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According to sites like this, bentonite clay can absorb and remove radiation from the human body.

Calcium Bentonite clay is the natural detoxing agent that can be used internally, externally with poultices and full body applications, and by taking detox clay baths. These are highly beneficial methods for detoxification, especially for cases of heavy metal poisoning and radiation buildup. So consider releasing the toxic burden of the body inside and out with a safe and effective Calcium Bentonite Clay detoxification program.

This claim seems to be pretty prevalent within the alternative medicine community. Sites like this (and many others) state things like this:

Another use for bentonite clay, which is very timely considering the recent natural and the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, is adsorption of radiation. Not only does bentonite clay adsorb radiation from nuclear fallout, it also adsorbs any kind of radiation.

Is there evidence to support that bentonite clay can remove radiation from the human body?

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    Almost everything absorbs every kind of radiation. – DJClayworth May 5 '14 at 3:21
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    There might be confusion due to lack of understanding of chemistry behind this. Some clays are very good at attracting and holding some of the heavy elements that may be emitting radiation. So it isn't so much that the clays absorb radiation but they will extract some of the compounds that emit radiation and remove them from the body. Though I doubt this works through the skin. – matt_black May 5 '14 at 10:55
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    An aside: When I worked in health-physics at a nuclear power plant we would use what was basically duct-tape to get alpha and beta particles off clothing. Particles of this sort are essentially dust, of a radioactive sort. – Brian M. Hunt May 7 '14 at 18:01
  • IIRC, it is used for storing nuclear waste storage. See the kitty litter mess up: livescience.com/… – vartec Jun 6 '14 at 13:09
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I noticed your second example uses the word "adsorbs" (holding as a thin film on the outside) rather than "absorbs"; at first I thought this was an accidental spelling error, but the page you linked to was very clear about what it thought it meant.

Radiation is not the sort of thing that can be adsorbed. Light, for example, is radiation. Gamma rays (one of the examples given in the second link) are the same stuff as ordinary light, only further in the blue direction than blue light (if you will excuse the over-simplification).

Other forms of radiation include:

  1. Alpha radiation — this is ionised, fast-moving helium. It will embed itself in whatever it hits, then turn into helium gas and stop reacting entirely; imagine it as a tiny bullet. The (already dead) outer layer of your skin will stop this type of radiation.
  2. Beta radiation — this is a fast moving electron. Again, imagine this like a tiny bullet. It will get stuck in whatever it hits (your flesh, some clay, the wall), and will then be a small electric charge, similar to when you brush your hair too much and it stands on end.
  3. Neutron radiation — this is (almost) the only type of radiation that can make other things radioactive. Again, imagine this as a small bullet: it's not going to get stuck on the surface of anything, mainly because it will be deep inside whatever stops it moving. To a first approximation, if you had a source of this on one side of your body, half of the radiation will go through you and out the other side, the other half will be absorbed by your body.

In any case, clay won't remove radiation — radiation doesn't work like that.

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    1. It might remove radioactive material, not products of radioactive decay, this is what I believe is meant. 2. Please provide references for your claims. 3. It doesn't exactly address the question. – sashkello May 7 '14 at 12:56
  • While radiation itself may not be adsorbed, doesn't mean radioactive particles cannot. Adsorption is how gas mask filters work and many of them are designed to protect against radioactive fallout. – vartec Jun 6 '14 at 13:02
  • @SJuan76: while that is true, it's irrelevant to the fact that adsorbtion in some cases (like gas-mask) can be used to remove radioactive particles. Thus the logic used in this answer is invalid. – vartec Jul 26 '14 at 23:23

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