Submitted by Richard Wyndham: Hare Krishna dear devotees
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Just came a cross with a Geiger counter (radiation meter) in India, and found something, you may be concerned with, if you spent time in the villages, and not only, here. Most common to this days alternative to electric lights are Thorium oxide coated gas lamp mantles used in ornamental gas and kerosene pressure lanterns and gas burning camping lamps.
Production of thorium oxide coated mantles was stopped in US 18 years ago. Now it is replaced with yttrium oxide, non radioactive element. But in the places like India, it is still on the market.
Normal radiation level is 0.12 micro siemens. My Geiger counter is reporting 15.24 micro siemens next to a few packed mantles, I just got from local shop. It is 125 times above the normal level. And it is Beta and Gamma radiation, without counting Alfa. (Thorium is known as mainly Alfa emitter) The half-life of total decay for Thorium is a few billions years. That means, if we are inhaling that smoke in our longs, or ashes from old mantles remain on, or mix with mud floor, or around, in the house, it is with us forever! And if this is the case for many years, than there will be increased risk for lung cancers for first generation and 6 fingers children in the next, in the best case‚Ä¶ So, please be careful with these things in India. Try not to be around, and do not come in direct contact with new, old mantles, ashes. Also, avoid inhalling smoke, coming from it.
Precautions from Wikipedia. org ‚ÄúNatural thorium decays very slowly compared to many other radioactive materials. Owning and handling small amounts of thorium, such as a gas mantle, is considered safe if care is taken not to ingest the thorium ‚ÄĒ lungs and other internal organs can be penetrated by alpha radiation. Exposure to aerosolized thorium can lead to increased risk of cancers of the lung, pancreas and blood. Exposure to thorium internally leads to increased risk of liver diseases. This element has no known biological role.‚ÄĚ
Hope this letter meets You in good health Your humble servant Savyasachi Das
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