I’m not going to wait for the Japanese sewage sludge data to come out (typically a month after the fact), but there is has obviously been another major criticality at Fukushima recently. Radiation levels have jumped in Japan from August 12 to August 19 (1). High background levels at the Columbia nuclear plant in Washington (2), later partially explained away. Large steam and obscuring fog events on the Tepco webcam (3). And my thyroid tells me that a ROBUST radioiodine event is in progress.
Lugol’s iodine or uncontaminated kelp is called for, along with selenium and magnesium to control any autoimmune reactions. This applies most of all to nursing mothers, because radioactive iodine concentrates in the breast and is passed to the baby in breast milk (5).
Radioactive iodine is ingested by humans mainly by milk, but also through eating green leafy vegetables, and by inhalation (6). Not just iodine-131 is radioactive but iodine-132, -133, -135, and -129 are problems. The short-lived istopes 132 through 135 might be worse, but they would be more of a problem in Japan, since they decay quickly and it takes time for the gases and particles to cross the Pacific. Tellurium isotopes like Te-132 and -131m also accumulate in the thyroid.
Thyroid diseases that result from radioactive iodine include thyroid cancer, thyroid cysts and nodules, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, toxic multinodular goiter, and autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s disease and Graves disease).
A recent study found an association of childhood exposure to radioactive iodine from the Nevada testing site and infertility (8):
In this exploratory analysis, we have found a possible association between childhood radio-iodine exposure and subsequent infertility. If confirmed, this finding has potentially broad impact, since an estimated 55 million children were exposed in the United States (Hoffman et al. 2002).
Radioactive iodine also accumulates in the pituitary gland. The destructive effects of radioiodine affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and the thyroid, and the entire endocrine system. According to Yablokov et al (7):
Radioactive fallout from Chernobyl has had serious adverse effects on every part of the endocrine system of irradiated individuals. Among adults, the thyroid gland concentrates up to 40% of a radioactive iodine dose, and in children up to 70% (Il’in et al., 1989; Dedov et al., 1993). The hypophysis (pituitary gland) actively incorporates radioactive iodine at levels 5 to 12 times higher than normal (Zubovsky
and Tararukhina, 1991)…
All physiological functions such as the onset of puberty and the closing of bone epiphyses that are dependent on the organs of internal secretion—the pancreas, parathyroids, thyroid, and adrenal glands and the ovaries and the testes—which control multiple functions must coordinate to sustain normal development. Thus Chernobyl’s radioactive contamination has adversely impacted the function of the entire endocrine system.
Hormonal imbalances affect growth and the emotions. Excess of growth hormones like prolactin lead to increased inflammation, and become the basis of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Deficiencies or excesses of glutocorticoids affect the immune system and lead to imbalances in insulin, sodium, water retention, blood pressure, etc.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis used to be rare. Now it is the most common autoimmune disease (9):
In the early 1950s my mentor Noel Rose induced lymphocytic infiltration of the thyroid gland by injecting thyroglobulin into rabbits. The pathologist in the group, Kornel Terplan, noted that the lesions were reminiscent of those seen in the “rare” human disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. To confirm their findings in humans, the researchers asked endocrinologists in the Buffalo area for sera from Hashimoto’s patients. The endocrinologists’ reply was “Hashimoto’s thyroiditis? We rarely see this kind of patient.” And, in fact, it took the researchers about 2 yr to collect just 12 sera (25). Half a century later, our recognition and understanding of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis has expanded so much that it has now become the most common autoimmune disease. (It took Manetti et al. only 1.5 yr to collect 707 thyroiditis cases!)
Well, I know why Hashimoto’s has exploded since the 1950’s… RADIATION.
(1) http://www.asyura2.com/13/genpatu33/msg/229.html (Japanese)
(6) www.unscear.org/docs/reports/2008/11-80076_Report_2008_Annex_D.pdf (large pdf)
(7) http://www.strahlentelex.de/Yablokov%20Chernobyl%20book.pdf (p. 77)