Colors of the Sun: Getting Some Protection from Ionizing Radiation

For some days I have been looking for the time to write up my most recent findings and thoughts about the dangers we face from Fukushima now and ongoingly, and from the nukes at Diablo Canyon and San Onofre potentially, and what we can do to protect ourselves. The short answer is the dangers are very real and serious. Possibly the most moving short statement I’ve seen is from Dr. Helen Caldicott, in a video posted at Dr. Caldicott mentions the NY Academy of Sciences finding that about a million deaths may now be attributed to the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, and separately, that 80% of the newborn babies in Fallujah, Iraq, where the US used depleted uranium as a weapon, have terrible birth defects, and then goes on to discuss the developments at Fukushima.

My initial reaction to all the latest information was little short of panic, in that the manner in which radiation is disseminated makes it impossible to avoid. Even the limited protection available from potassium iodide supplements is effective only if you are alerted to the exposure in advance; and it appears the government, specifically the Environmental Protection Agency, is disclosing its limited findings only after the fact. But regardless, there is ultimately no complete or completely effective defense.

Nevertheless, there are some things we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and the best compilation of that information I have seen is at Washington’s Blog. As I was reviewing the material posted there, it finally dawned on me that everything we do now and have been doing for years to protect ourselves from the tsunami of cancer-causing chemicals in the environment is also protective from the cancer-causing effects of ionizing radiation.

Unfortunately, some things we can do, like eating organically grown foods rather than the products of chemical-intensive industrial agribusiness, have no analog with respect to radiation. We can’t avoid all carcinogens in the environment, but we can limit our exposure.  However, our ability to avoid radiation is at best even more limited, when, for example, the food chain is contaminated.   We can eat a strictly organically grown diet, but we can’t not eat.  See, e.g., “Fukushima radiation taints US milk supplies at levels 300% higher than EPA maximums,” posted at Even organically grown food can be contaminated by radioactive substances that fall in the rain.

But some defense is still available. While I have been looking in vain for the time to sum up what I’ve found along such lines, Washington’s Blog has gone ahead and pulled all the material together. So at this point I will just reproduce the latest entry from Washington’s Blog, and suggest to your attention the articles linked at the bottom, whose titles indicate the information they contain regarding potential protection from vitamin supplements, herbs, and foods that contain and reflect the colors of the sun. My thanks to the author of Washington’s Blog for this extraordinarily useful material.

I must make the same disclaimer, however: I am not a health care professional. And as this blog cannot reproduce the illustrations posted on Washington’s blog, I suggest you look there for the complete article:

How to Help Protect Yourself From Low-Level Radiation (

As everyone knows, exposure to high levels of radiation can quickly sicken or kill us. Here’s an illustration from Columbia University: [illustration omitted; see original posted at Washington’s Blog]

But as I’ve previously noted, even low level radiation can cause big problems. Columbia provides an illustration: [omitted; see original posting at Washington’s Blog]

Radiation can sicken or kill us by directly damaging cells: [illustration omitted]

Or indirectly … by producing free radicals: [illustration omitted]

Indeed, some radiation experts argue that the creation of a lot of free radical creation is the most dangerous mechanism of low level ionizing radiation:

During exposure to low-level doses (LLD) of ionizing radiation (IR), the most of harmful effects are produced indirectly, through radiolysis of water and formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The antioxidant enzymes – superoxide dismutase (SOD): manganese SOD (MnSOD) and copper-zinc SOD (CuZnSOD), as well as glutathione (GSH), are the most important intracellular antioxidants in the metabolism of ROS. Overproduction of ROS challenges antioxidant enzymes.

Scientists from the Institute of Nuclear Science claim in the Archive of oncology:

Chronic exposure to low-dose radiation doses could be much more harmful than high, short-term doses because of lipid peroxidation initiated by free radicals.


Peroxidation of cell membranes increases with decreasing dose rate (Petkau effect).
(See this [link omitted] for more on the Petkau effect.)

Countering free radicals is therefore one of the most important ways we can help protect ourselves from the effects of low-level radiation from Japan, from Chernobyl and elsewhere.

Now that you know, I invite you to read the following articles to learn how to help counter free radicals:
• Can Vitamins or Herbs Help Protect Us from Radiation? See
• What Foods Are Highest in Antioxidants? Some Inexpensive Foods Are Higher In Antioxidants than the Newest Pricey “Superfoods” [link omitted]
• The Compounds Plants Use to Protect Themselves from Damage Also Help to Protect People From Damage [link omitted]
• Electrons as Antioxidants: A Key to Health [link omitted]

Note: The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists reported that one of the best-known scientists of the 20th century – Dr. John Gofman – also believed that chronic low level radiation is more dangerous than acute exposure to high doses. Gofman was a doctor of nuclear and physical chemistry and a medical doctor who worked on the Manhattan Project, co-discovered uranium-232 and -233 and other radioactive isotopes and proved their fissionability, helped discover how to extract plutonium, led the team that discovered and characterized lipoproteins in the causation of heart disease, served as a Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California Berkeley, served as Associate Director of the Livermore National Laboratory, was asked by the Atomic Energy Commission to undertake a series of long range studies on potential dangers that might arise from the “peaceful uses of the atom”, and wrote four scholarly books on radiation health effects.  [I would add that I have long been an admirer of the late John Gofman, and have benefited enormously from his work, much of it produced jointly with Egan O’Connor, on the health effects of radiation, especially including medical X rays.  This material is available at the site of the Committee for Nuclear Responsibility.  – RR]

But whether or not chronic, low doses of radiation cause more or less damage than acute, higher doses is beyond the scope of this article. The point is that they both can cause damage.

Disclaimer: I am not a health care professional.


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