Rural Survival
 

Environmental Safety

It would be prudent to be reasonably sure your place is environmentally safe and clean, especially if you have children. Having a lab test the water to see what is in it I think is very important. You don't want radon or leached pesticides and herbicides like Roundup and 2,4D winding up in your water and food. This maybe a possible issue if your place is an old farm, ranch or homestead. I've seen my neighbor years ago heavily applying 2,4D in an effort to kill Knapweed. That chemical is one of the main ingredient of Agent Orange and some batches were known to contain dioxin. Agent Orange is still causing devastating damage to the American soldiers who handled the chemical and to the people and ecology of South East Asia where it was sprayed.

Another environmental concern is radon. The geology of Eastern Washington have known elevated levels of radon, one of the daughter products from the natural decay of uranium. The highest levels are found in the northern counties bordering Canada. Inactive uranium mines in the Spokane Indian tribal land at Wellpinit have become part of EPA superfund cleanup sites. Radon is estimated by the EPA to cause 21000 lung cancer deaths per year in the US, second only to cancer from smoking.

To add to these concerns is the ongoing disaster in Japan with their March 2011 multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns which is still out of control and releasing tremendous amounts of radiation both into the atmosphere and the Pacific Ocean. Due to the news and information suppression of this event by governments and main stream news, there is no clear picture presented to the public. Ironic considering the event is considered by experts to be the greatest industrial accident in human history. Instead information must be cobbled together from web sites like the ones below. Reminiscent of the handling of the Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf.

Enenews Breaking news updates, discussions and links about the Fukushima nuclear plant events. Clipped headline format lends to more speculation but usually has the latest nuclear news. The forum discussion threads are pretty interesting, especially the one about the live Fukushima web cam.

EnviroReporter Based in Santa Monica CA. A good consolidator of nuclear news and posts the latest local radiation readings. The postings give a good idea about what's going on even if you do not live in Southern California.

EX-SKF Summarized findings and observations about the Fukushima earthquake and Nuclear Plant disaster by a Japanese blogger. Excellent site.

Fairewinds Associates Excellent video presentations of nuclear plant safety issues by a retired American nuclear engineer.

Much of this released radiation is being carried by the prevailing jet stream east over the Pacific directly to North America en route to the rest of the world. In an event called "rain out" precipitation attaches and carries the radioactive particles down to earth as "fall out" causing localized "hotspots".

To where this unfortunate convergence of wind, radioactive plume and precipitation will occur is determined mostly by sheer chance. With the weather seemingly becoming more erratic and unpredictable there will be no truly safe locations to move to. None the less you probably do not want to be down wind from a reactor or at least be 150 miles away. Check the real time radiation map of US at Radiation Network.

Radiation monitoring with a dosimeter is a good idea, as stated earlier especially if you have children. It has been statistically proven that children are the most susceptible to radiation damage. Nuclear experts such as Gundersen at Fairewinds have been advising people to wash produce before eating. One should be careful about eating certain food that tend to bio accumulate or concentrate radiation, like milk, seaweed, mushrooms and others. The important fact to keep in mind is that the US National Academy of Sciences has in 2005 declared that there is no safe dose of radiation. The big danger is inadvertent ingestion of low level dose by children where ionized particles become internal emitters. Newton's Inverse Square Law applies here and particles actually attached to internal cells do damage in the order of magnitudes more than an external dose from 1" away.

Snow CPM
Snow CPM readings Feb. 26 2012 Spokane WA
Kitchen counter CPM
Kitchen counter CPM reading Feb 23 2012 Spokane WA

So my understanding is that the readings around here are close to normal, considering the high radon levels naturally present. Since that can abruptly change for the worse at any time I check after significant precipitation.

The dosimeter pictured above was purchased by me through Amazon in 2011.

 

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