We must educate the public.
Please read this book: "Radiation and Reason, The impact of Science on a culture of fear" by Wade Allison.www.radiationandreason.com/
Professor Allison says we can take up to 10 rems per month, a little more than 1000 times the present "legal" limit. The old limit was 5 rems/lifetime. A single dose of 800 rems could kill you, but if you have time to recover between doses of 10 rems, no problem. It is like donating blood: You see "4 gallon donor" stickers on cars. You know they didn't give 4 gallons all at once. There is a threshold just over 10 rems/month. You are getting .35 rems/year NATURAL background radiation right where you are right now if you are where I am.
Radiation workers have a career limit of 5 rems/lifetime. Divide 5 rems by your present Natural Background Radiation. For Americans, Natural Background Radiation is at least .35 rems/year. Our Natural Background Radiation uses up our 5 rems/lifetime by the time we are 14 years old.
Natural Background Radiation is radiation that was always there, 1000 years ago, a million years ago, etc. Natural Background Radiation comes from the rocks in the ground and from exploding stars thousands of light years away. All rocks contain uranium. Radon gas is a decay product of uranium.
573 certified deaths were due to evacuation-related stress at Fukushima. Zero due to radiation. February 4, 2012
"Japanese authorities recognize 573 deaths related to Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Catastrophe
As reported by the Yomiuri Shimbun:
"A total of 573 deaths have been certified as "disaster-related" by 13 municipalities affected by the crisis at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant....
A disaster-related death certificate is issued when a death is not directly caused by a tragedy, but by fatigue or the aggravation of a chronic disease due to the disaster. ....""
ZERO deaths were caused by radiation. 573 deaths were caused by the evacuation that was forced by officials. Fukushima's natural background radiation is still higher than the radiation from the reactor leak. Fukushima's natural background radiation plus the radiation from the reactor leak is still less than the natural background radiation here. Natural background radiation varies greatly from place to place. Our background radiation is above 350 milli rem/year.
"milli" means ".001"
350 milli rem/year means 0.350 rem/year
People living in Ramsar, Iran have a background radiation of 10 to 20 rems/year and report no ill effects.
Remember that this planet was made from the debris of a supernova and billions of years ago, the background was much higher than it is now.
EVACUATE DENVER!!!! [not]
If you live in Chernobyl the total radiation dose you get each year is 390 millirem. That's natural plus residual from the accident and fire. In Denver, Colorado, the natural dose is over 1000 millirem/year. Denver gets more than 2.56 times as much radiation as Chernobyl! But Denver has a low cancer rate.
Calculate your annual radiation dose:www.ans.org/pi/resources/dosechart/
WHERE DID NATURAL BACKGROUND RADIATION COME FROM?
The visible universe [ignoring dark matter and dark energy] started out with only 3 elements: hydrogen, helium and lithium. All other elements were made in stars or by supernova explosions. Our star is a seventh generation star. The previous 6 generations were necessary for the elements heavier than lithium to be built up. Since heavier elements were built by radiation processes, they were very radioactive when first made.
Our planet was made of the debris of a supernova explosion that happened about 5 billion years ago. The Earth has been decreasing in radioactivity ever since. All elements heavier than iron were necessarily made by accretion of mostly neutrons but sometimes protons onto lighter nuclei. Radioactive decays were necessary to bring these new nuclei into the realm of nuclear stability. That is why all rocks are still radioactive. The supernova made all radioactive elements including plutonium, cesium 137, etcetera.
Radiation also comes from outer space in the form of cosmic rays. Cosmic rays come from supernovas that are very far away. There will always be cosmic rays.
Again: 4 Billion years ago, the Earth was a lot more radioactive than it is today. There is no place in or on Earth or in space where there is no radiation.
Can we get all of that into the K-12 science curriculum?