I've been away to a great conference [BTW, health continues to be excellent, despite exposure to the airplane recirculated air on long flights to London (England) and Vancouver (Canada).]
Highlights from the Canadian Radiation Protection Association Conference – I learned some things that heartened but surprised me:
- the business about declaring radon gas as the second leading cause of lung cancer was politically motivated by the US EPA, and this according to CRPA's now-retired Health Cancer expert, who was 'on the scene' at the time and was part of the reason why Canada did not follow the US 'push' to scare everyone with the idea of a 'deadly gas' in their homes. When I spoke to a current Canadian government worker (who had just presented on the dangers of radon gas, echoing the EPA message, after many years), I found out that she knew what she was presenting was not true... she was just doing her job. (yuck)
- the idea of nuclear annihilation resulting from a nuclear world war is not accurate - if all the weapons had been used, back when there were a lot more than there now are (due to arms reduction treaties) but had not been targeted at cities where people live, ('cos the explosions would have wiped out the inhabitants instantly!), the increase in world-wide radiation levels would not have resulted in any increase in cancer rates. (So much for Neville Shute's famous and depressing novel of the 50s, "On the Beach", where the inhabitants of Australia are waiting for the radiation to drift over from the rest of the world, after a nuclear war, and kill them all.)
- about 1500 old people died when they were evacuated from the Fukushima area after the reactors melted down - due to the disruption of their lives, living in temporary accommodation, being stuck on buses, etc.) If no one had been evacuated at all, no one would have died, and the extra dose received would have been less than the amount allowed for nuclear workers, (i.e. much, much less than that received from nature every year by the inhabitants of Ramsar Iran, Guarapari, Brazil, etc.)
I'd still love to be a part of a team of scientists, living in the 'exclusion zone' around Fukushima, growing vegetables in the garden there (and eating them), measuring radiation and having my health and radiation levels monitored, to prove that there is no reason to keep people away from the homes and workplaces. I wish someone could figure out how to set this up, (but of course the political problems are huge!!) ... the benefits would be world-changing: no more energy problems, clean air, good jobs and wonderful health care improvements.