[ RadSafe ] Excess relative risk: LNT "Shorthand"

Syd H. Levine syd.levine at mindspring.com
Thu Feb 14 14:02:44 CST 2008

The good Dr. Howard is talking about the regulators, not the engineers and 
technical folks actually designing and building the NPP.

It is well understood after decades of unbiased research that a very high 
percentage of bureaucrats are imbeciles.  Those on this list (and those who 
are personal friends) constitute the exception to the rule, of course.

As to the state of smarts in the EU as compared to the US...oh never mind.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Franz Schönhofer" <franz.schoenhofer at chello.at>
To: "'howard long'" <hflong at pacbell.net>; "'John Jacobus'" 
<crispy_bird at yahoo.com>; <radsafe at radlab.nl>
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2008 2:29 PM
Subject: AW: [ RadSafe ] Excess relative risk: LNT "Shorthand"


Usually, when I answer one of your messages I receive that it is not
possible to forward it to you. This might be because you have cut off my
adress for receipt - no problem, anyway it is like in a recent thread there
was a proposal to do this in case some recipients were offended by me.

You obviously do not know about how a nuclear reactor is built. I have very
little experience and mostly from hear-say, but those people who design
nuclear reactors are usually experts who know more than addition and
substraction. I have heard about the problem of teaching calculus in the US
- absolutely ununderstandable for me (born 1944), because this was the
absolute normal instruction which nobody ever would have questioned of being
too difficult! I cannot believe that US pupils would be so much less
qualified than I and my classmates were decades ago - or are they?

So what? Do you claim that all those scientists and enginneer planning for
new nuclear power plants are idiots?


Franz Schoenhofer, PhD
MinRat i.R.
Habicherg. 31/7
A-1160 Wien/Vienna

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] Im Auftrag
von howard long
Gesendet: Donnerstag, 14. Februar 2008 18:41
An: John Jacobus; radsafe at radlab.nl
Betreff: [ RadSafe ] Excess relative risk: LNT "Shorthand"

"Shorthand" LNT (Jacobus, below) burdens Nuclear power with dumb regulation,
crippling the USA economy.

Should regulators, who impose 10 times the cost and time to build a reactor,

in graphs from Ted Rockwell's book, be allowed to so simplify for their own
convenience? Let them learn calculus instesd of imposing their simple

ALARA, which I used for my office x-rays, is simplistic but deadly when
applied to
the complex facilities needed in a nuclear age and may deprive people from
Cameron's "essential trace energy".
Howard Long

----- Original Message ----
From: John Jacobus <crispy_bird at yahoo.com>
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 7:10:06 PM
Subject: Re: AW: AW: [ RadSafe ] Excess relative risk

  Thank you for the thoughtful reply.  I am not familiar with Sir Hill, but
since he died in 1991, i doubt he had much to say about the the controversy
that we have discussed.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austin_Bradford_Hill
So, I can only assume that your comments below are your own and not his
comment.  I think that is a little misleading, but I assume is not

  Selection of data or studies is not new or really that unusual in science,
and may be worse in epidemiological circles.  The proof of any theory or
hypothesis is can it be tested.  In many of the studies that you might cite,
such as the shipyard study, a reanalysis of the data shows that there may be
fundamental flaws.  Of course, it you rely on flawed data, how does that
advance the theory or hypothesis?  I think this has a lot to do with the
specificity of the data sets used.  Personnally, I don't think any one
study, or even tens of studies, can anwer the questions of what biological
responses are going on at low dose, low-dose rate levels.  This is probably
due to the number of end-points and confounding factors that are involved.
This is one reason that I believe there is no consistancy in hormetic
studies.  The other being the use of questionable or flawed studies.

  Of course, some studies will run counter to the "conventional" wisdom of
the hypothesis, but if you continually pick studies that bias the
hypothesis, then you may not obtain the strength of the association between
cause and effect.  In many cases the studies have different end-points,
which should affect the consistency between the various studies.  If you
look for some factor that you believe supports your hypothesis, you may miss
what is really happening, e.g., irradiated cells produce a enzyme that you
believe protect the DNA, when it has nothing to do with DNA protection.  You
need to first identify those factors that related between the studies.  Your
"consistant" results are then irrelevant to your hypothesis.  This is one
reason I dislike comparing cell studies with animal studies with human
epidemiology.  I believe that these are several of the points Sir Hill was

  I am not sure where you get the idea that I or "these experts" hold to the
idea that reactions that occur lead conclusively to cancer after many years.
Actually, I do not get the point of your second paragraph, as I have never
said it.  I do believe that such events as cancer are statistical in nature
in the general population, and cancers may begin to develop many years
before they are evident.  It is plausible that ionizing radiation dose cause
some additional cancers due to cancers, but probably not as on the basis of
one hit equals one cancer.  That is dumb, becasue molecular repair does
occur in nature which confounds the study of radation risks.  However,
natural cell repair mechanisms must also be imperfect mechanism, otherwise
there would not be any cancers occurring naturally.  Yet, there is something
to be said for the "target theory" of radiation effects, as cells are more
senstive to ionizing radiation during their reproductive cycle,
 e.g., during M
(mitotic) phase.  However, this is confounded by the fact that few cells are
probably undergoing mitosis in the body compared to their growth state.

  For me,the LNT hypothesis is politically, but is a "short hand" tool for
trying to manage or explain radiation risks when we really don't have a good
model for these risks.  It is conservative, but provides a reasonable
explanation until we have someting better, if ever.

  Nevertheless, it has been politicalized by those with interests in using
it as an excuse for the lack of new nuclear power plants.  However, neither
LNT hypothesis nor ALARA were the cause for no nuclear constrution in the
US.  I have believed for many years it was an economic issue.  Recently, new
plants are planned for, but unless the utilities can make a profit, plant
construction will again stop.  And despite your statement, it is clear that
you believe in hormesis.  Otherwise, why to always cite studies that support

  I always enjoy your correspondence, even if we do not agree.  But I do
wish you would not say I believe in this or that without asking.

Rainer.Facius at dlr.de wrote:

The selection below of two out of nine desiderata by one of the nestors of
epidemiology, Sir Austin Bradford Hill, may provide for another explanation
for our controversy.

1) You appear to rely on those experts which cherry-pick (to use one of your
favorites) those studies which show positive associations - although often
only for gratuitous choices of one-sided significance tests at significance
levels of only 90% !!! I assume your position does not prevent you from
realizing that well published human studies exist which display negative
associations. Some of them have repeatedly presented to you (apart from
Shipyards and domestic radon). Given that to my knowledge the number showing
negative associations equals or even surpasses those with positive
association, the very very least you are entitled to claim is that an
essential proviso is violated which would allow you to "cry for causation",
i.e., consistency. By the way, the inconsistency comprises also the
"volatility" of organs/sites for which 'significant' positive associations
between low dose and dose rate exposures to sparsely ionizing radiation and
 cancer risk.

2) You appear to rely on those experts which still hold that knowledge of
the statistics for the induction of initial ionization events in some 10^-15
s in a biologically important molecule suffice to predict conclusively the
induction of cancers in an organ 10^8 s after such an event. It was this
primitive target theory which guided experts more than half a century ago to
formulate the LNT postulate, although already then the original founders of
target theory had long ago pointed out its limitation to 'inert' systems
which are incapable to mount counteractive responses. Half a century after
Elkind and Sutton (1959) and a quarter century after Olivieri, Bodycote and
Wolff (1984) and in view of the subsequent laboratory research such an
assumption is implausible to the utmost in view of "the biological knowledge
of the day". Hence another proviso to "cry for causation" is violated.

Though I would not claim that hormesis has been conclusively established for
human cancer risks after low dose and dose rate exposures, plausibility and
consistency (with respect to laboratory work) definitely favour it as
compared to the LNT postulate.

Given that the scientific case for causation is non existent in the relevant
exposure regime, I think your occasional characterization of the LNT
postulate as 'political' is warranted - as is the question "cui bono?"

Kind regards, Rainer

  Dr. Rainer Facius
  German Aerospace Center
  Institute of Aerospace Medicine
  Linder Hoehe
  51147 Koeln
  Voice: +49 2203 601 3147 or 3150
  FAX:  +49 2203 61970

  Hill A B,
The Environment and Disease: Association or Causation.
Proc Royal Soc Med 58(1965)295-300 (ISSN 0035-9157)

"Here then are nine different viewpoints from all of which we should study
association before we cry causation.


(2) Consistency: Next on my list of features to be specially considered I
would place the consistency of the observed association. Has it been
repeatedly observed by different persons, in different places, circumstances
and times?


(6) Plausibility: It will be helpful if the causation we suspect is
biologically plausible. But this is a feature I am convinced we cannot
demand. What is biologically plausible depends upon the biological knowledge
of the day."

  Von: John Jacobus [mailto:crispy_bird at yahoo.com]
Gesendet: Dienstag, 12. Februar 2008 04:34
An: Facius, Rainer; hflong at pacbell.net; ograabe at ucdavis.edu;
radsafe at radlab.nl
Betreff: Re: AW: [ RadSafe ] Excess relative risk

  One of the purposes of a skeptic is not so much to challenge as to present
what is unknown.

  I have been accussed of being silent.  I am not an epidemiologist, so I
have to relie on those who are recognized experts. (If you choose to ignore
the conclusion of experts, that is your choice.)  The consensus has been
that there are no demonstracted effects below 100 mSv.  Neither harmful or
beneficial.  All studies are individual pieces of a puzzle.  To date, the
well-known epidemiologists have reached the conclusion stated above.
Individual studies may support your position or mine, but the concensus has
always remained the same.

  Your uncited comments below are interesting, but how do they fit in the
overall study of radiation effects?  I have seen some studies that do show
negative slopes.  We can all cherry pick the data that supports our
positions, but what do the experts say?

"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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