[ RadSafe ] On-Line Posting to Senator Rosa Franklin, Washington State Se...

The Wilsons pnwnatives at gmail.com
Sun Apr 23 13:08:11 CDT 2006

I agree that my definition of harm is not workable for scientific 
purposes, but I do not agree that cancer and death as the opposite 
extreme is appropriate either.  Never the less, that is the case.  It is 
my understanding this was chosen because it is the range there is some 
ability to detect the affects sufficiently to produce estimates based on 
statistical analysis. 

I do not agree that the decision to support or not support the provision 
of medical attention in real life situations should be made on estimates 
that are based on the detectability of death and cancer.

Statistics do not address the affects at a personal level on an 
individual basis and should not be used to determine if medical 
attention is provided or not.

BLHamrick at aol.com wrote:
> I think the excerpt below actually gets to the crux of the problem.  
> The definition of "harm" is critical to communicating about the issue 
> of DU or radiation, in general.  The definition below is not workable 
> from a scientific standpoint, because everything does "harm" by this 
> definition - exposure to sunlight, a glass of wine, a drink of water, 
> a walk in the park.
> If "harm" is defined, as below, as any change however slight to the 
> human anatomy, then we are experiencing "harm" from the day we are 
> born (umm...technically from the moment of conception...er...even 
> being conceived seems to fall within this definition).
> All kidding aside, and trying not to go reductio ad absudum on you, 
> for the purposes of evaluating risk, there does need to be some higher 
> threshold for "harm" than "any change however slight to the human 
> anatomy," since changes in one's body is a certainty, and it leads to 
> death (which many would define as the ultimate harm) 100% of the time, 
> radiation or not.
> With that in mind, we can turn to the "harm" that health (radiation) 
> physicists have traditionally looked at:  1) non-stochastic "harm" 
> (i.e., generally, physical injury from acute exposure, such as 
> skin-reddening, hair loss, blistering, tissue necrosis, acute 
> radiation syndrome, death), and 2) stochastic "harm" (i.e., on a 
> statistical basis, radiation exposure is associated with some 
> increased risk of cancer induction).
> The non-stochastic risks are very well controlled, and acute radiation 
> injuries are extermely rare (compared to just about anything from 
> falling down the stairs, to being struck by lightning - just FYI 
> lightning kills about 100 people per year in the U.S. and injures 
> about 500 more).
> The stochastic "harm" is a statistical (and theoretical, in low dose 
> regions) "harm."  The studies of survivors of the U.S. use of nuclear 
> weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki provide the most significant amount 
> of data used to estimate increased risk of cancer from exposure to 
> radiation.  There is a clearly established increased risk of cancer 
> associated with the high (acute - i.e., in a very short timeframe) 
> doses received by persons present at the time of our attack.
> To put this in some perspective, the National Institutes of Health 
> estimate that approximately 49% of all men and 37% of all women in the 
> U.S. will experience some type of cancer in their lifetime, and 20-25% 
> of us will die from cancer.  The estimated increased risk of cancer 
> incidence (not death) from 1 rem of exposure is about 1.1E-3 per rem, 
> or another 0.1% per rem (and, again this is theoretical in the low 
> dose/low dose-rate region).  Theoretically (and, I do mean totally 
> theoretically), natural background radiation could, according to this 
> formulation, contribute to 2% of the cancers we all experience, so I 
> think, at a minimum, to discuss "harm" from DU, we need to get into a 
> realm that would be recognizable above these background 
> considerations.  Not to mention, the other known, probable, and 
> possible carcinogens in our environment, or the genetic component of 
> carcinogenesis.
> Just my thoughts on the discussion.
> Barbara L. Hamrick, CHP
> In a message dated 4/22/2006 9:22:14 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, 
> pnwnatives at gmail.com writes:
>     I happen to think that if there is a change however slight to the
>     human anatomy, then there is harm.  Some harm is detectable and
>     some is not.  There seems to be a great deal said about denial of
>     any affects from exposure to depleted uranium, but very little
>     about why that is. 

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