How It Works

Our low radiocarbon technology in a nutshell:

  • Cosmic rays continually produce radioactive carbon-14, or radiocarbon, in the upper atmosphere
  • The amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere reaches an equilibrium when the amount of new carbon-14 formed by cosmic rays equals the amount of carbon-14 which undergoes radioactive decay
  • This radiocarbon gets oxidized to carbon dioxide (CO2) and is fairly uniformly mixed into the atmosphere
  • This CO2 with radiocarbon gets incorporated into all food produced by photosynthetic plants
  • Animals which eat plants also incorporate radiocarbon into their bodies
  • Humans, which eat food from plants and animals, likewise incorporate a certain amount of radiocarbon into their bodies
  • This radiocarbon finds its way into DNA and other human genetic material, especially in growing children
  • Over the course of a normal human lifetime, it can be calculated that radiocarbon will cause at least 34 billion DNA mutations and other genetic damage events
  • These genetic damage events may be related to spontaneous cancer, birth defects, or even accelerated aging in humans
  • Because of their age, ancient fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas have little or no radiocarbon
  • CO2 captured from the burning of fossil fuels likewise has little radiocarbon
  • Low radiocarbon food can be grown using photosynthetic organisms and plants using this low radiocarbon CO2 from burning of fossil fuels
  • Humans raised on these low radiocarbon foods could be spared billions of mutations and genetic damage events over their lifetime, and possibly enjoying lower rates of spontaneous cancer and birth defects, and potentially even slowing their aging process
  • If we capture and store fossil fuel CO2 for future use in making low radiocarbon foods, we also are preventing it getting into the atmosphere and acting as a greenhouse gas
  • Thus, by storing and recycling low radiocarbon fossil fuel CO2 into safer low radiocarbon foods, we may be simultaneously improving human health and fighting global warming
For more details see our article in Environmental Chemistry Letters