Re: carbon 14 free food

Robert J. Bradbury (
Wed, 20 Oct 1999 00:29:04 -0700 (PDT)

On Tue, 19 Oct 1999, Spike Jones wrote:

> I wrote:
> > However, very *long* term solid state preservation is probably impossible
> > due to the damage caused by the radioactive decay of the frozen atoms....
> I've often wondered about this. I propose we dig up coal, a form of carbon
> free of carbon 14, burn it, exhaust the result into a carefully controlled
> greenhouse, in which we grow food which is free of carbon 14. If one
> eats only food from this greenhouse, one should be able to reduce
> substantially the amount of carbon 14 in ones system. Right? spike

I believe you're approach would work. However I think that most of our internal radiation exposure comes from K40, not C14. Perhaps a little radioactive iodine (presumably courtesy of our nuclear testing over they years). By far and away the largest dose a subset of the population receives is from Radon being slowly leaked into their homes in areas where the rocks (presumably igneous) that have a high content of radioactive elements from the Earth's core.

So while it is an interesting idea, I think we would have to sit down with our caculators and figure out how much this really buys us.

I'll see if I can nudge Robert F. into putting some of this material into Chapter 13 of NM.