After the nuclear power plant accident at Fukushima, scientists around the world went into high gear, trying to figure out how we could respond next time. And for chemists at Berkeley Lab, that means trying to develop a pill that people could take to neutralize radioactive elements in the environment.
As chemist Rebecca Abergel explains in this video, there are two categories of elements that you might accidentally wind up ingesting with food or water, called actinides and lanthinides. And right now, Berkeley Lab is working on coming up with a pill you could take to combat their ill effects. The pill will be made from molecules that can bond with the radioactive elements, neutralizing htem. Once the pill has done its work, those elements would become chemical complexes that would leave your body harmlessly in urine or feces. Basically, you'd just flush the radioactive elements out of your body like anything else you've eaten.
In any kind of disaster where radioactive elements have gotten into the environment, these pills could save many lives.
Find out more at Berkeley Lab.