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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Drinking Water In a Disaster or Emergency

In this post I'll discuss about the NUMBER ONE most important thing in order to survive any natural or man-made disaster, drinking water. Now we all know how to get water when society is running like it should and you can just open your faucets or go get some bottled water at the store, but what happens when you open the tap and nothing comes out and all the stores are either locked up tight or simply destroyed. Before radiation, famine, disease or anything else gets to you, the first and most important thing will be to secure a clean and safe source of water. In this optic, there is two different mentalities, some people are into storing massive jugs of water in their house and car just in case something happens, and other people keep no storage of water but store water filters and disinfecting cleaning tablets instead. Like in most things, there is an in between. Personally I use a bit of the two as both have advantages and disadvantages. For example, having stored water is space consuming and heavy, but you have it with you ready to drink instantly. Having stored supplies to produce clean water requires that you find some sort of water supply to purify and then requires you take the time to purify it in the field, but has the advantage of being lighter and more compact. I will discuss each strategy one by one with what equipment is available and then come back and tell you about my setup for water storage and purification.

Solution #1 (Water Storage):
In a way the most practical but also heaviest means of having a good source of water is carrying already filtered and sanitized water with you. Depending on where you live and how much space you have reserved for survival water storage, it can sometimes be a big problem. However when we talk about water storage, it doesn't mean do fill huge blue plastic drums with water and keep one in your car wherever you go. It can be as simple as keeping a couple of standard US Military 1 Quart canteens (as seen on the picture left) filled with water and a drop of Clorox to make it last longer. I find this option a lot more particle because 1 quart of water (946ml) also happens to be the minimum emergency ration of water for one adult for one day. You can thus easily calculate how much days of water you want to have on hand for emergency use, all in an easy to transport package. The US Canteens are very tough and can easily survive a fall from a couple of stories onto the ground, if you fill them to only half, they also float very well. They stack themselves very well in a box and are easy to distribute when they are needed. Personally I have 3 wooden boxes with 24 canteens each for a total of 72 canteens. This gives a nice 72 adult portions of water which in my opinion gives me enough time to find a more sustainable source of water or until rescue arrives and distributes more water supplies. 72 Canteens can sustain 5 people for more than 2 weeks which is plenty enough.

Water purification for storage:
In the optic of storing water there is certain things that you should do in order to make sure your stored water is good and healthy when you are ready to drink it. There is plenty of commercial products out there which are all quite expensive that basically add chlorine to your water to keep bacterial growth down during storage. A side note on chlorine, it is NOT dangerous to your health or bad for you, chlorine is actually needed in your body in great quantities (2300mg per day in adults). It is drinking pure  bleach that is bad because it is more than you body will ever need. When using Clorox or any other brand of bleach to purify water, only use regular bleach, not scented or with other additives. The only big disadvantage which is also what makes bleach environmentally friendly is that it neutralizes itself over time. In one year bleach loses half its power, and so on, so the most often you rotate your water supplies the better but if you do like me and put 150% the recommended dosage shown below (3 drops for ever water canteen) you should be able to store city water for easily a year with no problems whatsoever. According to Clorox, one gallon can effectively treat 3800 gallon of contaminated water. With the price of 1 gallon of Clorox at around 5$, treatment price is at 0.1 cents per gallon. Not much specialty water treatment tablets even come close to this! If the water is cloudy or you sincerely think it is very contaminated, double the dose of Clorox. Below is a table with the recommendation from the Red Cross on the amount of Clorox to add to water to kill bacteria:


  • 2 drops of Regular Clorox Bleach per quart of water
  • 8 drops of Regular Clorox Bleach per gallon of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Regular Clorox Bleach per five gallons of water


NBC Canteen Caps:
On a side note, I love the US 1 quart canteens because if you own a gas mask, you can also buy a US Issue NBC Canteen cap. NBC which stands for Nuclear Biological Chemical is a standard for emergency equipment designed to protect you against these three threats. These NBC caps screw onto all one and two quart US canteens and allow you to connect your gas mask's drink tube to your US canteen allowing you to drink without removing your gas mask which is a good idea since there is probably a good reason you are wearing this gas mask in the first place. They sell for around 19.99$US each and they can be bought off eBay. Here is a link to my personal stash.








Solution #2 (Water Purification):
The second solution to having clean water on hand is the most complicated but also the most compact and easy to transport. Having with you the means of turning dirty cloudy water into pure clean water perfect for drinking and free from all bacteria and viruses. Now, there are two categories within water purification, either chemical purification like the Clorox method above or physical filtration. There is no way to happily enjoy your water with any one of these methods, both of them need to be used together to get your perfect glass of water. If you example you use the chemical method and effectively kill all bacteria and viruses, your water will be safe but it will still be cloudy and may contain floating pacticles which is not very attractive. The opposite is also true, if you physically filter out your water it will look perfectly clean but tiny viruses may have passed through the filter and will still contaminate your water.

Physical Filtration:
Physical filtration is the means of forcing water through a filter and preventing anything else than H2O from passing through. In the filtration world, nothing is better than a ceramic filter, it is robust, has great filtration capabilities and is easily cleanable. My favourite portable filtering pump is the ''Katadyn Pocket'' which is the top in the filtering world in term of reliability performance and most importantly, durability. There is nothing worse than a broken filter when you are really thirsty. In an emergency situation, it could be deadly. This is what the company Katadyn has to say about their high performance filter pump: "The classic. This robust water filter made of heavy duty materials is ideal for long lasting continuous use even under extreme circumstances. The silver impregnated ceramic element is effective against bacteria and protozoa. The Katadyn Pocket is the only water filter with a 20 year warranty. Includes: Prefilter, bottle clip and carry bag". A good filter can carry a hefty price but it is well worth the investment. Just don't forget to buy an extra filter cause there ain't going to be many around in an widespread disaster! The main advantage to a ceramic filter is that they are very easy to clean and then you can just leave them in the sun to dry. Here is a link to the Katadyn website if you want to read more on it. Personally I don't have the funds (855$US) right now to buy myself a Katadyn Pocket and 2 replacement filters right now, but it is definitely in my plans for the future.

Chemical Filtration:
I know I have already discussed the Clorox trick to treat water and it works fine except it may be not very practical to carry a Clorox bottle in your bag all the time. There are different chemical makeups available that all try to do the basic task of killing every living thing in your water. There is Iodine, Chlorine, potassium permanganate, and halazone tablets on the market today. The two most popular are Iodine and Chlorine. Personally I prefer the Chlorine ones because they tend to be more effective even in cold water where Iodine can be much less effective. And in the Chlorine tablet world, proven reliable is a tablet called ''Chlor-Floc''. First of all I'll say that this is not a tablet but a little packet of powder. I love this product because the army uses it so they have done studies on it before buying it and equipping their troops which is a little reassuring and as the picture on the box suggest. They are made for the 1 quart US canteens I'm using. It's simple as 1 packet for 1 canteen. These tablets do two things, first they kill anything alive in your water and secondly they clear the suspended particles in your water chemically and puts them in the bottom of your canteen by using a flocculating agent. If you want to see what a flocculating agent does in real-time look at this youtube video, the process looks magical. Like I said in the Clorox section, tablets are a lot more expensive than using bleach, these Chlor-Floc tablets come up to around 31 cents a litre against 0.1 cents a gallon for bleach.

To conclude, your emergency water plan should comprise a mix of water storage and portable water treatment. Do not neglect on any of the two options because the two are needed. For the filtration part, keep tablets and a filter handy as they work together. When it comes to last resort, you can use only tablets, and can do an initial filtration using a shirt or bandana. Keep reading for future posts!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Movie Review: Right at your Door (2006)

This is my first movie review, but I told myself why not. It's fun reading about survival techniques, medication equipment and theory on radiation, but watching a little movie is also fun. I chose to write on ''Right at your Door'' specifically because I really liked the movie and it is up to some point very realistic in the terms of government reaction. I'm telling you in advance, I will not spoil the movie for the people who did not see it, so don't worry I'll won't tell you the punch lines. However, I strongly suggest you go see it because it is an awesome movie that clearly depicts what happens when terrorists strike and the government is not prepared. Being prepared yourself could be of great help if something like this happens and it will. In the bottom of this post I've included a chart of the failed terrorist plots in the US since 9/11. It is all compiled in a nice chronological chart with the manes of the people arrested and their targets. It's not because there has been no successful attempts that we should let our guard down, it's just that they have not succeeded luckily for us, until now.

In the movie, a dirty bomb goes off in Los Angeles, and sends radioactive and other unknown substances all over the city and it's surroundings. The story concentrates on a couple Brad and Lexi and how they live the horrible event. For all the survivalists out there, you will able to see your good share of gas masks and haz mat suits. Like in any terrorist event, law enforcement and the government agencies are seen running around like headless chicken not knowing what to do with the people injured in the blast and the people affected by the fallout. The shopping craze right after the bombs detonate can be seen and again is very realistic from what has been seen in natural events seen in reality in the US. Government tells people to listen to the radio for updates on what to do, which like expected are contradictory from one place to another. When panic of a biological attack sets in people start to be shot and drastic measures are taken by the government which isn't quite sure what to do to contain the virus. I won't say anymore about the movie, go see Right at your Door and use it to plan for what YOU would do if a such thing happened in your city.



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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nuclear War Medication - DTPA for Radioactive Plutonium, Americium, and Curium

This article is a sub-post to Top Medication for a Nuclear War or Meltdown in this post I will discuss about the third medication for radiation fallout, DTPA to treat Radioactive Plutonium, Americium, and Curium. Like the previous post, I'll start by explaining what radioactive Plutonium, Americium, and Curium do to your body. All of those three radionuclides are very rarely used in the medical field as they are extremely dangerous. With the difference of Cesium-137 and Thallium-201, these three radionuclides can have half lives of up to millions of years. If a huge bomb was detonated and these radionuclides were released it would mean a no life zone (dead zone) for millions of years. I'll explain quickly where Plutonium, Americium, and Curium are commonly found, what is their common isotopes and what is the typical half life of the common isotopes. After that I'll discuss about what DTPA  is and who makes it. You will learn that DTPA comes in to forms and how much do you have to take to get rid of Plutonium, Americium, and Curium that you may have inhaled or ingested as a result of either the detonation of a dirty bomb made from Nuclear Waste, the result of a Nuclear Reactor accident, or a Nuclear Bomb.


Plutonium-238 and Plutonium-239:
Plutonium has 20 different isotopes that range from 228-247. Plutonium-238 and Plutonium-239 are the most common isotopes of Plutonium. The main use of Plutonium-238 is as a thermal-electric generator which require low maintenance. An example of this in in spacecraft which can't go back to earth to fuel up. It has a very long half life of 87.7 years, which if I use the ten halves formula means it would take 877 years for Plutonium-238 to be deemed perfectly safe. Plutonium-238 is also found in spent Nuclear Fuel which is why it could show up in a dirty bomb. Plutonium-239 is far more common than it's counterpart primarily due to it's ability to make nuclear chain reaction, hence it use in nuclear weapons. It is to expected that if Plutonium-239 was found, it is probably because you are near a Nuclear Test Site (Trinity, Enewetak or  Novaya Zemlya) or a Nuclear Bomb detonation site (Hiroshima or Nagasaki). It would be possible to find it in dirty bombs using waste nuclear fuel. If an all out nuclear war was to happen, Plutonium-239 would be a major concern. What make Plutonium-239 good for maximum explosive damage in nuclear weapons also makes it deadly in fallout. Plutonium-239 has a half life of 24,200 years meaning it would take 242,000 years for it to be considered perfectly safe. The result would be considered a permanent dead zone for the area which contained most of the fallout, and this for 242,000 years! As for it's biological half life, it takes 200 years for your body to naturally eliminate half of the Plutonium it contains. As for it's effects on the body it is deadly even in small quantities and it is accumulated mainly in the bone marrow, liver and lungs. Plutonium is very hard to absorbed when injected, giving us a biological advantage as only 0.04% of the Plutonium you ingest will be absorbed. Breathing fallout particles though, is extremely dangerous and most of the Plutonium will accumulate in your lungs. If the Plutonium does not kill you, it will cause cancer in the areas where it is absorbed.

Americium-241 and Americium-243:
Americium has 19 different isotopes that range from 231-249. Americium-241 and Americium-242 are the most common isotopes of Americium. The main use of Americium-241 is in household smoke detectors in which a tiny quantity it used in the process to detect smoke. Now don't jump and rip off your smoke detector, it does not emit any radiation on itself that will harm you. The problem with Americium-241 is that it is not controlled when in smoke detectors and if you could gather a large number of smoke detectors, you could gather a significant supply of Americium-241 which then would be dangerous. Americium-241 has a half life of 432.7 years making it a good 4,327 years to deteriorate to a safe level. For the body it has a biological half life of 50 years in the bones and 20 years in the liver. Americium-243 is less common that its counterpart but is found in Nuclear Waste from Nuclear Plants, Nuclear test sites, and Nuclear accident sites (like the recent Fukushima Daiichi incident). Even if it is not commonly found, Americium-243 is still very dangerous because its half life of 7,370 years makes it dangerous much longer than Americium-241. We have the same biological advantage with Americium that we have with Plutonium as only 0.05% of the amount ingested is absorbed by our body.

Curium-242 and Curium-244:
Curium has 21 different isotopes that range from 232-252. Curium-242 and Curium-244 are the most common isotopes of Curium. As you may have wondered with the picture (left), Curium has been named after Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie and Pierre Curie who have been very important people in the field of Radioactivity. Curium-242 has no current mass use, it has been proposed for various purposed mainly as generators in space probes. Curium-242 has a half life of 160 days (4.3 years to be safe). Curium-244 like its counterpart, has no common use, but proposed usage also include spacecraft Nuclear Generators. Curium-244 has a much longer half life of 18.1 years (181 years to be safe). Both Curium-242 and Curium-244 are by-products found in Nuclear Waste and Nuclear Explosions, and has also been found near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant in 2011. In the body Curium concentrate equally in the bone marrow and liver. Its biological half life is of 50 years in the bones marrow and 20 years in the liver. We have the same biological advantage with Curium that we have with Plutonium and Americium as only 0.05% of the amount ingested is absorbed by our body. If inhaled it concentrates in the lungs where it is a lot more dangerous.


Now that we've covered the three radionuclides DTPA can help eliminate, lets look at the medication. DTPA is in the family of chelating agents. That is DTPA sticks to Plutonium, Americium and Cesium and shortens their biological half life. DTPA once stuck to the radionuclides, is naturally eliminated through urine. It is important to take DTPA correctly as it is not intelligent, it will stick to other minerals like Zinc, Magnesium, and Manganese. This means that it is eliminating the good minerals in your body just as the Radionuclides. When taking DTPA it is recommended to take mineral supplements, mainly Zinc. There are two types of DTPA and it is important to take the right one.

Pentetate Calcium Trisodium (Ca-DTPA) by Hameln Pharmaceuticals:
Pentetate Calcium Trisodium also known as Ca-DTPA is the only FDA approved medication along with Pentetate Zinc Trisodium (Zn-DTPA) for use as a chelating agents for contamination of Plutonium, Americium and Cesium. Ca-DTPA is the strongest of the two DTPA solutions and is very effective at accelerating the biological decay of Plutonium, Americium and Cesium. Ca-DTPA is said to be 10 times more effective than Zn-DTPA when given in the first 24 hours after contamination. Ca-DTPA is supplied in single-dose glass ampoules each containing 1000mg of Pentetate Calcium Trisodium dissolved in 5ml liquid form. It can be given either by inhalation in a special device or by intravenous injection (IV). The typical treatment with Ca-DTPA is to use only one 1000mg ampoule treatment then switch to Zn-DTPA. When used by IV, use a slow IV push for 3-4 minutes. This means that the 5ml dose should be slowly push in your blood stream over a period of 3-4 minutes, it shouldn't be injected all at once. Ca-DTPA is too strong to be administered more than once and can get you very sick. Ca-DTPA is not available over the counter and thus is a prescription only medication. Furthermore, most if not all treatment are given at a hospital by qualified personnel and thus you will probably never find it in a pharmacy.
Price per 1000mg dose (1 ampoule) is 22.50$US

Pentetate Zinc Trisodium (Zn-DTPA) by Hameln Pharmaceuticals:
Pentetate Zinc Trisodium also known as Zn-DTPA is the only FDA approved medication along with Pentetate Zinc Trisodium (Zn-DTPA) for use as a chelating agents for contamination of Plutonium, Americium and Cesium. Zn-DTPA is 10 times weaker than Ca-DTPA when used within 24 hours of contamination. After 24 hours both Ca-DTPA and Zn-DTPA are equally good, but Ca-DTPA still remains very dangerous. This is why after 24 hours Zn-DTPA is the preferred treatment. It is administered exactly the same way as Ca-DTPA, by slow IV for 3-4 minutes. Even if it is less dangerous than Ca-DTPA, Zn-DTPA should be taken with at least some Zinc supplements. For both types of DTPA it is important to drink a lot of water and to go urinate the most often as possible, especially in the beginning as all the radionuclides are all concentrated in your bladder. The quicker you urinate them out,  the less damage will have been caused to your body.
Price per 1000mg dose (1 ampoule) is 22.50$US



Here is a chart of the dosage for Pentetate Calcium Trisodium (Ca-DTPA) and Pentetate Zinc Trisodium (Zn-DTPA):
Adults and Adolescents                            1000mg (One 5ml ampoule) Every 24 hours
Children (under 12 years old)                     14 mg/kg (Max 1000mg) Every 24 hours


Visit the FDA website for other details on the dosage


This concludes the post on the second type of radionuclides which there is medication for. If you have any questions or comments feel free to discuss it in the comments section and I'll be more than happy to answer. Lastly, don't count on government reserves of neither Ca-DTPA or Zn-DTPA or any other medication for that fact, as when a nuclear war will break out o simply another nuclear accident, it will be a free-for-all for medication and in a couple days time there will be none left. Both these medication are only very rarely used in hospitals and I wouldn't be surprised if some hospitals don't even have some.


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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nuclear War Medication - Prussian Blue for Radioactive Thallium or Cesium-137

This article is a sub-post to Top Medication for a Nuclear War or Meltdown in this post I will discuss about the second medication for radiation fallout, Prussian Blue to treat Radioactive Thallium and Cesium-137. Like the previous post, I'll start by explaining what both radioactive Thallium (most commonly Thallium-201) and Cesium-137 do to your body. Both of these radionuclides are not commonly found as byproducts of nuclear reactor waste and very rare in nuclear bombs. The big problem with these two radionuclides is that the are widely used in the medical field, and medical nuclear waste is the most common ingredient in dirty bombs. Anyone who steals a bunch of Medical Nuclear Waste, which happens often, and get the brilliant idea to strap a couple of sticks or any sort of explosive, and detonates the combination will nicely spread the medical nuclear waste in the air. We are very lucky that nobody has ever had this idea in a big city centre because the result would be deadly. Depending on the meteorological conditions, and the type of explosives used, the fallout could be spread over hundreds of miles.



Thallium-201:
Thallium has 25 different isotopes that range from 184-210. Thallium-201 is the most common isotope of Thallium. The main use of Thallium-201 like I said previously is used in the medical field for x-ray imaging because it loses it's radioactive properties quickly, thus is only dangerous for little time. It's half-life, meaning the time it takes for its power to diminish by half is 73.1 hours. Generally any radiation source that has passed 10 half-lives in not dangerous anymore. Thus for Thallium-201 it would take 731 hours (30.4 days) for it to be safe. Thallium-201 is attracted to muscles and malignant tissues. Thus it will go where blood flow is at it's highest or where malignant tissues are present. If you have no tumours or cancers, it would pretty much all accumulate in your heart and brain. Thallium-201 attaches itself to your cells in your blood stream to be transferred to your muscles. Thus, if you absorbed a large dose of Thallium-201 either by breathing in fallout particles or eating contaminated food or water, you'd be irradiating yourself from the inside by carrying a radioactive heart and brain. Thallium-201 does not stay in your body forever, you will naturally eliminate it by filtration action of your liver. A constant supply of Thallium-201 would however, eventually be deadly, and at low doses be a huge cancer risk for the brain and heart. Thallium-201 has a biological half life of 28 days, which means that your body will naturally eliminate half of it in 28 days, if you do the math you will figure out that by the time your body eliminates half of it, it's almost not radioactive anymore (Radiological half life vs. Biological half life).

Cesium-137:
Cesium has 39 different isotopes that range from 112-151. Cesium-137 and Cesium-124 are however the only isotopes you will ever hear about as the other are rarely used and are not common. Cesium-137 has practically almost no use, it is very unstable, reactive to water (explosively) and is dangerous for a very very long time. It however not rare, it is an important part of nuclear reactor waste and a by-product of nuclear bombs. This is why it is very important to us all. After the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 it is still active and produces deadly radiation. More recently in the 2011 Fukushima incident, Cesium-137 escaped from the damaged nuclear plant. The biggest danger with Cesium-137 is that it has a half-life of 30.17 years. Thus if we apply the ten halving formula, it takes 301.7 years for Cesium-137 to be considered safe. This makes you realize the consequences of an all out nuclear war. Cesium-137 is attracted to the muscles and a little bit to your bones. Concentrations will be in the big hard working muscles like your heart. Cesium-137 has a biological half life of 70 days, which means that your body will naturally eliminate half of it in 70 days, later we will see how Prussian Blue can speed this up.

Now that we've covered the two radionuclides Prussian Blue can help eliminate, lets look at the medication. Prussian blue was originally not a medication but a colour pigment. It was eventually discovered that it can literally be swallowed straight off and it helps with the removal of heavy metals in the body. People that have been poisoned with Thallium-201 or Cesium-137 are given Prussian Blue to help eliminate the two substances faster.

Radiogardase by Heyltex:
Radiogardase is the only FDA (Federal Drug Administration) approved Prussian Blue for medical use. It is simply a medical grade Prussian Blue pigment packaged in a soluble gelatine capsule. It works by chemically trapping Thallium-201 and Cesium-137 in the intestine as it transfers from the blood to the intestines. Once Prussian Blue has attached itself to them they cannot be reabsorbed in the blood stream and are thus ejected at the end of the intestine. This is why the most common side effects of taking Prussian Blue will be a very blue surprise in the toilet :) and possible constipation and upset stomach. It can effectively cut the biological half life of both Thallium-201 and Cesium-137 by half. This means that your body will be eliminating the two radionuclides twice as fast, a noteworthy improvement. Radiogardase is supplied in bottles or 30 capsules, each containing 500mg of Prussian Blue. Price per 3000mg dose (6 capsules) is 31.26$US

Here is a chart of the dosage for Prussian Blue (Radiogardase) from the Heyltex web site:

  • Adults and Adolescents                    3000mg (3grams) 3 times per day (Every 8 hours)
  • Children (2 to 12 years old)               1000mg (1gram) 3 times per day (Every 8 hours)

The typical dosage needs to be kept for 30 days after the exposure to Thallium-201 or Cesium-137 has been removed. This makes it a VERY expensive treatment (2813.40$US for one adult) but if it save my life then it's worth it. The biggest problem with Prussian Blue is that the only FDA approved brand, Radiogardase is prescription only and thus cannot be bought legally without a prescription. The FDA also clearly states that no one should try to make their own Prussian Blue by ingesting the Prussian Blue paint pigment. If you ask me the only difference between the FDA Radiogardase and paint pigment Prussian Blue is that it has better quality control over trace elements contained in it like lead, and other metals. If I could find a good source of pure Prussian Blue powder pigment, measure 500mg and pack it in gelatine capsules, I'd do it. It won't be FDA approved and may be dangerous, but when a nuclear war breaks out the FDA will be busier doing other things that running after me for making my own drugs. Be sure to check out my next post on DTPA for Radioactive Plutonium or Americium!

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Nuclear War Medication - Potassium Iodine (KI) for Radioactive Iodine

This article is a sub-post to Top Medication for a Nuclear War or Meltdown in this post I will discuss about the first medication for radiation fallout Radioactive Iodine (Iodine-131).

Iodine-131 is the most common radioactive by product of nuclear reactors, which is why in the case of a meltdown like Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima Daiichi in 2011 it is the biggest health concern. Practically however, protecting yourself from Iodine-131 is also the easiest. Being such a huge health concern for any country with nuclear reactors, huge stockpiles of medication have to be available if a disaster occurs. All these factors make the medication easily available and relatively cheap.

It is important to understand why Iodine-131 is so dangerous to understand the medication. In the last post I gave an example on how Iodine-131 and our body interacts but I'll repeat here more clearly. First it is important to understand that Iodine-131 is only attracted and absorbed in tissues that need Iodine to function. The body cannot make the difference between regular non-radioactive Iodine and the radioactive Iodine-131. Literally the only tissue that uses Iodine in our body is the Thyroid Gland. It uses Iodine to function and uses a lot of it. The problem is that when Iodine-131 is present in fallout dust particles in the air from a resulting nuclear accident or bomb, the body absorbs it with the contaminated air we breathe or the contaminated food we eat and it attaches itself to the Thyroid Gland. The Thyroid Gland then becomes saturated with Iodine-131 and it essentially becomes radioactive. Radiation being very dangerous because it causes mutation of cells (cancer) and destroys tissues, you are actively killing yourself. Whatever you do, wherever you go, you are now emitting radiation and it is killing you.

Now that we covered the problem, let's look at the solution. Current medication for Iodine-131 presents a simple solution, saturate the thyroid with non-radioactive Iodine and thus prevent Iodine-131 from being absorbed into the Thyroid Gland because there is simply no more space. Because the Thyroid Gland's Iodine supply is always at more than 100% any Iodine-131 that gets in your body just passes through and is not absorbed in you Thyroid Gland.

There is currently only three FDA (Federal Drug Administration) approved Potassium Iodine (KI) on the market. There are many other brands available such as: KIO3 (Iodate), KI4U, LifeExtension, I.A.A.A.M., NukeProtect, Pro KI, Rad Block, and others... These other brands are however NOT FDA APPROVED and thus quality control and effectiveness as a Iodine-131 blocker is unproved. For my part, I'll stick to the 3 FDA approved Potassium Iodine (KI) brands:

iOSAT by Anbex:
iOSAT is the first brand of Potassium Iodine (KI) that I will discuss which also happens to be the one I chose to stock up on. It is FDA approved for use as an Iodine-131 blocker. This one come in pill form in a 130mg dose. Anbex is a US company and makes it's products in the US which encourages local jobs. Anbex also has a very good reputation as it has the biggest government orders and provides to many local and state agencies and the military. This allows them to sell at a lower price because of mass production techniques. iOSAT has a shelf life of 7 years which is the longest of any Potassium Iodine (KI) formula which makes it better to stock up on. The con to iOSAT is that you have to break the pills up to give to children as 130mg is too much. Thus, if you plan on administering iOSAT to infants and children breaking up the pills then crushing them for children who cannot swallow pills can be a hassle.
Price per 130mg dose (1 pill) is 0.71$US

ThyroSafe by Recipharm AB:
ThyroSafe is another pill form of Potassium Iodine (KI) this time in 65mg dosage. It is FDA approved for use as an Iodine-131 blocker. The fact that it in in 65mg pill form makes it easier to give out to children because you don't have to break a 130mg pill in half. One of the cons, is that it is not a US company but a Swedish one, which discourages ''Made in the USA'' products. The biggest con that ultimately made me decide not to choose this product as my number one is the fact that shelf life for the product is 5 years, which is 2 years less than iOSAT which is 7 years. This makes it more expensive to always have a fresh stock of the product as you have to replace it more often. I must give in to the fact that of all 3 FDA approved brands of KI, Thyrosafe has the best visual appeal in packaging, what importance this is when you are about to die, none to me though. At almost twice the price of iOSAT it also makes it financially logical to go with iOSAT.
Price per 130mg dose (2 pills) is 1.19$US

ThyroShield by Fleming Pharmaceuticals:
ThyroShield is the last Potassium Iodine (KI) formula I will be talking about. It is FDA approved for use as an Iodine-131 blocker. This formula comes in liquid form which can have serious disadvantages as well as very useful advantages. The main advantage to me is that preparing a dose with a liquid formula requires more time and tools that simply popping a pill. However, this company is still very alive and the reason for it is that it has many government contracts for massive purchases of their product. The reason is simple, it is much more simple to control the dose with a liquid that having ''fun'' trying to break up a pill in pieces. For babies, infants, toddlers, children and adolescents adjusting the dose is really easy as you simply fill the dropper (shown in the picture left) to the specific number of ml and there you go. The whole product was designed over children, it is even raspberry flavoured to make it taste better. If you have kids that can't take the pill form, ThyroShield is recommended. The reason why I didn't choose this brand is that I don't have children that can't take the pill form, and it is much easier to swallow a pill that to try and measure liquid while on the go. The shelf life of ThyroShield is 5 years and is made in the USA.
Price per 130mg dose (2 droppers) is 1.33$US

Now that we know all the fancy information about the brands and prices it would be nice to know how much and how often do you have to take it. First of all, you have to take one full dose of Potassium Iodine (KI) every 24 hours to keep you protected. Neither the manufacturers or the FDA recommend overdosing on Potassium Iodine because it won't protect you more and you may get more side effects. The recommended dosage for Iodine in everyday life is 12.5mg a day, so when you take Potassium Iodine you are already overdosing 1040% of the daily dosage. Overdosing on Potassium Iodine which is already an overdose wouldn't be a wise thing to do.

Below is a chart on the dosage for Potassium Iodine in times of nuclear fallout:
Adults (18 years and over)                                        130mg per 24 hours
Adolescents and Children (3 to 18 years)                   65mg* per 24 hours
Children (1 month to 3 years)                                    32mg per 24 hours
Infants (Birth to 1 month)                                          16mg per 24 hours

*Adolescents over 150lbs should take the full 130mg dose.
Visit the FDA website for other details on the dosage

This concludes the post on the first type of radionuclides which there is medication for. In the next post I'll talk about Prussian Blue for Radioactive Thallium or Cesium137. If you have any questions or comments feel free to discuss it in the comments section and I'll be more than happy to answer. Lastly, don't count on government reserves of Potassium Iodine or any other medication for that fact, as when a nuclear war will break out o simply another nuclear accident, it will be a free-for-all for medication and in a couple days time there will be none left.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Top Medication For a Nuclear War or Meltdown

I have recently done a lot of research on the subject and I shall say that it is not as bad as I might have thought, there actually are medication for the removal of particles emitting radiation in the body. Before we get into the juicy details of what is the name of the medication, how much it costs and how to get your hands on some, let's discuss what radiation does to your body.

For most people radiation is pure magic and it is very feared because it cannot be seen, heard, smelled, felt or tasted until you have way too much of it in your body. Maybe I'll go into more detail on the effects of radiation in your body but to keep the purpose of this post on medication I'll be brief.

Radiation is not a danger in itself, it's when it is emitted from tiny particles in the air that it becomes dangerous. Now imagine that some nuclear device went off and sent tons of dust and ash in the air that all move with the wind. These particles are radioactive and breathing them in or having them on your clothes or skin is subjecting you to radiation. The most danger from radiation on the long term is breathing or ingesting radiation particles that will attach themselves to parts of you body and send radiation to your organs from the inside. Wherever you go and however good you wash yourself, you will still be subjected to the radiation. This where the medication comes in, it can be used to shield or block certain types of radiation from attaching themselves inside your body. Certain types or nuclear devices emit different types of ''radionuclides'', that is different types of radioactive elements. As an example the most common type and most well known, radioactive iodine will attach itself to the thyroid gland as almost all iodine you ingest goes to this gland. If you were to ingest or breath radioactive iodine particles, your body won't make the difference between it and plain iodine and it would saturate your thyroid. Your thyroid would start to emit radiation from all the radioactive iodine stored in it and you would be subject to that radiation everyday whatever you do. Since the thyroid is in your neck, common results of a radioactive thyroid would be a thyroid cancer. The thyroid being a very important part of your energy's and metabolism regulation you can imagine that not very good things happen if it stops working.

So now that I've explained the concept let's get down to the juicy details. Here is a list of the medication available for different radionuclides:

There are more than the above three medications available to help decontaminate or aid in the recovery of radioactive fallout contamination. The reason they are not included here is either that the likelihood to get contaminated is almost null or that they require very special equipment and treatment which you kill the whole point of learning how to administer them yourself. This includes Deferoxamine (Desferal) used as a chelating agent to trap Radioactive Iron. It works the same way that DTPA (Pentetate Calcium/Zinc Trisodium) traps Radioactive Plutonium, Americium, and Curium. The chance of being contaminated with radioactive Iron is extremely rare so stocking up on Deferoxamine (Desferal) would be pretty useless. There is also Filgrastim (Neupogen) which is used to aid in the recovery of radiation contamination. It promotes the creation of new red and white blood cells after the bone marrow has been damaged by radiation. However, Filgrastim (Neupogen) is very complicated to administer and requires hospital quality equipment and knowledge.

Now this post is already very long and in order to completely cover each solution one by one, each one will have it's own dedicated post, and all comments and discussion orientated at a specific solution should be posted in the specific post.


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Monday, September 5, 2011

UPDATES TO THE BLOG!!!

UPDATE TO THE OBJECTIVE AND MAIN TOPIC OF THIS BLOG (CBRNe)

Now I know it's been a hell of a long time since I haven't posted but I have continued to research on the subject and I have been trained by my employer on the subject, but writing it all down here has not been possible for me due to many time constraints.

Original posts were concentrated on principally nuclear warfare which is what people are most scared of because it can't been seen and is not something you can feel and touch or smell. I have extended the purpose of this blog to discuss CBRN threats.

Now for those who never heard about the acronym CBRN it means Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear. It englobes measures for dealing with all kinds of attacks and almost without saying all major buildings, security forces, police forces, military, medical facilities and transit systems have details operational plans for dealing with those threats. So it's a very REAL threat that governments and private companies put enormous sums of money on. To that I might add the ''e'' to make CBRNe for explosives as they are a real threat too but have very limited damages to the immediate vicinity of the attack but as seen in many war torn countries, IED (Improvised Explosive Devices)  do the majority of damage to property and humans.

So I will be posting more often as I acquired a lot of CBRNe gear and I plan on sharing all my research and knowledge that I gained. See you all in the next post!