Radiation, Pollution & Toxins | Natural Health Blog

Date: 04/28/2011    Written by: Hiyaguha Cohen

Radiation Causes Plant & Animal Mutations

Metaphysicians and New Age aficionados have long since given a positive spin to the most dire of events. For instance, the mystic Alice Bailey once wrote that the noise from the atomic bomb explosions of World War II speeded up evolution on the planet and would bring about events that would, "transform world thinking, and lead to a new type of transmutative process."1 For anyone similarly inclined toward the sunny side of the street, there's even a way to put a positive spin on the scourge of pollution affecting the planet now, including those radiation clouds emanating from Japan. It seems that radiation and pollution may, in some cases, spawn evolutionary adaptations and leaps.

Reports coming out of Chernobyl 25 years after the nuclear disaster there attest to this fact.2 In the 1660-square-mile restricted area around the site of the meltdown -- an evacuated area covering parts of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia -- lush, primeval forests now thrive.3 Herds of wild animals -- bears, wolves, deer, wild boar and so on -- now roam the area where civilization once held sway, grazing their way down former city streets now overgrown. In fact, over 100 species on the endangered list inhabit the area, including 40 species never seen there before the accident.

Ecologist James Morris of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, says, "By any measure of ecological function these ecosystems seem to be operating normally. The biodiversity is higher there than before the accident." 

How is it possible for life to thrive in an area that won't be habitable by humans for thousands of years? According to experts, after the accident, the most vulnerable organisms died, while those that remained and proliferated somehow made adaptations that allowed them to live in a radioactive environment. For instance, when scientists compared soy plants growing at Chernobyl to soy plants from uncontaminated areas, they found that the Chernobyl crop contained specialized proteins that defended cells from heavy metal and radiation damage, plus, the overall ratio of 24 different proteins in the mutated plants differed from those outside of the evacuated zone.4  According to Martin Hajduch of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, "One protein [in the Chernobyl crop] is known to actually protect human blood from radiation."

Other plant species also have mutated. There's a pine forest that turned from green to red, with longer needles than before, but yet, it seems perfectly healthy. It is now known as the "Red Forest." There are birch trees that have only branches and no trunks. And researchers have noted changes in the DNA of some animal species, too.

For instance, a strain of mice inhabiting the site seems to have developed the capacity to repair cells damaged by radiation. There are birds with unusually high rates of albinism and catfish growing to unusual sizes.  Generally, animals can withstand higher doses of radiation than humans, which partially accounts for their success in repopulating the area. Even so, animals are affected by radiation, and some species, particularly birds, show unusually high cancer rates. Whether they'll adapt over time remains to be seen.

As for humans, the news isn't quite as good. The official death toll at Chernobyl is ultimately expected to reach anywhere from 4,000 to over 100,000,5 but unofficial estimate range as high as a million people who might ultimately die as a result of exposure to radiation.

For those more worried about oil spills and other types of environmental contamination, there's interesting news, too. There's a type of fish, the Atlantic tomcod, that seems to be thriving in the PCB-permeated waters of the Hudson River.6 The Hudson became polluted with PCBs 50 years ago when General Electric released about 1.3 million pounds of toxins into the waterway. Most of the species inhabiting the area died off or became contaminated, but the Atlantic tomcod, it seems, adapted and developed a genetic resistance to the pollutant. Scientists studying pollution in other waterways have noted similar developments with other species of fish.  "It's an example of how human activities can drive evolution by introducing stress factors into the environment," says researcher Diana Franks, who is studying the Hudson River fish.

Meanwhile, outside of Chernobyl, research indicates other interesting side effects that might result from radiation. Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, for instance, are studying a species of fungus that thrives on radiation and converts it into fuel.7 According to study leader Ekaterina Dadachova, "Just as the pigment chlorophyll converts sunlight into chemical energy that allows green plants to live and grow, our research suggests that melanin [a pigment found in certain types of mushrooms] can use a different portion of the electromagnetic spectrum - ionizing radiation - to benefit the fungi containing it." In fact, the dark mushrooms seem to grow better in a radioactive environment than outside of it.

Certainly, the devastating effects of radiation and pollution far outweigh the good that may come from evolutionary adaptations hundreds of years in the future -- at least from the perspective of those of us enjoying life on earth today. Still, it makes an interesting contrast to the apocalyptic films that show an earth barren of life in the aftermath of nuclear or environmental disaster. Indeed, there might be a possibility that such an aftermath could actually give birth to new life forms, though humans may not be among the species to be around to enjoy them.

1 Hickox, Norma. "The Science of Music Prophesized by Alice Bailey Books." 14 September 2010. Esoteric Online. April 13, 2010. http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:iZ-lvbRj9ZsJ:www.esotericonline.net/profiles/blogs/the-science-of-music+sound+atomic+bomb+alice+bailey&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a&source=www.google.com
2 Shukman, Henry. "Chernobyl, My Primeval, Teeming, Irradiated Eden" March 2011. Outside Magazine. 13 April 2011. http://outsideonline.com/adventure/travel-ga-201103-chernobyl-wildlife-refuge-sidwcmdev_154483.html
3 Hopkin, Michael. "Chernobyl ecosystems 'remarkably healthy.'" 9 August 2005. Nature News. 13 April 2011. http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050808/full/news050808-4.html
4 Calloway, Ewen. "Chernobyl fallout could drive evolution of 'space plants'" 15 May 2009. New Scientist. 13 April 2011. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17136-chernobyl-fallout-could-drive-evolution-of-space-plants.html
5 Chernobyl's Legacy:Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts. The Chernobyl Forum: 2003--2005 Second revised version. http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Booklets/Chernobyl/chernobyl.pdf
6 "Pollution Triggers Genetic Resistance Mechanism in a Coastal Fish"18 February 2011. Science Daily. 14 April 2011. < http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217141513.htm>
7 "Radiation-loving fungi: the perfect space food?" 23 May 2007. New Scientist. 14 April 2011. < http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11917-radiationloving-fungi-the-perfect-space-food.html>

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Comments

  •  
    Submitted by Maryann on
    July 26, 2011 - 2:06pm

    Oh NO!

    Did you just do that?

    Did I read CORRECTLY?!

    Did you REALLY have that much courage – or vacuum – to do THAT??!

    So you are saying that it’s a wonderful thing that we can produce something that would change the DNA of animal species while annihilating others…that the change is so welcoming for the fact that we MIGHT have ENJOYed the variety of “new” and adaptable species as a result of our Franken prowess, just IF we have been capable of adapting ourselves. Oh, there is such positivity in all that consequence of unknown experimentation and all so AWE INSPIRING and COMFORTING to our trusting masses.

    Yes… why not…

    Continue the creative endeavors that bring so much creativity and harmony among all the living, and manifests such diversity or “new” life forms on our planet – because we and Earth are in desperate need and want and desire for these mutations. Such is our passion for self-expression!! We human species have just outlived countless wars, genocides, slavery, poverty , unrest, frauds, devastations, famines for that very opportunity and privilege that our SPECIES won’t even live to enjoy.

    We are so bored and tired of the same life forms inhabiting our planet, and these same old boring bodies that can’t take anymore outdated surgical transformation, that we just can’t wait for natural selection anymore; our multi-tasking brains are just too developed for that patience and endurance in this new age, leading-edge, technologically advanced society. So much so that our boredom has become transgenic, now we want instead to be SICK and TIRED – literally. AND we want to be invisible while being so!!

    Such is our progression and advancement that we just don’t mind at all submitting ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our animals – Heck! ALL LIFE ON THIS PLANET!!! – to excruciatingly long term diseases and agonizing deaths for the opportunity of seeing evolutionary changes before our eyes – never mind time-lapse photography – move over!! – but just like virtual reality gaming apps!

    Whoopie!!

    No, no….a REALIZED virtual reality experience, at LAST!!!!!

    Double Whoo hoo!!!!

    WOW…how did the Gaming Guruses escape this innovation? HOW could they escape this profitability??

    Did you?

    And… what’ll you know?....

    Billions are just going to be pouring into our national deficit…hows THAT for The Secret and Manifestation??!! And Law of Attraction!!

    So attracted are those creators that, yes, LAWS are going to be passed so those creators may be exempted from this painful evolutionary change that will even revolutionize national spending to the point of actually getting that NASA project completed ,finally, that would create civilization for the exempted on the Moon or – better yet –on a whole NEW planet light years away from the Earth, as we will have no more blue-tooth (see, even in our naming conventions appears our resounding desire to change DNA), but more powerful purple-wisdom-molar technology and be able to continue to be amazed and watch this evolutionary miracle created by all powerful, intellectual, innovative, advanced and wise Man from – listen, listen – L I G H T Y E A R S S S S S AWAAAAAAAY!!!!!!

    Then we may learn ways to perfect this technology so that we can start all over again on our new planet, and THAT will be more spectacular than Cirque du Soleil could EVER create (or Christopher Columbus)– but, for the first time in millions of Earth years, WITH a most important distinction rivaling them and all those before this monumental innovation : Showcasing a NEW SPECIES of animals AND humans!!!. How’s that , Guy Laliberté, for outdoing not only your creations, but even your surname meaning Liberty?! Two for one!

    Perpetual
    Whoo hoo X 1,000,000,000 and to the equation of MC sq = E !!!!

    Fortunately, there will be…

    NO audience then.

    So why not…
    BLAZE THOSE TRAILS YE MEN OF INTELLECTUAL ADVANCEMENT!!!!!!!

    Yey

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    July 27, 2011 - 5:55pm

    Hi MaryAnn,

    In answer to your question: No, you did not read this correctly.

  •  
    Submitted by Maryann on
    July 30, 2011 - 1:26am

    Thank you for your response and confirmation.

    That was exactly my point. To represent the people who do misread it.

    But do we, really, misread?

    It is refreshing to see an author remaining somewhat neutral on both sides of the fence, as compared to all the news media giants where personal or network opinions and corporate interests dominate genuine and integral journalism, becoming instead tele-rings where the reporters are wrestlingmongers running the gamut of attacking, gossiping, eluding, twisting, chattering, ridiculing, denying, bantering, discrediting…and everything in between instead of keeping to the facts - researched and confirmed, that is – of BOTH sides.

    Except… that because of these mongers, the “news” representation is far too often heavier on one side – the reporting of untruths or half truths, the omitting of information as complete reporting, purposely bypassing news the public has a birthright to posses, that affect our very bodies and the environment that sustains them ….and worse, replacing it with pure nonsense (networks charge millions for seconds worth of air, so why do they waste news time with personal opinion chatter and “How The Cat Got Rescued By The Fire Department” when there is more pressing news to tell the masses?...why?...when there is more than enough entertainment going around? …over 800 channels of it?) …well… I don’t have to tell you….

    And so remaining neutral – particularly from a non-journalist professional (or are you?), who possesses, not just a point of view, but knowledge that is not normally given a seat around the network “ring,” much less have the opportunity to be IN the “ring” – does not really serve that vacuum that everyone KNOWS or intuits exists in all media; and its pull is so strong that it devours the neutrality, thus leading to misreads. I think the inequity deserves for you to be “louder” than that; we deserve that support, because – talk about contrast – we do not have many other platforms that are attended by the masses… and too often we just get stoned. Of course, not using the same volume as I did, that was venting (I honestly didn’t think it was going to be posted – a lesson for me), but we could have used your much needed knowledge and voice in tipping that imbalance.

    As someone who purposely kept away from all media for 15 years, it has turned out for me to be quite a revealing experiment. Returning to it was a major shock to my system, making me realize how much power indeed media has upon our psyche that despite the massive outlets we have as a result of new information technology, I’ve returned to yet a more somnambulistic audience than what I thought we were 15 years ago. And so my “misread” was for these. None of what’s happening today with our health system, with our agriculture, etc., would have been tolerated in the 60’s – then, there would have been a major movement had they had the relative information that we have available to us today. Why have we allowed all this to continue? I believe the success that otherwise Cairo recently has experienced with the Internet media is because they did not have decades of being lulled into passivity (or indifference or disinterest or resignation) – the tyranny of their government, who controlled media, was experienced openly and in daily life- raw and harsh. They already had the relative knowledge available to them. And so the anguish of one young man purposely putting himself on fire for these shared conditions and this news spreading through a relatively new medium, the Internet, like fire itself, ignited an inflammable momentum that existed in perpetual state.

    For us in the US, horrific news comes and goes habitually from all angles and in the comfort of our believed secure and safe homes, with hardly ever a status of their conclusions, entraining us to believe that the proper agencies have managed their resolutions – until our individual random fate meets with them again and disintegrates our world, remaining unbeknownst to the same audience. Mercury poisoning, pharmaceutical deaths in the thousands, infant formula contamination, food additives claiming lives…etc. All these Headlines are dismissed by the unlearned and unaware masses, and dissolved from their consciousness by having heard the simple but seemingly magical acronyms of FDA, CDC, WHO, EPA, and Department of this or that.

    And so, an opportunity such as that editorial would have more than welcomed a point of view - or rather a more actual perspective in reality – from an aware professional, that is too often dismissed, written-off, rejected, concealed… and that would have added much lacking knowledge to that same mass consciousness. As I, once was one of.

    We all emerged from ONE cell, whose archive of innate knowledge constructed, by scratch, a miraculous body with hands and feet and organs and complex systems, all dynamically and harmoniously organized to perform in such fantastic ways that not even our greatest surgeon, our most celebrated scientific laureate or genius, or geneticist could COMPLETELY comprehend OR duplicate exactly (and cloning still needs THE Cell for inception) – much less understand the origin of its mysterious CONSCIOUSNESS. And ALL OF THIS NURTURED AND MAINTAINED by the natural provisions CREATED by EARTH, AS BY EARTH, HER vegetation (air, sun, and water), without which our cells putrefy, and life ends.

    So do we need to emphasize that regardless of THAT,

    that regardless of man’s insistence to replace HER and replace HER creations,

    his insistence to replace himself as the re-creator of life,

    his insistence to place artificiality in HER stead,
    in OUR bodies

    …that, oh, lookie there, life just might continue to exist in different forms by adaptation to man’s manipulations of nature AFTER our human form’s extinction?

    Have we not had enough resignation and complacency amongst us?

    But, what if human extinction does not happen to completion? Those 100,000 or estimated one million people to die as a result of Chernobyl will be leaving their damaged seeds behind…. What if the results are that WE become trapped in a changed and undesirable human form? Seems very parallel to what seems paleontologists are currently unearthing – various related Hominid forms co-existing? Hmmmm. Shows us how much truth we HAVEN’T unearthed about our past – and how, like in the so-claimed “junk” DNA, much missing information we DON’T consider in our leading-edge artificial creations.

    Perhaps the editorial could have been tempered with not so a complacent and yielding closing.

    Perhaps something like: WTF, MFs! Look at your F’ing mess…Just leave our GD Earth, bodies, and nature ALONE!! – in your best ever MFA, PHD certified H’er ED, and holding the Psych-K for a hands on application.

  •  
    Submitted by Guest on
    April 17, 2012 - 3:05pm

    LOL.

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