[ RadSafe ] Re: Radiation Hormesis

John Jacobus crispy_bird at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 28 19:55:52 CST 2007

Yes, there are certainly problems with over-regulation.  Consider how much better it would be if there were no drug regulations, or drinking water standards, or regulations on aircraft safety, etc.  Think of all those jackass regulators who would have nothing to do, and how much better a society we would be. If you wanted to dump oil into the ground, go for it.  You don't have to worry about who drinks it.  What would be great is to eliminate things like fire codes and child labor laws.  We could certainly eliminate labor costs of manufacturing
  What regulations would you like to eliminate?  Of couse, what laws would your eliminate?  Politics is more than power.  It is also how society develops laws and regulations.  It is how we establish national policy and function.  But enough about what I think.  You may want to see if they have a copy of "The Jungle" in your library.  Or maybe "The Bitter Cry of Children."
  As Bob Cherry pointed out, if you feel a regulatory decision is unjust, you have the means to appeal it.  
Steven Dapra <sjd at swcp.com> wrote:
  Dec. 28

        My purpose was to buttress the editorial writer's point, to wit that merely because a substance causes cancer in a laboratory animal does not mean it will cause cancer in humans.  I can remember Efron giving an example of a substance being accused of causing a type of cancer in a laboratory animal and then being banned.  Eventually it was discovered that the animal being tested had a pre-disposition to cancers (or at least tumors) of the type which caused the substance to be banned.  I am  certain that Efron gave more than one such example, although I can only remember this one.  As I implied, it's an iffy business to extrapolate from carcinogenicity in animals to carcinogenicity in humans

        You are correct, John, that there are problems with using small animal models, and 'we' all know that.  The problem is that regulatory science doesn't care about these niceties.  Regulators justify their jobs by (ostensibly) protecting people from allegedly dangerous products.  If there are no products to regulate, what does that mean for the regulators' jobs?  Some of this isn't about jobs either --- it's about power:  I have the power to tell someone what to do and by _______ I'm going to tell him what to do whether he likes it or not, and not only that I'll *make* him do it.  So, yes, you are correct it's about politics.  One part of politics is forcing people to do things whether they want to or not.

Steven Dapra

At 08:42 AM 12/28/07 -0800, John Jacobus wrote:
  If one does not believe there are problems with using small animal models (mice and rats) for chemical testing of effects in humans, should consider that approximately 80% of the drug responses seen in such animals do not lead to effective results in humans.
But the issue is not effects in one species over another.  It has to do with safety in humans.  Only about 15% of a regulator ruling is based on the science.  The rest is the politics.

Steven Dapra <sjd at swcp.com> wrote:
   Dec. 27

   Yes, don't we all love those eminent scientists. Okay, enough on 
   that front.

   ". . . proof that a substance, which had been recognized as 
   carcinogenic in animals, actually causes cancer in man would require in 
   most cases extemely complex and lengthy epidemiologic studies. In many 
   cases, it may be impossible to obtain such proof because of the complexity 
   of controls that would be needed for a satisfactory 
   demonstration. Therefore, the only prudent course of action at the present 
   state of our knowlege is to assume that chemicals which are carcinogenic in 
   animals could also be so in man, although the direct demonstration in man 
   is lacking."

   The citation is: Umberto Saffiotti, "The Laboratory Approach to 
   the Identification of Environmental Carcinogens," in Proceedings of the 
   Ninth Canadian Cancer Research Conference 1971, edited by P. G. Scholefield 
   (University of Toronto Press, 1972), pp. 23-26; cited in Federal Register 
   42:192 (October 4, 1977): 54152. I am quoting from "The Apocalyptics 
   Cancer and the Big Lie," by Edith Efron (Simon and Schuster, 1984). Efron 
   quotes Saffiotti on p. 87.

   Sure, I'll grant you that was 1971 --- 36 years ago and a lot has 
   changed since then. Or has it? Are we any closer to knowing *for certain* 
   whether nor not it is possible to extrapolate from carcinogenicity in 
   animals to carcinogenicity in humans?

   To further complicate matters, according to Efron, cats, dogs, 
   rats, mice, and hamsters get cancer from 2-acetylaminofluorene; but guinea 
   pigs, lemmings, and the cotton rat do not. And it goes on and on. See pp. 
   198-190 of Efron for more examples of selective carcinogenicity. She gives 
   citations for everything, citing to the scientific literature, or to 
   government reports on carcinogenicity.

   Steven Dapra

   At 09:18 PM 12/27/07 -0500, BLHamrick at aol.com wrote:
   >And, I'm sure it comes as no surprise that anti-everythings also argue just
   >the opposite (of what Floyd noted below) about animal studies when it suits
   >Just a couple of weeks ago (December 18, 2007), there was a very sensible
   >editorial in the LA Times about the ongoing uproar regarding phthalates in
   >plastics ("Stop Scaring Us"). The author was roundly attacked in 
   >three letters
   >(published December 23, 2007). (One from the eminent scientist Senator 
   >Feinstein - said with tongue firmly in cheek). And, of course, one of the
   >criticisms was that the columnist had dared to suggest that because 
   >cause cancer in rats, it doesn't necessarily mean it will cause it in humans.
   >The letter to the editor stated, "[The columnist] repeats the old saw that
   >rats have different metabolism than people. So he'd rather test people? 
   >testing to predict risks posed to humans by toxic substances is a
   >well-established principle that provides the basis for the nation's 
   >fundamental cancer
   >policy and a host of laws seeking to protect us against this deadly disease.
   >If a chemical can induce tumors in mice, we are not immune."
   >The problem I have with the anti-everythings (aside from the cherry-picking)
   >is they seem to be quite willing to make any argument, even to the point
   >where they may make two completely inconsistent arguments depending on 
   >the day
   >of the week (or the audience), to support their agenda.
   >Barbara L. Hamrick
   >In a message dated 12/27/2007 11:10:49 AM Pacific Standard Time,
   >Floyd.Flanigan at nmcco.com writes:
   >I am a firm supporter of Hormesis but with all of the other
   >environmental influences which can mask most true expressions of the
   >Hormetic Effect, I fear it will be a very long time before we see such a
   >study. I suppose it could be conducted on lab animals, but no matter
   >what evidence was produced, the nay-sayers would find their way back to
   >the fact that humans have a different physiology than the test subjects.  

"If history teaches any lesson it is that no nation has an inherent right to greatness.  Greatness has to be earned and continually re-earned."
- Norman Augustine, Chairman of the National Academies Committee 

-- John
John Jacobus, MS
Certified Health Physicist
e-mail:  crispy_bird at yahoo.com
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