Spiegel | The Chernobyl Conundrum: Is Radiation As Bad As We Thought?
Who would voluntarily breathe in radioactive gas? These days, there are people who do. They swear by the notorious noble gas radon, created by the decay of uranium: They inhale it deeply.
As has now become clear, these people are right: Radioactivity is good for them.Most believers in the healing qualities of radiation are suffering from a chronic inflammatory disease: arthritis, asthma or psoriasis, for example. The gas, they argue, alleviates their problems for months, which is why they lay in bubbling radon water offered by some healing spas. In Bad Kreuznach, in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, brave spa guests even trek into the tunnels of an abandoned mercury mine, attracted by the radon-filled air in the mountain. Are they crazy?
These are the initial findings of an ongoing large-scale trial conducted by researchers from four German institutes. The leader is radiobiologist Claudia Fournier, from the Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt.