I would like to bring something to your attention regarding cesium, it relates to non radioactive cesium. My cesium adventure started about ten years ago when I worked in the Czech republic for Josef Novosad, he explained to me about what he used to do years ago when he worked on cesium in farmyard animals. Josef told me that he had been working on uranium in farmyard animals but after the Chernobyl event he was reassigned onto cesium in farmyard animals.
Now in the recent past radioactive cesium has been making a through nuisance of itself in Japan. Due to the over heating of the reactor cores cesium has escaped from three reactors into the environment. Now I hold the view that a large release of radioactive cesium into the environment is anything but good, but at the same time it is important to avoid blaming every ill in the world on the cesium.
When I watched the film animal farm, towards the end a hen did a song and dance act in which the bird praised Napoleon the pig for everything good. Just in the same was as the hen blindly praised the evil pig for making the world a better place in every way possible, I am sure that some persons in society are blaming the radioactivity from Fukushima for close to everything bad in the world.
I would advise my reader to be careful to avoid being sucked into a culture were everything is blamed on the cesium. The reason I warn against blaming the cesium for everything is that in this distorted reality a large number of more serious things will go unnoticed and neglected.
Now back to cesium I would like to point something out, now I am sure that many of you are aware that one of the measures which can be taken to prevent thyroid injury after a nuclear accident is to take stable iodine. The idea is that if the body is supplied with more than its normal amount of iodine, the radioactive iodine will be more easily excreted from the body and it will be less able to become concentrated in the thyroid.
In case any of you were thinking of eating stable cesium to flush the radioactive cesium out of your body, I would like to strongly suggest that you do not do so. Josef showed that in pigs that moderate doses of stable cesium do not drive out the radioactive cesium from the animal. Also I would like to point out that taking stable cesium is not a risk free activity.
Some years ago in the 1980s it was suggested by some alternative medical workers that stable cesium chloride cures cancer. I would like to point out that cesium chloride has not been shown to work as a cancer treatment and I would also like to point out that it is anything but safe ! About two years ago a paper was published by Petr Melnikov and Lourdes Zelia Zanoni in Biol. Trace. Element Research, 2010, 135, 1-9. In this paper the two authors point out that a large amount of cesium is able to cause the human heart to malfunction.
Now I would like to point out that while the Chernobyl accident released an amount of cesium that the chemical concentration of the cesium is very low. The release of cesium-137 from the reactor was 85 PBq, which is 8.5 x 1016 Bq.
As A = N λ
Then A/λ = N = 1,16096 x 1026
Which is 193 moles of 137Cs,
Now as the fission yield for 137Cs is 6.26855E-02 (total of all fission yields is 2) and the fission yield for the stable isotope of cesium (134Cs) is 6.70193E-02 we should expect 206 moles of stable cesium.
We will ignore the shortlived cesium isotopes as they have decayed by now.
This will give us a mass of about 27 kilos of stable cesium. The original mass of the cesium-137 was 26 kilos. Now this gives a specific activity of 1.58 PBq kg-1 for the cesium on day one. As about half of the cesium-137 has decayed the specific activity has gone down to 1.09 PBq per kilo.
A dose of 8 grams per day of cesium chloride (79 % Cs w/w) causes chaos we a person’s heart, now if 1 kilo of Chernobyl cesium has an activity now of 1.09 PBq then eight grams (which I think is impossible to ingest) will have an activity of 8.7 GBq. From what I know of radioactivity 2 GBq of cesium will kill a person within weeks of something which will look clinically very different to heart disease.
So I think it is impossible for the chernboyl cesium to act as a chemical poison to induce heart disease in humans. As it has been found that the hearts of breast cancer patients can tolerate almost 3 Gy doses of gamma rays, I think that it is unlikely that the level of radiation which children in Belorussia get per year (circa 0.006 Sv stated by Martin Tondel) will be able to damage the heart.
Now I assume that the self repair processes will allow a human heart to repair its self after a moderate dose of radiation, but if we assume for a moment that no self repair occurs then it will take 500 years of whole body exposure to 6 mSv per year for the dose to the heart to reach 3 Gy. I suspect that none of the children will live to this ripe age !
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