Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Radiation Poisoning

I read an article today stating that radiation (Iodine-131) has been found in milk produced in Spokane, Washington.  Washington State!  That is my backyard.  "They" say that it is quite safe - nothing at all to worry about, it's not at all out of the ordinary.  But it is out of the ordinary and the real problem is that I don't trust "them".  The truth of the matter is that I don't trust the very people responsible for the well-being of the public to actually take care of the public.  Under the guise of not wanting to start a panic, the public is often placated with half-truths.  Somehow, in the hallowed halls of our public servants and our state sponsored media, truth is exchanged for fiction, prettily packaged as the "common good".  Who's common good?  Certainly not ours.  These are the same people responsible for purposefully releasing radiation from Hanford Nuclear Reservation (also in our backyard) for over 40 years!  Who do we believe?  Your guess is as good as mine.

In light of the fact that a nuclear accident half-way around the world is affecting the continental United States, among many other locales across the globe, and the fact that Hanford Nuclear Reservation is on an active fault line (this has been disputed - there are multiple conflicting reports), I thought it would be prudent to research Radiation Poisoning and add it to "The Prepared Family Guide to Uncommon Diseases".  Here is a sneak peak.....

Radiation Poisoning

What is it?

Radiation poisoning, also referred to as radiation sickness, occurs when someone is exposed to large enough levels of radiation to create damage to the body.  Radiation poisoning rarely occurs outside of nuclear industrial operations.  It could affect the general public during nuclear-weapons testing or in an attack using nuclear weapons.
                                                               eHow Health

Radiation poisoning radiation sickness or radiation toxicity is a constellation of health effect which occur within several months of exposure to high amounts of ionizing radiation.  The term generally refers to acute problems rather than ones that develop after a prolonged period.

What does it look like?

The speed of onset of symptoms is related to radiation exposure, with greater doses resulting in a shorter delay in symptoms onset.  Mild radiation poisoning (radiation doses as low as 35 rad) presents in this manner:
·      Nausea
·      Vomiting
·      Headaches
·      Fatigue
·      Fever
·      Short periods of skin reddening

Cutaneous radiation syndrome (CRS) is the skin symptoms of radiation exposure.  Within a few hours after irradiation:
·      Itching
·      Reddening
·      Blistering
·      Ulceration  (open sore)

Gastrointestinal symptoms (typical with exposure doses of 600-1000 rad), usually seen within 1 to 2 hours:
·      Nausea
·      Vomiting
·      Loss of appetite
·      Abdominal pain

Neurovascular symptoms (typical with exposure doses greater than 1000 rad):
·      Dizziness
·      Headache
·      Decreased level of consciousness
·      Absence of vomiting

How do I care for my patient?

There is no cure for radiation poisoning, however, prompt treatment can lessen the effects.

Particle Removal
One of the first and most basic treatment for radiation poisoning is the thorough removal of any particles on the skin and clothing.  To do this, all clothing should be removed and disposed of.  This should get rid of about 90 percent of the radiation contamination.  Washing with soap and warm water helps removed any other particles that may still be clinging to the skin.  It is important to do this immediately after exposure, as active particles on skin and clothing can continue to poison.

Potassium Iodide (K1)
Potassium iodide is a common treatment option for radiation poisoning.  Potassium iodine collects in the thyroid.  It takes up space that radioactive iodine would occupy.  Without room to stay in the thyroid, the radioactive iodine is sent out of the thyroid and excreted with urine.  Take Potassium Iodide orally either before or after exposure, although it works best if taken before exposure. 

·      Adult – (1) 130 mg. tablet once a day for 10 days
·      Children – (1) 62 mg. tablet once a day for 10 days

Prussian Blue
Prussian blue may also be used to treat radiation poisoning.  Prussian blue binds with radioactive particles in the body.  Prussian blue binds with two other types of radioactive elements called thallium and cesium.  When taken directly after exposure, Prussian blue is able to remove many of the radioactive particles before the cells can absorb them.  Once attached to the radioactive particles, the Prussian blue exits the body in the feces (poop), taking along the particles.

Prussian blue is safe for most adults, including pregnant women, and children (2 12 years). Dosing for infants (ages 0 2 years) has not been determined yet. Women who are breast feeding their babies should stop breast feeding if they think they are contaminated with radioactive materials.
                                               CDC Radiation Emergencies

·      Adult – (1) 500 mg. tablet 3 times daily for a minimum of 30 days
·      Children –

Prussian blue has been included in the SNS (Strategic National Stockpile).
                                             CDC Radiation Emergencies

How did I get it?
How do I keep it from spreading?

The best prevention for radiation sickness is to minimize exposure.  Radiation poisoning cannot be transmitted via airborne droplets.  It can only be spread via direct contact or radioactive fallout.  Remove any contaminated clothing or equipment that has come in contact with radiation and put them in a double bag labeled RADIOACTIVE.  Bury in three feet of earth.


  1. Oh Lord God...Help us all!!! COME, Lord Jesus...COME!!!

  2. Enola - I'm so sorry to hear that this mess is so close to you and your family!! It is far from "normal" or "ok"!!!!! I am convinced that our leadership and the agencies responsible for our well-being will let us all stay in the dark until it's way too late!

    Thank you for posting this info - never really thought I'd need it, truth be told. I prepped for just about everything but this!!!

    I've been researching info or recommendations on safety precautions. What I haven't been able to find is anything on whether it will be safe to grow a garden and eat the produce. I undersand about cows eating radiated grass and producing radiated milk. But how dangerous will garden produce be? If you have any info or know where to direct me, I'd appreciate it.

    I've pretty much turned this situation over to the Lord, after letting my fear and worry start to get the best of me. I'm afraid we (human-kind) have really screwed things up this time, and it doesn't look like we'll get things under control any time soon. I remember the Chernobyl catrastrophe, but I don't remember being this scared then. Maybe I didn't know enough TO BE scared back then. But like you, I have no confidence in our leadership. I don't believe anything they are telling us. God help us all!

    Stay safe. Keep us posted on your situation. Y'all will remain in my prayers.
    Love and best wishes,

  3. Enola, your best defense is research, research, research. Be prepared and don't freak out. We're in Alaska and I was pretty well freaked, but my husband, who was a physics major in college started doing his research. There is no more radiation in Tokyo today then there was the days before Fukoshima. There is more radiation in Denver (because they are closer to the sun) than in Tokyo. Read more. Also for adults over 40 they are not recommended to take K1, they could be allergic and do worse damage. Thyroid cancer would take about 20 years to set in so in anyone over 40 it's basically a waste and the risks are not worth it. Please read more, I respect your words, but don't spread panic.

    I have learned that radiation is part of life and we have to figure out at what number it gets dangerous so we don't panic. Banana's and peanut butter have natural radiation. Look it up, it's very interesting. I have learned a lot in the last few weeks.

    I agree that we should not rely on the media to tell us what to do, but they have created so much of this panic themselves. Instead of this being about Japan's earthquake, they made it about Nuclear meltdown, but it's been more of a miracle than anything that it has not killed many more people.

    Anna in Alaska

  4. Bury it far, far away from your gardens and bodies of water.


    I am saddened to hear this has hit you so close to home. At the same time, I am so happy you posted this information; it's good basic information for those of us who don't know much about it.

    I don't know how possible this is, but when I was in the military, we had chem suits, gas masks (of course) and also chem wipes we could use to clean our skin. They were made specifically for chemical poisoning. I haven't been looking for these - although I will now - I just thought I'd throw that out there in case you can find some for your family.

    Good luck and God bless,

  5. Thank you for the post very informative.
    I agree, we are never told the whole story.I am re minded of this everytime I drive by the Love Canal neighborhood.

  6. I must have inadvertently given the impression that I was panicking! Not so. I am researching and preparing. I think this may have been a wake-up call, a time to prepare for what may be in our future. I don't think the radiation levels here at home are high enough to have much of an impact. My major beef is with trying to find reliable information.

    We do have a doctor friend that we are vetting this information through. I have asked him to do the research on the Potassium Iodide. I would love to know the scientific research begin who should take it and how should not. I will post my findings here!

    Ultimately, we are not called to panic, but we are to be prepared. Please don't view this post as another hysterical ranting. I believe that my frustration is showing.


  7. Enola,
    Knowledge is Power and
    you're so correct in your quest for more knowledge on this important preparedness subject.
    There are many different contaminants to "radiation".
    And, many levels of saturation.
    And, as you will read the Solar system contributes more radiation to your body daily, than what you are currently experiencing in Washington, from the accident that occurred at the Japanese nuclear plants, carried on the winds.

    You may want to read these relevant articles.
    Understanding Radiation

    What To Do If A Nuclear Disaster Is Imminent!

    There are many different contaminants to "radiation".
    And, many levels of saturation.

    Read On!


  8. Here is a site to which has a vast amount of medical information for preparedness.

    The Good News About Nuclear Destruction.

  9. Enola -

    Do not panic. Radiation is part of life and low levels of radiation may actually be beneficial (witness those who live at high altitudes such as Denver and are therefore exposed to greater amounts of Cosmic Radiation have less cancers than those who live at lower altitudes).

    Sources of information:

    Dr. Jerry Pournelle
    Dr. Pournelle has some great comments in his recent blog entries since the situation in Japan.

    Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson Kearny
    Look for the 1987 edition with the preface added in 2003. Public Domain published by Oak Ridge National Laboratories. Available many places on the Internet.

    Expedient Shelter Construction and Occupancy Experiments by Cresson Kearny. Public Domain published by Oak Ridge National Laboratories. Available many places on the Internet.

    Handbook for Radiological Monitors - Department of Defense, Office of Civil Defense, published April 1963. Public Domain. Available many places on the Internet. There may be newer editions available. I became a certified Radiological Monitor in the mid 1980's so the program was around at least that long.

    Pulling Through by Dean Ing. This is a novel with lots of good info, plus a series of articles published as a paperback book by Ace in 1983. ISBN: 0-441-69050-5 Unfortunately the eBook reprinting of the novel by Baen Books leaves out the very useful articles that follow the novel. Find the original paperback edition.


  10. Can any of your experts tell us if ceramic water filters can filter out radiation? Water may be a problem if radiation gets into the soil and water table for a longer period of time than air borne radiation.

  11. What I truly find disturbing is the hype and headlines that occurred initially when the Japanese nuke plants were damaged and leaking. Now that they are leaking even more and having continued problems cooling them so they don't go into a full-blown meltdown, the news media has moved on to the next shiny object - Libya.

    For a time, I was worried about radiation in the air, soil and water but I'm not anymore. I'm more worried about a news media that lies, distorts, frightens, fails to do their due diligence, and drops the story once something newer comes along. They, IMHO, are the real threats to our well-being.

    BTW, I ordered KI nearly 3 weeks ago, my PayPal account was charged, but I still haven't seen the KI. Good thing my life didn't depend on it.

    NoCal Gal

  12. We are discussing only Iodine 131 contamination in surface water sources, air, water, organic matter, human and animal tissue, in which the decay is a constant.

    Fact: Iodine 131 has a radioactive decay HALF-LIFE of 8.1 days.

    Only 3% of the original concentration of Iodine 131 would exist after 40 days. Or that it's now 97% decayed.
    ie: in 48 days it would be 1 1/2% of it's original exposure.

    Ceramic filters are mechanical in nature. They will not filter out Iodine 131 ions in water. They are designed more so to filter out organisms, cysts and some viruses.

    However, dense Carbon based, electrostatic filters would be capable of removing negatively charged Iodine 131 ions.

    The contamination of Deep water sources would be relevant only to actual open contamination which is unlikely. Again it is dependent on knowing the half-life decay of the nucleotide occurring with TIME cycles, combined with the factor of the amount of real time, that it takes for the contaminated water to perform it's natural filtration process through the density and number of layers of organic dirt and rock before it makes contact with the deep water source.


  13. notutopia and all my other readers - you guys are awesome, so knowledgeable! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer each others' questions. I often don't know the answers to your questions and I learn so much from you. Thank you.


  14. I'm so glad to see your post. I live in the Alaskan bush, have linked to your blog, and follow it as much as I can.
    I'm not panicking either, but I sure don't trust the media, and I don't rely on them for accurate information. I do my own research.
    Regarding the statement that it's basically a waste for anyone over 40 to take iodine because it takes about 20 years for cancer to set in, I totally disagree on it being a waste. I'm 51. Many women in my family have lived over 100 years, and many more over 90, all going strong until the day they died. It is not a "waste" for anyone over 40 to take care of themselves, be informed, and properly prepare. My children are 6 and 7, and I fully expect to be around to enjoy my grandchildren, and maybe even great-grandchildren. I may be dreaming, but it certainly won't happen if I rely on the "powers that be" to provide reliable information.
    Iodine has its risks, but so does radioactive fallout, even in very small amounts. I've been taking iodine/iodide drops daily for years for my thyroid, on the advice of a doctor. So much better than pharmaceutical preparation, and much cheaper. I know the risks of too much. The side effects of light overdose are generally mild, and quickly reversed by lowering the dose or stopping for a few days. Most people have a significant iodine deficiency, and could use much more than the government says we should take on a daily basis. People should research that for themselves, and should be tested by a doctor knowledgeable in this area. The greatest risk with iodine is for anyone with an allergy. However, for most people, the risks are relatively minimal. Again, people should really research this themselves, get tested, and make sure they are informed.
    I love your blog!
    Jenny in Alaska

  15. Jenny in Alaska already mentioned this, but I'll post my comment anyway. I read recently somewhere (? maybe on ?, maybe?) that a HUGE percentage of the world's population is deficient in iodine. And that by having enough iodine in your body significantly decreases your risk for radiation poisoning. I'll probably explain this wrong, but I believe the theory is that if you have enough iodine, you're like a saturated sponge - you can't soak up any radiation, but if you're deficient in iodine your body is like a dried up sponge and it will take in all the radiation in the environment. I pretty sure this is largely theory, but it makes sense to my simple mind.

  16. Tanya, you are right in the way you explained it. The sponge is a good analogy. There are many other dangers with nuclear fallout, but radioactive iodine is one of the biggies. If your thyroid gland has all the iodine/iodide it needs to function properly, then when you inhale or ingest radioactive iodine, it will pass through your body without being absorbed and causing harm, and will be excreted in your urine. That's why human waste should be bagged and buried properly if the person was exposed to radiation.

  17. I am glad to see this discussion. Like many of you who posted comments above, I live in a family of scientists, who are dismayed at some of the media mis-information given; because we have always been "exposed" to small amounts of radiation in our daily lives, every day, long before this event happened. Like the minute amounts of radiation in potassium (in those bananas you eat) and in the air -- all the time. These tiny amounts are not harmful.

    So I'm glad to see some posters clarify this for others, because maintstream media is making people think any amount of radiation is horrible and that is it all drifting from Japan, etc. Just way too much bad information out there in the general stream. Media seems to love the "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE" scare tactics.

  18. No Cal Gal - we also ordered about 3 weeks ago. The vendor sent an email saying they were overwhelmed with orders and offered to cancel our order and give a full credit. We didn't order because of Japan, but because we live within ten miles of a nuke plant with two reactors (St. Lucie 1 & 2).

    The KI came in the mail today. Hang in there.

    Enola, good post. Thanks.


  19. Terry, thanks for the info. I cancelled my KI order, it's a long story so I won't bore anybody here with it.

    I guess what really bothered me is if this had been an emergency, millions of us would be dead by now because the vendors couldn't keep pace with demand. So this is like a dry-run for a real SHTF scenario. If you need something, better order it NOW rather than wait until it's crunch time. I learned my lesson and have now gone into overdrive to acquire what I may need down the road. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

    NoCal Gal

  20. I read on a suppliers website that they had sent most of their KI to Japan to help those over there, they donated most of it. Since they had it and it did go to those who needed it the most, I am willing to wait for mine to get here. I have a question about thyroid meds though, will the synthroid I am on help in situations like Japan? I was on Iodide/Iodine mix called Iodine Synergy and while it kept me off of the Synthroid for almost 2 years, last May I was put on Synthroid because my T3/T4 test was more than double what was an okay amount. Just curious if this is something else I have to think in advance for. Try getting a doctor to give you more meds than you need at the time, sigh. I now live in a new area also with a new doctor so now I need to connect with this one to see how supplying a few months worth of meds is actually beneficial not harmful. It is not like they are narcotics but simply Sythroid for me and Flomax for hubby.

  21. EPA releases new radiation numbers for Boise from this past Saturday's readings.

    ... found levels of two kinds of cesium and iodine 131 in Boise’s precipitation, but said the levels that were detected were far below levels that would warrant public-health concern.

    Radiation in precipitation is routinely measured because it affects not only the air, but vegetation, including grass eaten by cows that produce milk for human consumption.

    See the EPA precipitation samples at

  22. The EPA told the rescue workers after 911 the air was safe to breath. 10 years later tax payers are paying half a trillion dollars to rescue workers who are sick and dieing for that lie. So I don't trust them either. Can we also say "agent orange". A family member of mine was just payed $81,000 dollars because low and behold agent orange ended up not to so safe. The EPA tells so many "legal" white lies. Like the radiation is not a threat. Legally they are right. You are not going to be affected immediately. So they can say there is no health risk, because they are speaking short term. The media is failing to do their job and ask, "what are the long term effects going to be". In ten years this will show up as increase in cancer and other problems. By then the people in office now will have moved on. The EPA will say they are sorry, and no one will be held accountable. Maybe some people will get a pay out from the taxpayers. Mostly it will be a news blurb on page 8 of the newspaper. No one except those effected will pay much attention. That is how it has been for the last 50 years. However God is sovereign in all of this we can know there is a reason for everything. Even though we many time don't see it.

  23. As stated by several very astute posters above, knowledge is the key. You can say you don't trust "them" to tell you the whole story all you want, but when "they" (who is "they" anyway?) give you NUMBERS, the raw data, I fail to see how anyone can claim deception.

    I'm in the US Navy and stationed in Japan. I recently was underway for about a month in the vicinity of the reactors conducting search and rescue/recovery operations and sending aid to isolated areas by helicopter. Additionally, I'm a Navy-certified nuclear engineer offcier.

    I can tell you without hesitation that I'm not worried based on measurements I personally took or saw taken. My family lives in Yokosuka, about 200 miles from Fukushima, and they did not evacuate. The radiation dose they would have received on the transatlantic flight would have been greater than what they have received by staying.

    To address a couple of specifics from various posters above:
    The levels in the milk found in Washington do not present a statistically measurable risk, even if consumed for a long period. You get more raditation from a banana or the sun.
    This level of exposure will never cause a measureable increase in cancer rates; not next week, and not in 20 years.
    Even without KI, you would not die immediately from a fairly significant exposure; it simply presents a greater cancer risk later. This would require long-term exposure to levels 1,000,000 or so times what is in the milk for years, or 1,000,000,000 times that for months.
    To answer the garden question above, you got more exposure last year from natural radium in your soil than you will get this year from iodine. Garden to your heart's content; it's safe.

    In summary, a lack of education on the real risks is actually a major cause of the bad reporting in the media. It's existance in the general population is a greater danger than the bad reporting. Knowledge is power. While the public health threat of a catastrophic nuclear event is very real (Chernobyl), that threat is greatly reduced by distance and time. This incident is not serious enough to pose a threat to the US unless it gets much worse. Current levels present risks so low as to be unmeasurable and insignificant when compared to risks we take every day. You are more likely to die of a lightning strike than to suffer any health effect from this in the US.

  24. My mother died five years ago from liver cancer. Her oncologist told me that it wasn't normal for her (she never smoked nor drank alcohol). When I started going through her books etc., I found pressed flowers (she loved flowers) in a dictionary with words such as "radiation poisoning" and "cult"-I presume for me to find. It breaks my heart to remember how sick she was. It makes me very angry that this should have "never" happened.