Concerning Low-level Radiation

By Beth Ellen DiLuglio
Reviewed and edited by Dr. Sternglass, December 16, 1997

Dr. Ernest Sternglass, Professor Emeritus of Radiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine testified in court on December 12, 1997 for the defense of the Cassini protestors. Fifteen protestors who attempted to reach the launch pad and stop the launch of the plutonium laden Cassini probe on October 4, 1997 had pleaded "not guilty" to trespassing on that day and tried to get the truth about the dangers of plutonium out to the public. Unfortunately the judge did not see this as "relevant" or a reasonable defense and tried the protestors on a simple trespassing charge. I hope there is enough sand to go around for so many to stick their heads into!

Dr. Sternglass shared many interesting and disturbing facts with us personally and through testimony. In summary, he stressed the importance of understanding that continuous, low level radiation (from nuclear fallout in the atmosphere) is hundreds to thousands of times MORE DAMAGING to humans than quick short blasts of high levels of radiation (as in a bomb blast, Xray or medical radiation therapy). The main reason is because the body can recover somewhat from a short quick blast of radiation, it can repair some of the DNA in cells. In that scenario the large number of short-lived free radical oxygen molecules generated by the radiation in a short time collide and neutralize each other so that they can only do limited damage.

When a human cell is exposed to continuous low dose radiation, the free radicals are released slowly and continuously, rupturing membranes and damaging DNA with great efficiency. Not only is difficult for the body to handle this onslaught, but the plutonium and the radioactive elements produced when it fissions or splits are taken up by the body and incorporated into tissues as if they were nutrients! Particularly in the case of Strontium 90, the body thinks it is calcium, taking it up into the bone where it releases radiation and damages the bone marrow where red and white blood cells are made. Without adequate white blood cells, our immune systems are unable to destroy early cancer cells or fight off viruses and infections. Strontium 90 is also converted to Yttrium 90 which goes to soft tissues such as the pancreas, pituitary gland, ovaries, testes, mammary glands, etc. where its powerful radiation damages these crucial hormone-producing organs as well as the lung, resulting in chronic respiratory diseases and lung cancer.

Dr. Sternglass has correlated increases in infant mortality, asthma deaths, leukemia and lung cancer with events such as the testing of nuclear bombs in the mid 1950's, the Chernobyl and Three Mile accidents, plutonium manufacturing and the daily airborne and liquid releases from nuclear power plants into our environment. The graphs he showed hauntingly depict the clear relationship between increased radiation and increased mortality and morbidity of humans. Based on the steady decline of infant and total mortality in the U.S. prior to 1950 when the large nuclear bombs a thousand times the power of the one that destroyed Hiroshima were detonated, some fifteen million individuals died in excess of normal expectations, some one million of which were infants under one year.

Most disturbing was the fact that the radioactive fallout comes down to the Earth in areas of the largest rainfall and contaminates water, vegetables, fruits and milk as well as other crops. Dr. Sternglass did confirm that antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables (hopefully incontaminated because of the moratorium on bomb testing and limiting of nuclear power plants) and in supplements can help to protect from the free radical damage from the fallout. Dr. Sternglass also recommended drinking water that has been distilled or purified by reverse osmosis, as this can remove the radioactive material.

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