"Political tags -- such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth -- are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire." ~ Robert Heinlein
Protecting Your Family from Fukushima Radiation and Other Health Threats
Column by Glen Allport.
Part 4 of "Could the Non-Aggression Principle Stop the Sixth Great Extinction?"
Exclusive to STR
My previous column – Timeline of a World-Killing Paradigm Shift – describes our current situation, including the dead-serious threat that the Fukushima disaster poses to the entire planet, and how we got here. In this column, I will describe things we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones from at least some of the harm coming our way.
Yes: There really are things we can do to reduce the risk of cancer and other health problems not only from radiation, but from many of the other toxins and stresses so common in the modern world. A great many studies, peer-reviewed articles in medical and scientific journals, and other sources of information tell us that we don't have to just "hope for the best" when faced with radiation exposure or other assaults on our health. For one example (of literally thousands I could cite), the British Journal of Radiology published Rationale for using multiple antioxidants in protecting humans against low doses of ionizing radiation in 2005 (with 85 references). It includes, among other things, the following information:
Vitamin A and NAC (N-acetyl-L-Cysteine) "may be effective against radiation-induced carcinogenesis"
Alpha-lipoic acid "lowered lipid peroxidation among children chronically exposed to low doses of radiation in the area contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear accident"
β-carotene (beta-carotene) "reduced cellular damage in the above population of children"
"A combination of vitamin E and α-lipoic acid (alpha lipoic acid) was more effective than the individual agents"
"β-carotene also protected against radiation-induced mucositis during radiation therapy of cancer of the head and neck"
"A combination of dietary antioxidants was more effective in protecting normal tissue during radiation therapy than the individual agents"
But that article barely scratches the surface. Another example: The same day my "Timeline" column ran, STR guest editor Serenity posted a link to a piece on the power of curcumin to protect against breast cancer and other diseases. There are actually thousands of studies now showing curcumin to be among the most powerful and broad-spectrum supplements you can take – and you can take it in your food, of course, especially if you enjoy Indian cuisine. If you aren't already familiar with curcumin's protective effects, you will be stunned if you take the time to read up on the topic. Here's an article from the Life Extension Foundation on Curcumin's Anti-Cancer Effects from a decade ago, and here's another from March 2011. Lots of references in each case.
Most of the hugely expensive and often highly toxic anti-cancer drugs your doctor might prescribe are nowhere near as effective as curcumin (or turmeric, the spice from which curcumin is extracted). And— again, unlike most drugs – curcumin fights cancer at every stage and via multiple mechanisms. Side effects? Curcumin's "side effects" include improved joint health (our family doctor told me last week that he was taking curcumin for that exact reason), cardiovascular benefits, inflammation-quenching power, and many other good things. Curcumin has been used safely for thousands of years by millions of people, unlike Big Pharma's wonder drugs. Caveat: yes, of course you can take enough curcumin to cause problems (and those with bile duct obstructions should use it with caution, for instance) but compared to the safety level of almost any patented drug you can name – well, there IS no comparison.
None of this is Internet rumor or other foolishness: All of it comes straight from peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals, based on actual science. None of it is NEW information, either, so naturally your doctor and the medical establishment generally, with help from the major media, have been putting this information out there for people to use, especially given the realistic concerns about radiation exposure throughout the Northern Hemisphere from the Fukushima disaster. You HAVE been hearing from your doctor and from the media about how these natural, low-cost, non-prescription supplements can prevent cancer and generally improve your health, right?
No? I am shocked, I tell you, shocked. All the more so because even the good news above is only the start of what you might do to protect yourself.
There are dozens of foods and supplements that protect DNA against harm not only from radiation but from other assaults, and which benefit health in other ways. Here again, these benefits are confirmed (and in many cases were discovered in the first place) by thousands of scientific studies published in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals over a period of decades. Big Pharma, the medical cartel, and their handmaidens at the FDA have been – shall we say – reluctant to share this information with the public – in fact, they are working hard to make most of these supplements either prescription-only or flatly unavailable – but as the X-Files used to remind us every week, the truth IS out there, and for now, at least, the supplements are also.
Last June, The Life Extension Foundation – mentioned above, and one of the best free, general-audience sources of health information (and of supplements) on the web – published a piece titled Optimize Your Internal Defenses Against Radiation Exposure, and it is worth reading. This isn't slapdash pseudo-reporting: the piece includes 149 endnotes, mostly citations for studies and articles at medical and scientific journals. LEF has been concerned about radiation for decades, partly because they believe CAT scans, ordinary X-rays, and other medical sources of radiation are seriously over-used and are exposing Americans to needless harm. Below, a short excerpt covering just three of the many foods and supplements discussed in the article:
"Polyphenols are versatile molecules found in plants. They act across a range of biomolecular pathways in the body, including favorable modification of gene expression that protects tissues from ionizing radiation.35,36
"Resveratrol, quercetin, and green tea polyphenols rank among the best-studied and most potent radioprotectants in this class. Resveratrol is both a radioprotector in healthy tissue and also has antitumor activity.37,38 In animal models, resveratrol has been shown to protect chromosomes from radiation-induced damage.39 Its antioxidant properties prevent radiation toxicity to animal liver and small intestines, two tissues most immediately sensitive to radiation’s ill effects.40
"Quercetin and its related compounds protect lipids and proteins from otherwise-lethal doses of gamma radiation, again largely through their antioxidant properties.41 Quercetin and other polyphenols not only provide chromosomal radioprotection, but also shield mitochondrial DNA from radiation-induced oxidant damage.42 Quercetin also ameliorates biochemical changes in human white blood cells following radiation exposure.43
"The polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), derived from green tea, also protects animals from whole-body radiation, blocking lipid oxidation and prolonging life span.44 Green tea extracts can protect rapidly reproducing cells in the intestine and hair follicles from the damaging effects of radiation therapy, a form of radiation exposure far more intense than typical computed tomography (CT) doses—and one that more closely resembles the immediate effects of exposure to a nuclear plant disaster.45,46"
LEF has previously published articles (here's one) on how to reduce your risk (if, for instance, you will be undergoing a CAT scan) and the 2011 article linked in the previous paragraph pulls much of that information into a single, fairly short look at the topic. You'll find plenty of other material on the protective effects of various foods and supplements both at the LEF site and at many other places on the web. I strongly recommend you take this situation seriously and at the least, do the simple and fairly inexpensive things that can improve the odds for you and your family. Careful diet and supplement use is one of the primary tools you might consider to protect against environmental health threats in general.
I'll not spend 20 pages recapping the information in the above-linked articles here, but I will repeat the link for Optimize Your Internal Defenses Against Radiation Exposure because it is a readable, concise, and yet fairly thorough introduction to the topic. And if you do nothing else, stock up now on potassium iodide tablets to protect your thyroid in the event of another major, concentrated release of radioactive fallout, because availability at your local store could be iffy an hour or two after the next nuclear disaster is reported.
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Another simple thing you can do is filter the air inside your home or office. Electrostatic and HEPA filters will remove tiny particles from the air so that your lungs don't have to. With microscopic, often nano-sized particles of depleted uranium, of fallout from Fukushima, and of other toxins, radioactive and otherwise, invisibly contaminating our air, removing what we can of this garbage from the places we spend the most time every day makes perfect sense. Inexpensive electrostatic filters for your central heating/air conditioning system are available (Amazon product link); unlike HEPA filters, these can generally be cleaned and reused indefinitely; also, they don't add any noise to your home. Naturally, you can spend more and get even more effective systems.
What else can you do? Stay out of the rain, for one thing – at least when a particularly heavy batch of fallout is overhead. In fact, during those times, try not to go outside at all, regardless of the weather. How would you know when an especially dense batch of fallout is likely in the air? You can't always know, frankly, but Rense.com, Energy News, and other sites that frequently link to such news items are worth visiting often (you know better than to trust the corporate media to tell you such things, surely – if it's something that can be hidden, it probably will be).
Eating organic, or at least eating "healthy food" in general, is another good primary tactic to promote overall health, but note that most food is grown outdoors and thus gets exposed to the very fallout we are trying to avoid. Seafood is healthy in many ways (omega-3 fatty acids have great health benefits and most of us are deficient) but radiation and other toxins bio-accumulate, and as a carnivore at the very top of the food chain, I am sufficiently concerned about toxins from the BP Gulf of Mexico situation, from the vast and continuing contamination of the Pacific by the Fukushima power plants, and from the thousand other toxins from the million other sources that end up in the oceans (and from there, concentrated in the fish and shellfish) that I've given up eating seafood altogether – and I like seafood. You've got to choose your own dangers, and this particular one has moved beyond my comfort level. I do, on the other hand, take distilled fish oil supplements.
You can grow fruits and vegetables in your own house or apartment, and if you do, then you'll at least know what you are getting – and the plants (and the soil they grow in) won't be getting regular doses of fallout. A greenhouse would be useful also, for similar reasons. Earthbox systems (another Amazon product link, but note that you can easily build your own) will help you grow astonishing amounts of food in a remarkably small space in your living room, on your porch, or almost anywhere. Here's a suggested planting schedule (well, for Florida) from the people who created the Earthbox.
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I'll end with perhaps the most obvious and surely the most costly and extreme method of reducing your exposure to radioactive fallout: get out of the path of Fukushima's ongoing rain of death by moving to the Southern Hemisphere.
What? Did I just suggest "moving to the Southern Hemisphere"? Yes, and I'm not the only one with that idea. Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen recommends you get out of the Northern Hemisphere immediately if Fukushima's #4 fuel pool (which is listing) falls over or otherwise loses its cooling water. Should that happen (Arnie Gundersen interview 5-12-2012, includes video – I recommend watching at least the first seven or ten minutes), most or all of Japan would become uninhabitable and the amount of cesium and other radioactive elements released into the air would be more, Gundersen says, than the fallout from all 800 or so nuclear test detonations of the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s – but all at once. (Dr. Chris Busby says the true number of cancer deaths from that testing was roughly 60 million – including a 30% increase in cancer fatalities in the nations where the testing was actually done. These are not the commonly-accepted figures [which are bad enough], but Gundersen is supportive of Busby; see the three videos here for more information).
Loss of cooling water at the #4 fuel pool would also mean the Fukushima site would have to be evacuated by all personnel, leaving the OTHER fuel pools there unattended and vulnerable. Imagine how peachy it would be for all of these massive stashes of irradiated fuel to be on fire at one time. Gundersen isn't the only one concerned; to name just one further example, physicist Michio Kaku, popular author of the upbeat Physics of the Future, is equally horrified by what is happening and at what might happen at Fukushima.
Moving from the Northern Hemisphere really is, I am sorry to say, probably the single most effective thing you could do to reduce your exposure to the growing load of fallout already in the air from all sources (not to mention, for Americans, the benefit of distancing oneself from the ever-tightening U.S. police state). If a major uptick in the Fukushima disaster occurs, getting out of the Northern Hemisphere may suddenly be the only option with a realistic chance of keeping you healthy for the long-term. It isn't that the Southern Hemisphere is getting none of this fallout and of radioactive and chemical contamination of the ocean and the seafood harvested from the ocean – it is, but considerably less. Over time, the load in the Southern Hemisphere will rise, even if it never reaches the levels of the North. But lower levels are safer than higher levels, and for now the Southern Hemisphere is getting much less of what you'd want to avoid. It will likely be safer for a very long time than the North. That's the consensus view, anyway, and it does seem sensible.
For most of us, moving from the Northern Hemisphere means moving thousands of miles away to another country and possibly to a place with a different native language. Financial and other costs make such a move a serious hardship for most people.
Still, it may be worth considering – especially if your family includes young children or if YOU are in your twenties or thirties. Cancer generally takes years or decades to develop; if you are in your 60s or 70s now, there's a good chance you'll die from something else before a newly-initiated bone cancer, say, does you in. But for an eight-year-old, whose cells are rapidly dividing and who has another 70 years or so of life expectancy, any malignancy begun now will almost surely have time to grow into a painful and life-threatening problem. It can't be said often enough: the young, including the unborn, infants, and growing children of any age, are even more vulnerable to this onslaught of radioactive and other toxins than the rest of us.
That's a terrible thing for any parent to hear, I know, but a bit of research on your part will confirm that it's true. Here's Japan Writers' Group Gets Eye-Opener in Chernobyl for instance, in which we learn that "The Institute of Endocrinology and Metabolism in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev told the delegation that only 2.5 percent of children, who had been exposed to radiation prenatally, were diagnosed as healthy at the age of 7."
The situation at Fukushima is far worse than people are being told, and there are more than 400 OTHER nuclear plants active in the world, none of them much safer than the GE-designed plant at Fukushima. All are producing huge quantities of radioactive spent fuel, and many experts fear this spent fuel, which is often stored outside of serious containment, more than the reactors themselves. Fukushima itself (in particular, the spent-fuel pool for reactor #4) remains a very serious global danger and, even without further failures or major new releases, continues to pump radiation into the environment.
That's the bad news, which the corporate media and governments worldwide have been soft-pedaling since the Fukushima disaster began more than a year ago. For that matter, they've been soft-pedaling the dangers and the documented harm from nuclear energy, from nuclear bomb testing, and from depleted uranium and other radioactive pollution in the environment right from the beginning.
Oddly, and just as shamefully, the establishment has ALSO been quiet about the GOOD news, which is that you really CAN do things to protect yourself from cancer or other disease caused by this onslaught of radioactive pollution in the environment. Until Big Pharma has a patented, high-profit drug approved by the FDA for this purpose, you can expect the medical cartel, the FDA itself, and the corporate media to continue ignoring the many (often free or inexpensive) things that you can do to dramatically reduce your risk for developing cancer or other diseases or conditions from the chemical and radioactive pollution in the environment. None of this means you can prevent, with 100% certainty, such disease or other harm – that isn't how the world works. But you really don't have to be as helpless and vulnerable as the establishment apparently wants you to be.
Read up on your options and be proactive in protecting yourself and your family. That's my approach, anyway, and I can't imagine why you wouldn't want to do the same.