High Levels Of Radioactive Strontium Detected At Fukushima Daiichi 09.05.11

Tokyo Electric Power Company has detected high levels of Radioactive Strontium with a half life of 28.8 years from soil inside the compound of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Strontium is chemically similar to calcium, and tends to deposit in the blood and bone marrow.

So How does strontium-90 work and how can it affect my health?

It is possible to breathe in particles or dust containing a chemical compound of strontium-90. If this compound dissolves in water, the chemical will dissolve in the moist surface inside the lungs. Strontium will then enter the blood quickly. If the chemical form of strontium does not dissolve in water easily, a small amount may remain in the lungs. When you eat food or drink water containing strontium, only a small amount leaves the intestines and enters the blood. Strontium can also pass through the skin. Once strontium enters the blood, it flows to other parts of the body. It enters and leaves cells easily. In the body, strontium acts very much like calcium. A large portion of the strontium will build up in bones. In adults, strontium mostly attaches to the surfaces of bones. In children, strontium may create the hard bone mineral itself, thus being stored in the bones for many years. Eventually, strontium will dissolve from the bones and return to the blood to be used again to grow bone, or to be expelled through urine, waste matter or sweat. The harmful effects of strontium-90 are caused by the high energy effects of radiation.

Since radioactive strontium is taken up into bone, the bone itself and nearby soft tissues may be damaged by radiation released over time. Bone marrow is the most important source of red blood cells, which are depleted if the strontium-90 level is too high. Some cancer patients are given injections of radioactive strontium ( Sr) to destroy cancer tissue in the bone marrow. Problems from lowered red blood cell counts include anaemia, which causes excessive tiredness, blood that does not clot properly, and a decreased resistance to fight disease.

Radioactive strontium probes are used to destroy unwanted tissue on the surface of the eye or skin. If used for eye surgery, this results in eye tissues becoming red and sore, or very thin after a long time. Thinning of the lower layer of the skin has also been reported in animal studies. In animal studies, exposure to strontium-90 caused harmful reproductive effects. These effects happened when animals were exposed to doses more than a million times higher than typical exposure levels for humans. Animals that breathed or swallowed radioactive strontium had lowered blood cell counts. It is not known if exposure to strontium-90 affects human reproduction.

Strontium-90 is considered a cancer-causing substance because it damages the genetic material (DNA) in cells. In one geographical location near a nuclear weapons plant, an increase in leukemia (a form of cancer) was reported in people who swallowed a large amount of strontium-90 in water. In animal studies, researchers reported cancers of the bone, nose and lung, as well as leukemia. Animals receiving high doses of radiation to the skin developed skin and bone cancer.

How is strontium-90 poisoning treated? Strontium-90 poisoning is treated in the same way as other radiation exposures. There are no direct treatments for strontium-90 exposure.

Tokyo Electric Power Company  said it found 4,400 becquerels of radioactive strontium 90 per kilogram of dry soil. In March, strontium was also detected in soil and plants outside the 30-kilometer zone around the Fukushima plant. A director of the Japan Chemical Analysis Center, Yoshihiro Ikeuchi, says humans could inhale strontium when wind stirs up the radioactive substance, but the amounts would be very limited. He says the current levels won’t be a health hazard to plant workers wearing face masks, but monitoring of strontium levels in the air is needed.

NHK.

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UK based blogger and activist

Posted on May 9, 2011, in Latest News and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on High Levels Of Radioactive Strontium Detected At Fukushima Daiichi 09.05.11.

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