Low-dose radiation fears unfounded

Published April 1, 2001

In the January 2001 issue of Environment & Climate News, Herbert Inhaber made an excellent case for the future acceleration of our dependence on nuclear energy. He failed to mention, however, a major aspect of the anti-nuclear policies that are espoused by our own government based on totally fraudulent fears.

Our energy policy is based upon a half-century of deceit by U. S. advisory committees, such as the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) Committee and the National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP). Congress, EPA, and state officials use their advice to make policy, laws, and rules of operation.

These committee members believe the myth that all ionizing radiation is harmful. It is not! They ignore abundant human and experimental animal data showing large and small doses of ionizing radiation (as most agents) produce opposite responses. Low-dose irradiation activates the immune system and has many health benefits.

Deceit and deliberate misrepresentation of scientific data by these committees thwarted our energy policy and stopped our use of an important energy source, nuclear power.

These committee members must be replaced with persons who can evaluate scientific evidence. About 3,000 scientific studies in refereed journals conclude that low-dose irradiation is beneficial (J. Muckerheide, Data Document, Radiation, Science and Health, Inc. (RSH), Box 843, Needham, MA 02494 or email [email protected]). The threshold between harm and benefit for whole-body exposures to ionizing radiation appears to be about 1,000 times our background radiation levels for chronic exposure and about 5 cSv for acute doses.

Except for fear and its consequences, I challenge anyone to cite one reasonable, scientifically valid study in English which shows harm from whole-body exposures to low-dose irradiation in normal humans or experimental animals.

Radiation, Science, and Health, Inc. will award $1,000 to the person or organization which submits the first (date and time received) valid response to this challenge.

When this challenge was made at a public hearing during the April 6, 2000 meeting of the NCRP, a committee member stated that cancer mortality rates increased in Japanese atomic bomb survivors who were exposed to low doses of radiation. He ignored data showing survivors exposed to the lowest doses had statistically significant lower total cancer mortality rates than Japanese controls (Shimizu et al., “Dose-response analysis among atomic-bomb survivors exposed to low-level radiation,” pages 71-78 in Sugahara, Sagan, and Aoyama, editors, Low Dose Irradiation and Biologic Defense Mechanisms, Excerpta Medica, Amsterdam, 1992).

This misinterpretation of the Japanese data and 20 other examples of radiobiology deceit were presented at the Workshop on Scientific Bases for Radiological Protection titled “Biological Perspective for a New Approach to Radiation Protection Policy” at Hiroshima on May 17, 2000. In the discussion, Dr. D. Preston, a member of the Japanese-American study group, denied that a 7 percent reduction in the total cancer death rate (their data for 7,340 cancer deaths in persons who received 1-1.9 cSv) was significant. However, the chi square test showed p = 0.00002 for these data. That is one chance in 50,000 that low-dose irradiation did not reduce the cancer death rate.

Our energy crisis is based upon spin and deceit by our official advisory committees using the false dogma that all radiation is harmful. We need more ionizing radiation for the health of people and the wealth ($billions wasted each year) of our nation. Nuclear power is needed to provide balance in our energy policy and independence from foreign energy sources.

T. D. Luckey is a member of the Board of Directors of Radiation, Science and Health Inc. Responses to his challenge should be directed to RSH at Box 843, Needham, MA 02494; email [email protected].