Japan's radiation danger to the rest of the world
Conflicting reports about the real danger of radiation
We all know what has happened. We have all been shocked by the news of the earthquake and tsunami that have devastated a large part of Japan and claimed so many lives but as the nightmare continues what do any of us really know? Mainstream media reports are varied and conflicting, whilst those in the alternative media are no better.
Both the mainstream and the alternative press are circulating alarming news titles and plenty of fear and worry is being generated by all this. Conspiracy theorists and other alternative press claim that the mainstream are deliberately leaving out a lot of the facts of the grim reality of what has happened and the danger now that exists, not just for Japan but for the rest of the world.
Photo of Japan
How dangerous is radiation?
What we really need to know is how dangerous radiation is and what we can do to protect ourselves from it? The big problem is that most people don't know much about the subject and there is so much confusion being generated by the media of all persuasions.
To add to the worry is the fact that we cannot see, taste, smell or in any other way sense radiation so have to rely on what is reported. Then the problem is that one report will say it isn't anything to be concerned about because levels are too low whilst another article will advise staying indoors and taking potassium iodide, kelp or some other antidote and protection for radiation poisoning.
If you listen to the advice about these chemicals and foods to take you are then in another area of great confusion. Some sources say not to take iodine in tablet form because it can create medical problems, other reports say that it has been selling out due to panic-buying by a worried public. Alternative sources of iodine are being recommended by some 'experts' and kelp is the most naturally occurring of these. You should be able to buy it from the health store or even get it out of the sea if you know what it looks like.
Animals and birds know nothing about the dangers of radiation or fallout and have no protection or ways of avoiding it. If it is as bad as many people make out what will be the effects upon the wildlife of Japan and of other countries where the radiation is being carried by the winds?
The jetstream is said to be moving large clouds of contaminated air across the northern hemisphere and much of North America, Canada and Europe is said to have been exposed to this. Radioactive plumes of Cesium 137, Iodine 131, and Xenon 133 are said to have been carried across the world.
Adding fuel to the panic, conspiracy theorists and other people are circulating videos claiming that Japan is being evacuated as well as other videos on YouTube of people reportedly speaking live from the country. If these videos get removed then it makes those who believe in the validity of these reports even more convinced that the situation is worse than we are being told.
One thing is for certain and that is that for the millions of people living in Japan there is no magic escape route being offered. The islands have been their home, although many are now homeless due to the disaster. It is very hard to imagine what it must actually be like for someone who has lost their home, their livelihood and possibly even family members in a sudden catastrophe. Footage of the tsunami shows the incredible force of the water that swept vehicles and buildings away.
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The average person has no way of knowing what the radiation levels are where they live or what danger this poses. While there are many people who are very concerned about this matter very many more are just getting on with their lives and not giving the subject much attention.
I have posted a thread at Facebook, which so far has over 70 replies in a couple of days, in an effort to get some truths about how dangerous the radiation from the Fukushima nuclear reactors actually is to the rest of the world. A very heated debate has ensued and opinions are very varied and often in opposition. Some scientifically minded people claim that because the radiation is in such small quantities it will not be a threat but others say that all radiation is dangerous.
It has been pointed out that nuclear physicist Paul Norman at Birmingham University was quoted in the Daily Mail as having "estimated that a banana milkshake was more radioactive than a cubic metre of air in Oxfordshire yesterday." This was an area of the UK where according to the press radiation from Japan had been reported.
Hill-walking guide and web developer David Parkes explained that "we are exposed to natural radiation every day. Provided the dose remains low, it causes us NO clinical harm. So there are 'safe' levels of radiation." David is of course right because the sun emits radiation, as does electrical equipment we use, and more comes from the environment.
However, film-maker and author Chris Everard, who has been advising the public to stay indoors in areas where radiation had been detected, had "posted up the latest contamination plume prediction" that showed that, at time of posting, "the whole of MORROCCO, northern MAURITANIA, Some parts of TUNISIA and parts of ALGERIA, along with Central SPAIN, Most of Portugal - AND THE CANARY ISLANDS are affected. "
It has been pointed out that there are different types of radiation including solar (from the sun), X-ray, gamma and nuclear radiation and that different types have different effects and that it depends on the concentration.
Raw foodist, film producer and artist Markus Rothkranz has been circulating his opinion on the matter and has stated in a newsletter entitled Don't Fear Radiation: "Radiation is not an enemy. It's just radiation. People emit a form of radiation. The sun is radiation. Every thing in the universe radiates. It is the essence of life. How do you survive anything? You resonate with your environment. Fish resonate with water. Birds resonate with air. I personally resonate with light. I thrive in light. I live in the desert with 360 days of blazing heat and sunlight. I live in a city not far from where EIGHT HUNDRED NUCLEAR TESTS were done over 40 years ! I am not afraid of it..."
I agree with him that fear is not going to help anyone. There is far too much fear in the world already! Nevertheless I have stocked up on kelp tablets and been taking a daily dose.
Radiation Explained Alpha Beta Gamma 1960s Mr Wizard
© 2011 Steve Andrews