[ RadSafe ] Low dose paper provides strong evidence of positive associations between protracted low-dose radiation exposure and leukaemia.

Doss, Mohan Mohan.Doss at fccc.edu
Tue Jun 30 15:26:10 CDT 2015

Dear Philip,
   Thanks for spreading this information, coming from what is considered to be a reputable journal, Nature, which in turn refers to an article in Lancet, another highly regarded journal. However, a simple analysis would show that the Lancet article should never have been published (see below).  Journals should be asked to watch out for such manuscripts that claim increased risk of cancer from low-dose radiation, because publishing such manuscripts with faulty data/analyses (which results in the claim of increased cancer risk from low-dose radiation) bring down the value and credibility of the journals.  
   I have submitted Comments to nature.com in response to the article as follows:
"A major but simple error in the publication (K. Leuraud et al. Lancet Haematol. 2015) is that the authors did not take into consideration the increase in medical radiation dose (e.g. from CT scans) that occurred during 1944-2005, the period of the study. The annual per capita medical radiation dose increased during this period. For USA, it was approximately 0.25 mSv in the 1960s, 0.5 mSv in 1980, and 3 mSv in 2006. On the other hand, the occupational radiation doses to nuclear reactor workers were relatively higher in the 1960s and were very low in the 2000s. The average occupational dose to the workers over the whole period was about 1.1 mSv per year. In the dose-response analysis of the publication, the authors completely ignored the medical radiation dose, which the nuclear workers would have received also at levels similar to that of the general population during this period. In the 1960s and earlier, it would be fine to ignore the medical radiation dose since it would be small compared to the occupational doses in those years. But near the end of the study period (2005), their use of occupational dose alone in their dose-response analysis would create a major error in the shape of inferred dose-response, since they ignored medical radiation dose, which would be larger than the occupational dose (or be of similar magnitude). Therefore, their conclusion should be dismissed. This paper should never have been published because this error, being a simple but major one, should have been caught by one or more of the authors and/or one or more of the peer-reviewers. This Nature news item gives credibility and publicity to the erroneous conclusion of this publication. Publications which claim increased risk of cancer from low-dose radiation, whose faults get identified and conclusions get negated at a later date, do tremendous harm by perpetuating the myth of cancers caused by low-dose radiation, since the corrections do not get any publicity in comparison to the huge publicity to the original faulty publication. I wish to suggest to Nature that this Nature News item be marked as erroneous and be withdrawn and be replaced by another Nature News item that identifies the above flaw in the publication. Thanks."
    If you have any counter-arguments, or consider my criticism is unjustified, please do let me know.  Thanks.

Mohan Doss, Ph.D., MCCPM
Medical Physicist,
Associate Professor, Diagnostic Imaging,
Fox Chase Cancer Center,
333 Cottman Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19111-2497.
Phone: 215 214-1707
Website: http://www.fccc.edu/research/pid/doss/
Blogs: http://mohan-doss-home-page.blogspot.com/

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at agni.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at agni.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Egidi, Philip
Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 1:06 PM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Low dose paper provides strong evidence of positive associations between protracted low-dose radiation exposure and leukaemia.

Don't shoot - I just pass 'em along....

The Lancet Haematology
Available online 21 June 2015



There is much uncertainty about the risks of leukaemia and lymphoma after repeated or protracted low-dose radiation exposure typical of occupational, environmental, and diagnostic medical settings. We quantified associations between protracted low-dose radiation exposures and leukaemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma mortality among radiation-monitored adults employed in France, the UK, and the USA.


We assembled a cohort of 308 297 radiation-monitored workers employed for at least 1 year by the Atomic Energy Commission, AREVA Nuclear Cycle, or the National Electricity Company in France, the Departments of Energy and Defence in the USA, and nuclear industry employers included in the National Registry for Radiation Workers in the UK. The cohort was followed up for a total of 8·22 million person-years. We ascertained deaths caused by leukaemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. We used Poisson regression to quantify associations between estimated red bone marrow absorbed dose and leukaemia and lymphoma mortality.


Doses were accrued at very low rates (mean 1·1 mGy per year, SD 2·6). The excess relative risk of leukaemia mortality (excluding chronic lymphocytic leukaemia) was 2·96 per Gy (90% CI 1·17–5·21; lagged 2 years), most notably because of an association between radiation dose and mortality from chronic myeloid leukaemia (excess relative risk per Gy 10·45, 90% CI 4·48–19·65).


This study provides strong evidence of positive associations between protracted low-dose radiation exposure and leukaemia.


Philip Egidi
Environmental Scientist
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Radiation Protection Division
Washington, DC
(202) 343-9186 (work)
(970) 209-2885 (Cell)

“The health of the people is the highest law.”
Cicero (106 - 43 BC)

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