July 22, 2008

Radioactive Cows

Jenn, the geosciences lab goddess, told me today that the procedure they follow for analyzing strontium isotopes was created following the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Days of releasing radiation into the environment have led to numerous cancers and diseases, but even after that cleared, the food chain was still contaminated. People who drank milk from cows that had eaten affected grass, for example, stored up iodine in their thyroids and got cancer. So for over a decade, scientists have been testing milk in the area for radioactive iodine, plutonium, cesium, and strontium. They are able to test the milk quickly and efficiently, and as a result I get to run my enamel samples quickly and efficiently as well.


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