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Lifespan vs. Radiation levels

  1. Apr 13, 2016 #1
    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?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 13, 2016 #2
    Maybe we could ask how the people that work in dark matter or neutrino detectors feel lol.
  4. Apr 13, 2016 #3


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    This excellent chart from Randall Munroe should offer some insight:

  5. Apr 13, 2016 #4
    So we should have lead insulation
  6. Apr 13, 2016 #5


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    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.
  7. Apr 13, 2016 #6


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    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 (Text):
    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
  8. Apr 13, 2016 #7
    Yeah i just read that banana thing, stupid isotopes. Probably won't need to line suits with space blankets then
  9. Apr 13, 2016 #8


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

    Unfortunately, I'm not willing to pay the $39.95 to find out the results of their study.
    But it is an interesting question.
  10. Apr 13, 2016 #9
    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
  11. Apr 13, 2016 #10


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    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. :biggrin:
  12. Apr 14, 2016 #11


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    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.
  13. Apr 15, 2016 #12
    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
  14. Apr 15, 2016 #13
    And smoke is floating around everywhere
  15. Apr 15, 2016 #14
    I've been told there are many, many different mechanisms for dna repair in our bodies
  16. Apr 15, 2016 #15
    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.
  17. Apr 15, 2016 #16

    jim mcnamara

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    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:

  18. Apr 15, 2016 #17


    Staff: Mentor

    Thank you all for your contributions.

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