[ RadSafe ] TFP - next questions

Jim Hardeman Jim_Hardeman at dnr.state.ga.us
Fri Jan 6 08:13:53 CST 2006

Jim / Steve *
Thanks for such excellent responses to James' assertions. I would only add to the discussion of chemoluminescence that the whole discussion of how LSC was performed on these samples is lacking. We could get into the esoterica of dark adaptation of samples, temperature control of samples, QA/QC in terms of how many blanks / splits / duplicates were performed, etc. etc. etc. Blindly believing sample results that come spitting out of a laboratory simply because a laboratory scientist wears a white coat and the printout came out of a computer doesn't strike me as the way I would want to do business. Does the laboratory that performed these Sr-90 analyses participate in any laboratory-intercomparison programs?
My $0.02 worth ...
Jim Hardeman, Manager
Environmental Radiation Program
Environmental Protection Division
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
4220 International Parkway, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30354
(404) 362-2675
Fax: (404) 362-2653
E-mail: Jim_Hardeman at dnr.state.ga.us

>>> <StevenFrey at aol.com> 1/6/2006 3:11:28 >>>

Thanks, Jim. I stand corrected (was thinking C-14 rather than K-40), and am  
flattered that anyone is reading my ramblings.

As for the point that Mr. Salsman was making that "K-40 or something  instead 
of Sr-90....is killing kids", the larger response remains: there is no  
credible scientific or statistical evidence of that claim, either.


In a message dated 1/6/2006 2:40:53 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  jimm at WPI.EDU 

Hi  Steve,  A good response, but note that K40 is not cosmogenic.  It is  a
primordial radionuclide, half-life 1.3 billion years, and makes up  0.000117
of natural potassium, which is essential for biology to function,  and is a
significant source of direct radiation from the ground, especially  in those
areas that have low natural uranium and thorium  concentrations.

Regards, Jim Muckerheide

> -----Original  Message-----
> From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl  [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
> Behalf Of  StevenFrey at aol.com
> Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2006 7:46 PM
>  To: james at bovik.org; radsafe at radlab.nl
> Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] TFP -  next questions
> 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
> causation.
> - 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. :-)
> Steve
>  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?
> 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?
> Please?
>  [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?
> Sincerely,
>  James  Salsman
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