The iodine story as related to human health took an interesting turn when Uranium was used to cause nuclear fission: one of the decay products of nuclear explosions is Iodine 131. That means not only nuclear weapons, bombs but also, all of the controlled nuclear events in Nuclear reactor fuel rods. ALL NUCLEAR FACILITIES release radioactive Iodine 131 into the atmosphere. Hundreds of them are licensed to do so. This means that we are all continually and erratically dusted with Iodine 131 every day of every year. As shown by reliable research for over 50 years, nuclear power plant stack gases circle the earth in 3-5 days, continuously dusting us all until all settled. Additionally, there are nuclear disasters, such as Three-mile Island in USA and Chernobyl in Ukraine. The Chernobyl disaster on 26.April 1986 released enormous quantities of Iodine 131 into the atmosphere. Since then, millions of iodine131-induced thyroid disease patients have been reported worldwide starting shortly after the event and continuing today. Relatively rare 20 years ago and unknown prior to 1945, thyroid cancer is now the number one cancer in children in the USA. Thyroid cancer is one of the fastest increasing cancers in both adult men and women.
Iodine 131 is hazardous because our bodies will happily take it in if we need iodine. Since prior to the human atomic age there was no iodine 131, we have no defence against it if we need iodine, and no way to selectively excrete it. IF we have sufficient iodine in our bodies, Iodine 127, the only natural iodine isotope, our bodies will not take in the heavier iodine 131. How the weighing is done is an interesting question to be considered elsewhere. The critical information is: if we continually take in 150 micrograms of iodine 127 daily, we will most likely be protected from iodine-deficiency “iodine aggressive uptake”. We can do this by eating 5-10 grams of seaweeds daily. If we are worried about iodine 131 which reasonably might be expected in the seaweed, we can let the seaweed iodine 131 if any, decay for 8 weeks. How do we know and expect this seaweed iodine to be protective against iodine 131 fallout and decay? The Polish example. Within hours after the onset of the Chernobyl disaster, Polish authorities acted to get iodine solutions, potassium and sodium iodide tablets, even seaweed tablets and capsules into as many of their citizens as possible to protect them from the nearby huge amounts of iodine 131 coming their way. Over the intervening 20 years, the Polish people treated with iodine 127 have almost 1000 timeless thyroid disease than neighbouring countries even further than Poland from the Chernobyl disaster site.
Unfortunately, ALL Nuclear Power Plants are nuclear disasters waiting to happen. Not because of evil intent (we hope) but because of mechanical and materials deterioration and human error. Hundreds more nuclear power plants are planned, especially by developing countries anxious to reduce their energy dependencies on fossil fuels. Of course, that will mean increasingly huge amounts of radioactive iodine 131 into the atmosphere and huge quantities of nuclear waste begging for safe disposal. Simpler, of course, would be to boil water with solar mirrors. All nuclear power plants so far are just fancy water boilers. Strange.
Eat your seaweeds.
Iodine passes readily through the epidermis, and alveolar cell walls into the body in addition to intestinal absorption. This means that any iodine 13l we breathe or get on our skins is likely to be absorbed if we are the least bit iodine 127 deficient.
How is iodine 131 hazardous? It radioactively decays with a half-life of about 8 days. This means in 8 weeks, there is probably not much left in a particular sample, and not enough to cause radiation damage. Iodine 131 decays with the release of a high energy Beta particle, which crashes ionizing through adjacent tissues, and ionizing high energy gamma radiation. There is no safe exposure to radioactive-decay sourced ionizing radiation (Shannon, 1995)
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