Saturday, June 9, 2018

Radioactive Milk

In 1962 Harold Knapp described how radioactive isotopes of iodine bioaccumulate in cow's milk, with implications drawn for children consuming that milk.

Iodine is the not only element that concentrates in cow's milk. Cesium and strontium also are concentrated in milk. 

After Chernobyl, cow's milk was contaminated with cesium. Today it remains contaminated, as illustrated in this news report:
Chernobyl contaminating cow milk 30 years after nuclear meltdown - study
9 Jun, 2018. RT
The lingering nuclear fallout from 1986 means farmers are unwittingly producing milk with radioactive caesium levels above the Ukraine safety standard of 100 becquerel per litre. The becquerel is a unit of radioactivity, with the new report documenting how some farms had milk with a radioactivity concentration of around 500 becquerel per litre....
...One of the researchers, Dr Iryna Labunska, of the University of Exeter, believes the issue warrants government intervention. She said that while soil contamination in the Rivne region is not particularly high, the milk study shows how nuclear accidents have a long lasting legacy.
Human milk was also contaminated after the disaster. It would be valuable to investigate whether there are still traces detectable:
Gori G, Cama G, Guerresi E, Cocchi G, Dalla Casa P, Gattavecchia E, Ghini S, Tonelli D. (1988) Radioactivity in breast milk and placentas during the year after Chernobyl. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1988 Nov;159(5):1232-4.
After the April 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chernobyl in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, samples of human placenta and breast milk were tested for 1 year to determine the levels of radioactivity. The radionuclide iodine 131 was never beyond the detection limit of our gamma detector for both matrices. 
As to cesium isotopes 134 and 137, the highest levels detected in breast milk (6 Bq.L-1) and placenta (15.8 were recorded in March 1987. Study data for breast milk and placenta are in agreement with the values calculated by means of double-compartment food-milk and food-placenta models. With regard to placental content, the cesium contribution to the average dose during the year after the Chernobyl accident was calculated to be 40 to 60 microSv.
Bioaccumulation of radionuclides in milk also occurred after Fukushima:
Kotaro Tani, Osamu Kurihara, Eunjoo Kim, Satoshi Yoshida, Kazuo Sakai & Makoto Akashi I-131 contamination in breast milk after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Scientific Reports | 5:12426 | DOI: 10.1038/srep12426
After the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant run by Tokyo Electric Power Company in 2011, breast milk samples obtained from volunteers living in Fukushima and neighboring prefectures were examined and small amounts of I-131 (2.2–36.3 Bq/kg) were detected in some samples. 
In this work, the I-131 concentrations in breast milk from nursing mothers in Ibaraki prefecture were calculated based on the iodine biokinetic model during lactation together with timevariable intake scenarios by inhalation of ambient air and ingestion of tap water, using the authors’ code. The calculated I-131 concentrations in breast milk generally agreed with those measured for the volunteers. 
Based on the results, thyroid equivalent doses to breast-fed infants were estimated for each place of residence of the volunteers on the assumption that these infants consumed 800ml of breast milk every day, resulting in 10–11 mSv for Mito and Kasama cities and 1.1–1.8 mSv for Tsukuba and Moriya cities. It was suggested that breast milk consumption could be a major contributor to internal dose of breast-fed infants in areas with mild I-131 pollution; however, further studies considering personal behavior surveys would be necessary to estimate individual doses.
Traces of radionuclides from Fukushima were also detected in cow's milk in the US, although the levels were low and the risk allegedly trivial.

This question of the effects of radioactive traces is critical.

Laboratory research that measures effects from external exposure to gamma radiation is not necessarily predictive of chronic real world exposures to toxic radionuclides that bioaccumulate and biomagnify in life, contributing to the individual's lifetime dose and increasing rates of mutation, with likely epigenetic effects as well. Changes to an individual's germ cells caused by environmental insults can be heritable.

Today the Wall Street Journal discussed the collapsing insect population in Germany. It is a frightening phenomenon. Extinction events have escalated because of complex causes but we would be very wise to investigate the most important factors more closely, particularly our agricultural chemicals and both ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

However, since these hazards are produced and exploited by the world's most powerful apparatuses my bet is that it will be too late before we authentically critically interrogate their effects.


  1. But Chernobyl and Fukushima ought to have awakened the world to the dangers. That could mean that the collective mind of the human species does not regard radioactivity to be such a problem as to do much about it. Or perhaps the notion of a collective mind is nonsense.

    Money flows into science education. From science knowledge flows to technology. From technology flows some good things and some bad. We applaud the scientists and the inventors and end up cursing the corporations which use the technology in irresponsible ways. And then we complain about the laxity of gov that does little or nothing about it.

    When people vote this autumn will environmental toxicity be in their minds at the polling booths? How often are the headlines concerning the poisoning of the planet. What about G5? This seems to me to be a subject for sociologists and psychologists and later on for political scientists. Could there be a rational plan that would actually work without a multitude of stupid errors?

    What does all this say about human beings? They lack wisdom? They are too depraved? What if the whole world is just a stage (Shakespeare) or a hospital endowed by a ruined millionaire (T.S. Eliot) or a magic show, a juggler's trick (Indian sage)?
    Plato thought it was composed for most of shadows on a cave wall. If so, then after you die you will get the surprise of your life. The idea beats despair which seems the only alternative.

  2. Here is a conversion fo I131 to gms
    (1.2 mcg I-131/150 mCi)÷150 = 0.008 mcg I-131 in 1 mCi (or 8 nanograms!)
    (Wow, 8 nanograms per mCi. For comparison: An average-sized cell in the human body, such as a liver cell, has a mass of 8 nanograms. If you made 8 nanograms of iodine into a little ball, the ball would be about 0.4 micrometers across, or smaller than the smallest cell of the human body, a sperm cell - the head of a sperm cell is about 2 micrometers long. In fact, this little iodine ball would be about the size of a wavelength of violet light!)
    So, a 5 mCi scan dose would be:
    (5 mCi)(0.008 mcg/mCi) = 0.04 mcg I-131
    It only takes 200 mCi of I131 to destroy the thyroid and cause complete thyroid gland destruction and internal radiation poisoning and death or .8mcg I131 which is .00000008 of a gram. Not much. Anything in between 5mCi and 200 mCi is causing internal damage as a bolus. Bicummulative doses in the half life period could lead to death . Same for the strong beta/gamma emitters cesium 134/137. They concentrate in the heart like potassium. They will cause heart malfuntion first in strong enough boluses. Strontium 90 is a weaker gamma emiter. It does accumulate in bone and do major physiological damwge to bone marrow, white blood cells and the immune system if it does not kill you. All are mutagenic carcinogenic teratogenic with casual low dose exposure.

  3. If the multitude of different insects have reached endpoints of heridable malformations from radionuclide mutations and radionuclide induced sterility we may not be far off. We are also reaching points where we cannot function homeostatically as organisms from internal radionuclide load damage and the other plethora of toxins attacking our bodies

    1. And so you are going to do what? I think all who care to know know--but no one has a realistic solution to this problem.

    2. Nuclearist kgb political officer always has to gets its 2 cents worth in. Cant let people think they maybe should do something about nuclear madness. Nothin u can do, nothin u can do, nothin u can do!.

      Besides an asteroids gonna hit soon. Dont matter.

      Jordan Peteson Says nucular reactors is a-ok Nucular reactors is so Masculine! alpha males should demand more of them!, Nothin to see here folks just move along!

      The collective conscience would say somethin, if nucular meltdowns an nucular reacters, is a problemo No problemo collecttive conscience aint saying nuthhin! Dont worry comrades all is well! Just move right along. Its not the radionuclide poisons ya have ta worry bout! It is the anxiety of worryin about it!

  4. Avoiding seafood and milk is a good start. Do not go to Japan! All the other things. Stay off as many prescrition drugs and, substances as possible.

  5. I wonder why no one tests lichens, molds, and fungus for radionuclide along the west coast and in Japan?


    By the time they get thrpugh with burning fossil fuels to 
    1. mine excavate 2.mill a hundred or 1000 miles away 3. Enrich the uranium a couple thousand miles away. 4. Make fuel pellets and rods, a thousand miles away. 5. Hauling rods to a reactor hundreds or more miles away. 6. All the workers, driving back and forth at the various sites and reactors 7. Do something with all the waste generated. 

    Nuclear energy is as fossle fuel intensive or more so, compared to coal, or oil, or gas electricity generation.
    If there is a nuclear accident the fossle fuel abuse is infinite.

    How can the human ape be so stupid as to mine this poisonous trash, kill people with it, waste so much time, energy, lives, health on it. There is wind, solar, hyrdro, tidal for a minute fraction of the cost.