One of the important action items from yesterday’s American Nuclear Society plenary sessions was provided by NRC Commissioner Dale Klein. During his talk, he pointed out the need for an increased focus on education and information sharing. He talked about various ways of getting information to the new workers who will be needed to make the important technological decisions that will be required to improve living standards and recover the American economy.
Then he mentioned something that you (all Atomic Insights readers) and I can do right away, even thought he did not state it as a task to accomplish immediately.
He mentioned two web sites that both purport to provide information to the public on the effects of radiation. One, a product of the Health Physics Society, has a pleasing page design and information that has been reviewed by radiation health professionals for accuracy and reliability. That site is RadiationAnswers.org. Here is a quote from the About Us page for RadiationAnswers.org:
The Health Physics Society is a nonprofit scientific professional organization whose mission is excellence in the science and practice of radiation safety. Society activities include encouraging research in radiation science, developing standards, and disseminating radiation safety information. Society members are involved in understanding, evaluating, and controlling the potential risks from radiation relative to the benefits. The Society’s Web site can be visited at www.hps.org.
This Web site was prepared by appointed Health Physics Society members, and technical accuracy was assured with a separate review by a technical panel appointed by the Society Board of Directors.
The other site he mentioned is one that is sponsored by a non-profit organization of scientists (not necessarily specializing in radiation or radiation related fields of study) and physicians (I am pretty sure that one of the physicians is a rarely practicing pediatrician named Helen) that call themselves Radiation and Public Health Project.
That organization was founded by Jay Gould and Ernest Sternglass. On the front page of the web site, at the top left corner in what web masters consider to be one of the most important locations on any site, there is an endorsement by the famous “scientist” named Alec Baldwin (I am not a movie buff, but I expect that he has had at least one role in which he was playing a scientist.) That web site is called radiation and has a domain name that indicates it is an organization instead of a commercial enterprise. (Note – I am carefully NOT providing a link to that site.)
The first site – the one with the peer reviewed information published by an organization where the members have to demonstrate their professional qualifications through such traditional mechanisms as accredited courses of study with examinations – turns up on the fifth page of a Google search on the word “radiation”. The second site, promoted by the likes of Alex Baldwin, shows up on the first page.
It is pretty scary from the point of view of a seeker of truth to physically scroll through the list of sites that show up on Google before RadiationAnswer.org. The NRC’s own information site on radiation happens to be on the same page. Both appear several pages after ratical-dot-org, a web site that starts off with the following:
50+ years of Lethal Deception by what has become the International Nuclear Mafia
We cannot stand idly by and let school children and their parents do an innocent Google search on an important topic and get scared by misinformation. I think we have the power to change that ranking. Are you interested in helping? Do you have a web presence of your own that can link to RadiationAnswers.org? If so, let’s take some action now in favor of making reliable information more accessible – after all, who ever pages through the results of a Google search?