[ RadSafe ] Chernobyl Radiation Killed Nearly One MillionPeople: New Book
Dan W McCarn
hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Tue Apr 27 18:34:57 CDT 2010
As I have mentioned before, my gamma exposure as measured by TLDs at home
(Albuquerque) and those carried with me to Belarus while working on a
Chernobyl-related project indicated that during the time period of
1995-1996, I had only 80% of the exposure that my kids received living in
Dan W McCarn, Geologist
108 Sherwood Drive
Los Alamos, NM 87544-3425
+1-505-310-3922 (Mobile - New Mexico)
HotGreenChile at gmail.com (Private email) HotGreenChile at gmail dot com
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Stewart Farber
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 17:09
To: Clayton J Bradt
Cc: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Chernobyl Radiation Killed Nearly One
MillionPeople: New Book
This referenced book ["Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People
and the Environment ]"is so out of touch with the balanced scientific
realities of the impacts of the Chernobyl accident that it is simultaneously
humorous and sad. This kind of book is part of an anti-nuclear feeding
frenzy which tends to cite claims by other anti-nuclear authors and
interests in an attempt to bootstrap some absurd claim to a ludicrous end
point. And what is the NY Academy of Sciences doing being connected with a
book that is essentially scientifically illiterate, and in the end. largely
a work of cleverly distorted fiction?
For example the review mentioning this book notes that the book claims that
the"Radiation and Public Health Project found that in the early 1990s, a
few years after the meltdown, thyroid cancer in Connecticut children
had nearly doubled.".
This claim [and dozens of similar claims about radiation bioeffects] has
been totally discredited by the CT Dept. of Health and every other impartial
agency which has looked at the substance of the claims made. The RPHP is a
group of long-standing[dis]repute which runs the "Tooth Fairy Project",
discussed ad nauseum on Radsafe over a period of years. If you want a bit of
diversion take a look at a photo of RPHP Technical Specialist, Board
Member, and spokesperson Christie Brinkley with NY Governor Patterson in a
recent meeting in Southampton, NY at the link below, or links to articles
by RPHP spokesperson Alec Baldwin who provides substantial financial support
the RPHP. See:
Ernest Sternglass and Joseph Mangano, the RPHP's current director have made
a career out of cherry picking data and making absurd claims unsupported by
actual extant public health records and statistics. Time and again these
"researchers" have chosen data that supported their claims, and ignored data
which did not. Their "startling" findings are designed to deceive the
public, legislators, and regulators, and scientifically illiterate notables
like Brinkley and Baldwin who can't see how laughable their claims are, or
appreciate that claims by activists like E. Sternglass and RPHP Sternglass
wannabes have been completely discredited by competent, independent
scientific organizations like the US National Academy of Sciences and dozens
of State Public Health Departments, the Health Physics Society, DOE, EPA,
The book author's use of 5,000 references mostly in Slavic makes it
convenient to make claims that are difficult to evaluate. However, the
author's giving credence to reports issued by RPHP in the US show that the
authors can't judge whether data they are citing has any scientific merit,
or don't care if it does.
I was hired to perform a very rigorous review of environmental radiation
data gathered after the Chernobyl accident as part of comprehensive nuclear
plant environmental monitoring programs from all over New England in 1986
and 1987. As a minor aside, the recently published book's statement that
activity from Chernobyl took 7 days to reach the US in circling the globe is
inaccurate in that some initial fallout from the Chernobyl accident took
less than 3 days to come over the N. Pole to US based on low levels of I-131
seen in milk collected in Vermont a few days after the accident--but that's
In the US, the Chernobyl accident in total added less than 1% to the
preexisting nuclear weapons test radioactive contamination from Cs-137 and
even less from Sr-90. If the claims of the book in question were close to
being true, applying the linear hypothesis to the much greater worldwide
environmental rad contamination from the period of open-air testing by the
US and Soviet Union vs. Chernobyl would have been responsible for many, many
hundreds of millions of deaths from cancer. And medical radiation exposure,
and background radiation would essentially have killed off the entire
population of the earth.
Time after time, wisdom is seen in the observation made long ago by British
Historian and writer Dr. C. Northcote Parkinson:
The Law of Triviality... briefly stated, it means that the time
spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum
C. Northcote Parkinson
[ i.e.: the less important, and insignificant vs. the total of any factor
that an item really is, the more time devoted to it in any situation ]
This is seen in that medical and background radiation, per NCRP 160, are
each responsible for about 3 mSv annually to each member of the US
population on average. Based on the LNTH, these can together be responsible,
conservatively, for no more than 15 percent of overall cancer mortality.
Per NCRP 160 Consumer products contribute about 0.1 mSv per year and might
be responsible for roughly 0.3 percent of overall cancer mortality. Nuclear
power plant operations contribute less than 2% of consumer product exposure
or 0.002 mSv per person, and could at a maximum be responsible, assuming the
LNTH actually applies, for about 0.003 percent of overall cancer mortality.
So if you look at the above levels of radiation exposures per NCRP 160 and
the maximum contribution of each component to overall cancer mortality, the
truth of "Parkinsons Law of Triviality" is clearly seen. These authors focus
the most on the risks of the least important sources of population radiation
Brief bio on C. Northcote Parkinson: (born July 30, 1909, Barnard Castle,
Durham, Eng. - died March 9, 1993,
Canterbury, Kent) British historian and writer. He received a Ph.D. from
Kings College, London, and later taught at various schools in England
and Malaya. He is most famous for his 1955 formulation of the satiric
"Parkinson's Law," which stated that "Work expands to fill the time
available for its completion." In The Law and the Profits (1960) he
discussed a second law, "Expenditure rises to meet income."
Stewart Farber, MSPH
Farber Medical Solutions, LLC
Bridgeport, CT 06604
 441-8433 [o]
From: Clayton J Bradt <CJB01 at health.state.ny.us>
To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Sent: Tue, April 27, 2010 10:25:48 AM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Chernobyl Radiation Killed Nearly One Million People:
An interesting new book just out on Chernobyl.
Clayton J. Bradt
dutchbradt at hughes.net
Chernobyl Radiation Killed Nearly One Million People: New Book
NEW YORK, New York, April 26, 2010 (ENS) - Nearly one million people around
the world died from exposure to radiation released by the 1986 nuclear
disaster at the Chernobyl reactor, finds a new book from the New York
Academy of Sciences published today on the 24th anniversary of the meltdown
at the Soviet facility.
The book, "Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the
Environment," was compiled by authors Alexey Yablokov of the Center for
Russian Environmental Policy in Moscow, and Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey
Nesterenko of the Institute of Radiation Safety, in Minsk, Belarus.
The authors examined more than 5,000 published articles and studies, most
written in Slavic languages and never before available in English.
The authors said, "For the past 23 years, it has been clear that there is a
danger greater than nuclear weapons concealed within nuclear power.
Emissions from this one reactor exceeded a hundred-fold the radioactive
contamination of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki."
"No citizen of any country can be assured that he or she can be protected
from radioactive contamination. One nuclear reactor can pollute half the
globe," they said. "Chernobyl fallout covers the entire Northern
Their findings are in contrast to estimates by the World Health
Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency that initially said
only 31 people had died among the "liquidators," those approximately
830,000 people who were in charge of extinguishing the fire at the
Chernobyl reactor and deactivation and cleanup of the site.
The book finds that by 2005, between 112,000 and 125,000 liquidators had
"On this 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, we now realize that
the consequences were far worse than many researchers had believed," says
Janette Sherman, MD, the physician and toxicologist who edited the book.
Drawing upon extensive data, the authors estimate the number of deaths
worldwide due to Chernobyl fallout from 1986 through 2004 was 985,000, a
number that has since increased.
By contrast, WHO and the IAEA estimated 9,000 deaths and some 200,000
people sickened in 2005.
On April 26, 1986, two explosions occured at reactor number four at the
Chernobyl plant which tore the top from the reactor and its building and
exposed the reactor core. The resulting fire sent a plume of radioactive
fallout into the atmosphere and over large parts of the western Soviet
Union, Europe and across the Northern Hemisphere. Large areas in Ukraine,
Belarus, and Russia had to be evacuated.
Yablokov and his co-authors find that radioactive emissions from the
stricken reactor, once believed to be 50 million curies, may have been as
great as 10 billion curies, or 200 times greater than the initial estimate,
and hundreds of times larger than the fallout from the atomic bombs dropped
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Nations outside the former Soviet Union received high doses of radioactive
fallout, most notably Norway, Sweden, Finland, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria,
Austria, Romania, Greece, and parts of the United Kingdom and Germany.
About 550 million Europeans, and 150 to 230 million others in the Northern
Hemisphere received notable contamination. Fallout reached the United
States and Canada nine days after the disaster.
The proportion of children considered healthy born to irradiated parents in
Belarus, the Ukraine, and European Russia considered healthy fell from
about 80 percent to less than 20 percent since 1986.
Numerous reports reviewed for this book document elevated disease rates in
the Chernobyl area. These include increased fetal and infant deaths, birth
defects, and diseases of the respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal,
nervous, endocrine, reproductive, hematological, urological,
cardiovascular, genetic, immune, and other systems, as well as cancers and
In addition to adverse effects in humans, numerous other species have been
contaminated, based upon studies of livestock, voles, birds, fish, plants,
trees, bacteria, viruses, and other species.
Foods produced in highly contaminated areas in the former Soviet Union were
shipped, and consumed worldwide, affecting persons in many other nations.
Some, but not all, contamination was detected and contaminated foods not
The authors warn that the soil, foliage, and water in highly contaminated
areas still contain substantial levels of radioactive chemicals, and will
continue to harm humans for decades to come.
The book explores effects of Chernobyl fallout that arrived above the
United States nine days after the disaster. Fallout entered the U.S.
environment and food chain through rainfall. Levels of iodine-131 in milk,
for example, were seven to 28 times above normal in May and June 1986. The
authors found that the highest U.S. radiation levels were recorded in the
Americans also consumed contaminated food imported from nations affected by
the disaster. Four years later, 25 percent of imported food was found to be
Little research on Chernobyl health effects in the United States has been
conducted, the authors found, but one study by the Radiation and Public
Health Project found that in the early 1990s, a few years after the
meltdown, thyroid cancer in Connecticut children had nearly doubled.
This occurred at the same time that childhood thyroid cancer rates in the
former Soviet Union were surging, as the thyroid gland is highly sensitive
to radioactive iodine exposures.
The world now has 435 nuclear reactors and of these, 104 are in the United
The New York Academy of Sciences says not enough attention has been paid to
Eastern European research studies on the effects of Chernobyl at a time
when corporations in several nations, including the United States, are
attempting to build more nuclear reactors and to extend the years of
operation of aging reactors.
The academy said in a statement, "Official discussions from the
International Atomic Energy Agency and associated United Nations' agencies
(e.g. the Chernobyl Forum reports) have largely downplayed or ignored many
of the findings reported in the Eastern European scientific literature and
consequently have erred by not including these assessments."
To obtain the book from the New York Academy of Sciences, click here.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2010. All rights reserved.
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