I was honored to be invited to give a lecture in the "Night with the Experts" series of the Nuclear Education Information Services (NEIS) group based in Chicago (my hometown).
The title of my talk is, "How Internal Exposures to Radiation Make People Invisible." There are several parts to the lecture:
-The effects of nuclear weapons
-How internal and external exposures to radiation are experienced differently and affect people differently
-External exposures affect our whole bodies
-Internal exposures deposit small particles in specific organs of the body, where they slowly harm nearby cells over long periods of time
-The effects of internalized particles depends on what kind of particle (radionuclide) and where it is retained inside of the body
-Our medical models of how radiation has harmed human beings is based on studies of the hibakusha in Hiroshima and Nagasaki
-These medical models only assessed the impact of external radiation on human health
-We don't have medical models for the effects of internalized radiation on human health
-During the Cold War (and since) most exposures to radiation are of internalized particles. That is what happened at Chernobyl, Fukushima, nuclear production and nuclear test sites
-Since we don't have a medical model for people living in radioactive particle rich environments, we use the models for external exposures, which depict them as without risk
-Most people exposed to radiation since 1945 were exposed to particles and have thus remained largely invisible to us medically
-The risks to health and mortality from internalizing particles was actually known to militaries before nuclear weapons were invented
-The use of fallout as a weapon has been a military tactic embedded in the strategies of all nuclear weapon states
There is more in the talk, and especially in the discussion that follows. Watch the video below.
Thanks for watching, thanks to NEIS for hosting the event and posting the video, and especially thanks to all who joined the event and discussion.