To Your Health!: Shrimp that glow in the dark?

By Richard S. Gubbe

Events in Pakistan have overshadowed the crisis in Japan. Questions about the degree of the earthquake’s devastation continue, while the amount of mainstream news coverage decreases.

The Internet is ripe with videos from scientists and researchers who claim massive repercussions globally from the moronic idea of putting six reactors along a fault line. We risk the future health of the planet to use a dangerous energy shortcut to creating electricity. Since talk of solar energy became the rage in the 1980s, the conversation, along with technological advancements, has fizzled.

Now, we’re stuck with radiation and the threat of more if earthquakes and tsunamis continue to occur. Radioactivity is the natural process of unstable atoms releasing their excess energy. Radiation can occur in small, controlled exposure in X-rays to the meltdown and their aftermath in Chernobyl and Japan. Either way, radiation exists in our water and in our air. Other than a nuclear reactor, radiation can come from the sun, from natural materials found in the ground, water and air, and from our televisions, cell phones and computers, etc. Levels of exposure to radionuclides can depend on local geology and elevation.

Outside sources who have videos on YouTube and other sites claim everything from high ionizing radiation levels at higher altitudes to crippling levels in our oceans. Three of the “traveling” radioactive isotopes we need to fear most, according to renowned nuclear plant and water expert John Huston of Las Vegas, are strontium, cesium and tritium. Tritium is lightweight and gets in our wells. What goes up into the atmosphere in Japan must come down—somewhere—and enter our food and water supply.

If reported EPA radiation levels are fudged, what can we do to keep our bodies toxin-free? Huston warns that more damage can be done from a breakdown in the spent fuel procurement process in a nuclear plant than from a meltdown of the core. Huston says “more damage was done when the waste pond went sideways than the reactor melting down.”

While further ramifications of the Japan disaster pile up, nightmare stories still emerge from Chernobyl. Internet favorite Dr. Helen Caldicott says in her “Dangers About Nuclear War” video that all food in Europe has been tainted from Chernobyl.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said, “Given the thousands of miles between the two countries, Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. Territories and the U.S. West Coast are not expected to experience any harmful levels of radioactivity.”

So, what can we do to help detoxify the body while we try to swallow that? Drink reverse osmosis water, green and black teas, four-herb tea and kombucha juice and consume products with minerals that these toxins can attract themselves to and exit the body. The problem is, one of the better sources for minerals is milk. Do we take the good with the bad or wait to see how much radiation gets into our grasses and corn before milk is cast aside?

Another solution for protection was thought to be potassium iodide. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) cautioned residents not to take potassium iodide (KI) as a prevention medication against possible radiation “due to side effects.”

Potassium iodide is a non-prescription drug that can be used to protect the thyroid gland from an expected exposure to considerably higher levels of radiation. KI cannot protect other parts of the body, however.

According to the IDPH, “although usually benign, KI can be harmful to people with allergies to iodine or shellfish, those with certain skin disorders, renal disease, some chronic diseases or those with thyroid problems.”

Another common-sense reason to avoid it is if the thyroid rejects the radiation, it just goes to another part of the body and gives exposure to more-devastating cancers. Thyroid cancer is more easily dealt with than others such as bone cancer.

Japan exports are dangerous in the eyes of many, in the same fashion as we doubt the purity of Gulf shrimp. As one large Louisiana shrimp company owner said in a national TV news report last week, take your pick of shrimp—those with a little oil in their heads or those that glow in the dark.


Richard Gubbe is an award-winning journalist, public relations specialist and Reiki Master Teacher. He is a longtime Rockford resident who has taught at Rock Valley College since 2003.

From the May 11-17, 2011 issue

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