There is no doubt that environmental factors have a huge influence on our health. That is why the recent nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan is of such great concern. The meltdown of three nuclear reactors released huge amounts of radioactive contaminants into the air, water and soil – not only in Japan but elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere.
Ever since the discovery of radioactivity and radioactive substances there has been the painful lessons of the impact that radiation has on our health. This was not recognized until some of the early researchers into the subject came down with radiation induced illness and some died from the radiation.
At the early stages of our knowledge in this regard the handling procedures and exposure people were exposed to were loosely defined. But as we became better educated the standards and exposure limits were tightened up.
With the recent admissions by the Japanese authorities that there had indeed been a melt-down of reactors one, two and three at Fukushima also meant that not only radioactive iodine, cesium and plutonium have been released. These radioactive isotopes will eventually “decay” but the process takes time – wildly differing time depending on what isotope we are referring to. This decay is measured as the Half-Life. That is the time is takes for the isotope to decay by 50%. Then the 50% remaining will take the same time to decay to half (ie 25% of the original) and so on. Because of this the impact of radioactive contaminants is so scary. Because there is a connection between radiation and cancer and likely some other illnesses.
As far as Fukushima is concerned there are a number of different by-products of the melt-down. Radioactive Iodine 131 has a half life of 8 days. Cesium 137 and Strontium 90 have longer half-lives ( about 30 years), but plutonium has an incredibly long half life (24,000 years).
Iodine 131 accumulates in the thyroid and can cause thyroid cancer, Cesium concentrates mostly in muscle tissue, Strontium accumulates in the bones, and Plutonium increases the risk of lung cancer.
All of these “results” are likely to show up years later, making it harder to pin down the specific cause. http://swiftspeech.blogspot.com/2011/03/plutoniums-half-life-is-24000-years.html
The radiation is now found in milk, water and foods. It’s in the air, and the food chain. While we can’t too much to prevent what is being done to us, all members of our family drink only distilled water. Distillation has been shown in laboratory tests to significantly reduce the radiation in the water we drink and cook with.