Monthly Archives: August 2015
Guest scientists Ken Buesseler & Tim Mousseau
in conversation with Mary Beth Brangan, EON Co-director.
Sponsors: Point Reyes Books, Ecological Options Network,
Organizer: Bing Gong, Producer of Post Carbon Radio on KWMR-FM
300 tons of radioactively contaminated water continue to pour daily into the Pacific from the triple meltdown at Fukushima. Formerly rich farms around the plant remain uninhabitable. What levels of oceanic contamination are detectible so far? Has it reached the West Coast? What are the effects on wild life in the contaminated areas?
Learn from two eminent scientists about their important efforts to track and document the on-going impacts of the nuclear disaster in Japan.
Ken Buesseler, Marine Biologist, Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity
Within months of the Fukushima disaster, Ken Buesseler assembled an international research cruise to sample the waters surrounding the nuclear plant. To date, important fisheries remain closed due to cesium levels above Japanese limits for seafood. Ocean currents are bringing the radioactive particles released from Fukushima to the West Coast. Buesseler now monitors over 50 sites along the West Coast, from Alaska to Mexico, with citizen-scientist funding and participation. Radioactive cesium from Fukushima was detected in ocean water samples in August 2014 off the coast of northern California and in April 2015, in Ucluelet B.C.
Tim Mousseau, Research Biologist, University of South Carolina, Columbia.
Professor Mousseau has studied the impacts of radioactive contaminants on biological communities in the Chernobyl region of Ukraine and Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. His research suggests that many species of birds, plants and animals have experienced direct toxicity from the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. This mutational load has had dramatic consequences for development, reproduction and survival, and the effects observed at individual and population levels are having significant impacts on these regions.
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Radiophilia vs. Radiophobia
Do you worry that a nuclear war might cause you and your loved ones inconvenience or even damage to the planet?
Do you find yourself fretting that a Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, or Fukushima-like event in your neighborhood nuclear power plant might pose a problem for you and your community?
Do you believe the mountains of evidence – amassed for the entire period of the Atomic Age – that there is no dose of nuclear radiation, however low, that is not harmful to human health, DNA and all living things?
If you answered ‘YES’ to all three questions,
YOU may be suffering from…
Yes, folks, its a new psychosomatic disorder recently discovered in the Fukushima aftermath by ‘health care professionals’ and their allies in the global pro-nuclear lobby and the PR firms that specialize in the ‘manufacture of doubt.’
Just think, the million-plus deaths shown to have resulted form Chernobyl and all the thousands of mutated kids being cared for in orphanages in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine weren’t caused by Chernobyl fallout radiation exposure – its all in their heads (even if their brains are on the outside of their skulls)!
Same with the so-called Fukushima ‘victims.’ Its all about their MENTAL ATTITUDE – their fact- and experience-based BELIEF SYSTEMS.
The cure – as with other related psychosomatic maladies such as: Climate Change Phobia, GMO Phobia, Surveillance State Phobia or Arctic Oil Drilling Phobia – is DENIAL. What could be more simple…or more simple-minded?
NRC Leaps into the Breach
Always ready to uphold its well-earned reputation as Jonny-on-the-Spot for identifying and resolving any conceivable danger to public health and safety from nuclear technology, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in its august wisdom has decided to respond to a petition from three people claiming to represent Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information to revisit in an official proceeding the long-discredited theory of ‘hormesis,’ the idea that chronic exposure to low-level nuclear radiation is actually Good for you, because it makes you better able to withstand higher exposures. Wow, what a liberating, needless worry-reducing concept!
Don’t Be Fooled: Even Low Levels of Radiation Are Bad
Information and links to sources debunking the ridiculous, irresponsible and long-discredited claim that chronic exposure to low-level radioactivity is good for you are included below.
A recent Alert from HealFukushima.org blew the warning whistle on this new brand of nuclear madness. Public comment is due by no later than September 8, 2015.
The NRC notice says:
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has received three petitions for rulemaking (PRM) requesting that the NRC amend its “Standards for Protection Against Radiation” regulations and change the basis of those regulations from the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) model of radiation protection to the radiation hormesis model. The radiation hormesis model provides that exposure of the human body to low levels of ionizing radiation is beneficial and protects the human body against deleterious effects of high levels of radiation. Whereas, the LNT model provides that radiation is always considered harmful, there is no safety threshold, and biological damage caused by ionizing radiation (essentially the cancer risk) is directly proportional to the amount of radiation exposure to the human body (response linearity).
The Federal Register Notice is here.
Ionizing Radiation is a Class 1 Carcinogen: IARC
“There seems to be a never-ending cabal of paid industry scientific ”consultants” who are more than willing to state the fringe view that low doses of ionising radiation do not cause cancer and, indeed, that low doses are actually good for you and lessen the incidence of cancer,” observes Australian Dr. Peter Karamoskos,a nuclear radiologist and a public representative on the radiation health committee of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency in a prescient 2011 article. He goes on, “Ionising radiation is a known carcinogen. This is based on almost 100 years of cumulative research including 60 years of follow-up of the Japanese atom bomb survivors. The International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC, linked to the World Health Organisation) classifies it as a Class 1 carcinogen, the highest classification indicative of certainty of its carcinogenic effects.”
Evidence show (see below) that chronic low-dose exposures also cause many other serious health effects beside cancer.
Jane Swanson of Mothers for Peace has this to say:
This is horrifying!
The easiest way for people to comment is by email:
Email comments to: Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov. If you do not receive an automatic email reply confirming receipt, then call: 301-415-1677.
Please include Docket ID NRC-2015-0057 in the subject line of your comment submission.
The three petitioners who started this effort to lower protective standards are all in the health fields. They claim that there is no valid evidence that low doses are harmful, and find that compliance with current limits is expensive for their professions. Radiation phobia is their favorite new term. Here is a sample of their reasoning:
“Dr. Doss filed this petition on behalf of Scientist for Accurate Radiation Information, whose mission is to “help prevent unnecessary, radiation-phobia-related deaths, morbidity, and injuries associated with distrust of radio-medical diagnostics/therapies and from nuclear/radiological emergencies through countering phobia-promoting misinformation spread by alarmists via the news and other media including journal publications.”
The HealFukushima.org ALERT lays out what’s at stake:
Is this a joke? No.
If adopted, this would permit all current radioactive releases, leaks, and ongoing emissions from nuclear power plants, and decrease evacuation zones, as well as allow Fukushima, Chernobyl, WIPP (New Mexico nuclear waste disposal site), Hanford, Oak Ridge, Nevada and Alaska test sites, Santa Susanna, Farallons nuclear waste dump, depleted uranium, nuclear weapons, and other international emissions, as long as the government deems them to be “low level”, to impact Americans under the fantasy of a hormesis effect.
No protective measures or public safety warnings would be considered necessary. Clean-up measures could be sharply reduced. Protection for medical and screening personnel working around radiation-emitting equipment could be reduced.
In a sense, this would legalize what the government is already doing – failing to protect the public and promoting nuclear radiation….
The NRC standard needs revised to be more protective. Just like non-ionizing wireless radiation exposure, impact is not necessarily linear. Chronic low dose can be much worse than a one-time high dose.
The Alert comments:
There is a 5000 character limit in the open comment box. However, you can put a comment letter in PDF form, and submit a summary comment in the online comment section, with the PDF attached.
This proceeding was opened at the request of just three individuals, in stark contrast to the thousands of requests for hearings and action by healthcare professionals, scientists, and regular Americans to the FCC, EPA, FDA, NRC, and Congress which have not resulted in proceedings being opened on public health issues.
Vodoo Science and
the Zombie Myth that Will Not Die
It is both amazing and distressing that the long-discredited notion of ‘hormesis’ continues to surface after all these years, and that the NRC would further damage its credibility by seriously considering it. It is an indicator of the desperation afflicting the international nuclear establishment in the wake of the still-on-going Fukushima disaster.
The zombie notion seems to have been exhumed by government and industry hacks in Japan as a way of reducing liability for radiological contamination of an area the size of New Jersey, and inducing refugees to return to contaminated lands with fraudulent assurances that low doses of radiation are not harmful.
As Krooth, Edelson and Fukurai report in their book Nuclear Tsunami: The Japanese Government and America’s Role in the Fukushima Disaster,
Even after Fukushima reactors exploded and massive radiation fallout contaminated many regions, the Japanese government and corporate media began to engage in another propaganda campaign to create a new kind of the myth – “low-level radiation is safe,” especially in Fukushima where more than millions of people were still trapped in radiation-contaminated areas.
The notion was long ago demolished by the research of such radiological pioneers as Drs. Alice Stewart, Ernest Sternglass and John Goffman. Dr. John W. Goffman, MD, PhD. had begun as a researcher in connection with the Manhattan Project. He co-discovered several radioisotopes, including uranium-233 and its fissionability. At the request of Robert Oppenheimer, he was the third person ever to work with plutonium, devising an early process for separating plutonium from fission products. Goffman established the Biomedical Research Division for the Livermore National Laboratory in 1963, doing cutting edge research into the connection between chromosomal abnormalities and cancer.
Later in life, Goffman became a tireless and outspoken advocate warning of the dangers involved with nuclear power. From 1971 onward, he was the Chairman of the Committee for Nuclear Responsibility. He was awarded the Right Livelihood Award for his work on the effects of the Chernobyl disaster’s low-level radiation exposure on the population.
He was relentlessly attacked by the nuclear energy establishment, both governmental and corporate. He responded with characteristic frankness: “There is no morality…not a shred of honesty in any one of them – none. I can assure you, from every bit of dealing I’ve had…There is absolute duplicity, guaranteed duplicity, lies at every turn, falsehood in every way, about you personally and about your motives.”
Here’s what Goffman had to say in a 1995 An “Open Letter” to Editors of Major Journals and Newspapers, to Science Reporters and Physicians entitled What Is Factually Wrong with This Belief: “Harm from Low-Dose Radiation Is Just Hypothetical — Not Proven”
It is factually wrong to believe or to claim that no harm has ever been proven from very low-dose radiation. On the contrary. Existing human evidence shows cancer-induction by radiation at and near the lowest possible dose and dose-rate with respect to cell-nuclei. By any reasonable standard of scientific proof, such evidence demonstrates that there is no safe dose or dose-rate below which dangers disappear. No threshold-dose. Serious, lethal effects from minimal radiation doses are not “hypothetical,” “just theoretical,” or “imaginary.” They are real.
Here is an excellent summary of more recent research from Goddard’s Journal
Here are some suggested links to sources to help leaven your comments to the NRC:
On chemical hormesis:
Hormesis is a flawed theory
On electromagnetic hormesis (thanks to Nina Beety:
Hormesis and EMF: A Complex Dose-Response Phenomenon (pdf)
Electromagnetic Fields and DNA Damage Jerry Phillips