BEIR VII OVERSTATES HEALTH RISKS FROM LOW LEVEL RADIATION

Published by: Jack Phillips on 29th Aug 2011 | View all blogs by Jack Phillips

The National Academy of Sciences report, Biologic Effects of Ionizing Radiation VII, published in 2006, is the seventh in a series concerning radiation health effects. It states that “a comprehensive review of available data supports a “linear-no-threshold” (LNT) risk model – that the risk of cancer proceeds in a linear fashion at lower doses without a threshold and that the smallest dose has the potential to cause a small increase in risk to humans”.  When it was written knowledgeable experts on the effects of ionizing radiation knew, or should have known that there were at least four recent published studies which indicated that low doses of ionizing radiation can have positive rather than negative effects. Furthermore there are at least 2000 articles on radiation hormesis, the concept that small doses are good for you, in the scientific literature. This suppression of important information capable of improving the health of Americans is reminiscent of the Federal Food and Drug Administration’s suppression of information about the value of large doses of supplemental vitamins.

Presently unwarranted fears about the consequences of the Fukushima disaster are being raised by well meaning medical professionals who accept BEIR VII at face value and do not know about these studies. They may also be unaware of the well kept secret of radiation hormesis which may be the greatest discovery in medical technology in the 20th century. Knowledge of the results of these studies should reduce the fears of Americans and Canadians that the Fukushima nuclear disaster is adversely affecting their children.

All Americans need to know about the results of an extensive and expensive Environmental Protection Agency funded ecological study of the effects of exposure to radon on lung cancer. It was intended to provide data to validate the LNT hypothesis and convert it into a theory. Radon levels in homes and lung cancer death rates were collected from 1700 counties, 90% of the United States by Professor Bernard Cohen of the University of Pittsburg. He spent about two years trying to make his correlation agree with the linear-no-threshold hypothesis.  Finding this impossible, he was forced to conclude that increasing radon exposure (between 2 and 20 mSv/yr) in homes in the United States resulted in decreasing lung cancer death rates instead of the opposite as required by the LNT risk model. The results of his study were published in Health Physics in 1995 [1] – Ten years before BEIR VII.

Another study of the effects of radiation from fluoroscopic examinations of Canadian women being treated for tuberculosis showed a minimum in breast cancer deaths at about 150 mSv/yr. [2]

A study of the effects of gamma radiation on risk of lung cancer in mice revealed an optimum dose of 250 mSv/yr. [3]

A most convincing study on the beneficial effects of low dose whole body radiation was published in 2004 [4]. Fourteen eminent Taiwanese scientists reported that about 10,000 people living in a group of apartment buildings for up to 20 years, and absorbing about 40 mSv/yr from steel girders containing radioactive cobalt, had experienced a decreasing cancer death rate. They averaged 3.5 deaths per 100,000 person years while the general population experienced an increasing cancer death rate which averaged 116 per 100,000  person years. Congenital defects of children born in these apartments were also lower.  There were only three versus an expected 46.         

Recently Dr. Arthur Robinson, president of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, formerly a colleague of Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling,  stated that: “Since about 20% of Americans die from cancer, the potential health benefits of ionizing radiation are enormous.  By maintaining standards based on the discredited LNT hypothesis of radiation damage, the EPA is effectively killing Americans with cancer. The spreading of fear of radiation and strict governmental controls on possession of low level radioactive materials may qualify for consideration as actions of technological genocide.” [5]

It should also be noted that low dose whole body X-ray treatment of non Hodgkin’s lymphoma is an approved treatment for this disease which, however, is not much used because, according to an authority at the National Institutes of Health, “It is too easy”

For physicians who wish to have an authoritative source of information about health effects of radiation there is Dr. T. D. Luckey’s book, RADIATION HORMESIS. Ed Hiserodt’s book UNDEREXPOSED provides an overview written for the general public.  My book, SUPPRESSED MEDICAL SCIENCE has a chapter with information on health effects of radiation.    

Why haven’t you heard about the beneficial effects of low levels of ionizing radiation? Could it be because we have laws and regulations which support a radon removal industry? Could it be that owners of conventional power plants use fear of radiation to prevent construction of new nuclear plants because they can’t compete with low cost electricity from them? Could it be that radiation’s ability to prevent and cure cancer would reduce profits of our 100 year old medical monopoly?

1                     Cohen, B.L. Health Physics (1995) 68, pp 157-174

2                     Miller, A. B., Sherman, G. L., et al (1989) NE Jl Med 321, pp1285-1289

3                     Ulrich, R. L. and Storer, J. B. (1979) Radiation Research 80, pp317-324

4                     Chen, W. N., et al, (2004) J. Am. Phys. Surg. 9, No. 1 Spring, pp6-10

5                     Robinson,  A.,  (2011) Access to Energy, V 38, # 10

JACK PHILLIPS – 27 AUGUST 2011

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