• Posted on April 11, 2011 3:01 pm
    By Max
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    Radiation Detected In Drinking Water In 13 More US Cities, Cesium-137 In Vermont Milk Radiation from Japan has been detected in drinking water in 13 more American cities, and cesium-137 has been found in American milk—in Montpelier, Vermont—for the first time since the Japan nuclear disaster began, according to data released by the Environmental Protection Agency late Friday. Milk samples from Phoenix and Los Angeles contained iodine-131 at levels roughly equal to the maximum contaminant level permitted by EPA, the data shows. The Phoenix sample contained 3.2 picoCuries per liter of iodine-131. The Los Angeles sample contained 2.9. The EPA maximum contaminant level is 3.0, but this is a conservative standarddesigned to minimize exposure over a lifetime, so EPA does not consider these levels to pose a health threat. The cesium-137 found in milk in Vermont is the first cesium detected in milk since the Fukushima-Daichi nuclear accident occurred last month. The sample contained 1.9 picoCuries per liter of cesium-137, which falls under the same 3.0 standard. Radioactive isotopes accumulate in milk after they spread through the atmosphere, fall to earth in rain or dust, and settle on vegetation, where they are ingested by grazing cattle. Iodine-131 is known to accumulate in the thyroid gland, where it can cause cancer and other thyroid diseases. Cesium-137 accumulates in the body’s soft tissues, where it increases risk of cancer, according to EPA. Airborne contamination continues to cross the western states, the new data shows, and Boise has seen the highest concentrations of radioactive isotopes in rain so far. A rainwater sample collected in Boise on March 27 contained 390 picocures per liter of iodine-131, plus 41 of cesium-134 and 36 of cesium-137. EPA released this result for the first time yesterday. Typically several days pass between sample collection and data release because of the time required to collect, transport and analyze the samples. In most of the data released Friday the levels of contaminants detected are far below the standards observed by EPA and other U.S. agencies. But the EPA drinking-water data includes one outlier—an unusually, but not dangerously, high reading in a drinking water sample from Chatanooga, Tennessee. The sample was collected at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Sequoyah nuclear plant. A Tennessee official told the Chatanooga Times last week that radiation from Japan had been detected at Sequoyah but is “1,000 to 10,000 times below any levels of concern.” The 1.6 picocures per liter reported by the EPA on Friday is slightly more than half the maximum contaminant level permitted in drinking water, but more uniquely, it is many times higher than all the other drinking water samples collected in the U.S. [UPDATE: EPA released new data Saturday revealing higher levels than reported here in Little Rock milk and Philadelphia drinking water] The EPA released this new data through a new interactive open-data system it quietly launched on the EPA website Wednesday. The new interface is to be regularly updated, replacing EPA’s periodic news releases and pdf data charts. Here are more details of the data released Friday: Drinking Water Radioactive Iodine-131 was found in drinking water samples from 13 cities. Those cities are listed below, with the amount of Iodine-131 in picocuries per liter. The EPA’s maximum contaminant level for Iodine-131 in drinking water is 3 picocuries per liter. Oak Ridge, TN collected 3/28: 0.63 Oak Ridge, TN collected at three sites 3/29: 0.28, 0.20, 0.18 Chatanooga, TN collected 3/28: 1.6 Helena, MT collected 3/28: 0.18 Columbia, PA collected 3/29: 0.20 Cincinatti, OH collected 3/28: 0.13 Pittsburgh, PA collected 3/28: 0.36 East Liverpool, OH collected 3/30: 0.42 Painesville, OH collected 3/29: 0.43 Denver, CO  collected 3/30: 0.17 Detroit, MI collected 3/31: 0.28 Trenton, NJ collected 3/31: 0.38 Waretown, NJ collected 3/31: 0.38 Muscle Shoals, AL collected 3/31: 0.16 Precipitation In the data released Friday, iodine-131 was found in rainwater samples from the following locations: Salt Lake City, UT collected 3/17: 8.1 Boston, MA collected 3/22: 92 Montgomery, Alabama collected 3/30: 3.7 Boise, ID collected 3/27: 390 As reported above, the Boise sample also contained 42 pC/m3 of Cesium-134, and 36 of Cesium-137. Air In the most recent data, iodine-131 was found in air filters in the following locations. In the case of air samples, the radiation is measured in picoCuries per cubic meter. Montgomery, AL collected 3/31: 0.055 Nome AK collected 3/30: 0.17 Nome AK collected 3/29: 0.36 Nome AK collected 3/27: 0.36 Nome AK collected 3/26: 0.46 Nome AK collected 3/25: 0.26 Juneau AKcollected 3/26: 0.43 Juneau AK collected 3/27: 0.38 Juneau AK collected 3/30: 0.28 Dutch Harbor AK collected 3/30: 0.14 Dutch Harbor AK collected 3/29: 0.11 Dutch Harbor AK colleccted 3/26: 0.21 Boise, ID collected 3/27: 0.22 Boise, ID collected 3/29: 0.27 Boise, ID collected 3/28: 0.32 Las Vegas NV collected 3/28: 0.30 Las Vegas, NV collected 3/30:: 0.088 Las Vegas, NV collected 3/29: 0.044 No other types of isotopes were found in the most recent data from air samples, even though EPA is also on the lookout for barium-140, cobalt-60, cesium-134, cesium-136, cesium-137, iodine-132, iodine-133, tellurium-129, and tellurium-132. In older samples, isotopes of cesium and tellurium were found in Boise; Las Vegas; Nome and Dutch Harbor; Honolulu, Kauai and Oahu, Hawaii; Anaheim, Riverside, San Francisco, and San Bernardino, California; Jacksonville and Orlando, Florida; Salt Lake City, Utah; Guam, and Saipan on the Marina Islands. Some of these locations had not been previously reported in EPA news releases. The EPA has said it will continue to monitor radiation levels in air, precipitation, drinking water, and milk even if the budget impasse shuts down the government next week.

    Survival
  • Posted on October 15, 2010 5:27 pm
    By Max
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    Cancer 'is purely man-made' say scientists after finding almost no trace of disease in Egyptian mummies http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1320507/Cancer-purely-man-say-scientists-finding-trace-disease-Egyptian-mummies.html By Fiona Macrae Last updated at 10:21 AM on 15th October 2010 Cancer is a man-made disease fuelled by the excesses of modern life, a study of ancient remains has found. Tumours were rare until recent times when pollution and poor diet became issues, the review of mummies, fossils and classical literature found. A greater understanding of its origins could lead to treatments for the disease, which claims more than 150,000 lives a year in the UK. Scientists found no signs of cancer in their extensive study of mummies apart from one isolated case Michael Zimmerman, a visiting professor at Manchester University, said: 'In an ancient society lacking surgical intervention, evidence of cancer should remain in all cases. 'The virtual absence of malignancies in mummies must be interpreted as indicating their rarity in antiquity, indicating that cancer-causing factors are limited to societies affected by modern industrialisation.' To trace cancer's roots, Professor Zimmerman and colleague Rosalie David analysed possible references to the disease in classical literature and scrutinised signs in the fossil record and in mummified bodies. Despite slivers of tissue from hundreds of Egyptian mummies being rehydrated and placed under the microscope, only one case of cancer has been confirmed. This is despite experiments showing that tumours should be even better preserved by mummification than healthy tissues. Dismissing the argument that the ancient Egyptians didn't live long enough to develop cancer, the researchers pointed out that other age-related disease such as hardening of the arteries and brittle bones died occur. Fossil evidence of cancer is also sparse, with scientific literature providing a few dozen, mostly disputed, examples in animal fossil, the journal Nature Reviews Cancer reports. Even the study of thousands of Neanderthal bones has provided only one example of a possible cancer. Caricaturist James Gillray illustrated the taking of snuff, which appears in first reports in scientific literature of distinctive tumours of nasal cancer in snuff users in 1761 Evidence of cancer in ancient Egyptian texts is also 'tenuous' with cancer-like problems more likely to have been caused by leprosy or even varicose veins. The ancient Greeks were probably the first to define cancer as a specific disease and to distinguish between benign and malignant tumours. But Manchester professors said it was unclear if this signalled a real rise in the disease, or just a greater medical knowledge. The 17th century provides the first descriptions of operations for breast and other cancers. And the first reports in scientific literature of distinctive tumours only occurred in the past 200 years or so, including scrotal cancer in chimney sweeps in 1775 and nasal cancer in snuff users in 1761. Professor David, who presented the findings to Professor Mike Richards, the UK's cancer tsar and other oncologists at a conference earlier this year, said: 'In industrialised societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death. But in ancient times, it was extremely rare. 'There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer. So it has to be a man-made disease, down to pollution and changes to our diet and lifestyle. 'The important thing about our study is that it gives a historical perspective to this disease. We can make very clear statements on the cancer rates in societies because we have a full overview. We have looked at millennia, not one hundred years, and have masses of data. 'Yet again extensive ancient Egyptian data, along with other data from across the millennia, has given modern society a clear message – cancer is man-made and something that we can and should address. Dr Rachel Thompson, of World Cancer Research Fund, said: 'This research makes for very interesting reading. 'About one in three people in the UK will get cancer so it is fairly commonplace in the modern world. Scientists now say a healthy diet, regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can prevent about a third of the most common cancers so perhaps our ancestors’ lifestyle reduced their risk from cancer.'

    2012