Posted by: Chris Maloney | April 30, 2011

WA State To Stop Daily Monitoring: 125 pCi/L is fine by us.

Lung cancer mortality rates corrected for smok...

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So in Washington State the Japanese crisis is over.  Didn’t you hear?  It’s completely unnecessary to continue to monitor for radiation daily because all that stuff hasn’t bothered us yet and it’s just too dang expensive to keep monitoring. 

So I took a look at the EPA‘s monitoring of Washington State.  It is true that the air monitors are not picking up a great deal of radiation, but the precipitation monitors have picked up as much as 125 pCi/l  in a single day.

I have already educated myself further on radiation and I have found myself in error in terms of mSv.   The dosages reported are in pCi/l, which are a different animal entirely than mSv.  But I think the dosages are still troubling given the following information from the EPA on radon:  The Surgeon General of the United States issued a Health Advisory in 2005 warning Americans about the health risk from exposure to radon in indoor air.  The Nation’s Chief Physician urged Americans to test their homes to find out how much radon they might be breathing.  Dr. Carmona also stressed the need to remedy the problem as soon as possible when the radon level is 4 pCi/L or more.  Dr. Carmona noted that more than 20,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer each year.” 

So when we are monitoring precipitation for a state, 125pCi/l is nothing.  But 4 pCi/l is worth thousands of dollars of basement work?

I keep questioning myself on these dosages, so I find a wonderful paper by Columbia University that helps.  Here’s  a direct quote:  “there is little question that intermediate and high doses of ionizing radiation, say above 100 mSv, given acutely or over a prolonged period, produce deleterious consequences in humans including, but not exclusively, cancer”

Ok, so I’m not imagining things here.  125 pCi/l  is a significant dosage of radiation.  But I haven’t seen anything about it in the news.  All I’m reading is that the dosages are miniscule.  In comparison to what? 

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