[ RadSafe ] Re: LNT= "practical" regulation?
hflong at pacbell.net
Wed Mar 15 13:02:07 CST 2006
Closer analogy than air pollution regulation (and I considered being LA Public Health AP Control Officer 45 years ago) should be radiation in the wave length of ultra violet.
Like ionizing radiation and unlike air pollution, UV is not visible or smellable, but burns in high dosage (sunburn and sunlamp overexposure) but is needed in lower dosage (vitamin D absorbtion to prevent osteoporosis, etc).
Regulators, stop your lazy, frightening, horribly expensive, nuclear power inhibiting LNT fraud and expedite anything (like full-body CT scan) up to 10 rem/year!
Howard Long MD MPH
Bernard Cohen <blc+ at pitt.edu> wrote:
Franz Schönhofer wrote:
>John, as usual I agree with you. The LNT is a valuable tool for Radiation
>Protection Legislation - if not the only one acceptable and administrable.
I hardily disagree with this statement, as explained in my note in
the Bulletin of Canadian Nuclear Society a few years ago:
The alternative is to treat radiation as we treat chemical
pollutants. Using air pollution as an example, we limit concentrations
of SO2, nitrogen oxides, particulates, ozone, etc. Osborne says that
this is equivalent to assuming that dose rate, rather than integrated
dose determines the risk --a rather different scientific model-- but
that is a misinterpretation. For example, air pollution regulations
limit the number of days per year that specified pollution levels can be
exceeded. They were designed basically to make them practical to
implement. They are admittedly a very crude way of limiting exposures
without being specific about whether the important risk parameter is
dose rate, total dose with or without a threshold, or some combination
of these with other factors. But crude as it is, its crudeness is
consistent with the crudeness of our scientific understanding.
Using LNT for regulating radiation is very clearly a more
quantitative approach, much less crude than the air pollution method.
But that does not mean that it is better; the problem is that it is not
consistent with the crudeness of our scientific understanding. The fact
that it is more quantitative is a deceptive veneer of false pretense,
hiding the fact that it has no scientific basis. Osborne claims that it
is "prudent", but prudence is best judged by the results achieved. Let's
compare them on that basis.
The air pollution regulations, crude as they are, prevent
catastrophes like the 1930 Meuse Valley, the 1948 Donora (Pennsylvania),
and the 1952 London incidents, and they generally avoid identifiable
deaths. Most importantly, they give the public confidence that it is
being protected. The Mayor of Pittsburgh, a strong advocate for
environmental causes, will go to great lengths to attract new
industries, so long as they comply even marginally with air pollution
regulations, and the Pittsburgh public, which is highly sensitized to
air pollution problems, supports him on this. The Media give scant
attention to studies indicating that tens of thousands of Americans die
prematurely each year from air pollution; no one seems to be interested
as long as no victims are identifiably tied to the pollution..
How unsatisfactory is this situation? It allows our
technology to progress and to increase Society's wealth, and technology
and wealth create health, far outstripping the harm to health done by
the pollution. Air pollution may reduce our life expectancy by something
like 30 days, whereas technology and the wealth it has created have
increased our life expectancy by 30 years in this century, and life
expectancy is continually increasing
How well has the radiation-LNT approach to regulation worked?
For every little bit of radiation, we calculate the number of deaths,
and killing is something the Media are quick to report. People are moved
by such reports and view these deaths as real, perhaps even afflicting
themselves or their loved ones. The public has thus been driven insane
over fear of radiation, losing all contact with reality. As a result, we
have largely lost the benefits of nuclear power which could be averting
tens of thousands of deaths per year from air pollution (and also
solving other environmental problems like global warming, acid rain,
etc). We are losing many other benefits of radiation such as food
irradiation which could be averting millions of cases of food poisoning,
saving thousands of lives, each year. We are wasting our Society's
wealth on ridiculous clean-up programs at nuclear facilities; this
wasted wealth could save thousands of lives each year if it were spent
on biomedical research, on public health programs, or on highway safety.
In the light of these comparisons between the results of the
air pollution vs the radiation-LNT approaches to regulation, which is
the more prudent?
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