Dr. Edward Calabrese shared the below letter to the editor in chief of Science Magazine with several of his professional colleagues. One of them shared it with me. I immediately contacted Dr. Calabrese and obtained his permission to share it with Atomic Insights readers. Dr. Calabrese did not initiate this coverage of his ongoing investigation of the events and meetings that resulted in the establishment of the linear no threshold dose response assumption, which is also known as the “no safe dose of radiation” assertion.
The text between the lines below is a direct quote of Dr. Calabrese’s letter, but I have chosen not to use the “block quote” tag. I’ve learned that some people skip over indented passages when reading blog entries, and this particular letter should not be skipped by anyone.
August 11, 2015
Dear Dr. Marcia McNutt:
Editor-in-Chief of Science.
This letter provides evidence that the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation Committee – Genetics Panel committed Scientific Misconduct in the form of fabrication and falsification based on the U.S. Federal Government definitions as given below. This occurred in the June 29, 1956 issue of Science, Genetics Effects of Atomic Radiation, 123:1157-1164.
Action is sought now as I recently discovered such misconduct during detailed historical research on the history of the dose response relationship. This misconduct is the product of the entire 17 member panelist actions. While their actions occurred some 59 years ago, the impact of this paper and its recommendation to adopt a linear dose response model for risk assessment had immediate and continually profound effects upon the U.S. and the entire world. At the heart of the misconduct was the intent of the panel to achieve their linearity goal regardless of scientific honesty, and in the process abused the journal Science, making it the vehicle of their dishonesty that would be spread across the world and across multiple generations. Given the historical and continuing impact of their scientific misconduct it is imperative that Science act to confirm my peer-reviewed allegations. If confirmed, I would fully expect that this paper would be retracted, along with a detailed contextual explanation for the Science readership. I would be pleased to discuss this issue with you and others at Science.
I also want to address several other issues. I have contacted the NAS and requested information about how it would handle potential misconduct by NAS Committees. I never received an answer to this question despite contacting high level offices in the various sections of the NAS. I have sent my material to the President of the NAS. He has responded but has not addressed my technical issues. Being a journal editor myself, I have had to confront the issue of scientific misconduct. Thus, I am aware of the definitions, their interpretations and the seriousness of the allegations. In the case of the NAS, I have also served repeatedly on its committees in the area of toxicology. Thus, I have deep affection for the NAS and its reputation. However, we all are serving the goal of truth and it is our responsibility to get to the bottom of issues and to set the record straight. It is my opinion that the NAS in 1956 failed terribly in its scientific and moral leadership and society is paying a steep price for this and it must be corrected.
My specific fully documented claims are embodied in the attached paper, just published in the journal Environmental Research, following its standard peer-review process which involved three reviewers selected by the editor.
Specific Claim # 1
In the Science paper, it is stated that the Chairman of the Panel invited the geneticists on the Panel (13 at the time, one later dropped out, leaving 12) to provide estimates of genetic harm to the U.S. population exposed to a certain amount of radiation. The paper states that six took up the challenge and provided the estimates. Yet, I have in my possession, the fully documented estimates of nine of the geneticists. Three estimates were excluded by Professor James Crow, who was not given authority to do so based on my research. Secondly, the three excluded values resulted in significantly reducing the variability of the estimates of harm. This was a goal of Crow since he was afraid that the recommendations would not be accepted if the public saw just how uncertain the panelists were in their assessments. The true statement would have been that nine accepted the challenge and that three were eliminated and to have provided an explanation for the elimination. This statement in the Science paper is a clear example of falsification on this critical assignment.
Specific Claims # 2 and # 3
Of the remaining six estimates the Science paper reports that the variation in damage ranged over 100-fold, that is, a mean +/- 10 fold. In the table of values of the six geneticists, the variability was about 750-fold. It is important to note that the panel actually voted NOT to show the data. Thus, they decided to hide the real values and falsified actual variability in the Science publication.
Another occurrence of falsification occurred when the article failed to indicate that three members refused to provide estimates because of the profound uncertainty in making such estimates. Written statements by panelist James Neel indicated that it would be irresponsible, in his opinion, to provide such estimates. The point is that the Science paper failed to indicate the responses from the entire group of the geneticists, providing only those that might be supportive of recommendation for linearity and, yet, still being untruthful on that as well. These statements collectively indicate that the panel committed scientific misconduct on multiple occasions, all with the same expressed purpose of concealing from the public the actual uncertainty so that the LNT recommendation would be accepted.
U.S. Federal Agency Standard Definition of Scientific Misconduct
Research misconduct means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.
(a) Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
(b) Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.
(c) Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.
(d) Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.
I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.
The paper that Dr. Calabrese has published documenting the specifics of the results of his extensive research into the documentary evidence of the the BEAR 1 Genetics Committee meetings and correspondence is damning but enlightening. In future posts, we will note and discuss some of the implications of his findings, including an Atomic Insights interpretation of the possible motivations for the deceptive manipulations.