Original Paper

Environmental Chemistry Letters

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 197-202

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Recycling greenhouse gas fossil fuel emissions into low radiocarbon food products to reduce human genetic damage


Radiocarbon from nuclear fallout is a known health risk. However, corresponding risks from natural background radiocarbon incorporated directly into human genetic material have not been fully appreciated. Here we show that the average person will experience between 3.4 × 1010 and 3.4 × 1011 lifetime chromosomal damage events from natural background radiocarbon incorporated into DNA and histones, potentially leading to cancer, birth defects, or accelerated aging. This human genetic damage can be significantly reduced using low radiocarbon foods produced by growing plants in CO2 recycled from ordinary industrial greenhouse gas fossil fuel emissions, providing additional incentive for the carbon sequestration.


Radiocarbon Mutations DNA Histones Carbon dioxide Sequestration