[ RadSafe ] Special issue of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

Scott, Bobby BScott at lrri.org
Wed May 9 16:02:04 CDT 2012

Dear Dr. Parthasarathy,


I have accessed the website you indicated related to the Bulletin of
Atomic Scientist Special Issue: Low-Level Radiation Risks. However,
accessing the special issue publications (full papers) requires a fee
for each paper while the abstracts were available without cost. Thus, my
comments below are based on the abstracts.


If the objective of the Special Issue is to equip members of the public
with broad information on the effects of low-level radiation, then the
publication in my opinion is a failure. The paper by Jan Beyea titled
"The scientific jigsaw puzzle: Fitting the pieces of the low-level
radiation debate" is quite misleading based on the abstract. For example
she states the following: "Model fits ... to the atomic-bomb data
support a linear no-threshold model, below 0.1 Sv. On the basis of
biologic arguments, the scientific establishment in the United States
and many other countries accepts this dose-model down to zero-dose, but
there is spirited dissent.  The dissent may be irrelevant for developed
countries, given the increase in medical diagnostic radiation that has
occurred in recent decades; a sizable percentage of this population will
receive cumulative doses from the medical profession in excess of 0.1
Sv, making talk of a threshold or other sublinear response below that
dose moot for future releases from nuclear facilities or a dirty bomb."


Modern radiation molecular and cellular biology does not support the
linear-no-threshold (LNT) model. It is now recognized by many scientists
that there is a hierarchy of protective mechanisms that are activated by
low doses of low-LET and low- plus high-LET radiation that include DNA
damage repair, apoptosis of severely damaged cells, removal of
already-present aberrant cells via apoptosis (stress response; regulated
by intercellular communication between aberrant and normal cells), and
removal of pre-cancer and cancer cells via stimulated anticancer
immunity.  The French Academies report related to LNT, which was
discounted by Jan Beyea and other LNT advocates, discussed these
protective processes and took them into consideration when concluding
that LNT was not supported by data for low-LET doses < 100 mGy. In
contrast, the BEIR VII Report discussed these protective processes and
then ignored their very important implications when recommending
continued use of the LNT model. Our research has recently uncovered a
novel protective mechanism whereby low-dose gamma rays suppress
cigarette-smoke-carcinogen-induced neoplastic transformation and
presumably also smoking related lung cancer. The protective mechanism
relates to gamma-ray suppression of cigarette-smoke-carcinogen-related
inflammatory cytokines released by stromal cells that promote the
neoplastic transformation of normal human bronchial epithelial cells
(Chen W. et al., 2012, Carcinogenesis; prepress abstract available at
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22556270 ).  We also have new data
showing that repeated low doses of gamma rays can prevent
cigarette-smoke-carcinogen-induced lung tumors (adenomas) in mice and
also appear to prevent the occurrence of spontaneous hyperplastic foci
in the mouse lung (Bruce V., et al., Dose-Response 2012 Conference


The protective processes indicated above are thought to be regulated via
epigenetic mechanisms and epigenetic changes appear to be orders of
magnitude more likely than radiation-induced mutations when the
radiation dose is low (Scott BR. 2012. First generation stochastic gene
episilencing (Step1) model and applications to in vitro carcinogen
exposure. Dose-Response, prepress version available at
www.Dose-Response.com <http://www.dose-response.com/> ). 


The Special Issue paper by David Richardson titled "Lessons from
Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The most exposed and most vulnerable" relied on
information derived from epidemiological studies of A-bomb survivors. In
the abstract it is stated that cancer risk estimates are likely
underestimated since frail people were lost to follow-up shortly after
the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As with other studies of these
populations, the researcher failed to realize that the Japanese victims
were exposed to multiple insults (radiation + blast wave + thermal wave
+ other) and had to reside and survive in war torn cities.  No
adjustments have been made for the combined exposure and high stress
environment so that cancer risks are likely to be overestimated, even
for high doses since all harm is attributed to radiation. Further, new
information discussed by Mohan Doss at the Dose-Response 2012 conference
indicated that serious bias in the baseline cancer rate due to
year-to-year variation for the indicated populations likely altered the
shape of the dose-response curve for cancer induction from nonlinear
(e.g., threshold or hormetic type) to apparently linear.  


The Special Issue assigned more credibility to the BEIR VII Report than
to the corresponding French Academies Report.  The BEIR VII Report
however relied essentially on epidemiological studies while the French
Academies Report gave considerable weight to findings from basic
research. Regarding relying on epidemiological studies, there is growing
evidence that procedures employed in studies of radiation-associated
cancer can change real threshold- and hormetic-type dose-response
relationships into what appears to be an LNT type dose response.  Some
of these procedures are summarized below:


1.      Applying standard risk factor adjustments in the hormetic zone
where cancer risk is suppressed by radiation adaptive responses (e.g.,
preventing smoking related lung cancer via radiation activated natural
protective processes). The indicated adjustments appears to add back
cancer risk (e.g., from smoking) that was eliminated by the body's
protective mechanisms that were activated by low-dose radiation (Scott
BR. Dose-Response 9:444-464, 2011; freely available at
www.Dose-Response.com <http://www.dose-response.com/>  ).


2.      Not eliminating bias associated with year-to-year variation in
the baseline cancer rate (Doss M. Dose-Response 2012 Conference


3.      Dose lagging (throwing away parts of the low doses involved in
stimulating the body's natural defenses and parts of the high doses
involved in immune system suppression) shifting the dose-response curve
to the left (Scott B.R. et al., Journal American and Physicians and
Surgeons 13:8-11, 2008; freely available at
http://www.jpands.org/vol13no1/scott.pdf ).


4.      Assuming a non-existent healthy worker effect when and adaptive
response actually occurs (Fornalski K.W. and Dobrzynski L. Dose-Response
8(2):125-147, 2010; freely available at www.Dose-Response.com
<http://www.dose-response.com/>  ). 


5.      Averaging over large dose intervals when evaluating relative
risk (RR) or excess relative risk (ERR) and thereby eliminating a
threshold dose or hormetic zone (Scott et al. 2008; Thompson R.E., et
al. Health Physics 94(3):228-241, 2008; Thompson R.E., Dose-Response
9(1):59-75, 2011, freely available at www.Dose-Response.com
<http://www.dose-response.com/>   ).


6.      Inclusion of high-dose data where significant immune system
suppression occurs (Shan Y-X, et al., Radiation and Environmental
Biophysics 46:21-29, 2007) that can significantly increase the cancer
risk, when fitting the LNT function to data that includes low-dose,
adaptive-response data that do not support the LNT hypothesis (Scott et
al. 2008).


Advocates of LNT have caused many radiation-phobia related casualties
(e.g., following Chernobyl where > 100,000 abortions of wanted babies
were reported by Linda Ketchum in 1987 [Journal of Nuclear Medicine
28:933-942, 1987] to have occurred in Eastern Europe). LNT-promoted
casualties have also occurred in Japan related Fukushima. Many of the
evacuees are now under enormous stress and are suffering from
psychological problems related to their state of hopelessness (Genn
Saji, personal communications). In addition, apparently based in part on
advice from LNT-hypothesis advocates, Japan is currently running on 0%
nuclear power, which will likely lead to a very high financial cost to
the Japanese people related to having to use alternative energy sources.



Bobby R. Scott

LRRI, Albuquerque, NM, USA



From: parthasarathy k s [mailto:ksparth at yahoo.co.uk] 
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 9:29 PM
To: The International Radiation Protection( Health Physics) Mailing List
Cc: Scott, Bobby; stewart farber; Mike (DOH) Brennan
Subject: Special issue of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists


Dear Dr Scot Bobby,

I hope you had a chance to have a quick look at the recently (May 1st,
2012) issued special issue of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists covering
effects of low level radiation.

You can access it at:

I shall greatly appreciate your critical appraisal of the issue. 



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