Authorities distributed iodine tablets to prevent radiation poisoning, which red wine may do just as well, according to a recent study. Image: SC Fiasco/Flickr

A nuclear reactor damaged in the Japan earthquake has drawn attention to the dangers of radiation poisoning. News that nuclear fuel rods were partially exposed at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant raised fears of a meltdown, which experts said could send radiation drifting across the Pacific Ocean. To protect the population near the reactor, Japanese authorities have issued iodine tablets, while a recent study suggests drinking red wine may help the body neutralize radiation exposure.

Japanese hospitalized for radiation exposure

Public alarm over radiation poisoning spread around the world after three damaged nuclear reactors were at risk of radioactive core meltdowns in the aftermath of the Japan earthquake. Extremely radioactive cesium-137 and iodine-131 have been detected outside the Fukushima plant, indicating that nuclear fuel has melted and radioactive cores are damaged. Nearly 200 Japanese were hospitalized for radiation exposure and everyone living within a 12 mile radius of the Fukushima nuclear plant was evacuated from the area. In the event of a nuclear reactor meltdown, molten nuclear fuel could break through containment barriers and spew radioactivity into the air. American nuclear expert Joseph Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund told Fox News that radiation could rise far into the atmosphere where the jet stream could carry it to the U.S.

Radiation poisoning symptoms

Radiation exposure can lead to a condition called acute radiation syndrome, otherwise known as radiation poisoning. Radiation poisoning symptoms can include nausea, vomiting and diahrrea within minutes of radiation exposure. Initial radiation poisoning symptoms can last for a few minutes or days and then subside. However radiation poisoning symptoms can resume later and include loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, seizures, skin damage, coma and ultimately, death. According to the the American Thyroid Association, when thyroid cells are exposed to high levels of radioactive iodine-131, either through the air or through contaminated food, the risk for thyroid cancer dramatically increases. The meltdown that occurred during the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 is attributed to an epidemic of thyroid cancer and a dramatic increase in leukemia in the area decades later.

Wash the iodine tablets down with red wine

Fear of exposure to radioactive iodine-131 from the Fukushima meltdown compelled Japanese authorities to issue 230,000 units of iodine tablets to nearby evacuation centers. Iodine is distributed during nuclear disasters because the thyroid gland absorbs stable iodine to make hormones. Because the body will absorb radioactive iodine-131 as readily as stable iodine, iodine tablets can protect the thyroid gland by filling it up so no room is left to absorb more. A more palatable preventive to radiation poisoning may be red wine, which 2008 study suggests may offer protection from radiation exposure. The study by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine concluded that Resveratrol, the natural antioxidant found in red wine, protected cells from radiation in mice.

Sources

TIME: http://healthland.time.com/2011/03/14/radiation-exposure-fast-facts-about-thyroid-cancer-and-other-health-risks/

Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-iodine-tablets-radiation-quake-nuclear-plant-20110314,0,6214901.story

Voice of America: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/Expert-Nuclear-Radiation-Could-Spread-Far-Beyond-Japan-117899079.html

Medical News Today: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/219092.php

Post By bryanh (1,420 Posts)

Connect

Do you have a fantastic idea related to this article, but just don't have the money you need to start your own company or side-business? Get the loans you need from https://personalmoneynetwork.com to help get your new company underway, from the small loan professionals at PersonalMoneyNetwork.

PG&E to pay $70 million for pipeline tragedy

PG&E to pay $70 million for pipeline tragedy

Pacific Gas and Electric Co., a northern California utility, has agreed to pay $70 million to the California town of San Bruno for a pipeline explosion that killed eight people in 2010. Company says it’s remorseful The San Francisco-based power company’s president, Chris Johns, released a statement Monday, saying PG&E is sorry and eager to […]

Judge stabbed and deputy shot in Washington courthouse

Grays Harbor County Courthouse

Following a standoff in a Washington state county courtroom Friday, a man reportedly escaped after shooting a sheriff’s deputy in the shoulder and stabbing a judge in the neck. The man is still at large. Treachery among the tree farms The incident occurred Friday afternoon in the western Washington town of Montesano, which bills itself […]

Microraptor was one flashy little dinosaur

Microraptor fossil

A team of Chinese and American scientists have found that Microraptor, a small four winged dinosaur that went extinct about 130 million years ago, was likely black and almost certainly had glossy, iridescent feathers. Until now, the coloring of extinct creatures was a matter of pure speculation. That may no longer be the case. The […]

Autocorrected message leads to school lockdown

Homage to the Sun

Adjacent schools in Georgia were locked down for two hours Wednesday after a text message reportedly warned of a “gunman” on campus. Later, it was learned that the message was the result of a smartphone autocorrect function, attempting to “fix” the misspelled slang word “gunna.” A series of mixups A series of mixups led to […]