America gets the most Radiation in the World

Discussion in 'Health and Wellness Forum' started by Dunbar Plumbing, Jun 15, 2010.


Have you been overexposed?

  1. Yes

    0 vote(s)
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
  3. It's a necessary evil

    3 vote(s)
  4. Should be marked in regulation to prevent overexposure

    0 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Dunbar Plumbing

    Dunbar Plumbing Master Plumber

    Apr 18, 2005
    Service Plumber, Outdoor Temperature Relief Owner
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area

    My mother who was subjected to countless radiation exposures for the constant searches of the MRI was the 'burning' her last couple years she experienced, but could not explain in her body, free of certain chemotherapy drugs.

    I understand that MRI's are the saving grace of diagnosis but it definitely proves that the overexposure has to be counted, as many take that as harmless.

    A friend of mine that worked in Texas has a wife suffering from cancer, she just had reconstructive breast surgery that's not going well at all. Apparently the skin where it's being reattached is dying, leaving her open like a cut filet on a fish. One infection and she's back in the hospital.

    This guy said he worked at a medical office that had a "former" MRI center in the building. When they shut it down, moved out the equipment, they turned it into a storage room for films and documentation files, computer related file data.

    He said that within 1 year they started to notice that the files were corrupting, badly and it took a great deal of time to figure this out:

    That MRI machine had magnetized the rebar in the concrete floor, and you could drop anything metallic, like a metal pin and it would roll to the center of the room where the machine was, almost glued to the floor.

    That machine is awesome, but there are going to be harmful effects to overexposure. I would take my chances if I knew the risk outbeats the current reason why I'm using it to dx a serious problem.
  2. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Nov 20, 2009
    Nuclear Engineer
    X-rays and other medical scans do create significant short-term exposure levels to radiation. However, radiation is everywhere and whether the amount you get from medical may be small or large compared to your background exposure. For instance, if you live at a high elevation or do a lot of air travel for business, you are exposed to much higher levels than someone who lives at sealevel and/or does no business travel at all. Then there is ground source radiation (depending on your soil), radon, etc.

    Typically, ingestion or inhalation of a radioactive material is worse than just being exposed to an exterior source. When you intake it into your body, it can stay with you. For instance, Plutonium behaves like Calcium, so if you ate something that had Pu in it, your body thinks it is Calcium and puts it into your bones. As you can imagine, this material will probably stay with you for life. Other things (like heavy water), will quickly move through your body (since it behave like normal water). If you are exposed to something like this, you drink lots of liquids to flush it out more quickly.

    In the nuclear field, everyone wears dosimetry (measures dose) if you are working anywhere that could see increased radiation levels. These are tracked and a report (usually annually) is given to you showing what your exposure is over that year. The trick is that there are many kinds of radiation and many ways to measure it. One way is to look at a count of how many particles hit you (something like a Geiger counter just measures how much stuff is flying around). That only goes so far as some particles can only make it a short distance through the air and aren't even strong enough to make it past your skin. So, then you look at what can make it through the air. After this, you have to consider how much of what hits you is actually absorbed by your body (x-rays and gamma rays can go right through you (how an x-ray works), so not all of the energy that hits you is actually picked up by your body. The 4th thing is dose equivalent. The thought here is that different organs have different sensitivities to radiation, so it depends on how much radiation of what type hits where.

    As you can imagine, dose equivalent is the most important because it links the radiation to possible medical effects. This is very different to measure, though. We don't have sensors in our organs to detect this, so it is mostly an educated guess how much actually hits that organ and how much damage it does. There are weighting factors (Quality Factor) that try to account for the sensitivity to different radiation types to different organs, but those factors might not be really accurate either.

    We also don't really have good information that relates radiation levels to medical effects for lower levels of radiation. Most of the data we have is for large exposures (Atomic bomb suurvivors, etc.). So, the data we have says:

    For these very high levels of radiation = dead in so many days. For really high levels (but not quite high enough to kill right away) = x% chance of getting fatal cancer, etc. in some amount of time. For more normal levels, we don't really know. If you are exposed to x amount of radiation, we can't say for sure that you'll get cancer. And if you do get cancer, we don't know if it was this radiation or if you would get it anyway. That is just the way cancer works. Some people who never smoke get lung cancer and some who smoke daily for 20 years never get it. Certain things can increase the probability that you will get cancer, but no one knows what probability they started out with when then were born. Some are more likely to get it than others.

    In the nuclear field, we follow what is called ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable). We can't avoid radiation altogether, but we do everything possible to minimize exposure (sheilding, getting the job done quickly to get out of there, etc.). If you have medical issues and may require mulitple scans, then you should follow this idea. Limit the scans if possible, use lower exposure types of scans (if possible), etc.
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  4. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Oct 7, 2005
    What remarkable tools we have to dx disease, without them, our chances of survival from the Big C greatly diminish.

    At age 44, I was heading into a stage 4. It might be easier to list the places it wasn't found than where it was found. It was found in my heart, the nodes outside my heart, my neck, under my arms, my ear, my spleen, 3 places on my arm and eventually, made its way to my thign and my ankle. My latest scans shows no evidence of my disease.

    For the first 6 years, I had CT's done every 3 months and an MRI of my brain once a year. Next 3 years every 6 months PET scans; now, once a year and no MRI's at all. Also did Gallium scans and Echo's.

    It was all a risk. But when I was 44 I was given 5 years, with nothing to lose I took the gamble and I am winning. We were able to find it, erradicate it, and now, their is nothing. I thank God for this and for medical technologies and advancements. Let me repeat, I thank God and all those who struggled to make me well.

    My mom died from breast cancer. She was 55. She had horrible burns due to radiation but, I do know the machines were malfunctioning back then. Even so, she was a stage 4, and was told 3 months survival time, she lived 19 months. I always wondered and still wonder, if the machines hadn't malfunctioned on her if she still would be alive today.

    I know some people won't or can't understand this, but when confronted with such a hardship, you got to fight it with everything their is to use.

    Years ago, my husband worked at a Nuclear power plant, Shippingport, Unit 1&2, and he used to kid my mom which one of them glowed the most when the lights was off.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    That is really good new Cookie.

    Like Cookie, I got some CT's last fall, my first ones. I now get them pretty regularly.
    I went from a 3+ to a 2.0 by the time I got my surgery, and like Cookie after the surgery, I'm down to zero.
    None left. I'm doing two more rounds of Chemo that winds up on the 4th of August and then I rest my body up for six weeks before the final surgery to remove the bypass.
    I have heard from so may customers and others that know someone that has gone through this or is going through it. I'm lucky, I know that.
    And stubborn, I should have seen a doctor sooner. I would have been luckier.
    The radiation and chemo in the Fall reduced the size of the tumor quite a bit. It could have been worse.
    The CT's are an experience, they put the radiation and iodine in your arm, which makes your whole body feel warm, then slide you into this spinning monster of a machine that sounds like a jet taking off. And then some funny voice telling you to breath in, now hold it, pretty freaky, It would be nice if they could have different voices, more familiar ones.
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    Good for you Terry, I'm very glad to hear how well you're doing. My favorite uncle wasn't so lucky back in the early 1980s.
  7. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Oct 7, 2005
    You get used to the noise of the machines and Jeff the one imaging tech is so funny, he over rides the automated voice and he talks to me through it. He makes jokes. I particuarly don't like it when they have to CT my head/ then my brain. They put my head into a plastic thing with a helmet device on it, lining me up with the lasers then, he comes around with a tape and tapes me in place so I don't move. I feel like a mummy. They have to do my brain separate because I OD'ed on the contrast dye. I was sick for a week and my boss back then, didn't care for that, being off for a week asking me if I thought I was special.

    He fired me.

    Yeah, I could had sued, but it takes money to sue and time, and desire. I didn't any of the 3.

    So now, when I have to have my CT's, I do on one day, my chest, abd, neck, pelvis, left ankle, right arm, and head. Then, I come back another day for my brain. I got a big brain. lol
  8. Hairyhosebib

    Hairyhosebib New Member

    Jun 23, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
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