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What is radiophobia? Is radiation as dangerous as we think?

Updated on February 25, 2014
Radiation warning symbol
Radiation warning symbol | Source

Fear of radiation in the wake of the Fukushima disaster

Since the Fukushima disaster in Japan there has been a worldwide growing concern over the dangers of radiation in the vast amounts of water that have gone into the Pacific Ocean.

It is believed that seawater contaminated with radioactivity is going to cause an untold amount of deaths to humans and wildlife and that mutations and ghastly deformities follow in the wake of such incidents. Many fear that America is already receiving dangerous doses of radioactivity carried there by wind and tides.

Similar fears were caused by the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine in 1986.

There is no doubt that many people died because of this, as did very many animals. Large areas of forest were destroyed. Countless cases of cancer and leukemia have been blamed on the incident.

So is this fear of radiation justified? Or is the fear of radiation a danger to humans in itself? What are the truths about this very serious matter?

Do all the alarmist reports circulating on the Internet actually help and are they to be believed? Or is this just another face of the growing paranoia and climate of fear that is increasing all over the world today?

The abnormal fear of radiation and being exposed to it is known as radiophobia.

Radiophobia explained

Radiophobia is the fear of all forms of ionising radiation and includes X-rays used by the medical profession. The fear of radiation also applies to the fear of nuclear energy and nuclear plants.

People fear radiation sickness and radioactive fallout. Because radiation is invisible it is believed this makes it even scarier and more of a threat.

Those who are afraid of radioactivity point to Chernobyl and now Fukushima. They claim that these disasters can happen again and that the more nuclear reactors that are created the more likely such an incident is to occur.

This has led to worldwide opposition to the nuclear industry and the building of nuclear installations. Many people in the ‘Green movement’ are strongly opposed to nuclear energy.

Radiation hotspot in Kashiwa


Radiophobia - a threat to health

Radiophobia causes a sufferer to be stressed and depressed. They may become alcoholics or drug addicts because of their fears.

These factors are harmful to the health. However, it must be pointed out that fear of definite exposure to high levels of radiation is another matter entirely and a logical response to a very real danger.

Chernobyl Reclaimed: An Animal Takeover (1 of 5)

Wildlife and radiation

Animals and birds know nothing about radiation or the dangers of radioactive fallout or areas contaminated by radioactivity. Like us they cannot see radiation so they do not seek to avoid it. They are incapable of experiencing radiophobia or any form of fear of radiation.

In the area around Chernobyl wildlife is reported to be doing much better now than before the disaster. In other words humans were more of a danger to animals and plants than radiation.

It should be pointed out that many species are able to make a recovery in numbers because humans now avoid areas they are in and, as is the case in the Pacific Ocean and around Japan, people do not want to eat fish or seafood because of the supposed danger from radiation.

The Nuclear Scare Scam - Galen Winsor

Notable people who do not fear radiation - Galen Winsor

There have been and are people who are not afraid of radiation and the nuclear industry, as such, and have spoken out saying so.

The late Galen Winsor was a nuclear physicist who travelled all over America giving lectures and talks about what he regarded as fear mongering. Winsor often showed that he was not afraid of being exposed to radioactive material.

Winsor held uranium dust and licked it off his hand, he drank radioactive water from a fuel cooling pool and swam in such a pool.

In 1985 he was filmed for the video The Nuclear Scare Scam. He claimed we have all been lied to.

Although Winsor is no longer with us after dying in 2008 at the age of 82, it is clear that his exposure to radiation did not appear to harm him. .

Mushroom cloud as seen from Las Vegas


Markus Rothkranz

Author, artist and promoter of the raw food vegan dieting lifestyle Markus Rothkranz has been filmed speaking out about how we should not fear radiation too.

He has chosen to live in the Las Vegas area although nuclear device testing was carried out in the 1950s at the Nevada Test Site.

Markus maintains that a healthy lifestyle gained by eating vegan raw foods and edible wild plants keeps the body in perfect health and can repair damage done to it by unhealthy foods and ways of living.

Don't Fear Radiation- A powerful and inspiring video

Scientist and author James Lovelock

Scientist and inventor James Lovelock, who is also famous for coming up with the Gaia hypothesis and being the author of many books on the subject, is all for nuclear energy and has often made this clear. In 2004, he upset many environmentalists by stating: “only nuclear power can now halt global warming”

Lovelock’s vision of the future is a grim one and he feels that nuclear energy is the only way we have now of combating climate change and the vast environmental damage we have done.

He does suggest that wildlife are able to adapt to radiation, however, and in The Revenge of Gaia (2006) he wrote: “One of the striking things about places heavily contaminated by radioactive nuclides is the richness of their wildlife. This is true of the land around Chernobyl, the bomb test sites of the Pacific, and areas near the United States' Savannah nuclear weapons plant of the Second World War. Wild plants and animals do not perceive radiation as dangerous, and any slight reduction it may cause in their lifespans is far less a hazard than is the presence of people and their pets..."

James Lovelock on climate and nuclear energy

In conclusion

It appears that whilst radiation certainly does cause deaths and health problems like cancer when exposure to it is at high dosage levels, that some humans and animals and plants can also withstand it and adapt to radiation exposure, certainly at lower amounts. Perhaps this is not surprising in a world that is full of natural radiation anyway. The sun, for example, is irradiating the planet daily.

There is much to show that we are not being given all the facts about radiation and that living in fear of it is not helping anyone. Living in fear is not helping anyone except the fear-mongers who exercise control over people and/or make money from this.

© 2014 Steve Andrews


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    • Bard of Ely profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Andrews 

      5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      &Sanxuary you make a very good point about what we do not know causing us harm. Getting the correct information is a big problem in itself if you can be bothered to look for it!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Radiation is only one part of the chemical nightmare. There are currently 8,000 chemicals on the market and only 5 of them are under strict regulations. If we were willing to place nuclear power underground, go an extra mile to make it safer and manage and consolidate the waste it would be much better then coal and oil. Like everything out their, its what we do not know that is hurting us the most.

    • Bard of Ely profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Andrews 

      5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Good point and oil and coal mining are continuing to cause so much pollution and destruction of the environment!

    • wabond profile image

      William Bond 

      5 years ago from England

      The problem with nuclear energy is that the coal and oil industries see it as their strongest competitor. So they promote fears of nuclear radiation so governments won't use nuclear power and will continue to use oil and coal power stations.


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