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Welcome to our Blog: visit often!

February 22nd, 2012

My goal for this Blog site is to share with you various news and current events, views and insights, topics and personal comments related to the Health Mine, radon, radioactivity and fun stuff.  Content will mirror most of the postings on the Mine’s Facebook page and those alerts that may be sent via our newsletter at TinyLetter.com.   Hope you will enjoy.   All comments will be reviewed to weed out spammers.

Editorial-When scientists fail at science: why low-dose radiation exposure is not to be feared

September 30th, 2015

September 30, 2015

By Jeffry A. Siegel, PhD Charles W. Pennington, MS, MBA and Bill Sacks, PhD, MD

The following op-ed was rejected by a popular physics journal and seven of the country’s leading newspapers, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, and LA Times. It is at least as important to know that the mass media, with the notable exception of our own Green Valley News, generally refuse to acknowledge that, for the better part of a century, the science of radiation biology has been corrupted by special interests, such as self-perpetuating regulatory agencies and certain radiologists whose reputation rests on being harbingers of doom and protectors of the populace. This has caused untold harm to hundreds of thousands of people, who have suffered from unwarranted forced evacuations near nuclear power plant accidents and fear-driven refusal to have necessary and potentially life-saving X-rays and CT scans.

As a radiologist (now retired), Dr. Bill Sacks was trained to fear low-dose radiation, until he began to study the issue some years ago. It is no wonder that so many people outside the field also fear exposure to medical imaging studies and nuclear energy. But the good news is that the fear is entirely misplaced. Natural background radiation from ground and sky far outweigh exposures from medical imaging and nuclear power plants (even after accidents). Furthermore, damage from everyone’s normal metabolic processes outweigh that from natural background by factors of a few million(!). As a result, all plants, animals, and bacteria have evolved repair and defense mechanisms that protect us from radiation damage at these low exposures (though much higher exposures most assuredly sicken and kill). And a growing number of scientists, including the authors of this op-ed, are now trying to protect us from those regulatory agencies, and others, who refuse to admit the truth.

Scientific achievement displays a muddled, disordered topography, with landscapes of wonderful pinnacles, but deep, mysterious crevices denoting failure.

We examine one such crevice that remains uncorrected: the linear no-threshold (LNT) model of radiation-induced cancer, relied upon by governments and advisory bodies as the basis of regulatory policy for 70 years. High-dose radiation can cause cancer, but this has never been shown at low doses in the range of X-ray and computed tomography (CT) examinations or in the vicinity of nuclear power plants.

The proven consequence of high doses has simply been assumed to apply even near zero dose, with no threshold below which it is harmless, producing predictions of cancer at all doses. But the body responds differently to radiation at high and low doses, as proven in many studies: at low doses the body eliminates the damage through a variety of protective mechanisms, evolved in humans from eons of living in a world bathed in slowly delivered but sometimes high-dose natural radiation.

Based on the unwarranted fear of cancer, residents were evacuated from around the Fukushima nuclear plant rather than being sheltered in place, resulting in more than 1,600 deaths. Simple sheltering would have saved many lives. Recently, the Japanese Cabinet has decided to lift evacuation orders; whether residents will actually return is uncertain due to the radiophobia instilled in them over the past four years. Reliance on the LNT model has resulted in even larger health and economic impacts at Chernobyl. All such devastating results of the LNT model have prompted three recent petitions to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reject this falsehood. Let’s examine how the original formulation of this fear-inducing LNT model came into being.

Fruit fly mutations

Nobelist Hermann Muller, a founding proponent of the LNT model, investigated X-ray effects on fruit fly gene mutations. By the 1940s, emphasized in his 1946 Nobel lecture, he claimed the mutation rate was a linear function of dose down to zero, independent of dose rate, with no threshold below which there is no effect. Muller based his claim upon testing at doses that are quite high (at least 4,000 mGy). (For comparison, U.S. natural radiation exposure averages 3 mGy annually, and a typical CT scan is 10 mGy.) Thus, Muller’s claim of harm down to zero dose was a fiction posing as science.

In 1948-9, Muller’s colleagues’ research found that below 500 mGy flies often had similar or even lower mutation rates than unirradiated flies, especially when dose rate was low enough, suggesting protective responses and a no-harm threshold somewhere below 500 mGy. Some of their results were inconsistent, but rather than continue testing, they arbitrarily and unjustifiably decided that there was no threshold and that dose rate was irrelevant, reinforcing Muller’s false claim.

Fortunately, these researchers left a trail of published data that, when examined today, does confirm a threshold, contrary to their claim. Apparently this result was neither noticed by these investigators nor by any others, until recently discovered by us.

Many, while admitting this absence of evidence, nevertheless believe LNT model-derived “precautions” save lives. But misguided regulation/policy applications of LNT-based hypothetical harm have themselves caused death and psychological damage from unnecessary evacuations following the Chernobyl and Fukushima events, and adverse health consequences from patients’ fear-driven rejection of potentially life-saving X-rays and CTs. Additionally, hundreds of billions of dollars are wasted due to unwarranted fear of low-dose radiation.

Scientists have failed with regard to the science of radiation protection. Unless the accurate LT model, showing no harm from low-dose/dose-rate radiation below thresholds, becomes the basis of radiation regulation, the public will remain exposed to the LNT threat. Science must finally arrive at summary judgment that the LNT model is pure fallacy, thereby alleviating suffering and abating needless, paralyzing public fear. The LT relationship’s threshold with no low-dose radiation harm can free people from the grip of groundless phobias: no harm, no fear

Jeffry A. Siegel, Charles W. Pennington and Bill Sacks belong to Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information (SARI – www.radiationeffects.org). SARI’s members come from 14 countries and are organized around the effort to address what they consider foundational fallacies surrounding radiation that create phobic responses to nuclear energy. Sacks lives in Green Valley.

Radon: Risk and Reality – the facts

May 30th, 2015

Caoimhín P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist

Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc.
185 Bounty Hunter’s Lane, Bailey CO 80421 Tel: 303 903-7494

Introduction

A large portion of the general population is under the impression that the scientific community has concluded that exposure to indoor radon conclusively causes cancer, and that there is scientific consensus of this “fact.” Most people are not aware of the fact that there are actually no conclusive studies that have ever demonstrated that exposure to indoor radon, as commonly seen in the overwhelming vast majority of houses, increases the risk of cancer by any amount, and in fact, in the larger and better studies, what we see is that the risk of cancer actually goes down with increasing radon concentrations; to a critical elevated level (not seen in houses) wherein the risk then begins to rise. But those kinds of radon levels where risk increases is virtually never seen in houses.

In fact, even the EPA, buried deep within its risk estimates,3 very clearly reports that it has no evidence that the risk increases, and that even their studies conclude that as radon concentrations in in homes go up, lung cancer rates go down.

The elevated estimates of risk typically reported to the general population have come exclusively from (discredited) mathematical models, supported by a billion dollar radon industry (including academia), for which there is actually very little to no actual scientific support.

The purpose of this discussion is to demonstrate that what people think a scientific paper says, and what the scientific paper may actually say, may in fact be two very different things.

Some visitors who have read our general web discussion on radon wherein we discussion some of these issues, ask about the validity of using risk assessments (mostly by the US EPA), that were published ten or more years ago. Regardless of the date of the risk assessment article, radiation remains the same, human physiology is still the same, and no new profound advances have been made in Euclidean mathematics. As such, although our general web discussion on radon references EPA documents written perhaps ten years ago, the gravamen of the original discussion remains pretty much the same and current with today’s thinking

Some people in the radon industry reference newer articles arguing that newer scientific studies are available that conclusively prove, beyond any doubt, that exposure to residential radon, at concentrations normally seen in houses causes cancer. As an example, one individual, who earns his living by selling radon testing services – and therefore has a vested interest in promoting the notion that indoor radon causes cancer- pointed to three new published studies claiming the new studies prove that residential radon exposure causes cancer. FACTs agreed to provide a critical review of the papers; and we have presented those reviews here.

The reviews presented here have been written for a non-scientific audience. As such, in some cases, the specific language used may lack our normal precision for the sake of clarity. As will be seen, none of the papers support the argument that exposure to radon, as typically seen in residences, poses a demonstrable or significant threat to public health.

The presentation of these papers as a supposed “proof” is a symptom of our society wherein information is presented by people who have never actually read the scientific data or studies, and have no real idea as to what is actually being said by the technical authors. We see this happening more and more, especially in the area of environmental issues such as global warming, wherein the general public has been duped into thinking that there is a scientific basis for the proposition, and that there is a scientific consensus; for which there is no science to support the claims, but there is a lot of emotion created by heavy handed politics. As such, a large fraction of western society presumes that if their government has made a policy regarding the risks of some particular event, then by that very fact, there necessarily must be credibility in the claims.

Read more here:

http://forensic-applications.com/radon/reviews.html

 

Nuclear Radiation and Health Effects

January 26th, 2015

Radiation | Nuclear Radiation | Ionizing Radiation | Health Effects.

from World Nuclear Association – Updated January 2015

Low-level radiation effects”

A lot of research has been undertaken on the effects of low-level radiation. The findings have failed to support the so-called linear no-threshold (LNT) hypothesis. This theory assumes that the demonstrated relationships between radiation dose and adverse effects at high levels of exposure also applies to low levels and provides the (deliberately conservative) basis of occupational health and other radiation protection standards.”

Increasing evidence suggests that there may be a threshold between 100 and 700 mSv below which no harmful effects of radiation occur. However, this is not yet accepted by national or international radiation protection bodies as sufficiently well-proven to be taken into official standards. However, at low levels of exposure, the body’s natural mechanisms do repair radiation and other damage to cells soon after it occurs, and some adaptive response is stimulated which protects cells and tissues, as with exposure to other external agents at low levels. The ICRP recommends that the LNT model should be assumed for the purpose of optimising radiation protection practices, but that it should not be used for estimating the health effects of exposures to small radiation doses received by large numbers of people over long periods of time.”

In addition, there is evidence of beneficial effect from low-level radiation (up to about 10 mSv/yr). This ‘radiation hormesis’ may be due to an adaptive response by the body’s cells, the same as that with other toxins at low doses. In the case of carcinogens such as ionizing radiation, the beneficial effect is seen both in lower incidence of cancer and in resistance to the effects of higher doses. This potential hormetic effect is most clearly evident in the data (see Appendix) for over 50,000 survivors of the Hiroshima bomb 1.5 to 3 km from the hypocenter, with dose range 1 to 100 mSv, compared with a large control group.”

 

Hot Spots: Earth’s 5 Most Naturally Radioactive Places | WebEcoist

March 2nd, 2014

Hot Spots: Earth’s 5 Most Naturally Radioactive Places | WebEcoist.

A Sane and Sober Look at the USS Reagan Radiation Contamination Incident

February 15th, 2014

A Sane and Sober Look at the USS Reagan Radiation Contamination Incident.

by Brian Hanley, February 6, 2014, International Policy Digest (.org)

“The proposition that the USS Reagan crew were contaminated with significant doses of radiation is not credible. Suggestions that the US Navy is somehow hiding something because the ship was not brought back to a US port are equally so. The idea that the crew of the ship are suffering radiation related injury or cancer caused by Fukushima fallout is fantasy. It is just not possible based on what science knows.”

Indoor Radon Levels and Lung Cancer Incidence on Guam

November 19th, 2013

Indoor Radon Levels and Lung Cancer Incidence on Guam.

Abstract

Radon (Rn) is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that impacts air quality world-wide. It is a known carcinogen and considered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to be the second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco smoking. Of several known isotopes of radon, 222Rn is the most stable with a half-life of approximately four days. This particular isotope is associated with the uranium (238U) decay series and accounts for most public ionizing radiation exposures. Most global indoor 222Rn emanates from granitic bedrocks located underneath buildings. While such rocks are absent on Guam, the karst limestone formations that overlay the island’s basement volcanics (basalt) are of biogenic origin and are believed to be a significant source of radon. In a recent multi-year survey conducted on Guam by the local EPA, indoor 222Rn levels exceeded the U.S. EPA air quality standard of 4 pCi/L in ~40% of all buildings tested. Concentrations were log-normally distributed and exceeded 300 pCi/L in two instances. Weighted average indoor 222Rn levels were generally much higher in villages from the northern half of the island where limestone coverage predominates. The relationship between 222Rn and lung cancer incidence on Guam was examined in the study reported here. The results were strongly suggestive of a hormetic effect existing between the two variables. Possible confounding effects attributable to smoking and ethnicity were examined and found to be insignificant. In fact, ethnic groups predominantly confined to the northern half of the island (i.e., Filipinos and all other Asians as a collective group) showed considerably lower cancer incidence and mortality rates than the indigenous Chamorro people who are well represented island-wide. The findings of the study lend further weight to numerous other reports that suggest low-level exposures to 222Rn have a beneficial health effect. They also support a growing critique of the rationale behind the U.S. EPA adopted linear-no-threshold toxicological model, which assumes that any dose of radiation is harmful, no matter how small. Finally, they also imply that the current U.S. EPA action level of 4 pCi/L for indoor radon is overly conservative and needlessly prompting homeowners to install radon mitigation systems into buildings that really don’t need them.

Keywords

  • radon;
  • radon progeny;
  • lung cancer;
  • confounding effects;
  • hormesis;
  • Risk assessment

The 25 Best Nerd Road Trips | Popular Science

November 17th, 2013

The 25 Best Nerd Road Trips | Popular Science.

Free Enterprise Radon Health Mine
Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley/v-e-n-u-e.com
Boulder, Montana N 46.271749 / W 112.154152 Visitors to this former uranium mine pay to sit in lounge chairs 85 feet belowground and breathe the radon gas seeping from the tunnel’s rock walls. The facility, founded in 1952, is one of four radon-therapy sites in the U.S., all in Montana.

Philadelphia Inquirer article on “Scientists study using low-dose radiation” – radon.gal@gmail.com – Gmail

September 10th, 2013

Philadelphia Inquirer article on “Scientists study using low-dose radiation” – radon.gal@gmail.com – Gmail.

Response by Mohan Doss – used with permission:

Mohan Doss

Sep 9 (1 day ago)

to Patricia
Dear Pat,
FYI: Recently a reporter from our local newspaper Philadelphia Inquirer interviewed me over phone for about an hour talking about my work in the area of low dose radiation.   I was somewhat apprehensive about what may be in the article she was about to write, as I have observed sometimes that such articles in popular media have inaccuracies that detract from the story.Her article appeared yesterday in the newspaper with the title “Scientists study using low-dose radiation” available at the link: http://articles.philly.com/2013-09-08/news/41876116_1_radiation-exposure-low-dose-radiation-ionizing-radiation.  Though the article has a few technical inaccuracies in details, it is indeed correct in the overall message it conveys about the current state of the art in this area, in my opinion.  The conclusion of the article regarding low dose radiation is ambiguous and unclear because of dismissive statements of “experts”, not data.  Certainly the overall message is more realistic than the usual ones appearing in popular media about the risk of cancer from low dose radiation, e.g. from CT scans.  Hence, I am pleased with the article, though I would have phrased it somewhat differently.
With best regards,
Mohan–
Mohan Doss, Ph.D., MCCPM
Medical Physicist,
Associate Professor, Diagnostic Imaging,
Fox Chase Cancer Center, R427
333 Cottman Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19111-2497.
Phone: 215 214-1707
Fax:   215 728-4755
E-mail:  Mohan.Doss@fccc.edu

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email communication may contain private, confidential, or legally privileged information intended for the sole use of the designated and/or duly authorized recipient(s). If you are not the intended recipient or have received this email in error, please notify the sender immediately by email and permanently delete all copies of this email including all attachments without reading them. If you are the intended recipient, secure the contents in a manner that conforms to all applicable state and/or federal requirements related to privacy and confidentiality of such information.

Scientists study using low-dose radiation – Philly.com

September 10th, 2013

Scientists study using low-dose radiation – Philly.com.

POSTED: September 08, 2013

In very rare cases, using radiation to kill the primary tumor of a patient with metastatic cancer leads to the disappearance of tumors throughout the body.

Scientists can’t explain this amazing collateral effect, but it seems to activate an antitumor immune response.

Mohan Doss, a medical physicist at Fox Chase Cancer Center, believes the distant tumors melt away because of incidental low-dose rays emanating from the high-dose therapy. And that bolsters a theory he has researched for years: radiation at or slightly above natural background levels can stimulate the body’s disease-fighting defenses.

“When you have high-dose radiation, it suppresses the immune system,” he said. “Low doses actually enhance the immune system.”

Toxicologist says NAS panel ‘misled the world’ when adopting radiation exposure guidelines

August 14th, 2013

Toxicologist says NAS panel ‘misled the world’ when adopting radiation exposure guidelines.

Aug. 13, 2013 — In two recently published peer-reviewed articles, toxicologist Edward Calabrese of the University of Massachusetts Amherst describes how regulators came to adopt the linear no threshold (LNT) dose-response approach to ionizing radiation exposure in the 1950s, which was later generalized to chemical carcinogen risk assessment.