Sanet Post,Steve Verhey,
January 21, 1997
It seems reasonable to ask at least these questions of a new technology:
IMHO it's a tossup for questions 1 and 2, but irradiation fails question 3. As a recent poster said, it seems to benefit almost exclusively the middlemen, processors and shippers; to damage (more local) producers; and, who knows, maybe harm consumers. I doubt sufficient data exist for health effects.
By the way, something about Dan in sunny P.R.'s suggestion on how to avoid radiation didn't ring true. The kind of radiation from, say, a cobalt-60 source, is NOT the same as radio waves or other forms of electromagnetic radiation. The former is ionizing, the latter is non-ionizing. Radio waves are similar to the familiar visible light--just a different wavelength. Indeed, his suggestion to live in a cave might increase most people's exposure, since rock is a primary source of background ionizing radiation. (Note, though, that non-ionizing radiation is not always benign, as for example UV light--wear a hat, Dan!)
The above information is from my memory of the several radiation safety courses I've had to sit through, but to check it I tried a quick web search on the word "radiation." It led me to an interesting page, mainly aimed at defense of nuclear power plants: www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/radiation.html . At the bottom there's a link called "Sustainability FAQ" with enough grist to keep this mill operating for a long time.