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Japan Medicine Science

How Japanese Scientists Are Monitoring Fukushima Babies For Radiation Exposure 95

KentuckyFC writes "Parents in the Fukushima region of Japan are intensely worried that their children may be consuming food and water contaminated with radiation. But whole body scanners used to monitor the internal radiation levels of adults don't work for children who cannot stand up inside them. What's more, the machines are not sensitive enough to detect problematic radiation levels in children. That's because children metabolize substances faster than adults and have a lower mass to start with, so the levels of radiation in their bodies tend to be lower. For example, if each adult ingests 3 Becquerels of cesium-137 every day, the internal levels would reach an equilibrium of about 400 Bq/adult body. But a similar intake for a 1-year old child would result in an equilibrium level of about 60 Bq/body, well below the 250 Bq/body sensitivity of adult scanners. Now a team of engineers has built a whole body scanner that is sensitive enough for the job and that children can play inside for the 4 minutes necessary to scan them. And they say the results of the first 100 scans of Fukushima children (average age 4.2 years) are reassuring--none show any evidence of cesium-137. So far."
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How Japanese Scientists Are Monitoring Fukushima Babies For Radiation Exposure

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  • Exposure .... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2014 @09:59AM (#46387091)

    That is because the radiation levels around the area of Fukisima are so low that no-one in the general population are likely to have any exposure

    If one of them has an x-ray then they will get a radiation dose much much higher than any of these figures

    This has been blown up out of all proportion to the actual likelyhood of anyone getting exposed

  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Monday March 03, 2014 @10:11AM (#46387131)

    Okay, they've developed a new way to measure radioactivity (NOT radiation! I wish people would make the effort to distinguish between the two properly) in children.

    And, horror of horrors, found that none of the children show any sign of abnormal radioactivity levels.

    Which is why, presumably, the author of TFS added that "So far" to the end.

    It should also be noted that cows haven't started slaughtering people by the millions. So far.

    And gold hasn't started raining down from the skies. So far.

    And the sun hasn't gone supernova this week. So far (it's early in the week).

  • Re:Exposure .... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pumpkin Tuna ( 1033058 ) on Monday March 03, 2014 @10:19AM (#46387169)

    This looks more like a way to actually monitor the real results. If the kids are fine it will go a long way towards dismissing that irrational fear. If they aren't then the fear wasn't that irrational.

  • fear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ssam ( 2723487 ) on Monday March 03, 2014 @10:27AM (#46387219)

    But can it measure the harm done by fear of radiation?

  • Re:Exposure .... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Monday March 03, 2014 @10:40AM (#46387291)

    The anti-nuclear crowd like to terrorise people with irrational fear.

    Well, not completely irrational. If we were to take a non-nuclear but similar situation, let's look at the chemical tank leak in West Virginia. Despite authorities declaring it safe, residents still don't want to drink the water, and there are detectable levels of the poisonous chemical in the water.

    Why the irrational citizens?


    The fact is that there is absolutely no trust in either case, Fukushima's reactor problems, nor West Virginia's water woes.

    MCHM - a cocktail of chemicals implicated in the West Virginia incident is proven toxic.

    Radioactivity is proven toxic to humans also. With an issue of being invisible, and not readily detectable by humans -without technology - except in the case of really massive doses.

    Point is, with no trust, and reassurance that all is well and safe, how many people will look at all the footage from Fukushima, the exploding buildings, and other issues, and say, "As a completely rational person, I gotta get some of that Fukushima action in my hometown!"? It's sort of a case of the old adage, when words and actions conflict, believe the actions.

    I'm pro-Nuc power. But I also understand something about people. And if you think that your calling most people stupid and irrational is going to get you anywhere, you are badly mistaken.

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Monday March 03, 2014 @10:47AM (#46387347)
    You assume the story is about the radioactivity of Japanese children, rather than the technological innovation. A reasonable assumption given the motto "Slashdot: News for Japanese Parents. News about radioactive children."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2014 @11:12AM (#46387507)

    The Fukishima nuclear plant has three inoperative nuclear power plants because it had a meltdown after being flooded by a tsunami.

    Did you miss the news? If so, why did you not wonder what this entire thing was about?

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Monday March 03, 2014 @11:14AM (#46387521)
    In light of all their previous obfuscation and lies about Fukushima does anyone believe Japan is monitoring anything that might make Japan Inc. look bad?

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson