Friday, April 1, 2011

Breaking Alert: Fallout may have been Iodine 123

The radioactive fallout sample taken on 3/29/11 no longer reads above background radiation on 4/1/11. I roughly estimated the half life to be no greater than 18 hours.

The potentially dangerous news is that this fallout may have been much more radioactive a few days before, when it was over the west coast. Given the fast half life, a good portion of the radioactivity could have disappeared before ever reaching a government lab. Just a few days earlier this sample may have read 14.0 mR/hr.

Based on the estimated half life and governmental reports of radioiodine, I suspect that the radioactive Iodine is actually Iodine-123. If I am correct, the risk of thyroid damage will increase exponentially the closer one gets to Fukushima. I pray I am wrong. The silver lining is a reduced risk of environmental build up.

Here is a photo of the sample which read 0.228 mR/hr on the evening of 3/29/11.
The second photo shows a reading of .006 mR/hr on 4/1/11. Note that the meter is in direct contact with the sample

Here is a link to the

Nuclide Safety Data Sheet Iodine-123

Quoted notes from the safety data sheet

Critical Organ: Thyroid Gland

Intake Routes: Ingestion, inhalation, puncture, wound, skin contamination (absorption);

Radiological Hazard: External & Internal Exposure; Contamination


- Avoid skin contamination [absorption], ingestion, inhalation, & injection [all routes of intake]

- Use shielding [lead or leaded Plexiglas] to minimize exposure while handling mCi quantities of 123I

- Avoid making low pH [acidic] solutions containing 123I to avoid volatilization

- For Iodinations:
- Use a cannula adapter needle to vent stock vials of 123I used; this prevents puff releases
- Cover test tubes used to count or separate fractions from iodinations with parafilm or other
tight caps to prevent release while counting or moving outside the fume hood.

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