[ RadSafe ] TFP - next questions

StevenFrey at aol.com StevenFrey at aol.com
Thu Jan 5 18:45:44 CST 2006

Hi James, pretty entertaining comments. Couple thoughts:
- you suggest that the nuclear power industry should bear the cost for  
sampling bone to help understand the tooth results. I would counter suggest that  
it is the responsibility of the study producers to do that, since it is they 
who  are making the suggestion (read: veiled claim) claim that there  is 
- chemoluminescence is not contamination. It is a source of counting error  
in liquid scintillation samples in which fluorescence photons produced from the 
 interaction of the sample material with the cocktail will produce  counts. 
And lots of them, even in ordinary cases. Radioactivity does not  have to be 
present in the sample to produce it. That is why care in sample  preparation is 
vital.  Having a liquid scintillation counter that can  automatically detect 
and discount chemoluminescence counts would help, too. The  Report makes no 
mention of whether chemoluminescence was anticipated or  discounted.
- Why did the study producers apparently not split their tooth samples and  
send them to multiple labs? Relying on only one lab, and that one being  
selected by the study producer, eliminates objectivity from the  claimed results. 
- Your quoting of cancer statistics below is missing any objective  causative 
mechanism that nuclear power caused it. There could be other  sources of 
error that were not identified in the Report as having been  considered. For 
example, chemical exposure, air pollution,  lifestyle, gerrymandering of the 
statistics themselves, and so on.  Besides, there are other, much better controlled 
data, that indicates  that at low doses, there is no increase in cancer rates 
among the  studied individuals. The DOE Nuclear Shipyard Worker Study is one 
such data set,  and it involved a pretty convincing study population of many 
tens of  thousands of individuals. Plus, there does not seem to be an increase 
in cancer  among nuclear medicine or radiology practitioners. So you see, my  
statistics can beat up your statistics. 
- statistics again: a claim of p < 0.002 by the study producers means  
nothing without any explanation provided as to how it was calculated. Again,  
selective gerrymandering of the tooth statistics can easily produce an even  lower p 
than that! The quality of the p depends in part on how small  one cuts the 
sample, that is, number of individuals against whom a  single incidence of tooth 
Sr-90 (real or fancied) is detected, and then  including only those kernels 
in the final statistical summary. The Report offers  no explanation on how its 
p was calculated.
- K-40 is a naturally-occurring radionuclide, produced by cosmic ray  
interactions with the atmosphere. Nuclear power doesn't produce it, and the  medical 
profession doesn't use it, either. You would have to erect a 1000-foot  thick 
concrete astrodome over America to effectively stop its production. But  would 
you want to do that? There's no scientific evidence that K-40 in natural  
concentrations causes cancer, and you can bet that graffiti artists would be  
busting to get at all that clean 'canvas' up there.
Thanks for your thoughts...Ernie's, too. :-)
In a message dated 1/5/2006 6:50:45 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
james at bovik.org writes:

I guess  I get to be the lone defender of Sternglass on RADSAFE.
Just what I've  always wanted!

> Two potential error factors that do  not  appear to be
> addressed in 
>  http://mtafund.org/prodlib/radiation_health/final_report.pdf
> are   chemoluminescence and K-40 LSA correction, either of 
> which can easily  produce a 'false positive' for Sr-90/Y-90
> presence.

Why would  this confound the blinding of the teeth source?  

Is there any  reason that chemoluminescent contamination is 
expected to be more  prevalent in areas near reactors?

If the increased radiation is due to  K-40, what difference 
does that make if the higher scintillation activity  is 
strongly correlated with geographical regions where the 
cancer  death rate is 13% above the national mean (24% above 
for breast cancer;  16% for childhood cancer) but all other 
causes of death are only 0.1%  about the national mean.  
Where is the hormesis effect that should be  occurring?

> Another problem is the absence of comparative sample  media
> to help understand and  correlate the study results. If  we
> assume that  Sr-90 in teeth ought to correspond with  Sr-90
> in bone from the same  individual, too, then bone  sampling
> and analysis should be part of this  particular study.  

Certainly the nuclear energy industry associations will  
immediately front the money to pay for independent study 
of bone-teeth  correlations to clear their good name at 
their earliest possible  convenience, right?


Any takers?

You -- at your  desk with the funny trefoil stickers on your
monitor -- can you spare fifty  grand for some bone studies 
of cows in the Tooth Fairy Project's hot  areas?


[crickets chirping]

> Finally, the  claim by the Report that the data shows more
> Sr-90 in teeth near  nuclear power plants than elsewhere
> seems to be a weak correlation at  best....

Is there any actual mathematical argument against the  reports
claim of p < 0.002 (p. 24), or is this just a thinly veiled  
argument from emotion?

> simply precipiting carbonates is not  specific enough for
> Sr-90 analysis.  A whole range of natural  (and artificial)
> radionuclides would carry through the procedure.  

So where's that mass spectroscopy money from the nuclear 
energy  industry associations?

[more crickets]

And, so what?  If  the kids are getting killed by massive 
amount of K-40 or something instead  of Sr-90, is there any 
evidence that whatever isotope(s) are the culprit  aren't 
coming from the reactors near which the activity levels are  
found to be much greater?

James  Salsman

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