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Low Doses of Radiation Might Actually be Good for You

Most of you know that I have long been opposed to radiation exposure and I have posted articles by Dr. Gofman who is a nuclear physicist and medical doctor on how exposure to X-rays may increase cancer and heart disease. However, we all, me included, need to be open to the possibility that some of our foundational understandings of how the body works may be seriously flawed. It appears that exposure to X-ray radiation may be one of them.

The two articles below expand on the concept of how exposure to small amounts of ionizing radiation may actually increase longevity. I don't have the technical expertise to carefully analyze these arguments one way or the other, but I know enough about health that it seems to be a reasonable hypothesis based on similar beneficial items.

It is a well-accepted fact that excessive exposure to radiation is deadly and needs to be avoided. If we examine another well-known beneficial factor for human health, exercise, we may have some helpful comparisons. It is certainly possible to over exercise to a point that it is fatal to nearly 100 percent of humans. However, at smaller doses it becomes a highly beneficial and essential part of health. Exercise is a stress that helps our body adjust and actually become healthier.

Most of us are not aware that Americans are exposed to an average 200 mrem of natural and medical radiation per year. Natural background radiation comes from cosmic rays, isotopes of uranium and thorium in the bricks, plaster, and concrete of buildings, and radioactive potassium. Radioactive potassium in our bodies generates about 25 mrem of radiation per year--more than the EPA safety limit. In my view it is not such a great leap of faith to believe that exposure to something naturally in our environment may actually be beneficial.

I don't know about you, but this perspective sure makes me feel better about getting my teeth X-rayed.

Lew Rockwell April 2, 2004

Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 9 Number 1 Spring 2004 PDF File

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