Radiation Blog

Protective Gear during a Nuclear Attack

12.31.18 | Monday | Nofit Amir

“We cannot expect that the defensive measures we take to prevent terrorists from infiltrating a nuclear device into our country will succeed indefinitely in a world where more and more nations—some reliable, others less so—acquire the capabilities to build the bomb. Like the levees around New Orleans, sooner or later the rising tide of nuclear weaponry will break through those barriers.” James E. Goodby, Foreign affairs specialist under five presidents and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Stanford University‘s Hoover Institution.

Indeed, according to most nuclear experts, it’s only a matter of time until a plot to detonate a nuclear or radiological device is able to slip past intelligence and law enforcement officials. Avenues for attaining radioactive material are growing and include the black market and countries that loosely guard their nuclear material. Radioactive material has been stolen from numerous medical facilities in the United States according to a Homeland Security report. In addition, terrorists aspire to cause nuclear havoc by damaging nuclear reactors. Coupled with the threat of  nuclear weaponry of hostile foreign countries, there is a real cause for concern regarding deadly radiation exposure and a need to prepare for the day when prevention fails.

The three forms of radiation emitted in a nuclear or radiological incident are known as alpha, beta and gamma. The ways to protect against these radiation types are:

How to prevent radiation exposure:

Reduction in cancer

Heavy clothing and even the outer layers of the skin prevent internal damage from alpha and beta radiation types (along with a respirator to prevent inhalation). Gamma radiation, however, is much more difficult to deal with. Gamma radiation involves high energy photons that easily penetrate the body, even from great distances. As such, whole body suits such as HAZMAT suits do nothing to block gamma radiation.

StemRad’s solution to the gamma radiation problem is to selectively protect the most vulnerable tissues in the body. Being selective, the 360 Gamma Shield provides life-saving protection, while remaining of a bearable weight.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and numerous medical studies, the immediate cause of serious injury and death due to exposure to gamma radiation is damage to bone marrow stem cells. Without them, the body cannot produce blood or fight disease.

In addition, bone marrow stem cells are crucial for the body’s rehabilitation following radiation exposure. Thus, StemRad’s solution, which shields stem-cell rich parts of the body (bone marrow and other tissues in the pelvic region),  prevents lethal radiation sickness at high radiation levels and helps the body’s natural recovery processes take place. Additionally,  by shielding this sensitve area of the body, the 360 Gamma reduces the chances of cancer down the road, many years after exposure. The table below shows results of product testing, verified by a U.S. Department of Energy study.

Lethality from gamma radiation is a remote possibility using StemRad’s shield  while it grows to 95%  without the shield when exposed to radition doses similar to those experienced in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Chernobyl. Figures can change depending on radioisotope.

Read about how StemRad’s technology is being used to protect NASA astronauts from large bursts of space radiation.

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