[ RadSafe ] FW: Health Protection Agency howler highlights official incompetence (UNCLASSIFIED)

Falo, Gerald A Dr CIV USA MEDCOM CHPPM Jerry.Falo at us.army.mil
Tue Jan 13 09:34:00 CST 2009

Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED 
Caveats: NONE


This might be of interest to the group.  The post begins below my
signature block.


The statements and opinions expressed herein are my responsibility; no
one else (certainly not my employer) is responsible, but I still reserve
the right to make mistakes.
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Gerald A. Falo, Ph.D., CHP
U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine - Health
Physics Program
jerry.falo at us.army.mil

============================== Begin Post

	From: bramhall at llrc.org
	To: info at llrc.org
	Sent: 1/11/2009 2:45:22 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
	Subj: Health Protection Agency howler highlights official

	Health Protection Agency howler

	Uranium toxicity calculations defeat the best brains at
Britain's statutory radiation risk agency

	The Radiation Protection Department of the UK Health Protection
Agency (HPA-RPD) has released a "technical response" to questions from
the Low Level Radiation Campaign (LLRC). It contains an elementary error
in labeling a graph and raises serious doubts about the HPA's competence
to advise British authorities on radiation risk, which is the statutory
function of its Radiation Protection Department (it used to be the
National Radiological Protection Board).

	The error concerns evidence for the so-called Secondary
Photoelectron Effect (SPE) submitted to HPA by us during a recent
consultation on Solid Radioactive Waste Disposal. The Secondary
Photoelectron Effect has the potential to explain why releases of some
kinds of material from nuclear processes are associated with increased
rates of disease.

	Elements of high atomic number are known to have a very large
ability to block and absorb photons of background radiation. The energy
of incident gamma photons is transferred to electrons in the electron
cloud of the element's atoms; the absorbed energy causes electrons to be
ejected into each atom's immediate vicinity.

	This is of particular concern for Uranium, which has a high
affinity for the phosphate in the DNA molecule. At quite low ambient
levels, DNA becomes saturated with Uranium. This means that DNA begins
to act as an antenna, as the Uranium intercepts photons from background
gamma fields and re-emits their energy precisely where it will do the
most damage. Actual particles of Uranium from nuclear bombs and reactors
or from the use of Uranium weaponry will behave in a similar way. 

	These concerns have been published: 

	*	Busby C (2005) "Depleted Uranium weapons, Metal
Particles, and Radiation Dose"; European Journal of Biology and
Bioelectromagnetics Vol 1 No 1 p 82-93 www.ebab.eu.com 
	*	Busby C (2005) "Does Uranium Contamination amplify
natural background radiation dose to DNA?" European Journal of Biology
and Bioelectromagnetics Vol 1 No 2 p 120-131 www.ebab.eu.com 
	*	"Advanced Biochemical and Biophysical Aspects of Uranium
Contamination". Chris Busby and Ewald Schnug: Institute of Plant
Nutrition and Soil Science, Federal Agricultural Research Centre (FAL),
Bundesallee 50, D-38116 Braunschweig, Germany in "Loads and Fate of
Fertilizer-Derived Uranium", pp. 11-12 Edited by L.J. De Kok & E. Schnug
(c) 2007 Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands 
	*	The Final Report of the Depleted Uranium Oversight Board
Submitted to the Undersecretary of State for Defence, February 2007 
	*	http://news.ulster.ac.uk/releases/2008/4002.html
	*	UNIDIR 3 - United Nations Institute for Disarmament
Research "Disarmament Forum 3; Uranium Weapons", UNIDIR/DF/2008/3 ISSN

	Detailed calculations by researchers show that genetic damage
caused by secondary photoelectrons from Uranium would be 1500 times
greater than from the inherent radioactivity of the Uranium itself.

	On 9th December LLRC received a detailed response, reportedly
prepared by John Harrison, Head of the HPA's Dose Assessments
Department. In two ways it attempts to diminish the importance of the
Uranium photoelectron effect. 

	*        First, it ignores the binding of Uranium to DNA, and
presents calculations of average energy absorbed in a hypothetical block
of tissue into which Uranium has (unrealistically) been uniformly
dispersed.  This results in a slight enhancement of average absorbed
dose to the tissue. 

	*        Second, it displays graphs purporting to show that the
increased absorption by Uranium relative to uncontaminated muscle tissue
is a modest 200-fold. To achieve this it compares, on the same axis, the
mass energy absorption coefficient ratio for the two different
substances with both different absorption coefficients and different
densities. This is a mathematical impossibility; the axis label cannot
exist as a physical unit. A short paper outlining the HPA's error and
recalculating the comparison using correct data from the US National
Institute of Science and Technology is at
http://www.llrc.org/wobblyscience/subtopic/uraniumhowler.htm. It shows
that the result is 20 times greater than HPA calculated, because the HPA
forgot that Uranium is  about 20 times more dense than living tissue. 

	The HPA paper acknowledges that little is known about
sub-cellular distribution of Uranium in vivo, but as far as we know has
no plans to fill the knowledge gap. 

	HPA also ignores the impact of Uranium particles such as those
from Depleted Uranium weapons; the Photoelectron Effect is particularly
important for such particles.

	In February Dr. Harrison is due to make a presentation to the
5th International Conference on the Effects of Low Dose Radiation (3rd -
5th February 2009, Millennium Point, Birmingham:

	His topic is Internal Dosimetry - Recent Developments.

	Readers might be interested to know that at the 3rd
International Conference in Stratford on Avon, England in May 1997, the
Low Level Radiation Campaign conducted a Non-Violent Direct Action; the
figure of Death chained himself to the podium while Sir Richard Doll
gave his keynote address and activists gave a copy of Chris Busby's
Wings of Death to every delegate. At the 4th Conference in Oxford in
2002 Chris Busby was an invited speaker on the health effects of low
doses of radiation.
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