I believe that humanity is standing on the brink of a possible worldwide nuclear holocaust. The world as we know it has already changed as the result of radioactive material that has been released into the air and the ocean.
I am not an alarmist, but I am alarmed.
I know that large quantities of radioactive material are in a precariously unstable situation in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility. An inability to effectively keep this material cool could easily result in another nuclear event. Another natural disaster like the recent typhoon or earthquake that occurred October 25, 2013, will further minimize the likelihood of a meaningful response.
I know radioactivity has been and continues to be released into the air and ocean. The effects on our health are incomprehensible because the magnitude of radioactivity released and the extent of spread and contamination are virtually unknown.
I know that I don’t know all of the details, risks, and levels of radioactivity. I do know I have been exposed. I consumed Pacific Bluefin tuna (PBFT) caught off the coast of San Diego four weeks ago. A Stanford study has shown that all PBFT caught off the West Coast of California had 10 times the usual amount of radioactive cesium present prior to the Fukushima event in March 2011.
I believe that our health is the great equalizer. In my clinical career, I have had the good fortune to care for the homeless and the disenfranchised and the rich and the famous. When one is lying in a hospital bed with those special gowns that are wide open in the back, everyone is pretty much the same. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat are gifts of life for all of us no matter what our creed or our color.
I know that these precious gifts have been contaminated. The silence from the media and the powers that be has been deafening.
The Chinese symbol for crisis is composed of two letters — one is danger and the other is opportunity. We have an opportunity to help the Japanese with the crisis in Fukushima. I want the best and the brightest that money can’t buy to be making those decisions. This is not a request — this is an inalienable right for the sake of our children and our children’s children and all of humanity.
We have an opportunity to protect ourselves from future nuclear events at home and around the world. They only are called accidents if we do not take measures to prevent them. The time to act is now.
“The Perils of Fukushima: What You Don’t Know Really Could Kill You” lecture takes place Friday, November 1, 12:15 p.m., Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Burtness Auditorium.