[ RadSafe ] Re: ALARA kills: 17 papers, [etc.]

Steven Dapra sjd at swcp.com
Wed Apr 26 20:36:30 CDT 2006

April 26

         John Jacobus wrote:

>Obviously, our policies to keep exposures low is
>responsible for our better health, incresed life
>expectancy and lower cancer rate.  How can you argue
>with those facts?  If you think radiation is so
>important what are you doing to increase the radiation
>exposure of you and your family?

         Better health and increased life expectancy can be attributed to 
many circumstances, for example better diets overall, and better medical 
care (including more and better cancer screening) that is available to more 
people.  No single factor, including ALARA, can be credited with these 
salutary developments.  Better sanitation and public health measures, and 
widespread vaccination have led to the virtual eradication of infectious 
diseases that killed millions in the days of no vaccinations, no 
antibiotics, and unclean and un-chlorinated water.  When was the last time 
you heard of someone in the United States dying of typhoid fever, cholera, 
or smallpox?  Better pre-natal and post-natal care have led to increased 
life expectancy.  Instead of dying shortly after being born, children live 
to be 80 or 90.

         Begging your pardon, John, but I must question your claim of lower 
cancer rates.  The overall age-adjusted cancer morbidity and mortality 
rates have remained virtually flat since approximately 1950.  There are 
three significant exceptions to this.  First, lung cancer, and there is no 
need to explain that increase.  Second, female breast cancer.  This cancer 
appears to be best correlated with high-fat diets.  Third is prostate 
cancer.  The increase in morbidity for this cancer can be attributed to the 
PSA test, a very sensitive and reliable test for prostate cancer.  The 
actual incidence rate is more than likely the same, and the apparent 
incidence rate has increased because of a better test and because of more 
screening.  My admittedly non-medical guess is that much of the apparent 
increase in cancer can be attributed to the better screening, and to better 
diagnostic techniques.

         Any comments about what I am doing to increase my radiation 
exposure will be irrelevant and immaterial.  I am only addressing better 
health and increased life expectancy, and I am questioning the claim of 
lower cancer rates.

Steven Dapra
sjd at swcp.com

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