This is a brief overview of some blogposts and pages that provide key information to better understand reporting on radioactivity, and spot some common deceptions and misconceptions circulating in mainstream as well as alternative media:
- First of all, you want to familiarize yourself with the various Radiation Units (and Conversions), one of my static reference pages (which started this blog, together with Worldwide Online Radiation Monitors and my Disclaimer). Some conversions are actually very complicated calculations, for which there are helpful calculators. Also included are a comprehensive Decay Calculator (to estimate how much ‘activity’ of a radioactive isotope is still present after x amount of time), and tables to help decode prefixes and ‘power of 10’ scientific number notations.
Then I have these three blogpost:
- For clear facts to toss the Banana Equivalent Dose bullshit back to nuclear propaganda garbage can, or, for that matter, any other comparison of doses of health-hazardous man-made radioactive isotopes with calculated theoretical doses from foods rich in naturally occurring Potassium-40 (found in all Potassium, an essential macronutrient, whose cancer-fighting properties in a balanced diet out-do the harm K-40 theoretically would induce, making its effective biological dose incomparable to nuclear fallout), see my blogpost, “Why 150 Bq Cs-137 is health-hazardous, while 150 Bq* K-40 is RECOMMENDED for health“;
- For a basic understanding of several types of doses, in particular the absorbed dose and/or equivalent dose on the one hand, and the effective dose (aka effective biological dose) on the other, with media deception examples of how widespread ignorance about them is used to deceive, see “The Dose Deception – Why 0.20 µSv/hr (from fallout) can be far more dangerous than 2.00 µSv/hr (from cosmic rays). The inverse square law for ionizing radiation illustrated.” This blogpost was recently greatly improved upon to clarify which dose types I referred to in my explanation of the inverse square law, which in itself is an important fact to keep in mind when reading about (absorbed or equivalent) doses measured at certain distances from an emitting source, especially when compared to effective doses over different time periods;
- Another one, the rarely used Iodine Equivalent to “make it easier to compare” activity levels (in becquerel) of Iodine-131 with other isotopes. This has thrown even large mainstream news outlets like Russia Today for a loop. Just something to be aware of as well. I explained what it is in “Fukushima’s Cs-137 is NOT “Four Chernobyls” ! (Russia Today spreading misinformation)” (!–> Since then, in 2013 new (alarming) information has revealed that Fukushima’s may have (indeed) released anywhere from 1+ to 4 times the radioCesiums Chernobyl released. For some data on that, see also here and here)
PS: This blog arose from my journey of attempting to make sense of the news related to the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear disaster, which from the very beginning included in-your-face media deceptions. Some, such as this one from CNN (way back in the beginning, March 26, 2011), showing an example of the common trick to portray “x times the maximum allowable level” of some manmade radioactive isotope as “x times normal”, were easy to spot; others took me awhile to see. For an example of how I basically deceived myself, see my (scientific side-) journey from when I was in Fukushima being véry concerned with some clearly radioactive food (measuring 5 times background upon contact with package!), to wondering what it could be, to finding out what actually caused it by having expensive lab tests done.