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Re: “Catching Rays with Radiation Man

Don't know whether Wagner's goal is to promote fear-mongering, or show how uninformed the press and general public is. But he should check out radioactive Potassium-40 (K-40) which is present in every human's body (0.012% natural abundance). It has a half-life of a billion years (like uranium) and emits betas and gammas of about 1.5 Mev. It is in every cell inside us. In addition we are constantly bombarded with cosmic radiation and background emissions from world-dispersed uranium and thorium in rock formations. Somehow man has evolved just fine in this radiation environment and there are even indications that low levels of radiation are beneficial (called hormesis). Uranium emits some gammas but mostly alphas that are stopped within the first 0.1 millimeter of one's outer skin; not betas.

Jeff Eerkens, Adjunct Research Professor
Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute,
University of Missouri - Columbia

Posted by Jeff Eerkens on 10/20/2008 at 12:59 AM

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