Full Body Burden Essay

Topics: Cancer, Ionizing radiation, Brain tumor Pages: 3 (606 words) Published: April 12, 2015


Plutonium Contamination and Radiation Effects

In Kristen Iversen's book, Full Body Burden, she talks about the causes and effects of the plutonium contamination and radiation effects. There are many effects caused by plutonium contamination and radiation exposure. There are many different types of cancer caused by the exposure. There are three main cancers discussed in her book. They include bone or lung cancer, brain cancer, and leukemia.

Bone and lung cancer is a main effect of plutonium contamination in the air if inhaled. After the Mother's Day fire in nineteen sixty-nine, Rocky Flats began offering tours for the public. During the tour, each person receives a respirator and is dressed in laboratory smocks and booties. The tour guide tells the people to put on their respirators if an alarm sounds while walking through the corridors because this means that “a particle of plutonium the size of a grain of pollen, if inhaled or taken into the body, can cause bone or lung cancer, leukemia, or genetic defects”(Iversen 157).

Another type of cancer caused by plutonium contamination is of the brain. In nineteen seventy-eight, Dr. Carl Johnson's research reaches the public. He shows an evident pattern of large incidences of all cancers in every age group people in areas exposed to the Rocky Flats facility. It is also discovered that the workers at the plant have around eight times more brain tumors than is presumed. He is also discovered that the workers have “triple the number of malignant melanomas”(Iversen 168). There was a specific case involving Don Gabel. He began working at the plant in nineteen seventy and after a year of working at the plant, he was transferred to Building 771. This was the plutonium processing building. Gabel then learned to use a furnace that melted plutonium and he spent most of his workday with his head a few inches away from a sign that read: DO NOT LOITER. Just a short while after his transfer to Building 771, he was...

Cited: Iversen, Kristen. Full Body Burden. New York : Broadway, 2013. Print.
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