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 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 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!


1 comment:

  1. Is it available anywhere without a prescription?