Internal Emitters. Once More. From the Top.

The whole thrust of what I was trained to do in the Army was predicated on the fact that the film badges and dosimeters we all wore were useless at detecting alpha and which in any case could not measure internal contamination. The main potential hazard at that place at that time was a large store of radium. The actual risk came from the radium decay product radon. This decayed to a radioactive solid quickly. If radon escaped from the gas proof vault, it would coat the work area with radioactive dust like so:

(Illustration taken from with thanks) where the decay step of concern was the Ra226 > Po 218 decay chain. The transport of the gas by diffusion and draughts being the vectors of concern.

So a couple of times a day, I use a hand held scintillator and closely examine every surface in the building, including the floor.
It is expensive and time consuming to guard against internal emitters in the fashion I experienced. It is far cheaper to act in the pretense of sophisticated ignorance, as authorities now tend to do.
So how are internal emitters (such as ingested polonium in the example above) different in their effects to sources of radiation located outside of the body?
High energy beta (either Beta plus or Beta minus) give rise to Bremsstrahlung x rays when they pass through any material – the denser the material, the greater more x rays per distance travelled. See
We have to go back to 1940 to find one of the first attempts at equating internal dose (monochromatic high energy beta from injected Strontium 89) to an equivalent whole body dose of x ray.
But I will go back further, to Madame Curie and her daughter, Irene Juliot-Curie. I will then re-introduce the 1939 – 1941 work of Pecher, specifically his paper published posthumously in 1942. I will then look at what US and Western nuclear authorities did with that work. This process of examination will reveal the immense barrier internal emitters present to the safe operation of nuclear industries. The laboratory rule that sealed sources must be kept sealed and contained is not without foundation in fact, despite what TEPCO and its apologists may say. And those apologists are covered by the secrecy provisions of the US Atomic Energy Act and the similar laws of each nuclear nation . A provision which prevents a full and frank disclosure in the case of the actual nature of the primary threat off site in the case of nuclear emergency and nuclear attack or practice (as it relates to nuclear veterans and down winders.)
Madame Curie. “Marie Skłodowska-Curie, often referred to as Marie Curie, (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish physicist and chemist, working mainly in France, who is famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity….Curie died in 1934 of aplastic anemia brought on by her years of exposure to radiation.”
Marie Skłodowska-Curie died at the age of 67 years. It was a lucky turn of events which allowed her to live this long. As a female in her era, she was allocated a building for her work which was in disrepair and drafty. Had this not been the case, she would have died far earlier than she did from the radon emitted by the tons of pitchblende that she worked with year in year out in her early days of discovery.
The nuclear industry has a different view of these events, best summarized by Marshall Brucer in his famous book. A book commonly used by medical students. Brucer writes: “According to pre-1980 health physics dogma, radon’s longer lived daughters are among the most hazardous of (radio) isotopes. It is never mentioned to newspapers that our population and life span have doubled since the discovery of radon. This argument is a non sequitur until coupled with other non seqs. Those who breathed the most radon for the longest time died 10 years to 20 years beyond life expancy:
Marie Curie, 67 years, Aplastic anemia.
O.Honigschmid, 66 years years, suicide.
F. Giesel, 75 years, llung cancer.
In the late 1920s no working class Joachimsthal uranium miner had lung cancer, but two thirds of the retired miners has pneumoconiosis and died of lung cancer decades above the 1920s life expectancy.
Neither radium nor X radiation was associated with deadly danger by the public until 1946 – except in overdose. And it was difficult to achieve an overdose except by professionals.” Source: Brucer, M., A Chronology of Nuclear Medicine, Vignette 1934, “(Radio) Isotopes Given to Humans are Drugs”, pp 215, 1990, Heritage Publications, Inc, St. Louis, Missioouri, USA, ISBN 0-9625674-0-X.
Brucer contradicts himself many times in regard to statements such as the above in his own book. Brucer, an employee of the AEC, “rankled” at the constraints AEC secrecy placed upon his work as a specialist in nuclear medicine. Bombastic and determined that no-one in the world would ever be afraid of the treatments offered by nuclear medicine, his work remains a potent influence both in sectors of nuclear medicine and in nuclear arms industry and nuclear power production. Countless doctors can attribute their attitude toward ionising radiation to Marshall Brucer.
Peter Alexander, London, 1957, at least as conversant and expert in his field as Brucer, provides evidence to the contrary in regard to the Joachimsthal uranium miners’ “data” presented by Brucer. The discovery of radon has nothing to do with the increase in life expectancy and population increase in the USA. Public Health measures aimed at controlling infectious disease being a primary factor in increasing life expectancy.
And this increase in life expectancy itself is credited by government to the actions of government. Sections of government consider this increase in life expectancy, as occurred in the 20th century, to be part of the social wage enjoyed by all. The bottom line of this point of view being, well, if you live beyond 40 years of age, you enjoy a bonus as a result of government intervention on your behalf. If you die of the effects of radon progeny at 67 or die at age 51 from strontium in fallout, you still have nothing to complain about. A spurious argument which press gangs the population into the Cold War rationale.
Brucer ascribes an increase in life expectancy due to radio-contamination by internal emitters quite wrongly.
But this ill humour of Brucer, so evident throughout his book, has trained doctors in this regard since 1990. And it inspires today the DOE Low Dose research project which attempts to further inculcate entire populations with the Brucer conceit.

The interactive graphs found at

reveal the average age of death in each year since 1850 to 2000. The increase life expectancy from 1880 to 1940 is constant. From 1950 until 2000 the rate of increase in life expectancy shows a consistent DECEASE. The graphs shown here are for the US population.
Such gross analysis engaged in here by Brucer ignores the fact of class. It ignores the median, ie the most common. It ignores the intact indigenous. It ignores the close in to sources of pollution. I have been awaiting the time when the trend to increased life expectancy becomes as trend line of overt deceased life expectancy.
The age of nuclear weapons testing, and of routine global fallout, in the main, ignoring the precursor shots, commenced in 1946. And the trend line contradicts Brucer. Trust Brucer to stuff up any attempt at a straight forward look at the first attempt to equate internal emitters with whole body external x. Just like him. University tavern humor and all. Quite sickening really, seeing as he, as a member of staff of the AEC, knew some of the secrets and the reality. None the less, he refused to hammer out a warning, unlike some others. He is quite perverse, and within the field of medicine, the reading of his published work without discernment, by 20 year old students in hallowed halls around the world, has created widespread receptors for the later hormesis cult which is now government sponsored and acting without much restraint in its advocacy of cheap and lethal standards for nuclear industry. Military or civilian. Even the heading of the chapter of his quoted here is malicious. If, as he attests, Radio Isotopes given to humans are drugs, what happens to the concept of the accumulating lifetime dose? For Brucer, there was always was, as his baseline, the concept of the beneficial dose. And that, I contest, cannot exist. For radiological burden accumulates throughout the life. It is most unlike a drug. One can take a valium a day for one’s whole life, and not die from respiratory arrest. Take one or two handfuls at the same time – less than 1 tablet a day life time dose of valium in this example, and the chances are one will not wake up.
The handful of days we each have however, is directly related to our total radiological insults. Unlike the valium, each radiation dose adds up. And that is why there is no such thing as a beneficial dose. Even in the depths of horror found in the fighting of disease, radiation itself becomes, as treatment method, an agent of disease. The cost /benefit ratio calculation inherent in medicine is at its most profound and tragic as people fight for prolonged life and comfort in our dying days.
It is a calculation which has NO PLACE among the healthy, exposed as a result of industry, military or civilian.
Since 1950 the globe has lived with the age which called be described as the Fallout-Phosphate-Benzene era. The first two components of triad of pollution are sources of internal emitters. The third member of the cartel is found in every petrol tank in the world. Benzene is a synergetic agent which amplifies the effects of radiation upon and within the living cell and body.
Brucer, in contradiction to himself, explains in great detail in his book, the discovery and proof of 1925 which concretely linked radium jaw disease suffered by radium dial painters with radium in the paint they used, was the seminal event which presented the American people with the proof of the harm of radiation exposure.
Brucer himself admits the press carried the story to population. His main concern was radio-phobia. The fear that, in his view, occupied the minds of many of his patients, potential or actual. Such a fear reduced his ability to treat people.
Brucer carefully describes Robley Evans work of calculating the radium painters’ radium body burden via the amount of radon on their breath. The ones with the most radon on their breath died the soonest. This is a flat contradiction within Brucer, who maintained some radium dial painters lived longer than they would have had they not been radium dial painters. Even as youg women died in their twenties from radium ingestion – the parent of radon – Brucer attempts to impose benefit to radon. Exactly in the fashion of the well documented utterances of the radium paint industry.

Spot the point that cripples Brucer, and all who follow him:

It was thus the year 1925 which cemented in the American mind the dangers of radiation. Not 1946 as claimed by Brucer. In picking this date Brucer reveals his use of the Groves device. The deception that nothing was known of these things prior to the Manhattan Project. That project, and the Presidential committees which conducted it and instructed it, were simply the Henry Fords of fission.
There results are now spread over the globe, including hot spots and the common people suffer it. Like it or not. Few radio-nuclide consumers set out to buy their contaminants. For the most part, we did not know what was in the product.
The causes of the flattened lines from 1950 coincide with routine nuclear releases, the introduction of synthetic phosphate fertilizer, loaded with polonium, sealed buildings due to air conditioning with consequent radon build up, suburban spread and in the US, a large and sudden increase in the consumption of petrol and greatly increased miles travelled by car per year. The Fallout-Phosphate-Benzene triad. Rest assured Brucer went to his grave rustling up customers by convincing people than radon was a health benefit, but it is not.
Irene Joliot-Curieène_Joliot-Curie
“Irène Joliot-Curie (12 September 1897 – 17 March 1956) was a French scientist, the daughter of Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie and the wife of Frédéric Joliot-Curie. Jointly with her husband, Joliot-Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1935 for their discovery of artificial radioactivity. This made the Curies the family with most Nobel laureates to date.[1] Both children of the Joliot-Curies, Hélène and Pierre, are also esteemed scientists.[2]“
“The years of working so closely with such deadly materials finally caught up with Joliot-Curie and she was diagnosed with leukemia. She had been accidentally exposed to polonium when a sealed capsule of the element exploded on her laboratory bench in 1946. Treatment with antibiotics and a series of operations did relieve her suffering temporarily but her condition continued to deteriorate. Despite this Joliot-Curie continued to work and in 1955 drew up plans for new physics laboratories at the Universitie d’Orsay, South of Paris.”
See also :
So far nothing I have found has shown my Army Captain to have been wrong. 
Jack, that period of the graphs from 1950 to 1970 is most interesting. Compared to the decade 70 – 80. Then, from 1980 on, the fallout age slope recommences and continues. There seems to be a pause between the last of the atmospheric bombs and the emptying of the stratospheric sink.
Charles Pecher and Strontium 89
The early part of the blog contains the story of Dr Charles Pecher.
The following link contains scanned images from papers written by Pecher and pubished in a learned journal in the period from 1939. Most important is the information contained in these papers describing the movement of radio strontium across biological membranes, its storage within bone and its movement from bone to fetus and milk via the mother’s circulatory system and soft tissue :
Pecher’s interest in radio strontium stemmed from his original interest in the role of calcium ions in the function of the human nervous system. This formed the basis of his research as a student in Belgium. On graduating, he moved, at the invitation of Ernest Lawrence, to Harvard, were he worked on the problem of lactic acid build up in muscles, using radio active tracers. From there, in 1939, he arrived at Lawrence’s University of California Berkley “rad lab”, which was equipped with a cyclotron, and which had, since the discovery of the neutron in 1932, been producing artificial radio nuclides for use in experimental medicine. Iodine 131 (Seaborg, Hamilton) and Phosphorous 32 (John Lawrence and L.A. Erf) had been successfully used in medicine prior to Pecher’s arrived.
As no form of radio calcium was sufficiently penetrating to act as a tracer, Pecher has sought out radio active calcium analogues for use in tracer experiments. He settled upon the calcium analogue Strontium 89 and had arrived in the USA armed with a method of synthesizing the material (using the method identified earlier by Stewart, Lawson and Cork.) via cyclotron.
It was a grant from a medical foundation interested in improving infant and child nutrition that enabled Pecher to conduct experiments aimed at measuring the effect of various methods of increasing the nutrition of cows milk. Sr89 was the tracer element used. The aim was to measure the effect of changes to the cows’ diet upon its nutritional value.
The published report showed that Sr89 was a successful calcium analogue and that, using Dr Libby’s wall counter (a type of radiation detector), Pecher and Erf were able to track and measure the movement of Sr89 (radio strontium 89) through the cows’ bodies, despite the animals’ large bulk. The cows were measurably hot as was their milk.
It bears pointing out that though this experiment took place after Hahn et al’s description of uranium fission (December 1938) was published in 1939, there was little clue that strontium 89 would later (in fact in 1941) be identified as a fission product and would therefore be a component of nuclear fallout. (Strontium had been detected by Hahn in 1938 and 1939. Mietner had described the fission processes by which Strontium 90 was formed in 1939. Thus while what Pecher was doing with Sr89 could likely be seen to be of interest to the military in terms of biochemistry for radio strontium generally, in terms of the tissue insulted, that weaponisation was not Pecher’s interest per se. His motivation was medical, not military.)
In his quest to understand the usefulness of Sr89 as a calcium analogue tracer (needed for both his work on the human nervous system and in his calcium nutrition studies) Pecher had to determine the biochemistry of radio strontium. So it was that Pecher injected pregnant rodents with Sr89 salts, and watched the result. He found that “the offspring were more radioactive than the mothers”. He found that orphaned suckling rats, when nursed by radioactive mothers (his words) became, also, radioactive.
These publications seemed innocent at the time. But, a few years later, the papers carried an immense amount of importance, such that any mention of Pecher’s work was classified secret by the AEC. (Hamilton, 1954.) Even as the AEC undertook a nation wide person hunt for the survivors of Pecher’s human trials……
(It is clear that Barry Commoner was aware of the Pecher Papers by the mid 1950s. It is clear that Dr Marston, that biologist – champion opponent of fallout in Australia – was aware of the Pecher papers. They arrived at Adelaide University in each year of their publication from 1939 to 1942. That is what the Adelaide University Library record shows. And from that record, I found them too. Had I attempted the same in 1954, my way would have been blocked. You had to be eligible to enter the University’s Barr Smith Library at that time. It was knowledge reserved for the elite back then. In the 2000s, my status in society no longer barred my entry into the hallowed vaults of the university library. By that time it had been 3 decades since I had spent time on my hands and knees scanning the RADIAC floor for hot particles with a military scintillator. Three decades since I had learned in military lectures of the substances which would continue to rain upon the earth for years from the stratospheric sink which held the poisons from the bombs. (and you can see that period in the blip in the graphs above.) Being born in the operational cusp between the bombs and the reactors, how could I forget this stuff. I was busy in the Army largely because the French persisted in testing nuclear weapons in the air. And the nation maintained a Radiac defence against radiological release or attack, which in October 1973 seemed to be an imminent possibility. (Though later diminished by Kissinger, the placing of US Forces in a high state of readiness for nuclear attack at the time was more than merely noted in the place where I worked. )
Disasters have happened with effects denied. One cannot normalize nuclear pollution if it’s true nature were known. The key to my understanding lay in the proofs written in the atomic age, before the nuclear era was foisted upon the world in 1945. And Pecher worked and wrote in the atomic age. Without a thought about global and local poisoning entering his head. He was the only person in the world synthesizing Strontium 89 in medical amounts in the period 1939 to 1941.
What he wrote and published was not censored in the context of war. That would not commence until December 1942. (Smyth)
Ironically, his final paper, the most encompassing one, was in fact nearly suppressed by the US censors in 1942. It was the bombastic opposition of Brucer which got the paper passed the censors and into print. The University of California advertised it in the scientific press at that time.
“Pecher originated the use of Sr89 as a cancer treatment. In 1939 Pecher had observed the uptake of Sr89 by bone tumours in animals. [14]
He found when given to such animals, Sr89 was concentrated at the tumour
 sites by the metabolism of bone tumours. As a result these tumours shrank under the intense beta irradiation of the now concentrated Sr89. Useful periods of treatment per dose were obtained due to the physical half life of Sr89. [15]
Such was the progress of the animal trials that by 1940 the treatment of
human patients suffering secondary bone cancer was underway. Prior to
treatment patients were confined to bed by great pain beyond the reach of other treatments. Administration of Sr89 chloride by injection produced such pain relief that some patients were able to leave their beds and walk. One patient returned to work as a teacher. Sadly though, despite the pain relief, Sr89 was not a cure. The trial was in an early phase and incomplete. [16]
Glasoe and Steigman identified Strontium 89 as a uranium fission product in 1940. Their paper “Radioactive Products from Gases Produced In Uranium Fission” was published in “The Physical Review”, Vol 58, No.1, 1 July, 1940.
Identifying and defining the Sr89 creation chain as Uranium + Neutron =
Energy plus Krypton 89 > Rubidium 89 > Strontium 89 with a 51 day half life, > Yttrium 89 (stable), they contrast this with the non fission means used earlier to create Strontium 89 via cyclotron by Stewart et al as followed by Pecher. (That is by the bombardment of a lighter isotope of Strontium with deuterons and protons (d, p), to create Sr89).
As the fission of both plutonium and uranium produce Strontium 89, [17] the Pecher data appears to be of great value in terms of predicting the effects of exposure to reactor emissions and fallout from atomic bombs.
 Dr Pecher’s final paper, the report on the Strontium 89 cancer treatment, was written in 1941 and published posthumously in 1942: “Pecher, C., “Biological Investigations with Radioactive Calcium and Strontium, Preliminary Report the Use of Radioactive Strontium in the Treatment of Metastatic Bone Cancer”, Contributed from the Radiation Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley, University of California Publications in Pharmacology. Editors: C.D. Leake, G. A. Alles, T.C. Daniels, M.H. Soley. Volume 2 No 11, pp. 117-150, plates 6-9, 3 figures in text. Submitted by Editors July 21, 1942,
Issued October 23, 1942, University of California Press, Berkeley, Cambridge University Press, London, England. Prefatory note by C.D. Leake, editor.”
The work of Charles Pecher defined the metabolic and radiobiological nature of Strontium 89 and its use in an innovative medical treatment in an era of global war.
Pecher demonstrated that the absorption and retention of Radio Strontium
 was related to dietary calcium and to the calcium demand experienced by
 individual test animals. Rodents deprived of dietary calcium absorbed and retained greater amounts of Sr89 introduced into their food. [18]
Irradiation of bone marrow by beta radiation emitted from medicinal Sr89 
resident in bone presented as a limiting factor in the course of Pecher’s human treatment trials.
Of this Pecher wrote: “the problem has been studied with respect to: (1) the distribution of irradiation after the administration of radioactive strontium, (2) the method of administration of radio-strontium, (3) the chemical toxicity of strontium on the tissues, (4) the effect of radioactive strontium on the tissues, and (5) the dosage of the substance.” [19] “ The effect of radio – strontium has
 been studied in mice, rabbits, and human beings…..Under the treatment of large doses of radioactive strontium (59 to 200 microcuries) to mice, a definite leucopenia has been observed. Two weeks after the administration of approximately 180 microcuries to each of five mice, their average white cell count was 4200 cells per cm., whereas the normal value for mice is approximately 14,000. Nevertheless, the effect on the blood picture is much smaller than that of a similar amount of radio-phosphorus.
Some transitory leucopenia and anemia observed in a patient with metastaticprostate carcinoma and in another………… (Ed note: I have deleted the account of the death of a patient from the effects of strontium 89 here) after a total administration of 8 and 5 millicuries of radio-strontium, respectively, must be attributed to the treatment….Dosage: The dosage of radio-strontium when administered
 therapeutically is still a difficult and largely empirical problem. The idea has been to give as much strontium as possible without producing any serious damage to the marrow… Important information has been given by the radioactivity determination on the tissues of an adult female who died 3 days after the intravenous injection of a simple dose of 0.3 millicurie of Sr lactate (170mgm. Sr, August 19, 1940). The activity of the bones ranges from 0.05 to 0.15 microcuries per gram wet weight….Similar values were observed in a patient with multiple myeloma who died two months after receiving 1.7 millicuries of radio-strontium per gram of tissue in one day gives approximately the same ionisation as a dose of 37 r of X rays, according to Dr. Aebersold, we may calculate that the total dose given to the bones if no Sr
 was eliminated from the skeleton would be equivalent to 500 to 1,500 r. These values are obviously much too high since strontium is continuously eliminated from the skeleton, as is evident from the other autopsy data. We may assume that an amount of radiation equivalent to 200 to 600 r is given to the bony tissues when 1 millicurie of Sr is intravenously injected in an adult. This rough calculation is only interesting as an indication of the order of the magnitude of the dose of radio-strontium that should be necessary to obtain a therapeutic effect on bone tumours. ” End Quote. [20]
The attempt to equate the dose received from Sr89 as an internal emitter to an external dose from X rays by Aebersold is important and historic. It is apparent the estimate is the result of a comparison of the known effects of external X radiation doses and the observed effects of internal Sr89 as it irradiated target tissue, the equivalence taking into account such complexities as ionising effectiveness and local vs. whole body dose when comparing internal Beta radiation in bone with external X ray. The external equivalent dose arrived at by Aebersold demonstrates the effectiveness of internal Sr89 as a vector for delivery of radiation doses to specific local tissue compared to external X ray in treatment.
Was there an aspect of the work which might arouse military interest in
relation to the spread of this substance over enemy positions by any
means?” end quote. Source: “Medicine and the Bomb, Deceptions from Trinity to Maralinga”, Langley, P.J., Port Willunga, South Australia.
Copyright: 11 May 2009. ISBN: 978-0-646-51823-7
[1] a. Lawrence, J., Obituary to Charles Pecher, “Science”, Vol 94, No. 2449, 5 Dec 1941, pp. 53. Brucer gives 1939 as the date Charles Pecher arrived the Crocker Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley.
b. Pecher, C., Fwd Lawrence, J., “Biological Investigations With Radio
Calcium and Radio Strontium”, 11899 Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. & Med., Vol 46
Jan -April 1941. c. Brucer, pp. 222.
d. “Cyclotron for Cancer”, Time magazine, 28 Nov. 1938)
[2] Pecher, C., Fwd Lawrence, J., “Biological Investigations With Radio
Calcium and Radio Strontium”, 11899 Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. & Med., Vol 46
Jan -April 1941, pp 86.
[3] Pecher, C., “A Long Lived Isotope of Yttrium”, Phys. Rev. 58, Issue 9, Nov 1940, pp. 843.
[4] US Patent Office, Patent Number 2,302,470, “Material and Method for
Radiography”, Charles Pecher, Berkeley, assignor to Research Corporation, New York. Application May 14, 1941. Serial Number No. 393,416.
[5] Erf, L.A., Pecher, C.,Proc. “Secretion of Radio-Strontium in Milk of Two Cows Following Intravenous Administration”, Soc. Exp Biol. & Med. Vol 45, Oct-Dec 1940, 11825P, pp. 762-764.
[6] ibid.
[7] ibid, pp 763. Note: The energy level of the Beta emissions from Sr89 is given in this text as “750,000 electron volts”. This is in error. Pecher gives the correct value as : “1.5 million electron volt beta-particles” in the text of
“Biological Investigations with Radioactive Calcium and Strontium”, pp. 86, which was published as paper 11899, Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. & Med. Vol. 46, Jan-April 1941.
[8] G. N. Glasoe (Columbia University, New York, New York), J. Steigman
(College of the City of New York, New York, New York Pupin Physics
Laboratories, Columbia University), “Radioactive Products from Gases
Produced in Uranium Fission”, Phys. Rev. Vol. 58, Issue 1, 1 – 6 (1 July 1940, paper submitted 13 May 1940) (APS PROLA). pp 4 & 5. The authors describe a 51 day half life and denote the isolated Strontium radioisotope as Strontium 89 citing the earlier work of Stewart, (Physics Review 56, 629 (1939) and Dubridge and Marshall, (Physics Review 56, 706 (1939); 57, 348, (1939).
[9] The US ADTSR “Toxicological Profile of Strontium” gives the energy of beta radiation emitted by Sr89 as 1.495 Million electron Volts (MeV). The half life of Sr89 is given as 51 days by this authority. (ADTSR, Toxicological Profile of Strontium, Chapter 4, CHEMICAL, PHYSICAL, and RADIOLOGICAL INFORMATION, Table 4-3 Percent Natural Occurrence and Radioactive Properties of Isotopes of Strontium, pp 196. ADTSR supplied pdf document TP159-c4.)
[10] a. Lawrence, J., Obituary to Charles Pecher, “Science”, Vol 94, No. 2449, 5 Dec 1941, pp. 53.
b. Brucer, M., “A Chronology of Nuclear Medicine”, ISNB0-9625674-0-X,
Heritage Publications In St Louis, pp. 229.
[11] Erf, L.A., Pecher, C., “ Secretion of Radio-Strontium in Milk of Two Cows Following Intravenous Administration”, Proc. Soc. Exp Biol. & Med. Vol 45, Oct-Dec 1940, 11825P, pp. 762-764.
[12] Pecher, C., Pecher, J., “Radio-Calcium and Radio-Strontium Metabolism in Pregnant Mice”, Proc. Soc. Exp Biol. & Med. Vol 46, Jan -April 1941, 11900, pp.92.
[13] ibid. pp. 91-94.
[14] “Historical Timeline, Important Moments in the History of Nuclear
Medicine”, Society of Nuclear Medicine Resource Centre.
[15] Pecher, C., “Biological Investigations with Radioactive Calcium
and Strontium, Preliminary Report on the Use of Radioactive Strontium in the Treatment of Metastatic Bone Cancer”, Contributed from the Radiation
Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley University of California Publications in Pharmacology. Editor: C. D. Leake, G.A. Alles, T.C. Daniels, M.H. Soley. Volume 2 No 11, pp. 117-150, plates 6-9, 3 figures in text. Submitted by Editors July 21, 1942, Issued October 23, 1942, University of California Press, Berkeley, Cambridge University Press, London, England. Prefatory note by C.D. Leake, editor.)
[16] ibid.
[17] “Evaluation of Radioactive Fallout” , Armed Forces Special Weapons
Project, Washington DC. 1955. AFSWP-978 (Extracted). Prepared for
Defence Nuclear Agency, Washington, DC 20305, 15 May 1981 HRE- 0808,
pp 7, “Physical Aspects of the Fallout Problem”, Table, “Comparison of Yield Mass Curves for Fission of U235, U238 and Pu 239, Fission Yields for Fission of Pu 239 with Fast Neutrons, discussion to pp 9.]
[18] Pecher, C., “Biological Investigations with Radioactive Calcium
and Strontium, Preliminary Report on the Use of Radioactive Strontium in the Treatment of Metastatic Bone Cancer”, Contributed from the Radiation
Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley University of California Publications in Pharmacology. Editor: C. D. Leake, G.A. Alles, T.C. Daniels, M.H. Soley. Volume 2 No 11, pp. 117-150, plates 6-9, 3 figures in text. Submitted by Editors July 21, 1942, Issued October 23, 1942, University of California Press, Berkeley, Cambridge University Press, London, England. Prefatory note by C.D. Leake, editor.) pp 133.
[19] ibid. Appendix pp 135.
[20] ibid. pp 136 – 138.
[21] Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (ACHRE) Final
Report, pp. 518, 1995, US Government. See also Staff Memorandum,
ACHRE 28/6/94, Historical Background, “Rad Warfare & Human
Experiments”, Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, U.S.
Department of Energy.
[22] Brucer, pp. 229
[23] The cyclotron operates by way of particle acceleration via magnetic fields.
See Brucer, pp. 209.
[24] Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Table 4-3. Percent Natural Occurrence and Radioactive Properties
of Isotopes of Strontium, pp 196 TP159-c4.pdf
[25] Greene Shepherd, “Types of Radiation: Basic Theory explained for the nonphysicist”, Chapter 13, pp 138, “Medical Response to Terrorism:
Preparedness and Clinical Practice”
By Daniel C. Keyes, Jonathan L. Burstein, Richard B Schwartz, Raymond E
Swienton Edition: 2, illustrated. Published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004. ISBN 0781749867, 9780781749862
[26] Moss, W., Eckhardt, R., “The Human Plutonium Injection Experiments”, Los Alamos Science, Number 23, 1995, pp. 179.
27] Lawrence, J., Obituary to Charles Pecher, Science, 5 December, 1941,
Vol 94, Issue 2449, pp 533
28] Oral History of Dr. Patricia Wallace Durbin, Ph.D. Conducted November
11, 1994. United States Department of Energy Office of Human Radiation
[29] Brucer, M., “A Chronology of Nuclear Medicine”, ISNB0-9625674-0-X,
HeritagePublications In St Louis, pp. 229.
[30] Science, Supplement, Vol. 94, No. 2442, 17 Oct. 1941, pp 8. (Pecher is credited later in the article.)
[31] ibid.
[32] Leake, C.D., “How I Am”, Annual Review of Pharmacology and
Toxicology, Vol 16, 1976, pp 7 – 9.
[33] Scott, K.G., Hughes, Sally Smith, “ Radioisotope Research in medicine:
oral history transcript/ 1979 (c1986), Berkley, Calif. : University of California. 1986. Bancroft Library, History of Science and Technology Program.
[34] Pecher, C., “Biological Investigations with Radioactive Calcium
and Strontium, Preliminary Report on the Use of Radioactive Strontium in the Treatment of Metastatic Bone Cancer”, Contributed from the Radiation
Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley University of California Publications in Pharmacology. Editor: C. D. Leake, G.A. Alles, T.C. Daniels, Submitted by Editors July 21, 1942, Issued October 23, 1942, University of California Press, Berkeley, Cambridge University Press, London, England. Prefatory note by C.D. Leake, editor.).
[35] DOE Openness: Human Radiation Experiments: Roadmap to the Project
ACHRE Report Chapter 5, “Experiments With Plutonium, Uranium, and
Polonium”, The California Experiments, footnote 75.
[36] Hamilton, J.G., “Metabolism of Fission Products, Progress Report for Period Ending April 15, 1944”, declassified 1947, re-issued by US Atomic Energy Commission, MDDC -1001, Argonne National Laboratory,
Conclusions, pp 26.
[37] a. DOE Openness: Human Radiation Experiments: Roadmap to the
Project ACHRE Report Chapter 6: General Benefits of Radioisotope
Research Footnote 96.
b. GE Healthcare, Canada, ]
[38] DOE Openness: Human Radiation Experiments: Roadmap to the
Project ACHRE Report Chapter 6, “The AEC Program of Radioisotope
Distribution”, General Benefits of Radioisotope Research, sentence number 1.
When I first started posting Pecher’s work and my summaries of it on this blog, pro-nuclear advocates contacted me and basically accused me of making the stuff up. It was not at their local libraries you see. And therefore, I must be delusional.
People, sadly, from 1945 until 1973 had as much hope of reading Pecher’s work at their local libraries as they did of hearing it recited on a day time soap opera.
However, I am pleased to advise that the publisher of Pecher’s 1940s work now has listed the his work online:
The salient point made by Pecher is this: “We may assume that an amount of radiation equivalent to 200 to 600 r is given to the bony tissues when 1 millicurie of Sr is intravenously injected in an adult. This rough calculation is only interesting as an indication of the order of the magnitude of the dose of radio-strontium that should be necessary to obtain a therapeutic effect on bone tumours. ” End Quote. [20] Charles Pecher, 1941.
I ask again, for the 1,000th time, to all those pro hormesis cultists out there: What is the beneficial dose of Strontium 89?
For the healthy, there isn’t one is there?
From 1945 until 1973 the work of Pecher was suppressed.
In 1940 the pain of bone cancer, being what it is, was intractable and untreatable. It caused immense suffering in the final stages of breast and prostate cancer.
Pecher’s treatment was the first to end the agony in the final stages of the disease.
It was approved for use in medicine in 1993 by the US FDA (a bit earlier in Canada.) (Lucky you Ray M.)
I ask this of nuclear authorities: Why did it take the accidental re-discovery by Dr Furisian in Germany in the early 1970s to make the US nuke vaults cough up the data it had held since 1939? Every person who suffered death with agony from the disease pain successfully treated in 1941 in the years 1945 to 1993 suffered needlessly. Because the nuclear establishment sat on a treatment which proved the harm of internal emitters to the healthy. The FDA approval carries the caveat that Sr89 Cl (the injectable salt) only be used in end stage disease where the diagnosis is confirmed and sure. There is caution against its use in the case of pregnant and nursing females.
1945 to 1993 is a long time period in which medicine suffered suppression. In order to prevent the awareness of the radiobiology of a substance created by nuclear fission at four times the rate of Strontium 90 per kilogram of fission fuel from being broadcast.
The suppression appears to have committed in order to inculcate the population of the world into thinking of fallout in terms of a risk present only in the distant future. Whereas, in terms of immediate dose, the contribution of Sr89 is immense.
It has been shown that the largest single contributor to the Beta burn lesions suffered by the Marshall Islanders was Strontium 89. This was found by Cronkite to be “at the tolerance level” for that substance. (Cronkite, AEC/USN, Congressional Record, 1957, 1959). Where did the AEC get the tolerance dose of Sr89 from? The graveyards of the Marshall Isands attest to the fact that the doses required to treat end stage disease are inappropriate as any guide to acceptable or safe dose for the healthy. Such doses cause illness and death over years and decades.
The easing of pain in the last months of life in the pursuit of nuclear medicine is rapidly becoming an activity based upon the nuclear dog chasing it’s tail. The more fallout there is the more medicine will need Sr89 Cl as a treatment. This situation was compounded decades ago when the Manhattan Project took sole responsibility for the production and distribution of medical radio isotopes after World War 2. As part of the deal, it actively suppressed the use of cyclotrons and other beam accelerators as a means of production and insisted that it alone produce the radio isotopes via nuclear reactors. The risk to health posed by reactors and fallout was hidden and the means of achieving a comfortable death promoted via a nuclear medical regime which suppressed in the fact a major therapy because the medical datasheet described the most abundant strontium isotope generated by nuclear fission and which is thus a major component of nuclear fallout.
The speed and reliability with which Sr89 produces disease in test animals is breath taking. The results from Sr90 injection animal trials were used by the AEC to promote the safety of nuclear weapons tests, whereas in fact, both the pre war Sr89 data from Pecher and the modern GE sourced Sr89 data show in fact the opposite. And it must be said, the GE data is presented in a manner which is divorced from the pre war source. Pecher showed that Sr89 is excreted in the milk of all mammalian species he tested. And he found that the babies “became more radioactive than the mother”. GE reports merely that excretion of Sr89 in milk might be expected but had not been tested. Hence the caveat against subjecting pregnant and nursing women to the substance.
I guess in that regard, in respect to the original data, nuclear authorities around, including today, the Japanese government and its nuclear buddies, simply cannot read as they herd humans back into fallout zones and steam clean radio nuclides further into roof tiles and concrete of the houses where babies live.
Among the radio-condiments we breath and eat and drink, there is a special medicine they say is safe, but is not. And Sr89 is not the only one.
Dr Patricia Wallace Durbin worked at the old Crocker lab at UC B long after the death of Pecher. She was a Project Sunshine scientist involved the Sr90 trials. Beagles and monkeys were injected with the stuff over many years. So much Beagle shit was collected it had to be stored at Hanford until it was safe to flush.
In the final stages of her career she was still busy collating and examining the data. Then the US DOE pulled her funding. In retirement she continued collating and examining the data , unpaid, until she became ill. She passed away fairly recently.
Even though the data had not been fully finalised, the DOE had proclaimed the safety of nuclear fallout. Based on the results of the Sr90 studies.
Patricia’s oral history can be read here:
One of the most important quotes from this oral history is this:

“FISHER: We’re changing the topic just a little now. Considering this work and the work [during] your career, [and remembering] the conference [on internal dosimetry research needs] that was held in Atlanta, organized by CIRRPC,29 what do you think the future research directions of the Department of Energy and radionuclide metabolism and biological effects should be?

DURBIN: I’m not convinced that the present research agenda at OHER30 considers radionuclide metabolism and biological effects as an agenda item at all. I’m not even sure it’s on their list; it’s fallen off the bottom of the list, if it were on the list.
CAPUTO: Should it be on the list?
DURBIN: I think so. I think that it’s part of an ongoing obligation, as part of an ongoing compact with the public. This is an area where the U.S. was once the unchallenged leader and is now the tail wagging the dog. There is a place for a focused effort. ….” the rest of it is important to read. I’ll end it there for this post though.
Fat chance Pat. DOE is hogging the funds for ultra low LET ultra low dose external x experiments on GM mice.
About as realistic as a plastic Porsche out of a Corn Flakes box. A cheap and nasty model which has cost a lot of truth and which bears no resemblance to the afflictions suffered by nuclear victims.
There is no beneficial dose and there is no safe one. The degree of risk is proportional to accumulated dose. Dose accumulated over time is the equivalent to that dose given at one time.
The advocates of hormesis cannot add up. This is because their ideology does not permit it. A lower dose can have a more profound effect per unit dose than a higher dose in terms of the most vulnerable. The vulnerability of the chromosome depends stage of cell division. Ionizing effectiveness is dependent upon oxygen tension within the cell. The manual worker is more at risk than those relaxing or sleeping given the same shielding considerations. The modern state of nuclear advocacy is totally bent and crocked.
Where authorities repeatedly state “All is well, perfectly safe” and where the population increasingly experience evidence by suffering to the contrary, all that happens is increasing incongruence between official dictates and the reality of suffering experienced by ordinary people. There is a loss of faith in leadership. And that is one primary reason why nuclear industry is a threat to the good order of society. It often takes a revolt to change things.
Changing the leadership of the NRC and other nuclear authorities, is not going to stop the process of social upheaval anywhere, particularly in Japan. Only compliance with the truth and known facts by those authorities will achieve. And they will have to shut themselves down if they obeyed the dictates of reality.
Is there proof that the findings of the Project Sunshine Sr90 animal studies are flawed? Is nuclear fallout safe? Is there are report relating to a fission fallout product which shows its danger? Yes, many.
Particularly in relation to Beagle dogs and plutonium, and Pecher’s work with rodents. But his work isn’t modern is it?
What does GE say?
GE have over time, updated their website. The latest source I have for the Sr89 Cl (the injectable salt) prescription data is given below:
Metastron Prescribing Information
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
The relevant quote is :
“Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Data from a repetitive dose animal study suggests that
Strontium-89 Chloride is a potential carcinogen. Thirty-three of
 40 rats injected with Strontium-89 Chloride in ten consecutive
 monthly doses of either 250 or 350 μCi/kg developed
 malignant bone tumors after a latency period of approximately
 NINE (9) MONTHS. No neoplasia was observed in the control animals.

Treatment with Strontium-89 Chloride should be restricted to
patients with well documented metastatic bone disease.
 Adequate studies with Strontium-89 Chloride have not been
 erformed to evaluate mutagenic potential or effects on fertility.
 Pregnancy: Teratogenic effects.
 Pregnancy Category D. See Warnings section.” end quote.
In contrast to the decades of Strontium 90 injection studies of animals conducted at great cost by the nuclear authorities in charge of Project Sunshine, the GE data is concrete. Nuclear emissions are not safe.
The reason for this is given by Pecher in 1941. A miniscule physical amount of Sr89, when present in the body tissue, is the equivalent of a huge external whole body x ray dose.
So as much as Marshall Brucer might want me to think Sr89 acts like a drug, it does not. Radiologically it turns the body into a radiation source. There is no shielding and the seat of the contamination is the body’s hot spot.
When I see Japanese workers on the roofs of homes in Japan, I want to cry, but can’t. They drive the shit further into the roof, where it will await disturbance. They drive into little streams that runs across the garden, into the gutters and to god knows where.
Instead of crawling on their hands and knees to remove each speck, they use bulldozers and brooms while ordinary people walk by.
They disobey every rule of decontamination known and spend billions of yen doing it. They force civilians into hot zones and cause refugees to live in uncertainty, with no hope and in substandard surroundings.
If nuclear industry cannot afford proper remediation, it is bankrupt and unworthy of being pursued as a technology. If it cannot stand on own without the protection of government enforced secrecy rules, if it cannot speak the truth, it is not worthy of use and must be abandoned.
It has been a long time since Dr. Pecher and Dr. Aebersold told their truth in 1941. It is time it was household news. There is no controversy. If a radiation emitting fleck, spot, colloidal particle, dust speck, call it what you will, is taken into the body and woven into tissue, the dose is not diminished, it magnified many times. Compared to a whole body X ray source.
Being 28,000 times more radioactive than Radium 226, Sr89 is one of the worst offenders in the creation of immediate damage and ongoing harm. For, long after it has totally decayed to stability, the huge accumulated dose it causes strips years of life from its victims.
And that is why the FDA forbids its use except in the case of end stage terminal disease.
So how come nuclear industry is allowed to claim safety even when that industry emits this substance and many others, both routinely and in emergencies?
This substance, this Sr89, illustrates a point. It is illegal for doctors to administer it to the healthy. Yet nuclear industry, claiming medical status, claims its emissions, either routine or caused by emergency failure of its plant or plants, pretends its emissions are either safe or beneficial or both.
In fact, if the nuclear industry were actually run by doctors, the FDA would have them arrested. For breaches of the code controlling the admission of radio isotopes. Medical isotopes are effectively controlled. Industrial ones, patently, are not. The FDA is not privy to the secrets controlled by the Atomic Energy Act.
There is a contradiction of facts held by nuclear authorities and this moral and ethical dilemma is at the nub of nuclear secrecy. If the voters actually knew and understood, they would vote no to nuclear activity of the sort conducted under the protection of government laws.
Both Pecher and Aebersold died by their own hand. Pecher in Canada in 1941 and Aebersold in New Mexico in the 1960s.
As always, the reasons will be complex. Only LIbby, Hamilton, the Lawrences and a few others knew enough of Pecher to keep the secret of his work. Even though it was published in the academic press, only those of the same field of interest had a consistent view. What became lost to medicine remained a secret knowledge held by the nuclear authorities. To the detriment of the people. Pecher was not the one to identify the magnifying effect of an internal emitter.
Those internal emitters which are biologically significant because they mimic nutrients magnify in the food chain. A dose deemed dilute on a dairy pasture magnifies itself within the body with each portion of milk consumed by the human. So that even though roughly 90% of the strontium is rejected by the bovine udder (more gets through in goats) the risk to humans increases with each glass drunk, until an equilibrium dose is reached. The proof of fallout, as known by those who read the pre 1942 literature knew, would be found in the bones of babies. Even still borns, those who had never suckled. These too were found to have radio strontium in their bones. How? Because, as Pecher reported in 1940, the Sr89 stored in the outer layer of the trabecular bone, held in a far looser crystal structure than that of the calcium lattice, is released back into the blood stream of the mother, crosses the placenta and is deposited in the fetus. This tends to occur later in pregnancy. In humans this may occur a long time after the mother’s exposure to radio strontium. Menopause is another when radio strontium releases from bone, to flood the soft tissues with dose.
The old project sunshine nuclear authorities sought to use mothers and babies as dose indicators in a mad scheme to demonstrate, perversely, the opposite of what they already knew. This attitude of arrogant disregard continues to this day.
For example:
Joe Hamilton’s “Dear Chuck” Letter – Forgotten by Medicine but a constant military secret -
That the long term military interest and control continued regarding human data relating to internalised Sr89 is evidenced by the April 6 1954 Letter to Dr. L. Dunham from Dr Joseph Hamilton re the medical use of radioisotopes:
“Dear Chuck: Please find enclosed the available data from the University of California Hospital which was compiled by members of Stone’s staff who incidentally are quite unaware of the classified nature of this material. I discussed this matter with Dr. Stone and told him that it should not be discussed with anyone in the Division of Radiology with the exception of the two of us.” …” The picture is not too clear since a number of patients received stable strontium and several others received some amounts of radio-strontium.”
“Our own experimental program is progressing very nicely using both rats and monkeys.”
“The use of radioactive strontium, (Sr89) in the treatment of patients…the rationale, based on experimental animal studies with metastatic carcinoma to bone and in osteogenic sarcoma was initiated in 1940 by Charles Pecher….Pecher’s experimental findings were confirmed by Treadwell (Mrs. Anne de G. Low-Beer) , et al, who investigated uptake of radio-strontium by bone tumours in six patients prior to biopsy or amputation.” Secret.
Source Document: pdf scan provided by US Department of Energy Opennet. Search for joseph Hamilton, Strontium 89, Pecher, Dear Chuck.
Even as they continued a militarized form of Pecher’s work, they sought to keep it secret. Presenting fallout as safe and confiscating the passports of American citizens who spoke the truth, hauling them before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (Pauling).
As so it goes, until today, the industry presents itself as some sort of dispensing agent for “beneficial rays” . They may live in 1924 but most of us do not.
Whereas, even as their reactors burn and bubble, they say “all is well. We can afford this once every 30 years”. Shall we let them spend the money to have that?
Who will be next to feel the lash of nuclear lies in the wake of nuclear disaster? England? China?

In the end, after a period, when the lies have been recorded over time and flung back at the mouths which uttered them, one realizes nuclear industry is helpless before aware voters. Its utterances are as effective a crowd control measure as a mauling by a flock of dead sheep is.

I await that day. It is a very poor thing though when I, an archivist’s nightmare, should feel utterly compelled to tell my truth simply because as an 18 year old soldier I saw hot particles register on the dial of my military scintillator. Hot Particles exist, I have “seen” them. They are not science fiction, they are not “contrails”. They exist in nuclear emissions, the artificial ones being dozens, hundreds and thousands times more deadly than the decay particles of the uranium chain. And really, what more need I say? Noone in authority will listen or respond. They never have, except to tell me to shut up about the danger posed by the 1970s era “Diamond” brand Chinese made radium painted bed side clocks.

A numeric representation of the hunt for a hot particle on a lino floor:
Numericals – meter reading on a scintillator. FDS – Full scale deflection of the scintillator dial needle as the probe is moved systematically over the floor and in close proximity to it:


Best of luck with your bonfires and steam cleaners, Japan.

My task in the 1970s was easy. I only worked on surfaces. In fact the biosphere is three dimensional and the risk continues over time.
Had I been tasked to monitor 100 cubic meters of dirt, it would have taken me, with my method, at least a lifetime to monitor.

To put it in technical language :

Even individual nuclear fuel particles, released
uncontrolled into the environment in a severe nuclear
accident, may represent an acute health hazard….
…Their identification and detection in the
environment represents a technical, analytical and
even philosophical challenge for radiation protection.
…the problem that highly active particles may be
present in the air although the external dose rate is
below the recommended operative action level is not
only theoretical.
” (Source: Pollanen, R. “Nuclear Fuel
Particles in the Environment – Characteristics, Atmospheric
Transport and Skin Doses”, STUK – Radiation and Nuclear
Safety Authority, University of Helsinki, Department of
Physics, Academic Dissertation, presented May 28, 2002.
ISBN 951-712-528-3)

Had the conditions which exist in schools and homes of Japan’s hot zones today existed within my work area in 1972, we would have donned the oxygen masks and cleaned up, washing ourselves afterward in the emergency shower.

Nuclear progress is not reflected in the current state of Japan. Rather the economy drive in health physics is plain site for all the world to see. The new normal which I will never accept.

2 Responses to “Internal Emitters. Once More. From the Top.”

  1. CaptD Says:

    Yet another great article that hopefully will help others realize that much of what they have been told about radiation s bogus…

  2. majia nadesan Says:

    Paul this is an awesome article.

    Your research is amazing.


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