[ RadSafe ] Tubiana on IARC Chernobyl study
frantaj at aecl.ca
Thu Apr 27 08:11:57 CDT 2006
NUCLEONICS WEEK APRIL 27, 2006
UN study: Chernobyl cancer impact relatively small, undetectable
At the same time as Greenpeace and others, including local officials in the
affected ex-Soviet republics, claimed a heavy public health toll from
Chernobyl, a group of scientists who reject the linear non-threshold model
for the dose-effect relationship argued that the IARC [Elisabeth Cardis
et-al] predictions of the accident's health impact were far too high and
based on flawed science.
Maurice Tubiana, a respected French cancer specialist who has championed the
theory of a threshold of dose below which the human body repairs
radiation-induced damage, said this month that the IARC study was "an
exercise in style" but wasn't scientifically valid because it is based on
the concept of collective dose. That concept is itself based on the linear
non-threshold risk model, which holds that any amount of radiation can cause
Tubiana co-authored a study published last year by the French Academies of
Science and Medicine that concluded that the linear non-threshold theory was
scientifically incorrect because the basic mechanisms of radiation impact at
low doses and dose rates are different from, and less harmful than, those of
acute and/or higher doses (NW, 27 Jan. '05, 8).
Using collective dose, the IARC study applied the total Chernobyl dose
burden to all of those potentially exposed to derive a number of anticipated
excess cancers. This mathematically leads to estimates of large numbers of
cancers when applied to very large populations like that of Europe.
But Tubiana said this month that even if the IARC predictions are relatively
low, "only 50 cancers a year (among the most-affected population) compared
to 2 million cancers per year worldwide," he argued, "these numbers have
absolutely no value."
- Ann MacLachlan, Paris
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