Radiation

Radon gas is a leading cause of cancer

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Remember how we were all freaking out a few months ago about radiation, in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan that led to releases of radioactive material from Japan’s stricken Fukushiima Daiichi nuclear plant? Well, now comes news that the leading cause of non-smoking lung cancer in the United States is radon gas, a radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium found in nearly all soils. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which says radon gas leads to an estimated 21,000 deaths each year, apparently wants to help you test for it in your home. Read more »

High levels of strontium at Fukushima

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More bad news for Japan and its stricken fishing industry: Tokyo Electric Power Company says radioactive strontium up to 240 times the legal concentration limit has been detected in seawater samples near an intake at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Read more »

Japan’s “unconscionable” radiation levels for schools

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Japan Times is reporting that Physicians for Social Responsibility, a U.S.-based nonprofit, is challenging Tokyo’s position that it is safe for school kids to use playgrounds in the nuclear-stricken Fukushima Prefecture as long as the dose they are exposed to does not exceed 20 millisieverts (20 millirems) a year.

PSR has condemned those safety standards as “unconscionable”, Japan Times reported. Read more »

Understanding radiation

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The Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos, New Mexico contains a bunch of exhibits about the history of Los Alamos National Laboratory and its science and research work. And with alarm bells continuing to sound around the world in light of Japan’s troubled efforts to contain a nuclear contamination crisis at its Fukushima Daiichi plant, (and folks on the West Coast and beyond stockpiling potassium iodide for fear of exposure to drift) I found myself drawn to the “Understanding Radiation” display during a recent visit to the museum, which includes a chart to help folks calculate their annual radiation dose (scroll down to the end of this post to figure out your own personal annual dose.) Read more »