LIONEL PODCAST: Will Someone Ask Whether “Excessive” Radiation Exposure Will Always Harm You? Because It Doesn’t!

These warts are caused by HPV and, frankly, have nothing to do with radiation. But they sure are an attention grabber, aren’t they?

The very thesis of this piece is that despite the anecdotal data that most folks think they possess as to radiation deaths and poisoning as seen at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the one question that reporters and media folks repeatedly fail to ask is whether radiation exposure kills people. Or at least makes them very sick. Let me explain.

The data are most interesting.

There has been an observed spike in childhood and teen papillary thyroid cancers in the geographic area under the Chernobyl plume that has been attributed to ingestion of I131. There has been no statistical upswing in deaths that could be attributed to Chernobyl, as thyroid cancers are treatable, but the true test is what happens in the long run – will these exposed patients have more recurrent disease? One study I saw suggested that those exposed to I131 had a greater incidence of papillary thyroid cancer, but their disease was no more aggressive or recurrent than the disease in control populations. But it may be too early to make a final judgment.

The bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed 90,000-120,000 people, the bomb dropped on Nagasaki killed 60,000-80,000 people (by becky). These deaths were from the explosions and exposure to high levels of gamma rays and neutrons emanating from the blasts, and all of the individuals in this category were dead by the end of 1945. What is surprising is that of those who survived the blasts and the blast radiation, the number of increased cancers and other radiation-linked illnesses is not large at all. For example, out of 100,000 subjects in the survivor population, 17,448 developed some form of solid tumor, but only 853 (11%) could be attributed to bomb radiation exposure.

Any questions?

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