[ RadSafe ] Is this the beginning of the end of the debate on low-dose radiation effects?

Joseph Shonka jjshonka at shonka.com
Tue Jul 8 12:31:55 CDT 2014

The low dose issue has another dimension in the US.  The Energy Employee
Occupational Illness Compensation Policy Act (EEOICPA) has awarded
approximately 28% of the 40,000 claims that were made and evaluated under
the act.  (Additional claims were not evaluated and were called Special
Exposure Cohort (SEC) cases).  The SEC cases occurred when information was
insufficient to evaluate the exposure.  The existence of (one of 22)
cancers was proof that it was caused by the worker's occupational

By this law, the evaluations of the 40,000 non-SEC cases were made such
that there was less than a 1% chance of improperly denying benefits to a
worker.  Obviously two workers with identical exposure histories might have
dosimetry results that were just above and just below the criteria,
unfairly denying benefits to the worker with the lower dosimetry result.
This required evaluation at the 99th percentile.  Many of the claims were
evaluated using the Interactive RadioEpidemiological Program (IREP)
program.  Because of the time dependent nature of cancer induction, IREP
does not reduce the uncertainty in the results by utilizing the standard
deviation of the mean of multiple measurements, resulting in larger
uncertainties than a worker's total lifetime dose than would be estimated
using SDOM.

So my question is this.  Has this set a legal precedent for US radiation
workers who come down with a cancer later in life?  Does this precedent
make the issue of low dose radiation effects irrelevant for US radiation
workers?  It seems to me that such a worker could go through a workman's
compensation process and assert that this method was developed by the US
National Institutes of Health and implemented by NIOSH and applied to more
than 40,000 cases.  He would ask why the method should not apply to his

I would be interested in other opinions.

Joe Shonka

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