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Author Topic: Radiation Is Good For You?
Cytania
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I'm bending a knee here to Koner, a new documentary has shaken my belief in a straight line correspondance between radiation and cancer risk. Yep, low levels of radiation may be good for us!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5173310.stm

The disputed region is exposure below 100 milliseverts and the suggestion is that we can tolerate such levels just fine, that above this threshold is when cancer risks suddenly jump upwards. Possibly high levels of background radiation may even be good for us, lowering risk of cancer.

I know this all seems too good to be true. One great big birthday and christmas present for the nuclear power industry. It certainly means small leaks of radioactive material that dissipate are of lower concern. However concentrated radiation will always be a worry (you know like that glowing bolt that sticks to Homer in the titles of every Simpsons episode) and Chernobyl style meltdowns will always be anathema.

Well Koner, looks like you were onto something with your robust view of radiation, the science is coming in and I'm closer to supporting nuclear power, just need it to make sense without government subsidy now...

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KonerAtHome
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Well I've never said that radiation was good for you. We should strive to minimize our exposure. ZERO exposure will never be achievable, the stuff is everywhere you go afterall.

The fact is that ANY radiation exposure increases your risk of developing cancer. If the risk of developing cancer is 1 in 10,000 people and if building a nuclear power plant within 10 miles of your home will only increase that risk to 1 in 9900 people, is that such a significant increase?

Thats basically always been my viewpoint.

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hobsen
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This possibly makes sense. As Koner points out, all organisms are exposed to background radiation everywhere; and those levels vary from place to place. So if organisms have evolved measures to give partial protection against such radiation, they may also have evolved to work harder where the radiation is greater. Such measures no doubt have a cost, so it would be wasteful to have them giving high protection where radiation is low.

So the question is whether someone might take advantage of this by exposing organisms to significantly higher radiation on January 1st so as to give them greater protection the rest of the year.

[ July 15, 2006, 06:05 PM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

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Ron Lambert
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If I am exposed to the right level of the right kind of radiation, will I evolve into a superman? Did Kryptonite create Superman?
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KnightEnder
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I support nuclear power.

KE

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The Drake
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"Carl, you are striped with radiation."
-Ignignokt

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Adam Lassek
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quote:
The fact is that ANY radiation exposure increases your risk of developing cancer
There appears to be some pretty good evidence to the contrary. For instance, in the early nineties Iowa had the highest household levels of radon in the country, and scientists found a negative correlation between radon levels and lung cancer. (Interesting because radon poisoning is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US.)

What can kill you in large quantities can in many cases be benefitial in smaller doses. Low levels of background radiation may not be dangerous until they reach a certain threshold, and in fact may make you healthier.

[ July 17, 2006, 11:37 PM: Message edited by: Adam Lassek ]

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EDanaII
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quote:
If I am exposed to the right level of the right kind of radiation, will I evolve into a superman? Did Kryptonite create Superman?
Yer more likely to evolve into CancerMan or, even, CorpseBoy.

I'll take my radiation in very moderate doses, thank you very much. [Smile]

Ed.

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EDanaII
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Double post!

[ July 18, 2006, 12:39 AM: Message edited by: EDanaII ]

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scifibum
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I already posted this in a thread about smoking but this thread is an even better place! Here's an article from Discover:

Radiation can be good for you

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Ron Lambert
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Wow! Thanks, scifibum, for posting that. Stress of any kind, so long as it does not destroy us, can make us better and stronger. What an interesting concept. Yet, it has long been known that when body builders exercise, they are producing minor cell damage in their muscles. As the muscles heal, they heal stronger than they were before. It looks like the principle is real.
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canadian
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The Last Son of Krypton gets his power from the earth's low gravity and it's yellow sun. That is, depending on your preferred version of Kal-El.
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maniacal_engineer
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Hormesis
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Rallan
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I thought Superman just got his powers because everyone on his planet was badass like that, and Superman on Earth is the equivalent of a linebacker visiting a preschool.

Now Spiderman, there's a hero who owes a bit to radiation.

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Ron Lambert
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Or owes a bite to radiation.
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