Even though the likelihood of atomic warfare is now exceedingly slim, do we still have to be wary of the seven deadliest elements in radioactive fallout?
By: Ringo Bones
Unfortunately, the threat to our health and well-being posed by radioactive fallout in atomic warfare and the one produced by a nuclear fission power plant accident are virtually identical. The recent Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster caused by the tragic March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit the north-eastern portion of Japan – which is now had been inevitably compared to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident of April 26, 1986 – has virtually the same threat to our health and well-being posed by multi-megaton MIRVs that “might” be used in an all-out nuclear exchange.
The seven deadliest elements produced by atomic warfare and a nuclear fission power plant accident are as follows:
1)Strontium-89 - has a half-life of 53 days and is similar in effects to strontium-90.
2)Strontium-90 – has a half-life of 28 years. Absorbed in the skeleton, can injure bone and cause anemia. Emits beta particles and may also be absorbed by plants and transferred to humans in food.
3)Iodine-131 – has a half-life of 8.1 days and it primarily affects the thyroid.
4)Cesium-137 – has a half-life of 27 years. Easily absorbed by the body through the biosphere. Emits gamma rays and is a bone-seeker but it’s not as dangerous as strontium-90.
5)Barium-140 – has a half-life of 12.8 days and is similar to strontium-90 in its effects.
6)Cesium-144 – has a half-life of 282 days and has similar effects to cesium-137.
7)Plutonium-239 – primary component of nuclear weapons and a nuclear power plant’s fuel. Has a half-life of 24,000 years. Can injure the bone and cause anemia. Not as dangerous as the other elements listed because of its long half-life.