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Averill's Editorial

Hello, Radsafers:

I am benefitting greatly by seeing the wealth of opinions and knowledge
exhibited on this topic.  I am dismayed by seeing the editorial criticized
and vivisected as if it were a scientific paper.  One of our great problems
in actually attaining some sound reasoning and basis for radiation
regulation and improving public perception has been the paucity of
effective and accurate communication with the public.  The outrage factor
for radiation is one of the highest of any "hazardous" or "risky" thing.

Editorial opinions are put forth to stimulate thought, interest, learning
and action and change perspective on the part of the readers.  Because
these are opinions, the writers are at liberty to be a bit more "loose" in
their presentation than those of us who must teach, train, review, present
or generate scientific information.

I commend Averill and Gooden for having the courage and spending the time
to actually stick their necks out and communicate with the public.  Yes,
there would be changes/improvements in accuracy, style or content if the
editorial were a scientific paper and peer review were a part of the
process.  But it is the very detailed technicality, jargon, and the
required scientific background that all too often intimidates, insults,
confuses or repells the average person in the public.

Averill has done a good job of putting forth an editorial opinion which not
only makes the public think, but intersperses some good facts in the piece.
I have called him and asked permission to reprint and distribute this
editorial for teaching, training, public information and newsletter
purposes. The advantage of this editorial in these uses is that it IS an
opinion, and is less dry and more understandable to many "non scientific"
readers than many of the other materials wer use.

But, please, don't let me squelch this wonderful healthy discussion.  It is
very worthy and useful, but I just felt I should reiterate the original
purpose of an editorial and defend it in that capacity.

Thanks for bearing with my $0.02 or $20 worth.



All comments herein contained are my own opinions and/or experiences and
are not necessarily those of my employer or institution.

Kristin Erickson, Radiation Safety Officer       Email: 10525kfb@msu.edu
Office of Radiation, Chemical and Biological Safety
C124 Research Complex-Eng.
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan 48824
Telephone: (517) 355-5008   Fax: (517)353-4871  http://www.orcbs.msu.edu