# Lifespan vs. Radiation levels

So while watching Better Call Saul I asked myself, if you shielded yourself from radiation like Chuck, not only electromagnetic but all types as much as you could, say in your office, car, and home so most of your time is spent with significantly less tiny particles messing with your cells, could it make a big enough effect to affect your lifespan?

## Answers and Replies

Maybe we could ask how the people that work in dark matter or neutrino detectors feel lol.

billy_joule
This excellent chart from Randall Munroe should offer some insight:

Laroxe
So we should have lead insulation

billy_joule
So we should have lead insulation
Sure, you can get suits here:
(tinfoil hat optional)

You could also avoid bananas, CT scans, X-rays, airplane flights and Colorado.

But, of course, avoiding modern medicine, healthy food and the safest form of travel (per mile) will likely have a net negative impact on your lifespan.

Have another look at the chart and take special note of the relative size of the "lowest one-year dose clearly linked to increased cancer risk" compared with normal, dosage you'd be exposed to.

OmCheeto
Gold Member
...
You could also avoid bananas...
....
All food is slightly radioactive, as is water. [ref]

According to Idaho State University, there are much worse things than radiation to worry about:
Code:
Health Risk                    Est. life expectancy lost
Smoking 20 cigs a day             6 years
Overweight (15%)                  2 years
Alcohol (US Ave)                  1 year
All Accidents                   207 days
All Natural Hazards               7 days
Occupational dose (300 mrem/yr)  15 days
Occupational dose (1 rem/yr)     51 days

Average person dose (360 mrem/yr) 0 days

billy_joule
Yeah i just read that banana thing, stupid isotopes. Probably won't need to line suits with space blankets then

OmCheeto
Gold Member
It's also possible that reducing natural background radiation might be detrimental.

The use of pKZ1 mouse chromosomal inversion assay to study biological effects of environmental background radiation
Abstract
Life has evolved on Earth for 3 billion years in the presence of background ionizing radiation (IR). All organisms on Earth are continuously exposed to varying amounts of natural radiation and they have therefore incorporated in their normal biology a daily stimulus of ultra-low-dose radiation. A question arises about the biological effects of environmental background radiation and whether the biochemical behavior of living organisms would differ if it was absent. Here, we report our experimental design to address these scientific questions, which use pKZ1 mouse chromosomal inversion assay to study the biological behavior of different cell cultures maintained in “cosmic silence” and in reference background conditions.

Unfortunately, I'm not willing to pay the \$39.95 to find out the results of their study.
But it is an interesting question.

billy_joule
Yeah that thought occurred to me too, certain biological processes probably evolved to use it in one way or another, removing something that was present during the creation of life and all of evolution doesnt seem wise... everything in moderation haha

OmCheeto
Gold Member
Yeah that thought occurred to me too, certain biological processes probably evolved to use it in one way or another, removing something that was present during the creation of life and all of evolution doesnt seem wise... everything in moderation haha

It might be a similar mechanism to children being biologically harmed by being raised in too sterile an environment.
Early exposure to germs has lasting benefits [Nature]
Findings help to explain how microbes programme a developing immune system.
Helen Thompson
22 March 2012

Exposure to germs in childhood is thought to help strengthen the immune system and protect children from developing allergies and asthma, but the pathways by which this occurs have been unclear. Now, researchers have identified a mechanism in mice that may explain the role of exposure to microbes in the development of asthma and ulcerative colitis, a common form of inflammatory bowel disease.
...

But I have no formal training in biology, so it's all rather very "iffy". Ionizing radiation may damage DNA, in a similar manner as other mechanisms.

DNA damage (naturally occurring) [Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]
DNA damage is an alteration in the chemical structure of DNA, such as a break in a strand of DNA, a base missing from the backbone of DNA, or a chemically changed base such as 8-OHdG. Damage to DNA that occurs naturally can result from metabolic or hydrolytic processes. Metabolism releases compounds that damage DNA including reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, reactive carbonyl species, lipid peroxidation products and alkylating agents, among others, while hydrolysis cleaves chemical bonds in DNA. Naturally occurring oxidative DNA damages arise at least 10,000 times per cell per day in humans and 50,000 times or more per cell per day in rats, as documented below.
...

So the study I posted earlier may have found that a "zero radiation environment" is not really harmful, in comparison.
But that's a pretty wild number; "Naturally occurring oxidative DNA damages arise at least 10,000 times per cell per day in humans..."
It almost sounds like we should be walking bags a jelly, with that much damage.

Of course, you should never trust wiki, and should check their references when they say crazy things like that:
Chapter 16, page 2, DNA Damage, DNA Repair and Cancer

It appears to be true.

hmmm.... This might explain my friend Bob. He's kind of a walking bag of jelly.

Pepper Mint and Choppy
Choppy
...if you shielded yourself from radiation like Chuck, not only electromagnetic but all types as much as you could, say in your office, car, and home so most of your time is spent with significantly less tiny particles messing with your cells, could it make a big enough effect to affect your lifespan?

Not really, no.

But a lot can depend on the background radiation environment that you live in. One legitimate concern would be exposure to radon gas. If you happen to be exposed to levels of radon gas above the safe limits, you're at an increased risk for developing lung cancer.

For most people background radiation levels result in exposures on the order of 2-3 mSv per year. Most deterministic effects don't appear to show up until exposures reach fairly high levels - on the order of Sv, although some may go down to the 100 mSv ballpark if I recall. Stochastic effects such as cancer induction occur at a rate of ~ 5%/Sv, but for low doses below 100 mSv there's a lot of uncertainty as to whether a linear no-threshold model can even apply. Some have argued that there may even be a net protective effect for low dose radiation exposures - look up "radation hormesis." Even if the linear no-threshold model applies, the potential of reducing the 0.01% probability of cancer induction by walking around in a lead suit is probably not worth the increased risk due to not being able to jump out of the way of a bus.

Pepper Mint
What's really messed up is that tabacco is grown in apatite which basically absorbs radon from the ground which sticks to trichomes... smokers have way higher levels of polonium in their lungs.. i have a theory if you grew your own tobacco you'd be much less likely to get cancer

And smoke is floating around everywhere

It might be a similar mechanism to children being biologically harmed by being raised in too sterile an environment.

But I have no formal training in biology, so it's all rather very "iffy". Ionizing radiation may damage DNA, in a similar manner as other mechanisms.

So the study I posted earlier may have found that a "zero radiation environment" is not really harmful, in comparison.
But that's a pretty wild number; "Naturally occurring oxidative DNA damages arise at least 10,000 times per cell per day in humans..."
It almost sounds like we should be walking bags a jelly, with that much damage.

Of course, you should never trust wiki, and should check their references when they say crazy things like that:
Chapter 16, page 2, DNA Damage, DNA Repair and Cancer

It appears to be true.

hmmm.... This might explain my friend Bob. He's kind of a walking bag of jelly.
I've been told there are many, many different mechanisms for dna repair in our bodies

But a lot can depend on the background radiation environment that you live in. One legitimate concern would be exposure to radon gas.

Radon is bad, don't get me wrong but I find the statistical data given for the amount of deaths attributed to radon daughter particals in non-smokers /never smokers to be inflated.

jim mcnamara
Mentor
i have a theory if you grew your own tobacco you'd be much less likely to get cancer
We do not support guesses. PF supports actual scientific results as answers. Smoking AND secondhand smoking in fact do cause a multitude of cancers and diseases.
Here is a layman's guide to all of the health problems smoking causes - from NIH:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_effects_of_tobacco

jedishrfu
Mentor
Thank you all for your contributions.

The thread has run its course and will now be closed.