Radiation regulators often acknowledge that their linear, no threshold model overestimates the hazard of radiation below certain dose levels, but, they say, at least it errs in the “conservative” direction.
That assumption might give the practitioners comfort and help them believe that they are protecting the general public, but that presumption ignores the real and measurable harm that can come from overreacting to a small or even non-existent risk. A child that is afraid of the monsters they are sure live in their closet is harmed by insufficient sleep. An adult who is afraid to fly might expose themselves to more danger by driving long distances despite fatigue. A person who believes that black cats bring bad luck might step in front of a rapidly moving car to avoid a friendly animal strolling down the sidewalk.
People who are deathly afraid of radiation or who live in a country with a government that assumes excessive risk might accept the known negative health effects of stress and dislocation in order to avoid a dose that is well below the level that is known to cause harm. People who are already in their 60s, 70s, or 80s might be forced to relocate to avoid a dose whose only known risk is a slightly elevated risk of cancer over a 10-30 year period. Hundreds of thousands of acres of valuable farmland might be destroyed by scraping topsoil that contains a minute amount of radioactive Cs-137.
Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information (SARI) got together and agreed to send a letter to the scientific advisory bodies (ICRP, NCRP, UNSCEAR, IAEA, WHO, NAS) that assist regulator in determining the proper responses to various levels radiation exposure. The letter, signed by 40 members and associate members of SARI was sent on October 31, 2014. It has also been posted on Survey Monkey in order to allow people who are not members of SARI to express their agreement or disagreement with the letter. Here is a sample quote from the letter.
The mistakes made at Chernobyl concerning prolonged evacuation were repeated in Fukushima in spite of the acknowledged adverse health consequences from the prolonged evacuations with little projected benefit, since the radiation doses avoided were too low to have resulted in any detectable harm.
Please take a moment to express yourself. It is a very short survey. The survey page asks for some identifying information since anonymous signers are not terribly useful in such an endeavor.