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A Safe Dose?
It is a challenge to understand how radiation affects biology.  Thinking in terms of electromagnetism is good for several reasons.  Even lock and key mechanical and chemical processes are mediated ultimately by electrical fields.  The radio analogy introduces the idea of resonant coupling of wavelengths, something ignored by the mainstream. We get the feeling for field and distance effects, as opposed to bullet like targeting.  

The scientific understanding of radio-biology is still emerging.  Not only does the public not understand how ionizing radiation affects the living world, neither do scientists fully grasp it!   Many discoveries are relatively new, and new discoveries await.  We can be sure that anyone who is confident they know all about radiation health physics and especially the ones who talk about the safety of nuclear have too much hubris and not enough knowledge

I would be well advised to leave it up to experts, but anyway, the following are some of my humble, and perhaps missguided attempts to get a handle on how this super low energy, super toxic stuff affects our living world. 

The first thing coming to mind is the informational aspect.   The pen is mightier than the sword, it was said.  Much of the damage comes from biophysical reactions.  This upsets the concept of 'dose'.  The idea that x amount of radiation will do x amount of damage to DNA giving a somewhat random chance of disease is simply incorrect.  Radiation damage involves the system.  The systems of the cell, of the organ, systems of the entire body and ultimately the ecosystem at large.  

To get a feel for how much information a low level radiation exposure could hold, we see here an x-ray of medieval text. The energy involved is remarkably low....a butterfly landing. But the information revealed is rich. The x-ray didnt damage the parchment, but the information could include directions to burn the document,  mobilize an army, or command suicide.  The question then is if there is information-rich 'pictures' arising from low level radiation exposure, and does it have a biological affect?  And the answer is yes.   And on a systemic level, the majority, perhaps vast majority of the damage from artificial radiation is due to the information content and ensuing biological response.   This is a lot like an amplifier.  The low  energy information opens the floodgates of biological responses. This is not unlike allergic responses, where the smallest imaginable trigger can set off a cascade of reactions that can even be deadly.

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we are healthy with background radiation but unhealthy with the same dose from fallout
Good stuff Code. I'm glad you keep putting it out there.

It's simply sad to sum up that we have created and released into the environment, broken atoms, each with the energy of a butterfly landing, and landing wrong can cause a biological life form to be born with a birth defect...
We always ask what have we done because we don't know what we are doing.

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This is speculative;   When a scientist looks at this gamma ray spectrum, they know there are two radionuclides giving off photon energy,  that the K-40 has a higher energy which is inversely related to its wavelength.  A shorter wavelength, higher frequency, higher energy density.  They are probably thinking in terms of ionization potential.  But they dont think that the body 'knows' there is a difference, or can detect these different radionuclides.   There is maybe a little irony;  the scientist IS a body, yet he believes the body doesnt know the difference between these two elements.  He is smart, but his body is dumb.   More fairly, he thinks his spectrometry tool is required to know.  But is this certain?  Could the body tell the difference between radionuclides and have different responses?  There is some evidence this is the case.

"The cellular phenotype of even the most primitive organism has something described as consciousness: an awareness of its environment and the ability to take purposeful actions."

The body has amazing detection ability.  The rods of the eye can detect a single photon.  Caribou and bees can see into the ultraviolet spectrum. Our ear is capable of detecting pressure variations of less than one billionth of atmospheric pressure.   And interestingly, biophysics uses nuclear forces for enzymatic action.  Traditional chemistry says only outer electron shells of atoms are chemically active. 

Spin biochemistry: magnetic 24Mg-25Mg-26Mg isotope effect in mitochondrial ADP phosphorylation.
Buchachenko AL1

"The rates of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production by isolated mitochondria and mitochondrial creatine kinase incubated in isotopically pure media containing, separately, (24)Mg(2+), (25)Mg(2+), and (26)Mg(2+) ions were shown to be strongly dependent on the magnesium nuclear spin and magnetic moment."

 "the enzymatic phosphorylation is a nuclear spin selective process controlled by magnetic isotope effect. The reaction mechanism proposed includes a participation of intermediate ion-radical pairs with Mg(+) cation as a radical partner. Therefore, the key mitochondrial phosphotransferases work as a magnesium nuclear spin mediated molecular machines

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And thinking about 'awareness', it is an ongoing debate what it is.  We know awareness is centered in the brain, but is not necessarily limited to the brain.  The gut for example is now popularly called the second brain because of nerves and neurotransmitters located there.   It is pretty certain that awareness is associated with cells and nerves, and cells and nerves are everywhere in the body.   My long winded point here is that its possible the body or cell 'knows'  it has been struck by different frequencies and types of radiation.  After all, it has lived with radiation since the beginning of life.   

Regardless of that philosophical side note,  there are a host of reactions, using informational pathways, to radiation.

These reactions are sometimes called the bystander effect, and this illustration gives a partial view of what scientists know about the immune system mediated reactions that cause radiation effects in cells and tissues not hit by radiation.

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Biological reactions amplify radiation effects!

In lab experiments, when they took a petri dish of living cells and 'shot' one cell with a microbeam of radiation, as many as fifty cells not hit by radiation were affected, many committing suicide.  Cell suicide is also part of the hormesis response, an adaptation to a wound or knowledge that genetic damage could propagate if the cell was allowed to live.

Here is another picture.  It shows at the top how signalling molecules of the immune system attach to the cell wall, seen as two lines (cell wall is a bilayer phospholipid).  These signalling molecules, called cytokines have been intelligently or informationally released to instruct action.  We can see the complicated number of reactions they have so far figured out, with a general overview of results...inflammation, genomic instability, mutation.    Whether the outcome is viewed as positive or negative depends on the situation and end point.   The biological goal is to fight invaders, kill abnormal cells, boost various healing factors and restore the host to health.  The hormetic response includes an upregulation of repair functions which can make an organism more resistant to the stresses causing the response. Life is attempting to adapt to a stressful situation, using a large bag of tools.   But this can happen for tumors, making them more difficult to cure, and ultimately causing the tumor to become its own kind of animal, resisting all efforts of the body to destroy it. 

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we are healthy with background radiation but unhealthy with the same dose from fallout
Baverstock presents an interesting theory...which I haven't had time to digest. At first glance, he appears to present a fundamentally different view of how the cell comes to be how it is....sort of an outside in approach, as opposed to DNA sequence out, where conditions of the cytoplasm and metabolic factors influence the whole state.  It looks similar to fractal biology. Correct me if Im wrong.

Towards a unifying theory of late stochastic effects of ionizing radiation.


Baverstock K1, Karotki AV.

The traditionally accepted biological basis for the late stochastic effects of ionizing radiation (cancer and hereditary disease), i.e. target theory, has so far been unable to accommodate the more recent findings of non-cancer disease and the so-called non-targeted effects, genomic instability and bystander effect, thus creating uncertainty in radiation risk estimation. We propose that ionizing radiation can give rise to these effects through two distinct and independent routes, one essentially genetic, termed here type A, and the other essentially epigenetic, termed type B. Type B processes entail envisaging phenotype as represented by a dynamic attractor and radiation acting as an agent that stresses cellular processes leading to the adoption of a variant attractor/phenotype. Evidence from the literature indicates that type B processes can lead to the inheritance of variant cell attractors and mediate a category of trans-generational effects quite distinct from classical Mendelian inherited disease, which is type A. The causal relationships for radiation-induced somatic human health detriment, i.e., cancer and non-cancer (e.g., cardiovascular) disease, are discussed from the point of view of the proposed classification. This approach unifies at a fundamental level the heritable and late somatic effects of radiation into a single causal framework that has the potential to be extended to the effects of the other environmental agents damaging to health.

A few summary ideas from Baverstock

"The unit of inheritance is the cellular phenotype."

"The cellular phenotype of even the most primitive organism has something described as consciousness: an awareness of its environment and the ability to take purposeful actions."

"The consciousness of the phenotype gives the cell agency in its evolution."

"Genomic instability is a misnomer: it is phenotypic instability and means that under perturbation the phenotype can switch to a variant phenotype independently of the DNA sequence.."

"The attractor state/phenotype of a cell in a stably replicating organism is called the home attractor and has been subject to evolutionary conditioning to improve its robustness to perturbations."

"The home attractor state can be perturbed and irreversibly lost due to stress on the cell leading to the adoption of a variant attractor state/phenotype."

"Variant attractor states have reduced robustness and are therefore more prone to further attractor transitions under stress. This property is the origin of what has been termed genomic instability."


Baverstock seems to favor the no safe dose, linear no threshold model;

"My current view is that although there are a few specific circumstances where there appears to be a threshold, bone cancer after internal exposure to radium-226 is an example, in general the LNT hypothesis applies. In this area selective use of the evidence can be used to support almost any argument.

Of course for very low doses the risks are also very low and thus, there being few aspects of life that are without risk, some level of risk should be regarded as acceptable."
we are healthy with background radiation but unhealthy with the same dose from fallout
So what is a safe dose of radioactivity?  One that makes no changes to your biology at all is safe.   We know that k-40 is such a dose. To induce change in biology, you need change in circumstances, and k-40 is constant.  No dystrophy or dysfunction can be observed due to a cause which has not changed..     That dose is in the range of 100 bq/kg.   So thats a safe dose; it causes no alteration at all in function.

But the same dose from Cs does cause dysfunction and dystrophy

"Accumulation of 137Cs in the amount of 101.05 ± 1.69 Bq/kg caused significant changes in the
bodies of albino rats. Pathological changes noted in the kidney included the proliferation of
mesangial cells, the infiltration of glomerular loops with lymphohistiocytic cells, and the
fragmentation and loss of glomeruli. Granular and hyaline droplet degeneration of the
epithelium of the straight and convoluted tubules was observed.
Microscopic examination of the liver tissues found granular and vacuolar degeneration of
hepatocytes, and the expansion of the space of Disse (perisinusoidal space). Moderately
marked impairments of circulation were seen as dilated and engorged central intralobular veins.
Diffuse myocytolysis, focal lymphohistiocytic infiltrations, and engorged vessels was seen in
the myocardial tissue."   -Bandazhevsky

So that happens to be the permissible level of cesium in Japan  "100 becquerels per kilogram of cesium for regular food items such as meat, vegetables, and fish"

And there is some bioaccumulation factor and uneven distribution in the body on top of it.

Thus I conclude that 100 bq/kg is safe and unsafe, while the safe dose question itself is missguided
we are healthy with background radiation but unhealthy with the same dose from fallout
How could there possibly be a safe dose of ionizing radiation (IR)?  Everybody knows IR is energetic enough to cause reactive oxygen species (free radicals), and tear apart DNA.    But we fall into the trap of assumption.  Just because we cant imagine how something dangerous could be safe doesnt mean it isnt.

The recent studies of biophotons, a secondary, very low energy photon emission induced by ionizing radiation may give us clues, or at the least, stretch our minds; there is more to biology than we can imagine! 

Some scientists have stated that the generation of reactive oxygen species is the major cause of damage from low level ionizing radiation exposure.   It was found   that most of the damage is not cause by a radiation track hitting the DNA, but simply traveling through the cell cytoplasm  .  (I think Chris Busby believes the opposite, namely that radiation tracks hitting the DNA is the main problem, and this fits in with the feature of secondary photoelectron emission of DNA bound or proximate radionuclides.   Check this article for example;
Aspects of DNA Damage from Internal Radionuclides 
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b5e9/46...2e038f.pdf    but  in this post Im refering to the biological response, not direct DNA damage)

Reactive oxygen species, known popularly as free radicals, are an important  cause of many diseases;  Free radicals are bad!

"Since the early 1980s, it has been known that peroxidal lipid reactions are important components in the etiology of diabetes, liver and lung diseases, arteriosclerosis, aging, and cancer"

But something interesting arises;  ROS is generated not only by exposure to IR, but is an intrinsic feature of cell biology.  In addition to several functions, for example as a tool for the immune system, and as a polymerization agent, (free radicals are good!), there is an associated emission of ultra weak photons which appear to carry an incredible amount of biological information.  This information conduit seems to be mediated by mitochondria, the cell structure (cytoskeleton) and the DNA.  These ultra weak photons can then be either 'good' or 'bad' to put it into simple terms.  It may take a very small disturbance of the right kind to disrupt the 'good' function. On the other hand,  the natural, intrinsic radiation can be a part of the 'good' functioning of the system...a system of cell communication, biological integration and even consciousness.  

"It is known that the production of ROS by mitochondria can result in ultraweak photon emission (UPE) within cells. While of low intensity, surrounding proteins within the cytosol can still absorb these energetic photons via aromatic amino acids (e.g., tryptophan and tyrosine). One likely absorber of these photons is the microtubule cytoskeleton, as it forms a vast network spanning neurons, is highly co-localized with mitochondria, and shows a high density of aromatic amino acids. Functional microtubule networks may traffic this ROS-generated endogenous photon energy for cellular signaling, or they may serve as dissipaters/conduits of such energy to protect the cell from potentially harmful effects. "

"recent evidence  confirms the existence of “membrane nanotubes” containing F-actin and microtubules, which may serve as a means of long-range cell-to-cell signaling—a kind of intercellular highway. These nanotubes facilitate cell-to-cell communication through a diverse array of methods, ranging from the exchange of a variety of signaling carriers, organelles, and even unicellular organisms, to the enabling of long-distance electrical coupling between cells. As a result of their important role in intercellular signal transduction, membrane nanotubes have been implicated in embryogenesis, differentiation, cellular reprogramming, cancer initiation and progression, and electrophysiological function in neurobiological processes"

"The question of ultra weak photon emission (UPE) signaling (i.e., mechanisms of distant communication of biological systems) was revisited by Fritz-Albert Popp in the 1980s . His main hypothesis was that biological systems possessed an inner coherent electromagnetic field. Interestingly, Popp et al.  discovered a wide spectrum of UPEs from living cells in the 200–800 nm range, and his group suggested that such biophoton emissions were coherent and seem to originate from DNA of the cell nucleus. Thus, they could be detected by other coherent-state systems. More recently, Kurian et al. have calculated that London-force dipole coupling between DNA base pairs can produce coherent oscillations of physiological significance. These coherences may be protected from thermal buffeting by the formation of tightly bound DNA-protein complexes that exclude water and counterions from the DNA surface. With possible detection decades earlier by Popp and colleagues,  has proposed that such quantized oscillations in the terahertz regime may be a source of coherent energy for DNA metabolism, chromosomal organization in mitosis, and meiotic recombination.

Oxidative species-induced excitonic transport in tubulin aromatic networks: Potential implications for neurodegenerative disease.

Kurian P1, Obisesan TO2, Craddock TJA3.

Biophotons are but one of many concepts rarely considered when thinking about radiotoxicity.   There is an ongoing thread musing about this feature

[The significance of the radioactive isotope potassium-40 for the normal development of the animal organism].
[Article in Russian]
Kuzin AMKrymskaia VPIshmuratov BKhMozgovoĭ EG.
21-day-old rats subjected to nourishing by KCl (20-30 mg per day) without radioactive isotope 40K. Besides the decrease of 40K content in animal tissue (30-50%) a reducing of body weight was obtained. In the second set of experiments in the lead (9 cm thick) chamber with low (20 times) background radiation the trustworthy decrease of young mouse development was observed under the simultaneous reducing other components of background radiation (radon, products of its disintegration, gamma, beta radiation, cosmic radiation). Possible mechanisms of necessity of 40K natural concentration for the normal development of the animal organism are discussed.
we are healthy with background radiation but unhealthy with the same dose from fallout
I think I am in the right spot for this?

"In conditions, personnel working at industries with combine chemical and radiation hazards there is a toxic load on humans and environment from chemical and radiation components of chemical elements and compounds

When the extraction of mineral resources and preserving of waste after the processing of ores we get not only chemical influence for humans and environment. Many experts do not consider the radiation impact because they think that these mineral resources don’t have radiation sources. It is false. In this case, we loose the significant part of dangerous factors that affect on people and environment. Thus, the results of assessing the impact of any tailing of industrial enterprises (not only uranium) is doubtful. Taking into accounting the radiotoxicity in IPNN we can get more reliable information about the state of tailings and there are influence for humans and environment."


I can invert that and see that the chemical part of the elements has been to the most extent missing from health physics.

Meanwhile, man on a boat offshore leans over the edge and scoops a bucket of seawater.
Two hundred feet below him a great grey whale stirs up the seafloor searching for a meal.
We always ask what have we done because we don't know what we are doing.

"I can invert that and see that the chemical part of the elements has been to the most extent missing from health physics.."

In the beginning..there was Hydrogen..
Extinction foretold.. Extinction ignored.. 

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