FAQHealth

Real Salt and Radiation

Real Salt users like knowing that our product comes from an ancient sea bed, because we can all see the value of eating sea salt from a deposit left long before humans were around to pollute the water with chemicals and gushing oil. But every now and again, we hear from a customer wondering whether the Real Salt deposit was protected from a very different kind of pollution: radiation from nuclear tests in Nevada 60 years ago.

In the 1950’s, the United States government carried out a series of nuclear weapons tests in the Nevada desert.  A generation of residents exposed to the fallout experienced serious health problems, so it makes sense to wonder how the tests may have affected natural resources in the West.  We care about our health (and we put Real Salt on just about everything we eat) so we asked these same questions ourselves.  Here’s what we learned.

When dealing with protection from the effects of radiation, experts talk about three factors: distance, shielding, and time.

Distance

Because of wind and weather patterns, two counties in Utah absorbed high levels of radiation. The Real Salt deposit is more than 125 miles north of either of these counties and about 300 miles from the Nevada testing site. The inverse square law applies to radiation exposure, so doubling the distance decreased the intensity by a factor of four. In other words, if the ground above the Real Salt deposit absorbed radiation, it would have been less than half the amount required for the National Cancer Institute to consider it high.

Shielding

Did we just say the ground above our deposit may have been affected by radiation 60 years ago? Well, yes, nobody can be certain one way or the other, but here’s why that shouldn’t trouble you.

Experts have learned that 3.6 inches of compact earth cuts incoming gamma radiation in half, which means that three feet of earth reduces the possible exposure to 1/64 its original strength. (Most earthen fallout shelters are beneath three feet of dirt.)  Real Salt comes from a mineral deposit 300 feet below the surface of the earth, which means that if radiation found its way to our deposit site it would have met with 300 feet of protection before it could contaminate the minerals.

Time

Scientists have found that gamma radiation decays at a constant rate called the seven-ten rule: For every seven times older the fallout becomes, it retains only 10% of its original strength. This means that 90% of radiation is gone after seven hours, and the remaining 10% is almost completely gone two days later. Since these tests ended fifty years ago, there is clearly no current risk of contamination.

Real Salt and Radiation

The distance between the Nevada test site and our deposit would have limited the strength of any possible fallout, and 300 feet of earth would have weakened any remaining radiation to an immeasurable amount long before it could have reached the salt.  That sounds pretty good in theory, but since we are naturally curious people we still asked a lab to analyze some samples.  The results? They actually did detect a small amount of radiation, which made us furrow our brow a bit until the technician told us that a person would need to eat about eight pounds of straight Real Salt to get the amount of radiation they’d find in a single quart of clean drinking water.  In other words, we may live on a radiation-heavy planet, but Real Salt isn’t the least bit harmful.

With information from the Utah Department of Health and Wikipedia.

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • june camera says:

    Thank you for the simple and forthright explanation of the absorption of radiation when shielded by real salt.

  • Ken says:

    You could take a hunk of salt, place it directly in front of a gamma ray source and then start licking it as soon as the radiation source was removed and you would be fine. That’s not how radiation poisoning works. What you would have to be concerned with is fallout settling on top of your salt beds and then getting washed down through the earth by rain which would lead to you consuming fallout particles with you salt.
    But, we consumers are not only protected by 300 ft of dirt which is in a dry area but more importantly we are separated by 60 years worth of time.

    Either way I would rather consume underground salt rock that was laid down millions of years before man then consume sea salt which comes with nearly 100 years of man made nastiness in every bite.

  • When I place a quantity of Real Salt in a glass of Ph balanced water to see next morning if all is dissolved, there is left , undissolved some sandy residue that seemingly does not dissolve. Question: Does this mean that these undissolved granuals will also not dissolve in the body and may remain to accumulate and perhaps cause the body difficulty later on?
    Thank you.
    Gordon G. Morton

  • Ash says:

    Yes, but have you had it tested for radioactivity. That is the most direct approach.

  • Real Salt Real Salt says:

    This post should help answer your question, Gordon. (Sorry for the super late response–we had some technical issues over here!)

  • Real Salt Real Salt says:

    (So many tardy replies — forgive us for a configuration error that kept us from seeing your comments!)

    Ash, we did have an independent lab test for radioactivity, and we received a report saying, “no radiation was detected.”

    Thanks for asking!

  • i have to really watch my sodium. i have high blood pressure. whats the difference in the sodium content of real salt and regular salt when it comes to sodium?

  • Real Salt Real Salt says:

    Hi Shirley,

    Of course, we don’t offer any medical advice, but we regularly hear from customers with blood pressure concerns and they swear by Real Salt. Several Real Salt customer comments mention blood pressure specifically, and more and more doctors are telling people about it.

    As for sodium content, all food grade salt is at least 97% sodium chloride (otherwise the FDA wouldn’t allow it to be sold for us to eat). If you see a salt claiming a higher percentage of minerals, you can get a better understanding of it in this post.

  • Molly says:

    I really like your product. Tastes great and have been looking to get more. My chicken noodle soup broth is amazing now! However, I too am concerned about radiation as well as hazardous chemicals. Have you tested your product to determine the content of any hazardous components?? What was the “pure drinking water” comparison? What was the final numbers on the radiation for both the salt and the “pure drinking water”?

  • Real Salt Real Salt says:

    Hi Molly, thanks for the questions. We’ve tested Real Salt to look for the items on California’s Proposition 65, and have never found any. As for the pure water comparison, here’s what the lab told us by email: “A person would need to eat about eight pounds of straight Real Salt to get the amount of radiation they’d find in a single quart of clean drinking water.”

  • An interesting post and Real Salt proved themselves that their product is safe. Salt is important in our lives. It makes our food tasty and our body also needs it. Not a generous amount though because you may have elevated blood pressure. It’s interesting to note that you can find the same radiation from 8 lbs. of Real Salt with a single quart of clean water. Real Salt is really safe.

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