When I wrote a Green Prophet article in the summer of 2009 dealing with research into a vaccine to protect against the effects of radiation sickness, I never realized that this topic would be as relevant as it is today. This is due to the ongoing crisis of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plants in northeastern Japan, which if not fully contained soon could wind up being a serious threat to not only Japan’s local environment, but even as far away as the USA and Canada.
Although all efforts are being made to prevent a nuclear radiation catastrophe, radiation levels in Tokyo, 240 km south of the Fukushima nuclear plants, are much higher than normal, causing increasing concern among the general public. For this reason, and the fact the prevailing winds may eventually blow some radiation as far east as the American and Canadian west coast, interest in anti-radiation drugs are increasing. One such medication potassium iodide, is selling faster than it can be supplied, even though American medical authorities are advising people not to take it.
Potassium iodide: mythology in a bottle?
“There’s a lot of mythology about the use of potassium iodide as protection against radiation poisoning”, says Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician and disaster preparation specialist at Columbia University.
Dr. Redlener went on to say that this medication is very limited against the effects of radiation, and even then only against thyroid cancer which is more common among children.
Be that as it may, diagnosed cases of thyroid cancer were very prevalent after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear rector disaster, from which more than 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer were diagnosed among children who had been exposed to levels of radiation from this event.
Although work to develop a so-called “vaccine” against radiation sickness is ongoing at places like Israel’s Weizmann Institute, the results so far are still very inconclusive. The best way to deal with the effects of radiation, are still to understand the various types of radiation that are dangerous to humans, especially those like strontinium 90 (which finds its way to the bones, especially bone marrow, causing cancer).
Radiation levels are also very important to monitor, especially for people who are situated closer to the source of the radiation.
Being educated as to what the various types and levels of radiation are, and what effect they have on the body is a good idea.
In the short run, avoidance of contact with radiation is the best case scenario. Hopefully, research being for a radiation sickness serum being carried out by persons such as Dr. Andrei Gudkov, will eventually bear fruit . Dr Gudkov is a chief staff member at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York as well as being a researcher at Cleveland Bio-Labs; a branch of the Cleveland Medical Institute, in the USA.
As for what is happening at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, it’s clearly a race against time.
Read more on nuclear radiation and efforts being made to treat radiation sickness: