Cancer causing 'Hot Particles' detected in Seattle

Arnie Gunderson says that people in Fukishima were breathing in 10 'Hot Particles' per day which only decreased to 5 'Hot Particles' per day in Seattle. 'These 'Hot Particles' can lodge in your lung, digestive tract or bones and over time can cause cancers.' He states that they are too small to be detected on a large radiation detector.

Have you been detecting these 'Hot Particles' in your area?
Are your detectors 'large radiation detectors' and therefore 'Hot Particles' would be part of your 'Minimum Detectable Activity' and not be detected? If so, is your MDA and statements of 'non-detection' misleading in that 'Hot Particles' are detectable but just not by the equipment you are using, therein misleading the public into thinking the danger from radioactive fallout is no longer existent? If you have been detecting the 'Hot Particles' why have you not reported them.

If you have reported these 'Hot Particles' please post the link.

Hot particles/ Depleted Uranium

Since it doesn't seem to have been mentioned, I'll point out that the toxicological properties of these "hot particles" are likely similar to the effects of depleted uranium shells, which burn and create a dust. The dust is then inhaled, and once in the body produces it's toxic effect.

It appears to me that at least one property of such particles, once inside the body, is that they irradiate a very few cells over and over again. In other words this is not an exposure averaged over the whole body, or even over, say, the thyroid. The whole exposure is impacting a very few cells, which get irradiated repeatedly as the (large number of) atoms in the particle decay over time.

Seattle hotties

Does anyone know if the number of these particles has changed for say, Seattle since the original 5-10 numbers were "arrived at" in April? Any new filter experiments?

Thank you,
Concerned Breather.

Marco Kaltofen's latest input on issue of hot particles

Hello to all my fellow Seattle-ites and other West Coasters!

I just got a response from Marco Kaltofen, after I had written him to ask him to clarify if he thought these "hot particles" were still a concern in our air.

Here is his response, which he gave me permission to share with the BRAWM forum members:

"I would be less concerned with continuing radiation levels in ambient air, and more concerned with resuspending settled contaminated dusts. Our current research is focusing on this issue in Japan, where settled dust levels are much higher."

As a mother whose child and fellow team members play on dirt sports fields in the northern Seattle area, I am relieved to think he doesn't think hot particles are as much of a concern in our air at this juncture. :-)

However, at the same time, I am concerned that any contamination of our soils (especially ball fields and sand lots where children often play) from fallout from Fukushima might become "resuspended" in the act of playing on the fields (or digging in the dirt or sand.)

While he does again confirm that settled dust levels are much higher in Japan than they might be here in the U.S.(which makes my heart feel so sad for the Japanese and their children), it still makes me wonder if our soils and playing fields are safe for our children, even at the low levels that did make it over here from the initial fallout? I think that testing of our playing fields, at the very least, would give parents reassurance that our kids' health is not being affected by playing on the fields.

Perhaps the recent aerial testing the DOE did in King and Pierce Counties, Washington, might reveal any potentially problematic sites which can then be fixed? (as their press release mentioned they would, should a problem be discovered).

In the meantime, any other concerned parents in Seattle who wish to join BC and I in our mission to get some testing done of soil in our neighborhoods in the PNW, please visit the thread about the testing which BC started awhile ago and give your input there. We'd love to have you join us!

No new info, nor any

No new info, nor any clarification on what exactly "hot particles" are.

On the good side of that, BRAWMs somewhat limited alpha analysis came back non-detect. So it appears that at least in Berkeley, in mid-April, any levels of U/Pu/Am were very low (if there was any present at all).

Generic radionuclide soil screening epa

Located on page 2-3 you can see radionuclides that are screened for then u can see On page 2-7 your cancer morbidity slope factor chart showing different exposure pathways and your risk from exposure.this document has very good data .

Chernobyl hot particles

Hi, this document from 1988 contains info about Chernobyl hot particles. See in particular p45 (pdf page, p46 in the document) for what they found by countries. It also contains a lot of references to scientific publications in the topic.

How many "hot particles" from Chernobyl?

I'm curious how many "hot particles" were being breathed from the Chernobyl fallout. I'd like some real world comparisons rather than a concept that I have nothing to compare to.

Yeah, the Chernobyl

Yeah, the Chernobyl comparison has been eating at me, too.

I am almost certain that Marco Kaltofen (the researcher in one of the Fairewinds vids) is behind the "hot particles" info. He has apparently developed new methodologies for separating tiny bits of Plutonium and such out of dust/dirt. I read an article online about some work he did at the old Rocky Flats Pu plant where he was able to prove the presence of contamination which previously was passed off as background. A smart guy.

But he and his method weren't around to test for these nasty little turds when Chernobyl popped. In my estimation, nuclear meltdown/explosion = hot particles airborne. Not that I am an expert, just common sense. It would take a bit of sleuthing to really find out, and I am sure that Kaltofen would be a guy who could do it.

Back to the practical matter - very hard to know the volume of the particles from Chernobyl vs. from Fukushima, but unlikely that this is a new thing. The scary thing is, these fresh ones may still be bouncing around while most of the ones from Chernobyl are probably much less "accessible".

This conversation happened before

I think Mark said it was more like 1 particle in 9 days.

These are too small to detect with Geiger counter but Berkley is using much more sophisticated equipment;)

My estimate for I-131 wasn't

My estimate for I-131 wasn't exactly correct in that it only accounts for decays while in your lung, and not possible buildup. But it is directly comparable to my estimate for the decay of radon progenies in your lung, which was 1 every 2 minutes, or 650 per day. And those would lodge inside the lung in a similar fashion as the fission products. If you were to ask how many alpha-emitting radon progenies you breathe in every day (not just the ones that decay while inside you), it would be probably be hundreds of thousands.

I'm still trying to get a handle on what "hot particles" are — they may be something quite different than the small aerosolized fission products we are detecting. Gunderson has mentioned these before, in conjunction with research being done by a researcher at Worchester Polytechnic. I have heard of no other reports or studies on these particles, so I think it would be great to see some of their data.

Mark [BRAWM Team Member]

I live in Seattle, what should I expect from these particles?

Is Arnie right, and what are the consequences

You know, I read the report

You know, I read the report by the PhD student scientist at Worcester Polytechnic awhile back (April, maybe). Hum, seems like he may have been the researcher, who said they had detected americium and plutonium (or, maybe uranium?) Back East. Maybe it's on Arnie Gunderson's Fairewinds site. I will try to check it out. to that report? to that report?

DR, Not a report, but the

Not a report, but the following Gundersen video interview with Marco.
Sorry for misleading you. I have to this point read so much that everything is starting to converge in my brain. I believe the video to be worth a look.

No worries friend. I feel

No worries friend. I feel the same way. Thanks for the tip i'll be sure to check out that video.

Gundersen interview of Marco Kaltofen re Fukushima fallout

1. For those of you, who have not yet seen the May 2nd, 2011 Gundersen interview of Marco Kaltofen re his measurements of radioactive Fukushima fallout, here you go.

"Fairewinds' founder Maggie Gundersen interviews environmental scientist and professional engineer Marco Kaltofen about his ongoing analysis of radioactive fallout from Fukushima."

2. Mark, I see (and had forgotten) that researcher, Marco Kaltofen, already has contacted the BRAWM Public Forum and you:

"Americium detection
Submitted by Marco Kaltofen (not verified) on Wed, 2011-05-11 20:12.

The WPI particle analysis data is reported as the number of high activity particles per cubic meter of air sampled or per kilogram of dust collected, which can be related to the probability of being exposed to a hot particle. In contrast, BRAWN reports results as Bq/mass or Bq/volume, which is related to the concentration of nuclides in the environment. Some care is needed in comparing these analyses, as detection limits and the implications of data from these two methods will not be the same.

As expected, radioactive particles are found in abundance in the samples analyzed from Japan, and less frequently, in US samples. While americium is found at much lower concentrations in our samples than is iodine or cesium, individual hot particles were detected that did contain americium as the primary radioactive component. This finding is consistent with the typical composition of civilian nuclear fuels. In fact, it would be unusual if a release of this size and type failed to discharge any americium to the environment.

Marco Kaltofen,
Worcester Polytechnic Institute"

Mark- Something to think


Something to think about - I know that you have said before that the team is really not set up to test for Pu and U, and that you have really been looking at the the beta/gamma emitters. Would the methodology BRAWM is using even see tiny particles of nuclear fuel?

EPA is set up to test for this stuff, but I do not believe that they have posted results for the relevant time frame.

Mark, I have been meaning to ask you about the "fuel fleas". I heard about these from a poster this morning and checked wikipedia. The first thing I noticed is the article does not cite any references or sources. I also find it odd that it was last modified April 16. Is it possible this concept of "fuel fleas" has been exaggerated and utilized in an attempt to fuel fears of radiation? I know you are not offering "subjective" opinions here but you must be getting frustrated with the fear inducing misinformation that seems to have FLOODED the internet recently...any thoughts on all of this nonsense regarding "Zardoz", "fuel fleas", "Banana Dose", the thousands of plume models that depict lethal plumes flooding the northern hemisphere? It really is overwhelming! PLEASE enlighten us!

Zardoz nonsense?

Why do you dismis the NILU's Zardoz files as nonsense?

Sounds like conspiracy

Sounds like conspiracy theory to me. An organized group of people on the web editing wikipedia on April 16 just to scare people about radiation, come on. Where is your tin foil hat? You know the people attempting to fuel fears of radiation can't read your thoughts while you're wearing it.

wikipedia source updates

Wikipedia is a site where the information can be edited by its members. That's why it has updates almost daily on the hot topics. Given the oppurtunity to modify any and everything, I don't find it credible.
My college doesn't accept Wikipedia as a source for info because of that.

tinfoil hat?

If statements are weak or upset you by all means present the devastating facts necessary to discredit them. Mocking, name calling, and ad-hominem attacks don't put radioactive particle concerns to ease.

I think it's more likely

I think it's more likely than your population reduction, Illuminatti, and Haarp BS.

You forgot the Bilderburg

You forgot the Bilderburg group, I have been hearing for years that there is no such thing outside of CT. Oh wait they are real and they are meeting right now, DOH.

Kinda off topic there buddy.

Kinda off topic there buddy. Has anyone endorsed that stuff here? How do you know how I feel about that stuff? Are you psychic?

yeah, i bet fukushima barely

yeah, i bet fukushima barely released any radiation in their three reactor so called "full melt down". Sounds like a bunch of fear mongering and perhaps even a communist movement. The Japanese aren't communists!



Yup, sounds like a Communist

Yup, sounds like a Communist conspiracy! guys are getting guys are getting hostile.


Hi, DR. Thanks for the

Hi, DR. Thanks for the link, I will look more into that. A couple quick points:

Regarding forecasts, please read "A note on interpreting EURAD and NILU plume forecasts".

I don't know if you live on the West Coast, but even if you don't, you should check out our data for actual measurements of radioactivities. For example, our air measurements point to radioactivities in the air now that are about 1,000 times lower than some of our spikes in late March. Even in late March, those levels were not very high.

I hope this can give you at least some solace.

Mark [BRAWM Team Member]

Not very high?

So, we've gone from "tiny" and "miniscule" to "not very high"? :-) Is the BRAWM team changing their view of how significant an amount the results were?

next will be "well, it could

next will be "well, it could be worse we could be at the center of the sun"

Thanks Mark...I guess what I

Thanks Mark...I guess what I meant to ask you is: Why is so much misinformation being circulated regarding the fukushima disaster? Was it like this when Chernobyl happened or TMI?

I'm not Mark, but I'll wager

I'm not Mark, but I'll wager that the answer is no beacuse of the very medium we are using here - the internet.

A two edge sword.


BTW - Fuel fleas, hot particles, etc were no doubt present from the Chernobyl meltdown. TMI, probably not so much.

Good point. Speaking of the

Good point. Speaking of the web I found a great PDF regarding hot particles: I'm halfway through the sixty page document now. From what I've gathered it is a suggested guideline for internal exposure addressed to the Department of Defense. It's from the late 70's so I'm not sure how relevant it still is but it's a fascinating read to say the least.

"It is important to

"It is important to recognize that the ICRP has qiven
no guidance with respect to r,onuniforrn irradiation of t!!e lung
by insoluble alpha-emitters” such as insoluble plutonium
particles. In its Publication 9, the ICRP states:
...In the meantime there is no clear evidence
whether with a given mean absorbed dose, the biological
risk associated with a non-homoqeneous distribution is
greater or less than. the risk resulting from a more
diffuse distribution of that dose in the lung"
Mark - Here is a PDF link you might find interesting: Radiation Standards for Hot Particles "A report on the inadequecy regarding radiation protection standards related to internal exposure of man to insoluble particles of plutonium and other alpha emitting particles"

Mark- FYI I have also heard



I have also heard AG refer to them as "fuel fleas".

Here are some relevant

Here are some relevant excerpts from the above quoted report(thanks for this)--unfortunately very disturbing:

"a hot particle is defined as a [n alpha-emitting] particle that contains sufficient activity to deliver at least 1000 rem/yr to the surrounding lung tissue. For isotopes having half-lives greater than one year, this would correspond to particles containing at least 0.07 pCi of alpha activity." (p.51)

"we recommend that the MPLPB for members of the public be 0.2 hot particles, and the average lung burden for members of the public be 0.07 hot particles, a factor of 3 less than the maximum." (p. 45)

[it is recommended that...] For accidental releases exposure (10 CFR 100.ll(a) (l)) MPLI’B (2 hours exposure) = 10 hot particles" (p. 52)

"[...]the existinq biological evidence strongly sugqests
that an insoluble particle of respiratory tissue represents a risk of cancer induction of between 1/1000 and l/10,000." (p.41)

[regarding experiments with Beagles exposed to Pu 239]:
"All of these experiments involved intense exposures
and a significant level of carcinogenesis. Severe damage
and disruption of tissue were associated with the exposures.
The most relevant lung experiment is Bair’s Pu
23902 inhalation study with beagles. Exposure was to
particulate of 0.25 u or 0.5 u median diameter; burdens were
in the uCi range. Twenty of the 21 dogs that survived more
than 1600 days post exposure had lung cancer. Many of these
cancers were multicentric in origin. The cancers again
appeared in conjunction with severe lung injury. Since the
natural- incidence of the disease is small, it appears that
at this level of exposure the induction of lung cancer is a
certainty durinq the normal beagle life span. At the same time,
time, since the pathological response is saturated in this
experiment, it is inappropriate to draw any inference about
the magnitude of the response at smaller burdens. The smallest
burden (at death) in a dog showing lung cancer was 0.2 uCi.
Presumably this would correspond to a particle burden of
about 10^7 particles. Burdens which are smaller by orders of
magnitude may still induce a substantial incidence of cancer.
Indeed, the cancer risk may, as for skin and soft tissues,
correspond to a risk per particle in the neighborhood of
1/1000 to 1/10,000."

Something VERY wrong with the figures in that report

The main issue is that 0.07pCi is a minuscule amount, equivalent to one six-thousandth of the activity of potassium in a single banana, whereas 1000 rem is a huge and possibly fatal dose. For Pu-239, the conversion factor for toxicity is 0.25µSv/Bq, so 1000 rem = 10 Sv is equivalent to 40,000,000 Bq = 1.08 mCi.

1.08mCi is FIFTEEN BILLION times bigger than 0.07pCi quoted for the particles.

I don't know what was going on in this report, but it's clear that whoever wrote it messed up bigtime – and the mess-up seems to happen from p.33.

Looking at the pages before p.33:

On p.27: a single particle of 0.08µg of Pu-239 with activity 0.005µCi (this is 5,000pCi) is seen to cause a lesion.

p.32: smallest activity burden in dogs suffering lung cancer was found to be 0.2µCi (this is 200,000pCi). In this case, the radioactivity is not a single large particle but 10,000,000 tiny particles in the lung.

p.33-34: the authors are now talking about a steep increase in cancer at above 1,000 rem per year – a massive dose rate. On their table, they somehow present this as being given by particles of as low as 0.02pCi, and they define a "hot particle" as a particle with an activity of 0.07pCi.

These are the values they go on to use throughout the report.

As you can see by comparing with the figures on the earlier pages, there is something very amiss with the numbers on p.33-34. They appear to have overlooked the fact that they're dealing with many millions if not billions of particles, not a single one. It's an appallingly confused piece of research.


Thanks for not mocking people who are scared or who ask tough questions. Thank you for getting actual information, getting quotes from it, and posting it for us. Again THANK YOU. Since I can see your a good researcher, perhaps you can tackle the issue of how the average person can get Prussian Blue and if it can help with alpha emitters.


Anyone got any Jack Daniels?

Let's live it up, because none of these cancers can be traced. There is so much stuff in the air right now.
If you're really worried about cancer, put down that cell phone or at least for the love of Pete get a headset (I know they look retarded).
But that's your immediate cancer risk right there and the body of evidence around it is growing, growing, growing (amid truly independent researchers).

Don't forget UC works for the nuke industry. God love them for hosting these discussions, but I fear their natural tendency is to downplay risk.

Just basic sense there.
Bottoms up!

The point is that you cannot

The point is that you cannot avoid the fallout from Fukushima without moving to the Southern hemisphere,
you have the choice to get a headset for your phone, but if you are in the Northern hemisphere you are being forced to breathe contaminated air and eat contaminated food. Without better information on the contamination we cannot make informed choices, and the very nature of a so-called democracy is informed choice. Your current attitude is exactly what the nuclear industry wants you to think, to basically give up and accept it. Have you ever thought it is worth fighting back against it? Why should we put up with this? Do you really think it is OK for some remote organization in Japan (TEPCO) to give you cancer? Don't you care?

OK, now this is some heavy

OK, now this is some heavy XXXX.

Each particle "may" give you somewhere between 1 in 1000 to 1 in 10000 chance of dying.

If Gunderson/Kaltofen are correct here, and people in Seattle breathed in 5 per day for say a week when the air was worst, that's 35 particles. 35 people in a thousand die of lung cancer, and if you go with "least worst case, 35 people out of 10,000 die of lung cancer.

Numbers don't make sense

All this talk without clarity doesn't make sense. And I don't appreciate Gundersen's trademark vagueness.

1 in 1000 or even 1 in 10,000 chance of cancer death for EACH particle? And people in Seattle have been exposed to 5 of these particles every day? This would mean almost guaranteed cancer for everyone in Seattle by now. Wouldn't this kind of effect have been SCREAMINGLY obvious in the past with Cherynobl, weapons testing, etc.?

If this is true, the EPA has lots of splainin to do.

"If this is true, the EPA

"If this is true, the EPA has lots of splainin to do." – it's not remotely true. Please see my above comment re this paper. It's out by a factor of 15 billion.

How many hot particles does it take to make a hot filter?

I'm looking forward to the BRAWM teams response to the post I submitted regarding the number of hot particles we would expect to see in a BRAWM or EPA air filter. Based on Gundersen's statements and my calculations, there should be anywhere between roughly 1800 to 8500+ hot particles in the filter depending on the air volume. Just going by the number, it SOUNDS like the filter should be glowing. But, they are apparently very small. According to Marco, "universally less than 25 microns in size, and almost always below 12 microns". And I have no idea if 8500 of those is a large/highly radioactive number or not.

What about MOX Plutonium?

Did the publication take into account MOX Plutonium. As I'm sure we've all learned by now, it was used in reactor 3, MOX rods blew 2 miles up and out into the surrounding area. MOX is so bad that according to CNN the Japanese have even tried to censor searches for it on the internet:

It's absurd to average the effects of wildly different radioactive elements into one single threat level. Breathe in MOX and your done. Breathe some of the lesser elements and it's like eating at Mc. Donalds or smoking a cigarette. Finally I hope people have seen this news:

35% increase in northwest infant mortality since the disaster.

The 5 particles per day were

The 5 particles per day were the average for April, so make it 150 particles, which makes 150 cancers per 1,000-10,000 habs, which means 15,000-150,000 cancers per million.

For Tokyo, make it 30,000-300,000 cancers per million. Multiplied by 30 million population: 900,000-9,000,000 cancers.

Gundersen really needs to publish his data.
Here is another one for you BC...Run with me here? "an overview of internal emitter research in the area of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing"