Leukemia and lymphoma study recently published in Lancet being strong challenged by SARI

A recent study published in Lancet Haematology claims to show that even extremely low doses of radiation increase the risk of leukemia and lymphoma.

The study includes several statistical flaws, ignores the effects of medical exposures — which are of similar levels to occupational exposures — that change dramatically over the duration of the study, and avoids a proper accounting for uncertainties in both measured doses and in the expected level of subject diseases in a non-exposed population.

Update – (July 8, 2015) I have received a message from the SARI member who raised the concern about medical exposures. He has retracted that objection following a more detailed explanation of methodology received by direct communication from the study authors. End Update.

The study was conducted with funding from the following organizations:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan, Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, AREVA, Electricité de France, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, US Department of Energy, US Department of Health and Human Services, University of North Carolina, Public Health England.

The list of authors for the study is lengthy and includes some names that Atomic Insights readers may recognize as “the usual suspects” of large scale radiation epidemiology studies.

Dr Klervi Leuraud, PhD,
David B Richardson, PhD,
Prof Elisabeth Cardis, PhD,
Robert D Daniels, PhD,
Michael Gillies, MSc,
Jacqueline A O’Hagan, HNC,
Ghassan B Hamra, PhD,
Richard Haylock, PhD,
Dominique Laurier, PhD,
Monika Moissonnier, BSc,
Mary K Schubauer-Berigan, PhD,
Isabelle Thierry-Chef, PhD,
Ausrele Kesminiene, MD

The challenges to the published study are coming from scientists in radiation health specialties and statisticians, some of whom are members of Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information (SARI). Though the Lancet publication is not one that accepts online comments, an article about the study titled Researchers pin down risks of low-dose radiation has been published in the online version of Nature. That publication provides a commenting capability for registered users who use their real names.

The subtitle of the Nature article provides a strong incentive for immediate action to respond to the well-financed study published in a respected journal by people with good credentials. Here is how the headline writers at Nature summarized the conclusion of the study, which included reconstructed dose histories and evaluation of medical records.

Large study of nuclear workers shows that even tiny doses slightly boost risk of leukaemia.

The study was large, the subjects were nuclear workers, but the conclusion is purposely scary and attention getting. The headline writer is good; the purpose is being served and attention is being paid. I’m not sure that the study authors are going to enjoy the specific kind of attention that they will be getting, but it is time to put modern communications tools to work.

We are not living in the same world as Mark Twain was when he quipped, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

As of the time this article was published, there are 11 comments on the Nature article; nearly all of them offer solid challenges to the conclusions published in the article and the paper.

More later, but it’s time to pull on our shoes and go to work.

Atomic Show #240 – Prof Gerry Thomas radiation health effects

Gerry Thomas, Professor of Molecular Pathology of the Imperial College of London, has a subspecialty in the study of the health effects of radiation. She strongly believes that “public involvement and information is a key part of academic research,” and she is “actively involved in the public communication of research, particularly with respect to radiation […]

Read more »

Doctors petitioning NRC to revise radiation protection regulations

The wheels are in motion for an official review of radiation protection regulations at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Doctors who are radiation health specialists are challenging the NRC’s use of the linear, no-threshold (LNT) dose response model as the basis for those regulations and the associated direction to maintain radiation doses As Low As […]

Read more »

Romance of Radium – How did our relationship with radioactive material sour?

Radium glow finale

Note – This post was initially published on February 23, 2013. After attending the ANS President’s Special Session about the way we should communicate about radiation, I thought it would be worth repeating. Sometimes, we need to look outside of our immediate time and place to find “best practices” that we should emulate. Hitting road […]

Read more »

Atomic Show #239 – Sarah Laskow and the LNT model

In March 2015, Foreign Policy magazine published an article by Sarah Laskow titled The Mushroom Cloud and The X-Ray Machine. The article described the controversy over the radiation protection model known as the linear, no-threshold dose response. Ms. Laskow conducted some admirable literature research and talked with a number of well-known people. The ones that […]

Read more »

Consumer Reports Editor Clings to LNT to Spread Uncertainty About Radiology

Consumer Reports, a widely read magazine in the U. S., has published more than half a dozen articles in the past couple of years warning people that every CT scan carries with it the risk of causing cancer. Here are the headlines of those articles. Consumer Reports: January 03, 2013. Many patients unaware of radiation […]

Read more »

Professor Gerry Thomas explains radiation health risks

A friend whose Twitter handle is @ActinideAge just posted a link to Gerry Thomas Highlights Misconceptions over Health Impacts of Nuclear Accidents. (Embedded below.) Even though it was published in November 2014 on the UN University YouTube channel, it had received a grand total of 189 views at the time I visited on April 6, […]

Read more »

Time to stop consuming precious resources to harmonize occupational dose limits

Pressure groups and interested individuals have been striving for more than two decades to force the U. S. to reduce its occupational worker radiation protection limit from 50 mSv/year to 20 mSv/year. The primary justification for this effort is that in 1991 the International Commission on Radiation Protection (ICRP) issued publication 60 and provided their […]

Read more »

Ethics of international radiation protection system

The U. S. National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP) held its annual meeting in Bethesda, MD on March 16 and 17. On the second day of the meeting, Jacques Lochard, Vice Chair of the International Commission on Radiation Protection (ICRP), gave a talk titled The Ethics of Radiation Protection. The slides from that talk are […]

Read more »

Tritium – aka radioactive hydrogen – from reactors is not a threat to human health

Fukushima Tank Farm

Tritium, also known as radioactive hydrogen, is an isotope that releases an 18 Kev beta particle. The isotopic half life is about 12 years. Among other possible production mechanisms, it is produced in low quantities and concentrations in any reactor where water is exposed to a neutron flux. The production rate is higher in heavy […]

Read more »

Suppressing Differing Opinions to Promote “No Safe Dose” Mantra

Dr. Ed Calabrese has published additional installments in his continuing effort to illuminate the methods by which the 16 member Genetics Committee of the 1956 National Academy of Sciences Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation committee altered history. That small group of colleagues, chaired by the man who approved their research grant requests during the period […]

Read more »

Science has falsified the “no safe dose” hypothesis about radiation. Now what?

There is a growing understanding among people who specialize in understanding how ionizing radiation affects human beings that the prevailing “no safe dose” model that was adopted as the result of a major political struggle during the mid to late 1950s is false and does not represent reality. Responsible people that continue to accept and […]

Read more »