Are you living close to a nuclear plant?
The whole world is watching the tragic aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Headlines of the resulting nuclear crisis leave us with images of workers in protective suits, smoke rising, and feelings of uncertainty and fear. Last Tuesday, I blogged about what you can do to help eliminate and protect against radiation. But is the Japanese tragedy our only radiation worry? What about nuclear exposure right here in our own country?
There are over 100 operating nuclear plants in the USA. Millions of Americans live within 100 miles of a nuclear power station or military facility where nuclear weapons have been manufactured, stored, or even tested. Living within 100 miles of a nuclear power plant could expose you to very low levels of ionizing radiation. What’s the safe limit? According to the National Academy of Sciences, there isn’t one. Even a small dose of radiation increases the risk of cancer.
You may not realize it, but nuclear power plants release slightly radioactive gases and produce low-level radioactive waste. In fact—says the organization Public Citizen—nuclear power plants produce an estimated 2,000 metric tons of high-level and 12 million cubic feet of low-level radioactive waste, in addition to 54,000 metric tons of irradiated fuel annually—and it has nowhere to go. Uranium mining can seriously contaminate groundwater, and in recent years there have been leaks of a radioactive isotope called tritium into the groundwater around nuclear plants in Illinois, New York, Arizona, and Vermont. Long-term exposure can lead to cancer risk, birth defects, and genetic damage. It takes about 250 years to decay.
The True Cost of Nuclear Fallout
Using official data from the CDC, National Cancer Institute, and state health departments, radiation researcher Jay M. Gould, Ph.D. examined the health consequences of living within 100 miles of a nuclear facility. Back in 1996, he published his findings in The Enemy Within. Among the more striking of his discoveries was the fact that in the time it took the national rate of breast cancer incidence to double, the rate quintupled in the 14 countries with the longest history of nuclear reactions.
He also found that people who lived within 100 miles of a reactor were more vulnerable to immune deficiencies and AIDS. Additionally, babies born near a nuclear facility were more likely to be premature and underweight.
In his book, Gould also discussed how in 1945, the Hanford nuclear weapons complex in Washington state released radioactive iodine into the atmosphere that rivaled in magnitude of that released in Chernobyl in 1986. On May 14, 1997, less than a year after this book was published, a series of nuclear accidents at Hanford occurred when a steel tank inside an airtight building exploded and released a brown toxic cloud through a crack in the roof. The escaped gas was not radioactive. This was fortunate because the people in charge placed secrecy before public health, allowing three hours to elapse before notifying state officials and refusing entrance to a radiation survey team for 4 hours.
So, how do you find out if you’re currently living near a hotspot? Check out online radiation maps, where you can track environmental radiation levels across the US with up-to-the-minute readings. I recommend Radiation Network and Black Cat Systems.
For years I have been recommending a sea salt and soda bath to neutralize radiation exposure from X-rays, fallout, nuclear plant emissions, and plane travel. Draw a bathtub full of medium hot water and add two cups of baking soda and two cups of salt. Soak for about 20 minutes or until the water cools. If you are living at least 50 miles from a nuclear power plant, I suggest that you do this at least twice a week. It’s particularly helpful after rain, snow, or fog when the radioactive particles are brought closer to the ground. To retain the therapeutic effects, do not shower after the bath.
In acute cases of radiation exposure, I recommend the following daily drink: one teaspoon baking soda and one teaspoon sea salt dissolved in one quart of purified water. Take one 8-ounce glass every four hours for the first two doses, and then space the next two doses two hours apart. If more is needed, space the doses three hours apart until all the symptoms are gone.
The radiation-proof bath and tonic were developed many years ago by Dr. Hazel Parcells, who worked with the nuclear scientists on the top secret Manhattan Project in which an atom bomb was detonated in the early morning hours of July, 1945 in a remote area of New Mexico—about 200 miles south of Los Alamos.
For more tips, read my blog Radiation Coming Our Way.
Oh, and one more thing.
We’ve been hearing a lot about potassium iodide these days. It is recommended by both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control for radiological emergencies. While I don’t think that any of us need to take the high levels of potassium iodide recommended by these agencies at this time, I do think that a well nourished thyroid is imperative—for many reasons—and iodine is deficient in nearly 100% of all the individuals that I test!
The body is very adaptable and based on the law of selective uptake, if you are iodine deficient, then you will more likely absorb radioactive iodine because iodine and its radioactive counterpart—Iodine 131—are atomically similar. The key is to have your reserves well saturated with dietary iodine to block the absorption of the harmful kind.
To be on the safe side, I’ve decided to take advantage of the Iodine Loading Test, a 24-hour urine test which was developed by a research endocrinologist. Iodine is not only the key to a healthy thyroid, but protects breasts, supports the adrenal glands, aids digestion, improves immunity, and protects against bromide (from soft drinks and bread) and fluoride (from water and toothpaste) in our tissues.