[ RadSafe ] Answering James Salsman (TFP) (long)
sjd at swcp.com
Sun Jan 8 16:03:56 CST 2006
This is also a long posting answering some of James Salsman's
earlier replies about the Tooth Fairy Project. I have edited portions of
his earlier posting that I won't address. I have left in his link to the
MTA report on TFP findings on Long Island. [MTA is the Citizens'
Monitoring and Technical Assessment Fund, which received its funding from
the taxpayer via the Department of Energy as the result of "a 1998 court
settlement between U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and 39 plaintiffs
(nonprofit peace and environmental groups around the country)." Quote is
from the MTA website.]
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Here are replies to everyone -- regarding my excerpts from the method in
As for causation, the means by which excess radiation, from Sr-90, K-40,
or some other isotope(s) as detected in deciduous teeth can increase
the childhood cancer rate is well-established.
Has it been shown that the "excess radiation" in these baby teeth
causes any increase in the rate of cancer? It seems to me that the TFP is
declaring that Sr-90 in teeth causes cancer; end of discussion. Has anyone
shown a cause and EFFECT relationship, or has the TFP succumbed to the
'post hoc, ergo propter hoc' logical fallacy?
If Sr-90, or any other isotope of the same strength, is accumulating in
bone tissue such as children's deciduous teeth, as detected in areas
near nuclear reactors, then in the absence of evidence to the contrary
the conclusion is that the isotope(s) are irradiating the cellular
tissues of the excess cancer victims in coincident areas.
This is a clever piece of deceitfulness, or perhaps you worded
this carelessly. No one is denying that "the isotope(s) are irradiating
the cellular tissues of excess cancer victims." The question under
consideration is: is this irradiation the cause of the excess cancers?
> 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.
Male adults, presumably; not likely childhood and breast cancer victims.
A more germane study is "Cancer in Populations Living Near Nuclear
Facilities," by Seymour Jablon, et al. (JAMA, 265(11):1403-1408; March 20,
1991. Also see an editorial in this issue, pp. 1438 1439.
I say "more germane" because this study examined cancer deaths
(including leukemia) among the general public. It covered the period 1950
through 1984, in 107 counties with or near nuclear installations, both
power reactors, and DOE laboratories or stations. [The authors note that
this was an ecological study (p. 1407, col. 2). I do not want to instigate
a dispute about the relative merits of ecological studies.]
According to the abstract, "Deaths due to leukemia or other
cancers were not more frequent in the study counties than in the control
counties." Also, "The study . . . does not prove the absence of any
effect. If, however, any excess cancer risk was present in US counties
with nuclear facilities, it was too small to be detected with the methods
For an analysis of some of the claims of the Radiation and Public
Health Project's claims near Dresden 2 and 3, try this
link: http://radlab.nl/radsafe/archives/2005-February/000312.html. This
is a Chicago Tribune editorial based on a Tribune-requested evaluation of
RPHP claims. The evaluation was conducted by Tiefu Shen, chief of the
division of epidemiological studies at the IL Department of Public
Health. The RPHP's claims were shown to be worthless, and the Tribune
readily acknowledged this. True, this isn't the TFP on Long Island, but
the same philosophy is at work. (If this link won't work contact me by
private e-mail and I will send you the editorial.)
To directly address Salsman's objection, there are more studies
available than the DOE Nuclear Shipyard Worker Study.
So if K-40 is actually being advanced as a legitimate alternative
hypothesis -- as a potential source of false-positive signal in the
TFP methodology -- then how is it getting into kids teeth only in
areas near nuclear reactors and not other places?
Have there been any studies of children in areas well away from
reactors to find whether or not K40 (or Sr-90) are in their teeth as
well? If there are no such studies, how do you or the TFP know K-40 is
"only" found in the teeth of children near reactors?
Any alternative hypotheses along those lines must explain why the
excess signal occurs geographically correlated with nuclear power
Have there been studies which show the excess signal *is* only
correlated with nuclear power plants? If so, please present some citations.
>... the claims of the TFP fail on a first order analysis of the
> environmental inventories of Sr-90 in northern temperate latitudes
> from open air nuclear bomb testing which essentially ended in 1963
> except for a few trivial tests by the Chinese, and minor deposition
> in the US from the Chernobyl accident [which added about 1% to
> pre-exiting bomb test fallout inventory of Cs-137 and less for Sr-90]
> The TFP's recent claims of an increase in Sr-90 of some consequence
> from nuclear plants, and supposed effects on human health, is absurd.
So what isotope do you propose as producing the beta in deciduous teeth?
The respondent didn't say Sr-90 is not producing the beta in
deciduous teeth. He said the TFP's "recent claims of an increase in Sr-90
of some consequence" is absurd. He is objecting to the TFP claim of an
increase in Sr-90 emissions.
Has the TFP shown a pathway from the reactors to the deciduous
teeth? Can it show one? Without a pathway the TFP has nothing.
A few days ago Stewart Farber offered an explanation of why the
Sr-90 emissions claims are worthless. Did you read it?
> Sternglass was ultimately condemned by the National Academy of
> Sciences for only selecting data that supported his hypothesis and
> ignoring data which did not.... in 1972 for his claims about
> nuclear test fallout health effects....
I'm aware of Lindop & Rotblat (1969) and Tomkins & Brown (1969);
I've not been able to find any substantive criticism of Sternglass
since, apart from personal invective. Let us hope that he learned
from his early mistakes. If he has repeated them, I have not been
able to identify any failed replications or similar evidence.
If you can't find substantive criticism of Sternglass it's because
you haven't tried. See Samuel McCracken's analysis of Sternglass's claims
in "The War Against the Atom," (Basic Books, 1982); pp. 122-133.
In June 1994, Sternglass issued a study claiming that breast
cancer mortality rates around Northern States Power's power plants at
Prairie Island and Monticello (MN) were higher than any other counties in
the state. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) conducted a study and
found that Sternglass's claims were false. ["The Occurrence of Cancer in
Minnesota 1988-1992: Incidence, Mortality, and Trends" (1995)] A summary
of the MDH report was published in the Health Physics Society (HPS)
Newsletter [23(7):3-4; July 1995.] In this issue of the Newsletter see
also an article (p. 1), and editorial (p. 2), and a reprinted editorial
from the Minneapolis Star Tribune (May 6, 1995) (p.4). The Star Tribune
editorial scoffed at Sternglass's claims, saying, "Let this study by the
Department of Health put to rest ill-founded fears raised to scare citizens
into making costly, uninformed, short-term decisions."
If you would like some additional "substantive criticism," see the
HPS Newsletter [29(8):2-4; August 2001] for an editorial addressing some of
Sternglass's claims made between 1968 and 1999. Any hopes to the contrary
notwithstanding, Sternglass has not "learned from his early
mistakes." Again, if you haven't been able to identify anything perhaps
it's because you haven't tried.
sjd at swcp.com
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