[ RadSafe ] Arguments with Dr. Busby

Ludwig E. Feinendegen feinendegen at gmx.net
Tue May 17 01:53:17 CDT 2011

Thanks, Otto. Most useful background. Best, Ludwig

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Otto G. Raabe" <ograabe at ucdavis.edu>
To: "The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List" 
<radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 12:47 AM
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Arguments with Dr. Busby

To understand Dr. Busby's perspective it is
useful to recognize that one of his favorite
references may be the antinuclear reporter's
anecdotal early history of the use and misuse of
radiation written by investigative journalist
Catherine Caufield in her book "Multiple
Exposures, Chronicles of the Radiation Age"
(Caufield 1989). It describes the primitive early
beginnings of the use of radiation and radium
after their discovery over 100 years ago. Many
people inadvertently received gigantic doses of
ionizing radiation in those early years of the
Twentieth Century. Apparently for this
information that shapes much of his views about
radiation safety (rather radiation
unsafety).  She seems to look at every fact
through dark glasses. This is not a science book,
but rather it seems to be written more as a
popular text exposé to promote the author's
personal antinuclear political views concerning
ionizing radiation. While most of the facts,
dates, and people's names are largely correct in
her book, the overall discussion is misleading
and omits important scientific findings during
the past half-century. Caufield's exaggerated
fear of ionizing radiation and low regard for
radiation safety practice and the scientists who
worked to provide radiation safety standards led
her to write a distorted description of radiation
protection knowledge, radiation biology, and the
scientific basis of modern radiation safety and
health physics. Caufield is not a scientist. Her
book incorrectly and negatively portrays the
positive work of brilliant radiation safety
scientists while lionizing the scientifically
unsound positions of anti-nuclear activists.
People unfamiliar with the true history and
reliability of current radiation safety standards
might readily find her account to be convincing.

Caulfield's book discusses the early part of the
Twentieth Century when little was known about
radiation risks, especially with regard to the
use and abuse of radium isotopes. Her discussion
of the history of radium toxicology ends before
the big scientific advances in the second half of
the 20th Century and ignores the vital work of
Robley Evans and many other 20th Century
radiation safety scientists whose dedication and
contributions led to the reliable standards and
sound radiation safety practice that have been in
place in the U.S. for more than 50 years. The
"rest of the story" about radium and radiation
toxicological knowledge is very important, but is
noticeably omitted in Caulfield's book..


Prof. Otto G. Raabe, Ph.D., CHP
Center for Health & the Environment
University of California
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
E-Mail: ograabe at ucdavis.edu
Phone: (530) 752-7754   FAX: (530) 758-6140
You are currently subscribed to the RadSafe mailing list

Before posting a message to RadSafe be sure to have read and understood the 
RadSafe rules. These can be found at: 

For information on how to subscribe or unsubscribe and other settings visit: 

More information about the RadSafe mailing list