Brazilian scientists could exactly calculate the amount of radiation which killed a person in the Hiroshima bombing, in 1945. They analyzed a victim’s jawbone and found a huge amount of radiation.
A professor at the University of Ribeirão Presto School of Philosophy, Science & Letters (São Paulo), Oswaldo Baffa supervised a team of researchers in analyzing and discovering how much radiation is fatal to humans. He said that they used electron spin resonance spectroscopy (also known as retrospective dosimetry) to find the dose of radiation.
Looking at today’s terrorist attacks, Baffa said that they are interested in the risks. If someone were to plant a bomb with a small radioactive material inside, authorities would need to identify the persons who have been exposed to the radiation and to immediately give them medical attention. This is where the Brazilian scientists come to help.
The leader of the study is Angela Kinoshita, a professor at Universidade do Sagrado Coração in Bauru (São Paulo State). The study can be found in PLOS ONE.
Analyzing the Radiation in Human Bone
After using electron spin resonance spectroscopy on the bombing victim from Hiroshima, Kinoshita and her team discovered 9.46 grays of radiation. Baffa explained:
“About half that dose, or 5 Gy, is fatal if the entire body is exposed to it.”
Using retrospective dosimetry is not a new approach, as it has been used to identify the age of bones in the 1980’s.
But now, Kinoshita and her team are pioneers in using this technique for a whole new purpose. They conducted the analysis on human tissue from the jawbone of the Hiroshima bombing victim. It was a similar analysis that is used on calculating radiation in the environment after the bombing.
So far, other studies that analyzed DNA of Hiroshima bombing survivors looked to find the effect of radiation. The results were similar to the ones found by the Brazilian scientists.