand.

“It’s been an amazing experience to be able to create something positive out of something so negative,” Franken said.

There’s no slowing down for Safecast. “Globally, we still have a lot to fill in,” said Bonner, noting there are still many places that have no or little data, such as Russia and China. “(At the) beginning of last year we started to measure air quality as well, so that’s another effort that we’re starting to reach out to. Between those two things, that’s a significant amount of stuff.

“We haven’t finished what we started,” he said. “We can’t even begin to think of what’s the next thing. We still have a lot of work to do that we’re still deeply engaged in doing.”

March 10, 2018 Posted by | investigative journalism, Japan, radiation, safety | Leave a comment

Small drone to measure radiation, used at Sellafield and Windscale, -might be used at Fukushima

In Cumbria 9th March 2018, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority funds have helped two UK businesses
develop a small drone to measure radiation levels in the damaged reactor
building of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. The lightweight
drone uses lasers to self-navigate deep inside hazardous facilities where
GPS signals cannot reach, and has already been used successfully at
Sellafield.

The drone, called Remote Intelligence Survey Equipment for
Radiation or Riser, carries a sophisticated radiation detection and mapping
system which has been collecting vital information about conditions in the
remaining Windscale Pile chimney. More than 60 years after the 1957 fire,
the chimney remains highly contaminated.
http://www.in-cumbria.com/news/Cumbrian-technology-used-at-Japans-Fukushima-nuclear-power-plant-c5720302-2ca4-4270-854d-99e934c64148-ds

March 9, 2018 Posted by | radiation, UK | Leave a comment

Gender and Radiation: Women and Children Require More Protection

 https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/gender-and-radiation-women-and-children-require-more-protection/

Today is International Women’s Day  “a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.” 

There are many such women in the anti-nuclear movement.  For example..

Mary Olson is the Founder of the Gender and Radiation Impact Project and is clear her life’s mission is to bring to light the disproportionate impact of radiation on girls and women. Over her long career, Olson has studied radiation health consequences with some of the leading radiation researchers of the 20 th Century including Rosalie BertellAlice StewartHelen Caldicott and Wing, and was featured in the educational film “ The Ultimate Wish: Ending the Nuclear Age” Through her work as a staff biologist and policy analyst at Nuclear Information and Resource Service , she has worked for decades to improve public policy on highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel and plutonium
Below is an excellent fact sheet from the Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Women & Children Require More Protection from

Ionizing Radiation than Men

NAS Findings: Adult Males are Group Most
Resistant to getting Cancer from Radiation
There is no safe dose of ionizing radiation: any
exposure of living cells to sub-atomic particles
(alpha, beta, neutron) or waves of energy (gamma,
X-ray) ejected from unstable radioactive atoms
has the potential to trigger cancer in people.i
Men get cancer from exposure to radiation, and
men die from that cancer, however, for reasons
not yet fully understood , fewer males get cancer
and fewer of them die from it compared to
females of the same age at the same level of
radiation exposure. The difference is not small:
for every two men who get cancer, three women
suffer this disease. These findings of physical
difference (not based on behavior) of 40% — 60%
more cancer in women compared to men come
from the (US) National Academy of Sciences
(NAS), Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation
(BEIR) Report number VII, published in 2006 ii
It has been common knowledge that children’s
bodies are the most vulnerable to radiation
impacts, but from BEIR VII we also learn that
little girls (age 0 — 5 years) are twice as likely to
suffer harm from radiation (defined in BEIR VII
as cancer) as little boys in the same age group. iii
In October 2011, NIRS published a briefing paper
Atomic Radiation is More Harmful to Women iv
containing more details about these findings. The
numbers in the BEIR VII tables are the source of
this new information. Gender difference is not
discussed in the report text.
Not every dose of radiation results in detectable
harm–cells have repair
mechanisms. However,
every exposure carries the potential for harm; and
that potential is tied to age of exposure and
gender.
Radiation Exposure Standards Based on Adult
Male Body
While we cannot see or
otherwise detect radiation with
our senses, we can see its
damage….
When the  first regulations were made, it was because
soldiers and scientists in the U.S. (virtually all
male to begin with) were working on building
nuclear weapons. The first standards were
“allowable” limits for exposing these men to a
known hazard.
Radiation Levels v Dose
Geiger counters and other devices can detect
levels of radiation and concentrations of
radioactivity.  It is much more difficult to say how much of that energy has impacted a living body (dose). Dose is calculated based on body size, weight, distance from the source and assumptions about biological impact. Gender is not factored in a typical determination of a dose. Historically the “dose receptors” were male, and were of a small age range. It is somewhat understandable that the “Reference Man”v was based on a “Standard Man”–a guy of a certain height, weight and age. Clearly such assumptions are no longer valid when there is such a striking gender difference– 40% to 100% greater likelihood of cancer or cancer death (depending on the age) for females, compared to males.vi

Not Only Cancer

Radiation harm includes not only cancer and leukemia, but reduced immunity, reduced fertility, increases in other diseases including heart disease, birth defects including heart defects, other mutations (both heritable and not). When damage is catastrophic to a developing embryo, spontaneous abortion or miscarriage of a pregnancy may result.vii

Gender Mechanism Not Yet Described

Perhaps the reason that the National Academy of Sciences does not discuss the fact that gender has such a large impact on outcome of exposure to radiation is that the causal  mechanism is not yet described.

Dr. Rosalie Bertell, one of the icons of research and education on radiation health effects, suggests that one basis may be that the female body has a higher percentage of reproductive tissue than the male body. Dr. Bertell points to

studies showing reproductive organs and tissues are more sensitive to radiation. Nonetheless, Dr. Bertell is clear: “While research is clearly needed, we should PROTECT FIRST.”

Ignoring Gender Results in More Harm

The NAS BEIR VII findings show that males of all ages are more resistant to radiation exposure than females, and also that all children are more vulnerable than adults. The only radiation standard certain to protect everyone is zero. Given the fact that there is no safe dose of radiation, it is an appropriate goal. Any additional exposure above unavoidable naturally occurring radiation should include full disclosure and concurrence of the individual. It is time to adopt non-radioactive practices for making energy, peace, security and healing.

03/10/2012 Mary Olson, NIRS Southeast maryo@nirs.org / 828-252-8409

i See http://www.nirs.org/radiation/
ii BEIR VII, Table 12D‐3 page 312, National Academy Press (Washington, DC) 2006.
iii BEIR VII page 311, Table 12‐D 1.
iv NIRS: Atomic Radiation is More Harmful to Women http://www.nirs.org/radiation/radhealth/radiationwomen.p df
vICRP Publication 23: Reference Man: Anatomical, Physiological and Metabolic Characteristics, 1st Edition

vi IEER: The use of Reference Man in Radiation Protection Standards and Guidance with Recommendations for Change http://www.ieer.org/reports/referenceman.pdf
vii Non‐cancer health effects are documented in classic works of John Gofman, for instance Radiation and Human Health (Random House 1982) and digital documents available: http://www.ratical.org/radiation/overviews.html#CNR and Dr. Rosalie Bertell’s classic work No Immediate Danger, Summer Town Books, 1986.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | radiation, Reference, women | Leave a comment

UWI researchers explore risks of medical treatments that involve radiation

Radiation warning!  UWI researchers explore risks of medical treatments that involve radiation http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/radiation-warning-uwi-researchers-explore-risks-of-medical-treatments-that-involve-radiation_125898?profile=1373  BY FALON FOLKES, Staff reporter folkesf@jamaicaobserver.com, February 25, 2018

RESEARCHERS at The University of the West Indies (UWI) are working assiduously to gather information to educate Jamaicans about the risks of treatments that involve too much exposure to radiation.

The medical use of radiation is known for being the largest, man-made contribution to the overall annual radiation dose of humans receive.

An overview of the researchers’ study mentioned that, according to the World Health Organisation, more than 3.6 billion diagnostic examinations, 37 million nuclear medicine procedures and 7.5 million radiotherapy treatments are executed annually.

Head of the materials and Medical Physics Research Group, Professor Mitko Voutchkov, explained to the Jamaica Observer that radiation damages the (deoxyribonucleic acid) of the healthy tissue cells in one’s body.

“Cancer is the tissue cells that don’t have biological function. Interestingly, they grow quickly and the cancer spreads all over the body. So this is the radiation effect-radiation damage the cells,” he said.

In addition to this, radiation can also cause hair loss, redness of the skin, radiation burns, fatigue, and even osteoporosis, which is a medical condition in which a person’s bones become brittle and fragile.

“The risk comes from the medical diagnostics, especially if you go very frequently to CT (computed tomography) scan. If you do one or two per year it’s fine, but sometimes it [one’s illness] will require much more,” Professor Voutchkov explained.

“MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is not so much damaging. If they can have an MRI instead of CT scan, let them choose that,” he added.

With the rapid advancements in technology, modern medical radiation equipment are emitting higher radiation doses. The researchers are concerned about people’s risk of overexposure to this man-made radiation.

The research group’s priority is creating a radiation safety culture in medical radiation imaging and radiotherapy. A part of this mandate requires them to carry out “regular quality control and calibration of medical radiation equipment”.

A survey was done on radiological safety practices in diagnostic centres in Jamaica, to assess their compliance with the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act. Additionally, a control study was conducted in a New York hospital to compare the radiation safety and management practices to that of Jamaica.

The recommendation arising from these studies is that, a management system is needed to keep records of the dose measurements, storage of dosimeters (a device that keeps track of a person’s exposure to radiation), and their safe use.

It is Professor Voutchkov’s notion that Jamaica’s patients need to be educated on the effects that radiation can have on them when they do treatments at diagnostic centres.

“I travel abroad and I see everywhere that they have videos, they have brochures, so the patients, they get prepared, so they accept the risk. Here, we have nothing,” he said.

With adequate information, he told the Sunday Observer, patients can decide whether or not to consult their general practitioner about alternative treatments, where possible.

As for the diagnostic centres, the professor recommends that equipment be checked for radiation levels to which patients are exposed. He asserted that new diagnostic techniques are developed to lower radiation dose, because radiation use during medical diagnostics should be limited.

February 27, 2018 Posted by | OCEANIA, radiation | Leave a comment

Hanford workers – 10 now Contaminated With Radioactive Waste

Now 10 Workers Contaminated With Radioactive Waste At Hanford, OPB, by Anna King Follow Northwest News Network Feb. 22, 2018 

As many as 11 workers may have ingested or inhaled radioactive contamination at the Plutonium Finishing Plant demolition site at Hanford in southeast Washington state. Ten workers are confirmed to have tested positive and one needs more testing to confirm the results.

That’s up from the previous count of six.

The amounts of that contamination are small when compared with an average person’s yearly background exposure. The majority have between 1 and 10 millirems. The average person gets 350 millirems per year from natural and man-made substances.

But Washington state Department of Health experts take any contamination very seriously. Nearly 300 workers have requested lab tests. And more than 50 people’s initial tests are still outstanding……https://www.opb.org/news/article/hanford-radioactive-waste-contamination-people-10/

February 24, 2018 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Hanford cars, supposedly clean, but testing positive for radiation

Hanford cars deemed clean, test positive for radiation, A Hanford employee was told their family car filter was clean, but an independent scientist determined it tested positive for radiation. King5.com  Susannah Frame, February 21, 2018

A veteran worker of the Hanford nuclear site has learned that a car filter removed and tested by a scientist in Boston came up contaminated with the radioactive isotope of americium 241. The worker’s car had been deemed “clean” in surveys conducted in December and February by the Hanford government contractor, CH2M Hill.

“I’m just stunned. I’m angry, but that goes without saying. Now I wonder, ‘How far has it gone? Did I take it home? How long has this been going on?’” said the worker who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation.

The worker’s filter was one of two that tested positive for the dangerous element, said the principal investigator, Dr. Marco Kaltofen of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Nuclear Science and Engineering Program near Boston. Kaltofen is also a Hanford expert.

Five filters total were collected by the Seattle-based watchdog groupHanford Challenge, and sent to Kaltofen. The two that came up with radioactive isotopes had previously been declared free of contamination, said Tom Carpenter, executive director of Hanford Challenge.

“Americium is a rare radioactive element, and does not belong in anybody’s engine compartment,” said Carpenter. “The fact that vehicles were checked and released to these workers, only to find that they were still contaminated, raises disturbing questions about the credibility of Hanford’s program.”

“The kind of materials we’re talking about at Hanford are suspected to cause cancer or known to cause cancer. A person’s personal car shouldn’t contain radio-isotopes for weapons manufacturing. That’s pretty simple,” said Kaltofen.

Americium is a radioactive material used in the production of plutonium for nuclear bombs at Hanford from World War II through the Cold War. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), americium-241 emits alpha particles “poses a significant risk if enough is swallowed or inhaled. Once in the body…it generally stays in the body for decades and continues to expose the surrounding tissues to radiation. This may eventually increase a person’s chance of developing cancer.”

“I’ve driven to Oregon and others have taken their cars out of state. We have no idea how far we’ve spread (radioactive matter),” said the worker with americium on the car filter.

The US Dept. of Energy, which owns Hanford, and its contractor CH2M Hill, have been plagued with a spread of radioactive particles from a demolition project that was supposed to be completed by September 2017. Instead, the project to take down the historic and lethally contaminated Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP) is on hold as Hanford officials try to find ways to continue the work in a safe manner………..

Since June, the Dept. of Energy reports that 41 PFP workers have tested positive for internal contamination. Forty-three more test results are yet to be returned. In the December loss of control of radiation, 27 government-owned vehicles were found to have contamination on them in addition to the seven private cars.

The PFP is where the Hanford workforce produced plutonium “buttons” throughout the Cold War for use in building nuclear warheads. Since 1989 the Hanford site has been a cleanup operation only that costs taxpayers approximately $2 billion a year. http://www.king5.com/article/news/local/hanford-cars-deemed-clean-test-positive-for-radiation/281-521837537

February 22, 2018 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment