A Radiation Tale: Was: Re: Magnetic Effects

William R. Penrose wpenrose at interaccess.com
Thu Mar 6 08:01:16 EST 1997

In article <3322eb67.6322630 at news.wco.com> skg at asis.com (SKG) writes:

>>Afterward, there was a prolonged investigation involving two return trips to 
>>Washington.  My friend in health physics calculated that the man received ten 
>>times more radiation during the four airline trips than he received from the 
>>plutonium exposure.
>Yes, but the airline exposure was transient - the alpha decay of a
>Pu238 particle lodged in the lung would be permanent, assuming it
>stuck there.  The reason people express concern about such incidents
>is that lung cancer is no laughing matter. 
>Of course the quantity is important.......if the amount was really in
>the picogram range or less, no sweat.....we hope.

Pu is slowly cleared from the body, depending on the chemical form, that is, 
but some ends up in the bones.  A couple of microcuries in a dog will cause 
spontaneous multiple fractures and ultimate bone disintegration within six 
months.  (I'm too lazy to convert that into grams.)  As someone once said, Pu 
is so toxic that a drop on the tongue of a dog will kill a man.

 By the way, where is
>this person now? Still alive and kicking, I hope.

The scientist, however, is still alive and must be in his 80's by now.


"Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes.
Then when you criticize him, you're a mile away and you've
got his shoes."  (A. Landers)
Bill Penrose, President, Custom Sensor Solutions, Inc.
526 West Franklin Avenue, Naperville, IL 60540
630-548-3548, fax: 630-369-9618
email wpenrose at interaccess.com
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