A need for better sanitation after growing concerns about this new cancer-causing radon

Image provided by FELIX ALANAL/ CATERS NEWS When a scientist at China’s Guangzhou Natural Reserve announced to the world that a new type of radon had been found nearby, fears ran high that this…

A need for better sanitation after growing concerns about this new cancer-causing radon

Image provided by FELIX ALANAL/ CATERS NEWS

When a scientist at China’s Guangzhou Natural Reserve announced to the world that a new type of radon had been found nearby, fears ran high that this could have serious consequences for the human population.

When Radon is a naturally occurring, harmful and increasing gas that can penetrate the lungs to the bone marrow, this new type of the chemical would mean that China could boost its lead in population growth in a far more dangerous way than it might with more frequently tested, lower-risk radon.

This would mean that many regions would be at great risk of dramatically more severe lung cancer — that is, of an exceedingly rare but extremely dangerous form of lung cancer. Because less is known about the dangerous new type of radon, warnings of further risks remain.

The kind of (newly discovered) radon found in the remote Guangzhou park is actually part of an ever-growing group of so-called “bacterial” radon (RBNR) which are more abundant than in other types of radon. In all, they cause one in four lung cancers.

But, as every sufferer will testify, they can be quite hard to catch. The group of bacteria originally responsible for showing up the new group of RBNR “mouth radon” can be found in many plants, among other more common radioactive substances. It was discovered when researchers were monitoring the wood and ground water at the school it occupies.

This type of soil, that was untouched by its inhabitants, is a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria. It then travelled into the classroom, which is where it was discovered.

Sceptics expressed concerns that, despite its potential effects, it was a very rare occurrence.

It was then noticed that tests at a radiation clinic had even more bad news.

What had previously been found to be a relatively low rate of potential increase in lung cancer, had now been found to be three times higher.

[quote font-size:14px;type=rear-viewer&publisherid=3643&adid=119148]“RBNR is perhaps the most novel source of radioactivity discovered so far,” said Professor Peter Hackwell of the British Medical Research Council. “It was much greater than what we had thought – at risk for nearly all the healthy population in China.”[/quote]

RBNR had proved to be widely prevalent in the sea around southern China. Much of this is the fault of high-density settlements, which rely on local freshwater habitats. The community that was in immediate danger from these dangerous bacteria in Guangzhou weren’t so much isolated as semi-isolated.

A growing concern in human society is the possibility that no human-relevant radon has even been found. Radon is so extraordinarily widespread in the Earth’s atmosphere that the upper atmosphere may contain as much of it as the upper atmosphere of the sun.

Yet, as mentioned in the last article, when the sun is in position, the atmosphere also contributes over 100 times as much radon as it does during other phases of the solar cycle. An airborne radon-carrier could put much of Earth’s population at risk, literally.

In the past, the upper atmosphere has usually given life to natural radon sources including organic plants and decaying organic material. The fast decay of these organic systems is also thought to be the cause of earthquakes. However, in this case, the new community did not start decaying organic matter before the event. This means that the radon growth is to be attributed solely to soil bacteria which had entered the community before any natural growth occurred.

And their rapid growth, which was detected at the school, meant that the team had literally days to remove the bacteria before they migrated through the rest of the human population. Indeed, they released their report just a few weeks after the summer solstice, more than a month and a half after they realized their discovery.

Given the speed with which bacteria germinate, there is always a risk that whatever is already contaminated could get out of control in very specific ways. But luckily, studies have shown that diseases with low rates of exposure are caused largely by mold contamination.

Unfortunately, tiny proportion of people who are found to be carrying pneumonia-causing molds are most at risk of developing lung cancer. By itself, more people getting cancer is not actually a problem.

There is evidence that heating can contribute to the spread of microbes by shrinking their cell surface area and increasing their surface area to a very high level. More people having disease and bigger numbers of bacteria with the potential to grow means more lives lost.

But more doses of bacteria are probably dangerous.

If there is one group of bacteria

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