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# 1,000,000 millirems is the lethal dose.. A question then.

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posted on Apr, 15 2011 @ 10:45 AM
What I am trying to find out is, how many millirem of radiation has gotten to the US and where. What are the levels so far ?

And if anyone knows where to look, what are the levels currently spewing out of Fukushima ?

Thanks.

Here's a link I found.

www.phyast.pitt.edu...

edit on 15-4-2011 by Fromabove because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 15 2011 @ 10:47 AM
A rem is a unit of dose equivalent, or how much energy absorbed by a body multiplied by the weighting factor of the radiation, so you cannot assign an amount of rem coming out of Fukushima. A unit of radioactive material is measured in Bq or Curies which is what you want if you're trying to find out how much material is coming out of Fukushima.

Also 500 rem might be the fatal dose of radiation poisoning, but it's not really relevant because people in the US aren't being exposed to levels that high. The problem is cancer, not direct radiation poisoning. What you want to find is the amount of radiation exposed they're getting, then multiply that by a risk factor. Read up on BEIR or ICRU to get the risk factor, the average amount of radiation an American gets is 300 millirem (without Fukushima), but I am unsure of the amount they are getting exposed to from Fukushima.
edit on 15/4/11 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 15 2011 @ 12:58 PM

Originally posted by C0bzz
Also 500 rem might be the fatal dose of radiation poisoning, but it's not really relevant because people in the US aren't being exposed to levels that high. The problem is cancer, not direct radiation poisoning. What you want to find is the amount of radiation exposed they're getting, then multiply that by a risk factor.

The people in Japan, especially the nuclear reactor workers do have to worry about radiation poisoning beyond the cancer risk, but in the USA I agree it boils down to just the cancer risk.

This site gives a higher average annual REM dose than you mentioned, but annual exposure depends on the location; people in Denver get significantly more ionizing radiation than most of the rest of the US:

The average person in the United States receives about 360 mrem every year whole body equivalent dose. This is mostly from natural sources of radiation, such as radon. (See Radiation and Us ).

In 1992, the average dose received by nuclear power workers in the United States was 300 mrem whole body equivalent in addition to their background dose....

According to the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation committee V (BEIR V), the risk of cancer death is 0.08% per rem for doses received rapidly (acute) and might be 2-4 times (0.04% per rem) less than that for doses received over a long period of time (chronic). These risk estimates are an average for all ages, males and females, and all forms of cancer. There is a great deal of uncertainty associated with the estimate.

BEIR VII risk estimates for fatal cancer are similar to the values from BEIR V, but they also estimated incidence rates, which were about 50% of the fatal cancer rate.

Risk from radiation exposure has been estimated by other scientific groups. The other estimates are not the exact same as the BEIR V estimates, due to differing methods of risk and assumptions used in the calculations, but all are close.
For more on risk, try:
Then it provides links to other sources with different risk estimates.

I'm not sure how much total increase in radiation the US is getting from Fukushima, but my guess from monitoring radiation detectors is that it's less than the 300mrem that nuclear plant workers get per year above and beyond normal background of 360mrem.

If you got as much as nuclear plant workers, it lowers your life expectancy by about 15 days:

Health Risk ................Est. life expectancy lost
Smoking 20 cigs a day........... 6 years
Overweight (15%)................... 2 years
Alcohol (US Ave).................... 1 year
All Accidents.......................... 207 days
All Natural Hazards ............... 7 days
Occupational dose (300 mrem/yr) 15 days
Occupational dose (1 rem/yr) 51 days

So my guess is it lowers our life expectancy by less than 15 days. But that doesn't work out to 15 days per person, I think the way it works is, maybe 1 person in 4000 gets cancer, and the rest have no change in lifespan:

www.stripes.com...

A 1998 U.S. Army guideline on low-level radiation set 50 cumulative millirems as a threshold at which exposed individuals should begin being monitored for harm.

From 50 to 500 millirems, one extra cancer death will occur in a population of 4,000 people, according to the Army’s data.

Here is the risk expressed another way:
www.phyast.pitt.edu...

Each millirem of radiation we receive increases our risk of cancer by about 1 in 4 million.

Bottom line in my opinion so far is there's some increased risk in Tokyo, but even that isn't huge. The additional risk in the US so far is probably too small to measure accurately, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't even come close to what nuclear plant workers routinely receive above background.

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