When there is a leak or explosion in a nuclear reactor, radioactive particles or dust are carried by the wind in to the atmosphere. The contaminated water from these reactors can also leak in to our water system. Decaying radioactive material produces ionizing radiation that interferes with our body chemical system which in turn would lead to cancer. Accumulation of radioactive iodine in our thyroid gland can cause thyroid cancer. However, taking potassium iodide (KI, Iostat®, ThyroBlock®) pill can obstruct the accumulation of this radioactive iodine. Radioactive iodine has half life of 8 days and it is not as dangerous as Cesium (Cs 137, half life 30.07 years) which has a half life of around 3 decades and Strontium (Sr 90, half life of 28.78). Therefore, there is a serious danger of our food chain being contamination by these radioactive materials. The amount of damage to our body corresponds to the level of radiation that we are exposed to. The common long term illnesses are cancer, tumours and genetic mutation. A single acute exposure common symptom includes nausea and vomiting. Other symptoms are hair loss, diarrhea, bloody vomiting, fever, fatigue, headache, dizziness and disorientation. Severe exposure of 6 to 8 Sv can result in death in most cases. The time within exposure and the appearance of the systems is an indication of the level of radiation absorbed by the body. The best ways to prevent exposures are time and distance. Distance would reduce the dose rate and time as well because of the half life of radioactive isotopes decays. As long as the wind from Fukushima, Japan is not blowing into our way or the water system is not flowing to our country, the chances of exposure to this radioactive contamination would be minimal. Meanwhile, just stay healthy and take a good care of your Health.
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