I have been doing a lot of investigation into radiation of late. I started to suspect that fear factor sired up by the news wasn't based in reality. For instance, lets look at this beach compared to Chernobyl.

http://www.benlovejoy.com/journeys/chernobyl/exclusion/index.html

The highest read he gets on his meter is 11.42 uSv/h. Our beach lady is nearly 5 times that. And that place is neither considered dangerous, or unique in the world. There are many dubed "high background radiation" areas in the world. High is a relative term here, as it is only high compared to large bulks of the earth, but not high compared to...say, the amount of solar ionizing radiation you can get in an hour. Don't take my word for it, look at these interesting studies by people with more education than myself.

http://www.probeinternational.org/Ramsar.pdf

http://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/q1254.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Background_radiation#Natural_background_radiation

Those areas on average show about a 30uSv/h level, or 3 times what they are worrying about in the exclusion zones in Chernobyl. In japan, they are cleaning up areas with as little as 5uSv/h. If you don't want to read those studies, they were looking for any correlation to "higher" levels of radiation than natural that are still considered "small" and heath effects. Basically, long term exposure to higher than average rates. The results are out of line with the normal understanding of radiation; its all bad, and its always going to give you cancer. Turns out, elevated rates beyond normal background levels doesn't really do anything measurable.

That same isn't true for one time large doses, obviously. But the same is true of thermal radiation, 90F degrees for your whole life is ok, but 300F degrees for a minute will kill you or at least scar you. I encourage you to look into radiation as well and perhaps discover something you didn't expect, that not only is it less dangerous than you expect, but one of those forces that guided life.

I don't want to give the wrong picture that radiation is never something to worry about, a trip outside without sun block for hours will quickly teach us different. However, the worry is often inflated by those who sow fear instead of information. Look into deaths from radiation compared to all other sources for the past 50 years and get a sense of how much fear one should have. I think you will find that cheese burger much more worthy of your concern.
/rant

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