The accidental or hostile exposure of individuals to ionizing irradiation is of great public and military concern. Radiation sickness (acute radiation syndrome, or ARS) occurs when the body is exposed to a high dose of penetrating radiation within a short period of time. Systemic infection is one of the serious consequences of ARS. There is a direct relation between the magnitude of radiation exposure and the risk of developing infection. The risk of systemic infection is higher whenever there is a combined injury such as burn or trauma. Ionizing radiation enhances infection by allowing translocation of oral and gastrointestinal flora, and reducing the threshold of sepsis due to endogenous and exogenous microorganisms. The potential for concomitant accidental or terrorism-related exposure to bio-terrorism agents such as anthrax and radiation also exists.

This site is made of a home page that presents new developments and updates on the management of acute radiation syndrome including concomitant exposure to radiation and anthrax. Separate pages are dedicated to the treatment modalities.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Kelp off Southern California was contaminated with radioisotopes after Japan’s Fukushima accident

Kelp off Southern California became contaminated with short-lived radioisotopes a month after Japan’s Fukushima accident, a sign that the spilled radiation reached the state’s coastline, according to a new study.

Scientists from California State University, Long Beach tested giant kelp collected in the ocean off Orange County and other locations after the March, 2011 accident, and detected radioactive iodine, which was released from the damaged nuclear reactor. The largest concentration was about 250-fold higher than levels found in kelp before the accident. The radioactivity had no known effects on the giant kelp, or on fish and other marine life, and it was undetectable a month later.

Spread in large, dense, brown forests across the ocean off California, Macrocystis pyrifera, known as giant kelp, is the largest of all algae and grows faster than virtually any other life on Earth. It accumulates iodine so Manley realized it would be a useful dosimeter to check how far radioactive material spreads. In addition, giant kelp concentrates radioactive iodine 10,000-fold – for every one molecule in the water there would be 10,000 in its tissues.

The level of radioactive iodine found there – 2.5 becquerel per gram of dry weight -- was well above levels sampled in kelps prior to the Fukushima release, according to the paper, published this month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.The scientists estimated that the entire kelp tissue on the surface at Corona del Mar contained about one millicurie.


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