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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Environment & Forest Defense
It’s Up To Us To Stop This Nuclear Madness
As the first Fukushima radioactive plumes hit the West Coast of North America, “leaders” and “experts” try to reassure us there’s no danger. But it’s become painfully obvious that it’s up to us to determine the real truth, and to take action to stop this nuclear madness.
March 18, San Francisco—The SF Chronicle reported today, “In a statement in Washington Thursday, President Obama had assuring words after a briefing from experts at several federal agencies:”
‘We do no expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the United States, whether it’s the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska, or US territories in the Pacific,’ he said.”
The problem is, it’s a well established scientific fact that there is no such thing as non-harmful levels of radiation.
In 2005 the National Academy of Sciences released a study that demonstrated this.
In a June 29, 2005 press release, the Academy stated “A preponderance of scientific evidence shows that even low doses of ionizing radiation…are likely to pose some risk of adverse health effects.”
Richard Monson was chair of the committee that carried out this study. He was a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. In the press release Monson stated ”The scientific research base shows that there is no threshold of exposure below which low levels of ionizing radiation can be demonstrated to be harmless or beneficial. The health risks—particularly the development of solid cancers in organs—rise proportionally with exposure. At low doses of radiation, the risk of inducing solid cancers is very small. As the overall lifetime exposure increases, so does the risk.”
This last sentence is what’s left out of all the statements of assurance from everyone from Obama to your local health department.
Because the first Fukushima plumes will be followed by others, and no one knows for how long. These multiple exposures will of course increase the risk to our health.
It’s been raining today, and the Chron’s forecast calls for rain through Tuesday. In SoCal, where a plume will likely hit this evening, the forecast is for fog today and rain tomorrow.
Precipitation is known to bring radiation down, making exposure, contamination and risk even worse. Yesterday the Nuclear Information and Resource Center (nirs.org) provided this advice:
"RAIN: If it rains over the next several days, stay out of it. If you get wet, put your clothes in the wash and take a shower.
Leave outerwear and shoes at the door so you don’t track water in your home.
Do not collect rainwater for drinking or later use during the period of time when active distribution of radiation is happening."
Looking Back To Go Forward
Back in the late 50s and early 60s, the nuclear arms race was accelerating out of control.
The US and USSR were detonating increasingly larger H-bombs in the atmosphere, culminating with a 100 megaton blast by the latter then Superpower in 1961.
In response to this madness, and out of concern for future generations, Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Albert Schweitzer published “The Rights of the Unborn and the Peril Today.”
In his paper Schweitzer spoke out against the “campaign of assurance” that used oblique numbers and bland denials to convince people that radioactive fallout was of little or no danger.
“The arithmetical results of optimists,” Schweitzer wrote, “are, however, not so reliable as they would like us to believe.”
As the magablasts intensified, scientists like fellow Nobel laureate Linus Pauling reported that levels of radioactivity in milk were rising at alarming rates around the world.
And in response people mobilized around the world to “Ban the Bomb.” In the US mothers mobilized and marched calling for such a ban.
In July of 1963, the US and USSR signed an agreement partially banning atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.
On that occasion President Kennedy said, “The number of children and grandchildren with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs might seem statistically small to some, in comparison with natural health hazards, but this is not a natural health hazard—and it is not a statistical issue.
“The loss of even one human life, or the malformation of even one baby—who may be born long after we are gone—should be of concern to all of us. Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics toward which we can be indifferent.”
Today we find ourselves in a similar situation, though this time the source of the fallout descending on us is from all the way across the Pacific. And in the nation that the US dropped atomic bombs on.
Kennedy did not necessarily sign the ban or speak those eloquent long ago words out of the goodness of his heart. More likely it was because people power and the truth it spoke forced his hand.
And now it’s time for us to make that happen again.