[ RadSafe ] Serious reporting on Chernobyl - and the LNT

John Jacobus crispy_bird at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 28 15:12:03 CDT 2005

The problem as I see it, is that you will always be
competing with those who cry about the dangers.  I
answer questions about their risks of cancer from
medical irradiation.  Some even cite articles like the
Brenner report on pediatric CT exams.  Because I can
deal with the individuals one-on-one, I can point out
the limitations to these studies, and lessen their
concerns.  I do not talk about the LNT or hormesis
aspects.  I may cite the HPS position paper that there
are no demonstrated effects below 10 rem (0.1 Sv)

If you assemble all of this "evidence" of health
benefits, how are going to present it?  Hold a news
conference?  Inevitably, you are going to get those
who challenge you data.  These are not stupid people. 
Many have PhDs, MDs and are known to the public.  Then
you will have two battles, fighting the anti-nuclear
people and convincing the public who read the reports
that appear in the media.  

I would rather cite those statements that do not
contradict the published reports.  It is also
important to consider that you cannot convince
everyone of your position.  Just accept the victories
you can win.  I am in this for the long haul.

--- "Muckerheide, James" <jimm at WPI.EDU> wrote:

> Friends, FYI.
> Why can't the nuclear industry produce and apply the
> equivalent factual
> treatment of the readily documented lack of health
> effects from low dose
> radiation exposures!?
> Regards, Jim Muckerheide
> ===================
> Washington Times: Chernobyl exposed -
> Editorials/Op-Ed - 
> By Joshua Gilder 
> October 25, 2005 
> It turns out that scaring people to death may be
> more than a 
> figure of speech. That's the overriding message of a
> recently 
> released U.N. report on the health effects of the
> 1986 explosion 
> at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the
> then-Soviet Ukraine. 
> The result of an exhaustive investigation by eight
> U.N. 
> agencies, the report concludes that a "paralyzing
> fatalism" 
> among the residents of the effected areas and
> problems such as 
> suicide, alcoholism and clinical depression --
> resulting in part 
> from people's perceived sense of hopelessness --
> "pose a far 
> greater threat to local communities than does
> radiation 
> exposure." 
> The Chernobyl explosion and resulting fire spewed
> 200 times 
> as much radioactivity into the environment as the
> Hiroshima and 
> Nagasaki atom bombs combined, directly affecting an
> area 
> currently inhabited by some 5 million people. (Built
> with 
> standard Soviet disregard for public safety, the
> unstable 
> reactor had no containment structure.) 
> At the time of the disaster, all Europe was thrown
> into 
> panic, with estimates of as many as a half-million
> people dying 
> as a result of the contamination. Yet, according to
> the report, 
> there have been fewer than 60 fatalities so far,
> about 50 of 
> them on-site staff and emergency workers exposed to
> massive 
> radiation poisoning at the time of the blast and its
> immediate 
> aftermath. It is believed that nine children have
> also died of 
> thyroid cancer as a result of the accident, though
> these deaths 
> may have been preventable. 
> The U.N. scientists were deeply divided over the
> report's 
> prediction that an extra 4,000 may eventually die
> from cancer, a 
> statistical conjecture based on what many believe to
> be faulty 
> science. 
> All agreed, however, that the more urgent task is
> for 
> governments in the region to get accurate
> information to their 
> frightened populations, as the decline in mental
> health brought 
> on by undue fear is by far "the largest public
> health problem 
> created by the accident." 
> Getting the American people accurate information on 
> radiation and its dangers (what's real, what's only
> imagined) 
> might be something the U.S. government should
> consider as well. 
> For decades, anti-nuclear activists have hyped fears
> about 
> nuclear safety in order to halt the construction of
> nuclear 
> power plants in the United States. They have been
> bolstered in 
> this effort by official government regulatory
> policy, which is 
> based on something called the linear no-threshold
> theory (LNT). 
> More a result of politics than sound science, LNT
> holds that any 
> amount of radiation is bad for you (that there is no
> threshold 
> under which the effect is benign), and that the
> damage is 
> cumulative, building up consistently over time. Thus
> one can 
> extrapolate from the effects of massive radiation
> poisoning in a 
> straight line back to zero, predicting a certain
> number of 
> cancers even at levels of exposure far below the
> normal 
> variations in natural background radiation. The
> Chernobyl 
> report's prediction of another 4,000 deaths was such
> an LNT 
> extrapolation. 
> One problem with this theory is that it is
> contradicted by 
> massive epidemiological evidence. While the average
> level of 
> natural background radiation in the Rocky Mountains
> is over 
> three times greater than the Gulf Coast, cancer
> incidence in the 
> Rockies is actually lower. The residents in Kerala,
> India, are 
> exposed to as much as eight times more radiation
> than in other 
> parts of India; and households in Ramsar, Iran, are
> dosed with 
> 13,000 millirem annually, compared to the U.S.
> average of 300 
> millirem -- all without observable adverse health
> effects. 
> In a recent unanimous report, the French Academies
> of 
> Science and Medicine also took issue with LNT,
> pointing out that 
> no carcinogenic effect from low doses of radiation
> has been 
> shown in animal tests. More devastating, the academy
> declares 
> that LNT is based on old science and that its
> underlying 
> assumptions are "not consistent with current
> radiobiological 
> knowledge" concerning self-repairing mechanisms
> within cells. 
> Why does this matter? Because many people today
> forgo 
> low-level medical radiation treatments and X-rays
> due to 
> inflated fears about their cancer-causing potential.
> Our country 
> endlessly debates whether to build desert storage
> for spent 
> nuclear fuel that might leak inconsequential amounts
> of 
> radiation in a million years. And anti-nuclear
> activists use LNT 
> to try to block the construction of new nuclear
> power plants, 
> the only possible source of the abundant clean
> energy we'll need 
> to wean ourselves off foreign oil -- and stop
> pumping 
> petro-dollars into the hands of terrorists. 
> If the United States is ever going to overcome its
> own 
> "paralyzing fatalism" on nuclear energy and its
> uses, it's going 
> to have to discard the flawed science of LNT theory.
> One hopes 
> this happens sooner rather than later: Our personal
> health and 
> economic well-being -- not to mention our national
> security -- 
> may well depend on it. 
> Joshua Gilder is a visiting fellow at the Lexington 
> Institute. 
=== message truncated ===

On Oct. 5, 1947, in the first televised White House address, President Truman asked Americans to refrain from eating meat on Tuesdays and poultry on Thursdays to help stockpile grain for starving people in Europe. 

-- John
John Jacobus, MS
Certified Health Physicist
e-mail:  crispy_bird at yahoo.com

Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005 

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