Radiation Health Updatate From Japan


When I recently published my article covering what we really needed to know about the radioactive threats from the Japanese nuclear disaster, most people were grateful for the clarity and practical advice.  A small number of people complained that I was contributing to the panic and that I was “fear mongering”.  I did not take this personally.  I was glad that they must at least have read the article, and perhaps the blogs I posted to go with it.

In writing and publishing the article and related posts I was trying to achieve a balance between providing the most crucial information that people needed to protect their health, and avoiding inadvertently fueling the fear.  (The companion article I published at the same time was all about preventing fear from getting out of hand and leading to health damage.)

I wish I were writing today to apologize for exaggerating the threats to health posed by the Japanese nuclear disaster.  Unfortunately, I find myself writing to say that if anything I actually understated the seriousness of the disaster.

Radioactive Risk Level Raised:
Early this morning the scale number used to “quantify” the seriousness of nuclear accidents and disasters was raised by the Japanese authorities from a 5 to a 7.  A 7 is the highest number on the scale that nuclear experts use to classify these types of disasters.  To give you an idea of what this means, the 1986 Chernobyl disaster was classified as a 7.  Many people were seriously harmed by that accident.  It will be centuries before the widespread area that was affected is again safe for living beings, if ever.

Managing Fear:
If you have not already read the article I published on 3/17/2011 about Managing Fear I encourage you to read it.  It is well documented that unmanaged fear can damage health.  In the article you will find practical measures you can use to prevent such damage.  Here is a link:


I really do not have too much to add in terms of protective measures.  If you have not done so, I recommend that you read the article I published on protecting ourselves from radiation exposure.  Here is a link:


The only thing I will add is to check out a supplement called: “Swedish Bee Pollen”, which appears to be very effective at both helping the body to get rid of radioactive metals and to help to limit the damage to DNA and RNA that radiation frequently causes.  My research on this is still in progress so I cannot recommend a source, nor can I tell you much more about it.  But it looks promising.  If you have experience or relevant information about “Swedish Bee Pollen”, please post it in a comment to this blog.  I will be grateful and so will my readers.

What Do Our Governments Owe Us, Information-Wise?
I understand that governments and related authorities do not want to foment panic.  When there is a disaster, it is important for the authorities to exercise some caution in how they communicate to the populace.

However, in the case of the current nuclear disaster centered in Japan, it seems the government and authorities have gone very much too far in the direction of down-playing the seriousness and the risks.  I believe that short of screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater, it is the right of the people to know the truth and to decide for themselves how they wish to respond.  It is not the right of government or other authorities to distort or suppress the truth.

Further, in this case it is apparent that the Nuclear Industry Political Lobby Groups have strongly influenced what information has been released and how it has been released.  Or perhaps a better way to say this is that the Lobby has had a strong hand in controlling what factual information has not been released.  According to more impartial nuclear scientists, (those not employed by the nuclear industry or those with business ties to the industry), the disaster scale level should have been raised to a 7 weeks ago.

Speaking for myself, I “appreciate” that the nuclear lobby in partnership wants to protect me against panic.  But, no thank you!  I would rather have the facts and decide how to respond for myself.  This seems like a basic right, especially since I must live with the long term consequences of my response.

Finally, let me remind you that many of our “leaders” are still undeterred in advocating the continued funding and building of still more nuclear power plants!  This is hard to believe, given the mess we are all stuck with and the obvious risks of more such disasters and worse in the future.  If you agree, please consider joining one or more of the many anti-nuclear power groups.  Impartial scientists routinely confirm that we can safely and more cost-effectively generate all the power we need from sunlight, wind and related renewable technologies.

To your health!

Jeff Bell

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  1. Jeff Bell
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Hi Howard,

    It is a little hard to make practical sense out of much of what we see on the news, especially these days. Keep in mind that the scale used for expressing and comparing nuclear disasters, just like the Richter Earthquake scale, is a “Logarithmic Scale” *

    This means that the difference between a 6 and a 7 is HUGE – not just an incremental difference. At this point, 7 is the highest value on that scale, so the Russians could not have used a higher number. Perhaps that means the scale needs some re-design. A major problem with the Chernobyl disaster is that the Russian authorities tried to downplay it for as long as they could. I understand not wanting to foment panic, but people also need to be warned where there is a realisitc danger so that they can take appropriate measures. As a result of the downplay, the Russians living nearby stayed in the danger zone too long and did not take the potassium iodide that could have prevented a good measure of the illness that followed. In nearby Poland, the authorities acted very differently. Perhaps they did not feel defensive since it was not their plant that had gone boom. They promptly distributed the potassium iodide to their citizens, along with instructions for safe use. As a result, even though the area was heavily contaminated with iodine-131, there was no significant increase in thyroid cancer.

    If you look at the writings in the U.S. by a brilliant nuclear physicist, Dr. Michio Kaku, you will see that there is alrteady reason for much concern her in the U.S. and in many other parts of the world. I am not at all sure what is the best practical way to check food before eating it. Accurate radiation measuring devices are expensive, require technical training to use and are generally beyond the practical means of most folks. I have clients who grow much of their own food. They are concerned about contaminated rain and wind-borne radioactive particulate falling on their produce and rendering it unsafe to eat. I honestly do not know what to tell them. I suppose the best that most of us can do is to keep track of the metering that is being done as a world community project in response to this disaster, and act accordingly.

    One other measure I would strongly promote: Let us use this opportunity to completely oppose the building and licensing of any more nuclear power plants. We do not know how to run them safely and we have no clue what to do with the dangerous waste they produce, which lasts and remains deadly for tens of thousands of years. Furthermore, if you take away the government subsidies they are not even close to cost-effective. Withiut the subsidies even the more expensive renewable energy sources are far less expesnive than nuclear power. With all the talk about budget problems and the need to cut government spending it makes no sense at all to continue to subsidize nuclear power plants.

    By the way, I see that you seem to be invovled with bee pollen for health. What can you tell me about the health benefits? It is an area that I don’t yet know much about. If you would like to write a blog post about it, I would be happy to post it on this site. If you want to do that, please e-mail it to me at: jeff@myhealthoptimizer.com And as long as it is not too salesy and it really informative, feel free to include a link to your site.

    To your health,

    Jeff Bell

    * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logarithmic_scale

  2. Jeff Bell
    Posted May 19, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Yes, this is a very, very serious problem. Although the Japanese radiological disaster has not, so far, been as dramatic as the Chernobyl disaster of aobut 25 years ago, it may actually turn out to be a far worse disaster in terms of total long term environmental and widespread health effects. This is because the total amount of radioactive material that is either already being released or that is likely toi be released is far greater. Chernobyl was a single reactor. In this case there are at least 6 reactors that are in serous trouble. The truth is that at least 3 of them are badly out of control at present. And then there are many tons of spent fuel rods that those responible have not been able to keep cool enough so that they are not a threat. In fact, they already are a tremendous threat and will likely continue to be for a long time.

    I hate to be so gloomy about all this, but I do not feel it serves the interests of anyone other than the political and economic forces that seek to promote the ongoing use and deployment of nuclear power to try to sugar-coat what is going on or to be otherwise less than candid.

    If this event does not mobilize sufficient numbers of human beings to oppose further development of nuclear power strongly enough so that this insanity is brought to a halt, then I guess whatever species takes our please, if they have writing and history will record that we were terminally stupid. I hope with all my heart that is not the case. The disater is here and we cannot undo it. So we may as well get what benefit we can out of it. How about using it as the leverage and the motivation to shut down the nuclear power industry for good. If we were to put a fraction of the money that has gone into nuclear power, (subisidies, clean-up costs and more), into developing renewable, safe clean power we would not need either nuclear or fossil fuel-based electricity anywhere on earth. And this is using just current trechnology. It does not even factor in the guarantee that if is were made a priority with real financial incentives to support it, the clean and renewable power global project would quickly result in energy technology breakthroughs.

    I hope and pray we are smart enough to use this event to make the right choices.

    In the meantime, last month’s newsletter from MyHealthOptimizer.com included a lot of information about protecting ourselves from the worst of the health effects of this disaster. Antother edition will be out shortly.

    To your health!

    Jeff Bell

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