[ RadSafe ] Sternglass -Galileo Parallel :-) RE: Drawing the line between science > andpseudo-science. (was Rational Thought) >

Stewart Farber SAFarber at optonline.net
Sun Oct 9 18:11:10 CDT 2011

John Ahlquist writes below:
Right after Moeller read the statement, I heard Sternglass sigh "Now I know
Galileo felt."

John Ahlquist
Hello everyone.

Regarding Sternglass & Galileo:
In 1994, I had the distinct [mis]fortune to speak immediately after Ernest
Sternglass as one of two invited speakers at an annual meeting of a group
called the National Association of Atomic Veterans [NAAV] in Washington, DC.
Most of the people at this meeting are elderly vets on the VA's Ionizing
Radiating Registry in light of their having been involved in military
service which exposed them to ionizing radiation in certain defined
categories during the Cold War or at the end of WWII.

Seeing Sternglass in action before a gullible group of "atomic vets" was
quite astounding. His actions were quite reprehensible, and would only have
prompted extreme fear and additional anxiety among the audience. I assume
Sternglass thought everyone in the audience would fully buy into his
nonsense without question,  since he seemed to revel in saying such extreme
things and was on such a roll.  I only wish I had recorded his "speech". His
"talk" was a hard act to follow. 

I had been invited by NAAV to speak  since I'd brought attention in a
Letter-to-the-Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine to the issue of
a carefully designed human radiation experiment [Project X-434 --Nasal
Radium Irradiation -NRI] conducted by the Navy on about 800 Submariners at
the end of WWII. The goal of this experiment was to determine NRI efficacy
on shrinking enlarged adenoids, by delivering about 2,000 rads [ 20 Gy]
bilaterally at the opening of each Eustachian tube to facilitate pressure
equalization during rapid pressure changes experienced by Submariners in the
diesel subs of the day in certain operations. 

[ see: Farber, S., and Ducatman, A.M., "Radium Exposure in U.S. Military
Personnel, The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 326, No. 1, pp. 71-72,
Jan. 2, 1992 ]
 - My letter describes the nasal radium procedure and brought to the
attention of the medical and scientific communities information that, during
the time it was in vogue,  an estimated 5,000 treated submariners faced an
elevated risk for a variety health problems (including various malignant
head and neck tumors, including brain cancers, and thyroid problems: very
elevated rates of Graves disorder) based on epidemiological studies cited.
It called for a central registry and the establishment of a "formal program
for the identification and medical surveillance of such people" by the US
Navy. The Navy (in its reply published with my letter) wrote the radium
treated vets had a "RIGHT TO PRIVACY [emphasis added]" not a "right to know"
What a change to the "right to know" concept!! The Navy spokesperson claimed
the risks of NRI were "relatively small" eqyuvakebt to pesticides on apples,
and why should they do anything since a huge population of children was
treated with NRI after WWII vs. the Navy having used it on only a few
thousand men. The Navy clearly felt that a few thousand rads [ 20 Sv ] to
the nasopharynx of 5,000 vets was as trivial a risk as an apple a day to
keep the oncologist away.

Subsequent to the letter above, and in the context of the "DOE Human
Radiation Openness Initiative" begun in early 1994, I garnered a great deal
of attention for the NRI issue and prompted a Senate Hearing on the subject,
and later forced a CDC Workshop on the subject.

To read more about NRI, the one Human Radiation Experiment judged to have
the highest cancer mortality risk by a wide margin of any of the 4,000 Human
radiation experiments [greatly exceeding the Pu injectees], reviewed by
President Clinton's Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments
[ACHRE] see:
But, I greatly digress..

In any case, Sternglass in his 1994 talk at the NAAV meeting which I
witnessed delivered what can only be describe as an inflammatory, totally
unprofessional,  scientific rant unconnected with any scientific reality. It
was extreme fear-mongering of the type we've witnessed many times from other
anti-nuclear activists, who will say anything to keep their distortions or
outright falsehoods repeated by various media, so gullible people believe

Sternglass blamed radiation exposure for every disorder imaginable,
including claiming that fallout from open air nuclear bomb testing was
responsible for the aids virus having developed in Africa and then spreading
around the world. He greatly misrepresented, or came up with impossible
radiation exposure pathways,  and exaggerated the scientific realities of
radiation risks. He cynically did his best to take advantage of the distrust
and fears that "atomic" veterans had who had received some radiation
exposure in the course of their service. It's easy to see why someone like
Busby, even with the benefit of hindsight, can refer to Sternglass with
admiration for Sternglass having supposedly found increased infant mortality
downwind of EVERY nuclear plant in the US. When called to account on this
nonsense on Radsafe, Busby was still willing to comment that Sternglass is
"generally correct" in his assertions.  

If Sternglass could compare himself to Galileo at the HPS Meeting discussion
in 1971, he'd have to be totally out of touch with reality at the time. 23
years later in 1994 at NAAV, he was still trying to manipulate any audience
he could find that would listen to his foolishness.

On last bit of Sternglass trivia that is good for a laugh. I once saw a
summary of radioactive discharges tabulated by Sternglass while he was still
RSO for the Univ. Pittsburg Hospitals.  I recall his report showed his
Hospital discharged more I-131 into the sewers of Pittsburg than any nuclear
plant in early 1970s. 

Ernest: Would Galileo allow so much I-131 to be discharged into the

Stewart Farber, MS Public Health
SAFarber at optonline.net


-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of John Ahlquist
Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2011 3:46 PM
To: Radsafe
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Drawing the line between science >
andpseudo-science. (was Rational Thought) >

I was at the 1971 HPS meeting at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC when this issue
hot.  There was a lot of press there for the Sternglass show.  I addition to
excellent statement below read by Dade Moeller, there was a presentation
how Sternglass had cherry picked data on infant problems.  He did a study of

data in California but the period he used coincided with an outbreak  of
{German measles] which causes at least a 20% chance  of damage to the fetus
if a 
woman is infected early in pregnancy.   The years before and after this 
outbreak, things were normal.  
Right after Moeller read the statement, I heard Sternglass sigh "Now I know
Galileo felt."

John Ahlquist

From: radsafe-bounces at agni.phys.iit.edu on behalf of Bob Cherry
> Sent: Thu 06/10/2011 04:40
> To: 'The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List'
> Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Drawing the line between science
> andpseudo-science. (was Rational Thought)
> The December 1996 issue of the HPS Newsletter refers to an even earlier
> issue:
> Every issue of the HPS Newsletter seems to have information
> important enough to reference. The August
> 1971 issue is no exception. An exceptional event was
> described in that issue. After Ernest Sternglass presented
> a paper on an epidemiological study describing health
> effects from nuclear facilities discharges, Dade Moeller,
> President-Elect, read a statement that had been signed by
> Claire Palmiter, President. and all 13 past presidents of
> the Society.
> In part. it stated that Sternglass had presented papers
> in which he associates an increase in infant mortality
> with low levels of radiation exposure ... His allegations
> made in several forms, have in each instance been ana.
> lyzed by scientists, physicians, and biostatisticians in the
> federal government, in individual states that have been
> involved in his reports. and by qualified scientists in other
> countries. . Without exception, these agencies and scientists
> have concluded that Dr. Sternglass' arguments are
> not substantiated by the data he presents. The United
> States Public Health Service, the Environmental Protection
> Agency, the States of New York, Pennsylvania,
> Michigan, and Illinois have issued formal reports in rebuttal
> of Dr. Sternglass' arguments.
> Again. in spite of the efforts by the most respected
> authorities to prevent the widespread broadcasting of
> Sternglass' flawed perceptions, Sternglass was sought for
> comments by the media and his story told countless times.
> The public was presented with fearful misinformation.
> Many members of the Society wanted stronger efforts to
> counter erroneous information, but our story was not
> considered newsworthy by the media.
> --from Bob C
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