People living in Japan now have something more fearful to them than earthquake and tsunami: the imminent meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear reactors! People in nearby countries such as North and South Korea, China and Russia may have the same level of concern about the radioactive dust clouds that may spread toward their areas. Should people in other countries and California get prepared for any danger?
It's true that only people who live within 25 miles of the nuclear plants should be evacuated. But that was to avoid direct exposure to the radiations coming from the plants.
The real worldwide concern now is the contamination of the atmosphere with radioactive materials from the meltdown. The dust clouds from the explosion could be carried away by the wind to distant areas, across the Pacific, and possibly as far as to Alaska or California within a few days.
In a total meltdown, several radioactive gases are released on the less-toxic end of the spectrum, including nitrogen-16, tritium and krypton. Each of these gases is light and tends to dissipate quickly, posing little danger to humans, said Kirby Kemper, a nuclear physicist at Florida State University.
Far more dangerous are several other radioactive by-products that could be released as dust particles. These include iodine-131, strontium-90 and cesium-137. Some of these are especially dangerous to humans because they are readily absorbed and get integrated into our organs like natural inactive minerals.
Radioactive iodine-131, even with a half-life of 8 days, can enter the body by the food we eat and the air we breathe. It would accumulate and stay in the thyroid gland for months. It may settle on the ground, get inside the grass, ends up in cows, then in humans who drink their milk. It may also get inside of vegetables or become concentrated in fishes, which will then be consumed by people. Iodine-131 may cause cancer of the thyroid, but only many years down the road, therefore it may only be a threat for young people. However, "Thyroid cancer is generally treatable. With proper treatment, the five-year survival rate of thyroid cancer is 96%, and 92% after 30 years." (Wikipedia.com)
To prevent the accumulation of radioactive iodine in our thyroid gland, experts recommend the ingestion of potassium iodide which occupy and saturate the thyroid with non-active iodine so that the radioactive iodine has no room to accumulate in the gland.
Note: The Potassium Iodide tablets should only be used in emergency situations and when recommended by health officials. Do not use it as prevention. Do not ingest it if you are allergic to iodine. Use only one 130mg tablet ONCE a day for 10 days, unless Public health authorities advise differently.
Strontium-90, with a half-life of 29 years, may enter the body through food and water. It has been linked to bone cancer, cancer of the soft tissue near the bone, and leukemia.
Cesium-137, with a half-life of 30 years, is another dangerous by-product emitted by a full-scale nuclear meltdown. Its dust may be carried to far away locations by the wind. It enters our body in the food and water, or by inhalation. Exposure to radioactive Cesium also increases the risk of cancer.
All this sounds very scary. But the experts predict that the amount of radioactive materials from these reactors in Japan would be diluted into insignificant concentration as they are spreading further away every day. Most of the dust would end up in the Pacific water anyway. Let's hope that it would happen that way. In case a meltdown happens, you can follow the spreading of the dust clouds from many websites, such as this one: http://www.radioactiveclouds.com/
How do radioactive materials affect our health? For this type of radioactive dust contamination, people do not get the effects seen in direct exposure to radiations (mostly Gamma ray) causing acute symptoms such as burns, nausea, and inflammation, or imminent death. People may only ingest or inhale very small amount of radioactive substances which accumulate in their organs and produce long term effects on their health. Those materials generate small amount of radiations (alpha or X-ray type of waves) which are able to cause formation of positively charged ions and harmful free radicals in our body. They transfer their energy to our tissues to become inactive atoms while stealing electrons from our cell structures and breaking our vital molecules such as DNA. Those damages may cause changes in our normal cell functions, especially the control of cell growth. Once a few cells start to multiply without control, they become cancer cells. However, cancer cells could be recognized by our immune cells which are working feverously day and night all over the body to destroy and eliminate these abnormal cells.
Therefore, when exposure to radioactive materials from the atmosphere is imminent, use the iodide pills as recommended by health officials. Follow a healthy diet rich in nutrition and vitamins (raw fresh organic vegetables and fruits, wheat grass powder, blue and black berry juices, pomegranate juice, green tea, etc.) in order to promote our immune system which fights against cancer cells.* You can get extra help by drinking large amount of ionized water with high ORP which may provide the necessary extra electrons to neutralize the free radicals and replace the ones that were stolen or lost from our tissues due to the radioactive contaminants. Nothing else is more effective to help increases your body ability to repair the damaged tissues and molecules!*
Disclaimer: *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
EPA website: Effects of radiations on human health:
What to do During a Hazardous Materials Incident:
Center for Disease Control: Information about Potassium Iodide:
Wikipedia article on Chernobyl nuclear plants meltdown:
How radiations harm in layman language:
To find good quality and affordable water ionizers: