Neil Craig (Letters, 2 April) fails to distinguish between radiation and radioactive particles. Radiation is naturally occurring and only dangerous in very large doses. I wore a film badge for a decade to protect me from high-accumulated doses of radiation. It has even been suggested in The Scotsman that a little radiation, like a peck of dirt, does you good.
But radioactive particles are a different matter. Plutonium is the most poisonous substance known to man. Radium and polonium are not far behind, as the pictures of the Alexander Litvinenko showed.
If ingested and lodged in lung, bone (strontium 90), or digestive organs, they kill by continuous bombardment of local tissues.
The pictures we see of white-coated, mask-wearing workers around Fukushima are measuring average radiation. This radiation is not dangerous. It would go through the white clothes and kill them anyway; you need metres of concrete and lead to stop it [radioactive poisoning].
The average radiation measurement is only an indication of the number of radioactive particles in the ground.
These particles are very small – invisible – and only one is needed to kill. They have found some whoppers in the beaches around Dounreay.
If there are particles of radium in Dalgety Bay this is serious and they must eliminated, or other means taken to avoid their ingestion, for example, if a child playing in the sand licking its fingers.
(Dr) George Shering
West Acres Drive