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Do you agree with the limited topic selection for the final debate?   The Serious You: How Current Events Affect You

Started 10/22/20 by Showtalk; 2231 views.
Showtalk
Host

From: Showtalk 

11/8/20

What about radon gas? There was a big scare about that online at one time, then it fizzled out.

Showtalk said:

What about radon gas? There was a big scare about that online at one time, then it fizzled out.

Radon is from the decay of uranium, embedded in mostly volcanic / metamorphic rock such as granite. It is the heaviest of the noble gases, and the only radioactive gas. Outdoors, it very quickly dissipates in the atmosphere.

Indoors, particularly in basements, its incredibly high atomic weight (222) makes it settle in low places as it escapes the rock to the surrounding air.

So the radon forms during the radioactive decay, as one of the daughter products, which then finds its way into microscopic cracks and finally taking the path of least resistance, ends up in the basements.

Inhaling it in tiny quantities irradiates lung tissue from the inside out. Nearly all lung cancer cases that are not caused by smoking are caused by radon (and other radioactive particle inhalation).

In a post-nuclear apocalypse world, if mostly either underground where the geology is mostly sedimentary rock, or above ground everywhere else, you are unlikely to be exposed to enough radon to be a problem. However, above ground, or with poor filtration underground, there's lots of other really nasty short half-life radioactive materials that will be in the air as very fine particles much like smoke in size, which are easily inhaled and then end up deep into the lungs where they unleash alpha and beta and gamma particles.

While alpha particles are harmless when emitted outside the body, as they will not penetrate your skin or pieces of paper, when emitted inside the body, they wreak havoc as they can easily penetrate the micron or so from cell surface to nucleus, and disrupt DNA.

So finely powdered alpha emitting radionuclides can be particularly deadly, as are those that are soluble in various body fluids so they can be absorbed and get into the bloodstream and delivered to cells all over the body.

So the worst radiation is that which the sources are ingested or inhaled.

External radiation sources that emit strong gamma are the next problem, as are those that emit strong neutron flux, as those high energy emissions can penetrate a long ways into body tissue or even pass completely through. Beta are the next because they can penetrate a couple of inches into the flesh and leave a trail of disruption.

Another radiation type that has been used effectively to precisely target cancer are  medium energy accelerated protons. They are easily steered, and given the precise energy level required to reach the tumor deep inside. They do little damage on the way in, until they are finally stopped, where they dumped a huge amount of destructive energy inside the cells they stop inside. So the velocity of the beam determines how deep they go, so healthy tissue isn't damaged the way it can be with gamma radiation.

Although the last person I know who had that therapy has been deceased for a couple of years - it didn't get all of the cancer, and nothing else stopped its growth.

Showtalk
Host

From: Showtalk 

11/9/20

Targeted cancer treatment is effective in some cases,

Especially if they get to it in time.

Showtalk
Host

From: Showtalk 

11/11/20

Yes, early detection and treatment are the best.

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