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51 Comments

  1. Rod – the point about the spell check is an interesting one – it would be nifty if the word was recognized out-of-the-box. However, most phones and computer programs that have spell check, will let you add new words to their dictionary, FYI. You might want to look into how to do that for the apps you use.

    1. @Jeff S

      Thanks, but I’ve understood how spell check dictionaries can be expanded for several decades. My point was the fact that hormesis is a concept that has been known for many years and is still such uncommon knowledge that it isn’t even in the standard issue lexicon.

      1. Right. 🙂

        I got the point about it being such an uncommon word. Just wasn’t sure if you knew about the dictionaries being expandable. 🙂

  2. JohnGalt – I realize you were just quoting another source, but let me respond to your quote, with a question:

    If we are ALREADY, every day of our lives, exposed to a low level of background radiation, within a certain range, depending on your location on Earth (for example, most places in florida have a bit lower background radiation; the high altitude mountainous parts of Colorado have a bit higher background radiation.

    Let’s call the bottom of that range A and the top of that Range C. Now, let’s posit that in a given area, the ‘natural’ background radiation, let’s call it B, is such that A <= B <= C – that is, B is somewhere between A and C.

    Now, let's suppose that in an accident situation, some amount of radioactive isotopes is released from a nuclear plant (let's call that D), such that in that area, the 'background' radiation from the combination of natural background (B) and the artificial contamination, gives us a new background radiation of B + D, and let's say that B + D is STILL <= C.

    Explain to me how that is any danger to the public health?

    We are ROUTINELY exposed to radiation by nature. Why should we EVER worry about any radiation levels that are not in excess of natural radiation levels?

    1. Jeff, this is exactly the question!! We should never be spending time and effort to regulate radiation at levels below the highest levels of natural exposure that humans are living in now. Regulation that pushes below those levels has a different goal in mind than public health safety. The goal of restricting Nuclear power.

      1. And yet, NOBODY tries to clean the environment of natural radioactive substances. The flaw in your analogy is that, radiation cannot be avoided, while bacteria can.Additionally, regarding cleaning up water – the EPA allows, and city water districts (as well as bottled water companies) ROUTINELY leave very low levels of naturally occuring substances like mercury and arsenic, in the water. We KNOW there are low levels of environmental contaminants that are harmless, and are FAR TOO COSTLY to clean out of the water when they do not present harm at those levels. Which is in exact agreement with the thesis that low levels of radiation in the environment which do not present a harm to public health, should NOT be cleaned up, because there is no benefit to doing so, and a very high cost.

        Also, it’s not clear that natural radiation causes any harm – again, the point of the original article is that there is a body of evidence that for radiation, the hormetic principle appears to be actually the BEST model for explaining how low level radiation effects the body. I won’t spend a dime to protect anyone from non-harmful levels of radiation.

      2. John,

        You know you are correct if my statement applied to bacteria. The highest levels of bacteria in the natural world are very dangerous to humans and it is right to regulate those levels.

        However, the highest levels of radiation found where people live have not been associated with anything like the effects of bacteria. At the most we could say – following the LNT model – that there is a very very slight possibility that a few more people would die earlier than they would have died.

        The same cannot be said for bacteria, viruses and other types of contaminates. The highest levels of various metals or poisons will surely kill you.

        My point is that radiation in the natural world is fairly benign and among the least concerning of health hazards. It is not useful to human health to regulate them below the level of naturally occurring radiation.

      3. David,
        To control bacterial and viral disease we stimulate an immune response with immunization. Low to moderate dosages of ionizing radiation also stimulates a protective immune response.

        Studies show that exposure to low or moderate radiation promotes longevity. A low dose of radiation is like vitamin for the immune system.

        In an attempt to protect us from the harmful effects of radiation, regulators have chosen a defective model upon which to regulate radiation exposure. They use a linear-no-threshold model (LNT) as a basis for regulations. This model concludes that there is no safe limit for radiation. It omits our biology’s reaction to the stress of radiation. We evolved in a world that had more radiation. We are actually radiation deprived! Regulators set the annual limit at 1 mSv/year. A multitude of studies find that no increase in cancer incidence occurs below a 100 mSv/year for a one time dose. For a chronic doses no increase in cancer occurs below 1000 mSv/year. If this science based higher limit had been adopted, no one would need to have been evacuated from the fallout area for more than a few weeks at Fukushima and those in the fall-out zone may have experienced a lower incidence of cancer due to low dose radiation hormesis. It is too bad that fear rather than science prevails.

        1. What intriques me about bringing bacteria into the the issue, as an analogy, is that we all have different tolerances to bacteria. An exposure to certain bacterias is a non-event for some of us, while for others it is a death sentence. So, we err on the side of caution when trying to reduce our exposures.

        2. Heh … good luck with that. When it comes to bacteria, there are far more cells of them in your body then there are cells that make up you. And you would not be nearly as healthy without them.

      4. Why has the significant increase in Asthma, allergies and even obesity increased drastically since the government outlawed non-pasteurized milk, and the proliferation of antibacterial -everything- to the point of excess? Why do children raised on a farm rarely have asthma? Why can they drink un-pasteurized milk with no ill effects? Just what do you think “probiotics” are? How many different types of bacteria are in your stomach and intestines? [Hint – More than on that fear producing “news” filler of how many bacteria are on your phone, doorknob, toilet seat, soda-can from a vending machine, etc.] What do you think happens when a person sterilizes his digestive tract and keeps it sterilized? There are even preliminary findings that obesity and what is called “genetic” pre-disposition to over weight could be caused by a certain bacteria as that would explain why a twin raised separately is not over weight but the mother/father and the one that stayed home are even when all are eating a healthy low calorie diet. However, isolating that bacteria is more difficult that mapping the human genomes. Like the discovery of the bacteria that caused Ulcers that big pharma fought for many years. Smell the breath of a new born even a newborn puppy/kitten, you might have questions your self.

      5. Humans experience(d) quite high natural exposure levels of a variety of toxins, such as fine dust (PM2.5), arsenic, etc.

        Adaptation makes the body less sensitive and may have a positive health effect for specific groups of people, e.g. smoking (nicotine) for very nervous people and/or people that suffer from ulcerative colitis.

        However that adaptation implies an up-regulated defense of the body, which takes a cost. The cost becomes visible after decades by a lower average life expectancy.

        1. @Bas

          Many of the studies that follow people exposed to known levels of higher than average radiation doses indicate a lower mortality and extended life expectancies. Examples include the atomic bomb survivor life span studies and the nuclear shipyard worker study.

          On an anecdotal basis, it is also interesting to read through the Nuclear News obituaries over many years. It is quite common to find lifelong nuclear scientists and engineers that pass away in their late 80s and 90s. For one example of this type of observation, you can visit http://www.ne.anl.gov/About/cp1-pioneers/

          There are, of course, often repeated stories about exceptions like Enrico Fermi and Marie Curie. Reading the personal stories of those pioneers, however, reveals that they did not take simple precautions to monitor and limit their doses. Both of them absorbed far higher doses than necessary because their experimental techniques and work practices were expedient rather than protective.

          In contrast to Marie Curie, who died of aplastic anemia at age 66, possibly due to excessive exposures in her lab and while operating light-weight, poorly shielded x-ray equipment during WWI, Lise Meitner died a few days shy of her 90th birthday. She also worked closely with radioactive materials, but she was known to be a stickler for procedures that kept her doses within safe limits. Interestingly, her motivation was probably not fear that she might be harmed, but a desire to keep her lab “clean” enough to be able to study weakly radioactive materials.

          Meitner and Hahn had an official, newly built radiochemistry laboratory to call their own. Everyone who worked with them was trained in exceptional cleanliness. Twenty-five years later, Meitner’s lab was still clean enough to be used to study weakly radioactive substances.
          Source – Cranky Ladies of History guest post: Lise Meitner

        2. This is a response to an earlier comment, in an article where the comments section has been closed, but it somewhat applies to your comment here.

          Bas – You clearly don’t know how thresholds and hormesis (by radiation or otherwise) are supposed to work. I’m not surprised, but please let me explain it to you for the n-th time.

          DNA repair mechanisms in the body are constantly working, because at low levels of exposure to ionizing radiation, the damage done by the radiation is tiny compared to what is being done by ordinary metabolism. It’s p-ssing in the ocean.

          The hypothesis proposed by hormesis is that the DNA repair mechanisms work better when stimulated. This is not at all unusual, since this type of process happens in biological processes all the time. For example, it is how the body deals with alcohol. With greater exposure to alcohol, the body adapts to metabolize it more quickly. Because of this and other similar effects, the intoxicating effect of alcohol becomes less per amount consumed. Laymen call it “building up a tolerance.”

          If stressors do stimulate and improve the natural DNA repair mechanisms, then it is entirely plausible that they could reach a point where they become so effective that they are able to repair not only the additional damage due to the ionizing radiation but also some of the much larger damage being done by other natural causes. In this case, it is certainly correct that there is a threshold (until the limits of this stimulation are overwhelmed by the damage caused by the radiation), and it is reasonable to say that low-doses of radiation could slightly reduce cancer rates in a population.

          And yes, that means that, effectively on average, 100% or more of the damage caused by the radiation is being repaired at these low doses.

          By the way, please don’t cite any more that junk by Scherb that has been published in low-impact, low-quality journals. His studies are just that, junk, and they are not at all convincing. They probably would have been retracted by now, if anyone had been paying attention.

        3. @JohnGalt

          One of the best ways to assure safety and low doses to the public would be to require all nuclear workers and their families to live within a very short distance from site boundaries, preferably downwind.

          I don’t disagree with that idea. Perhaps it is because my own experience with nuclear energy comes from having lived in a sealed container within 200 Feet of my operating reactor for months at a time. On a submarine, there is no “upwind” to be found, so we train some very competent reactor operators and maintainers.

        4. Rod,
          We agree that high toxic levels do not seem to affect some people. But that phenomenon predicts little about the average life expectancy.

          I’m amazed about your reference to the LSS studies??
          The summary in the last report states: “a formal dose-threshold analysis indicated no threshold”. So no hormesis.

          The shipyard study involved adults.
          DNA damage to dividing cells cannot be repaired as DNA is then single stranded. So radiation harms adults far less. Hence with adults and low level radiation, big groups needed to proof damage. But group sizes were not that big.

          With the low level radiation, the latency period before health damage shows is ~20-60years (as with smoking, etc., also confirmed in the last LSS report). But the shipyard study covered only ~3years…

          On the other side, there are more studies that show increased cancer risks for e.g. nuclear power plant workers. You linked another study with similar conclusions ~ a month ago.

        5. @Brian,
          Thank you for your explanation which confirms the improved repair as I stated in my comment to which you linked. The study that I linked in that comment shows increased repair by people living in high background radiation districts: http://goo.gl/JO2jlb .

          But studies also show that the up-regulated repair activity is not 100%, as people living there have increased DNA damage: http://goo.gl/sr1b6e and http://goo.gl/bDpoR7

          Why do you think that the higher level of repair activity doesn’t exhaust the cell earlier?
          It does with other toxics at low levels (smoking, etc).

          1. @Bas

            It does with other toxics at low levels (smoking, etc).

            Don’t agree. My reading of the literature indicates that there is a strong correlation between excessive tobacco doses and bad health in later life. Moderate tobacco users don’t experience the same kinds of results as habitual smokers who light one cigarette from the burning embers of another one.

        6. @Brian, In addition.
          As repair is less than 100%, any increase in radiation delivers more incomplete repaired DNA. Incomplete repair occurs more when the cell repair mechanism gets exhausted.
          Hence the increased chance for cancer, etc. after a latency period of 20-60years with slightly increased radiation (LSS, CT-scan studies) and other toxins.

          Btw. The Scherb etal studies play an important role in a.o. German decisions regarding nuclear. He gave a presentation to the parliament.

          1. @Bas

            Btw. The Scherb etal studies play an important role in a.o. German decisions regarding nuclear. He gave a presentation to the parliament.

            One more piece of evidence that “rational” Germans aren’t terribly proficient at picking their information sources.

        7. @Rod (1),
          Yes, high toxic levels do not seem to affect some people (my grandfather smoked and became 96yrs old). But that predicts little about the average life expectancy.

          I’m amazed about your reference to the LSS studies??

          The summary in the last report states: “a formal dose-threshold analysis indicated no threshold”. So no hormesis.

        8. @Rod (2),
          The shipyard study involved adults.
          Radiation harms adults far less as they have less cell division (DNA cannot be repaired at cell division is it’s single stranded then). Hence with adults and low radiation, big groups needed to proof damage. But group sizes were not that big.

          With low level radiation, the latency period before health damage shows is ~20-60yrs (as with smoking, etc). But the shipyard study covered ~3years…

          On the other side, there are more studies that show increased cancer risks for e.g. nuclear power plant workers. You posted another study with similar conclusions ~ a month ago.

        9. @Rod (2),
          The shipyard study has many flaws. Such as:
          – Those exposed to enhanced radiation were a selection (with better health?);
          – The latency period with low level radiation is 20-60yrs (as with smoking, asbestos, etc). The study period was~3yrs.
          – etc.

          On the other side, there are more studies that show increased cancer risks for e.g. nuclear power plant workers. You linked a recent study with similar conclusions ~ a month ago.

        10. @Rod (2),
          The shipyard study has many flaws;
          – The group exposed to increased radiation was a selection (better health?).
          – The latency period with low level radiation is 20-60yrs (similar with smoking, etc). The study period was ~3yrs.
          – etc.

          On the other side, more studies show increased cancer risks for nuclear power plant workers, e.g: http://goo.gl/7LyRvg
          You linked another, recent study with similar conclusions a month ago.

        11. Rod,
          Sorry, for my latest responses to your comment.
          Thought that my earlier response to your comment vanished.
          As I had once the experience that longer responses didn’t come through, I decided to split into shorter responses.

          I should have remained more patient before deciding to take further action.

        12. As repair is less than 100%, any increase in radiation delivers more incomplete repaired DNA.

          Bas – You are still either too stupid or too stubborn to get my point, but your spamming skills are quite impressive. Hmm … must be paid by the comment?

          That’s OK. My comment was not meant for you. It was to clarify the situation to any intelligent people who might be reading this blog.

          By the way, anyone who bronzes their skin is not exposing themselves to low levels of UV radiation. Similarly, someone who is undergoing chemotherapy not exposing themselves to low levels of the toxins that are used to fight the cancer. Nobody disputes that exposures to high levels of radiation involve health risks. Please try to remember that to avoid putting up additional strawmen in the future.

        13. @Brian,
          Hormesis implies adaptation to harmful substances, radiation, etc.
          But that adaptation require extra strain. Which implies also that the body (cells) get exhausted more early. Hence earlier illnesses, etc.
          You see that with alcohol, arsenic, nicotine (smoking), asbestos, etc.

          Also with sun bathing (UV-radiation). Those who do that a few percent of the time get more frequent and earlier skin cancer after 20-60year (ask a dermatologist).
          So hormesis works not long term.
          Available evidence indicate that this also applies for nuclear radiation (e.g. LSS).

        14. JG:

          From the link:
          ===
          Louis Slotin — Died in radiation accident at Los Alamos, May 30, 1946 at age 35.

          Slotin received an estimated 10 Grays (1000 rad) in a prompt dose.  Nobody, anywhere, represents this as anything but deadly.

          Alvin C. Graves — Died July 29, 1965 at age 56, of a heart attack. Graves was present at the same radiation accident in 1946 that killed Louis Slotin

          Very likely unrelated.  Lots of men die of heart attacks in their 50’s, especially if they smoke.

          As always, different people see the same information different ways.

          There’s “seeing things differently”, and then there’s deliberate misrepresentation of facts to induce fear.

          Calling a “criticality accident” a “work-related” accident gives a different impression, for example, and minimizes the sacrifice those particular hands-on people made.

          Failing to note that Slotin was being careless, that procedures were immediately changed after this incident to prevent any repeat… and that this was part of a weapons program (nothing whatsoever to do with energy production) is pure FUD-mongering.  What you, and the author of that list, are attempting to do is associate the earliest and riskiest work with nuclear bomb pits with modern nuclear power, and any radiation exposure with deadly risk.  Failing to distinguish then from now is to lie by omission.

        15. But that adaptation require extra strain. Which implies also that the body (cells) get exhausted more early.

          Bas – Ha ha ha! “Exhausted” … is that a technical term?

          One of the mechanisms that the body uses to protect itself from cellular damage (mostly caused by normal metabolism, but also from damage due to ionizing radiation) is apoptosis. That response to “extra strain” (as you so quaintly put it) doesn’t leave the cells exhausted, it leaves them dead. It is a controlled cell death that confers advantages to the overall organism.

          So now I guess you’ll respond that the cells are “dead tired.” That is about the level of your arguments. I know that you’re old, but it’s not too late to take a science class and learn some actual science.

        16. @Brian,
          Sorry, I’m not English. Please read ‘worn out’ for ‘exhausted’.

          Cell renewal via apoptosis has its limitations. A few:
          It implies cell division for replacement:
          – Then a period DNA is single stranded and cannot be repaired when damaged by a radiation particle; increased chance on cancer, etc.
          – Cell division is limited by a.o. telomere shortening.
          Wikipedia has a nice page about telomeres; https://goo.gl/wCvisQ
          etc.

        17. @Rod,
          …Germans aren’t terribly proficient at picking their information sources.

          Most Scherb etal studies are very solid (no well founded attack possible). Also his statistical analysis (his PhD concerns that field).
          Few examples;
          – the Bavarian study showing that an increase of ~20% in background radiation delivers already significant more deformed newborn.
          – the increased m/f sex-ratio of newborn around nuclear facilities, which conclude towards increased DNA damage in those newborn.

        18. Telomere shortening? If radiation results in the cells becoming “worn out” and that leads to telomere shortening, and if telomere shortening is associated with ageing, mortality and ageing-related diseases, then where are all of the studies showing an excess of ageing-related diseases and shorter mortality in high-background-radiation areas?

          I don’t know who’s feeding you this garbage, but they should have found someone a little better than you to try to shill it on this site.

          Most Scherb etal studies are very solid (no well founded attack possible).

          But they are unsubstantiated in the literature and therefore are worth almost nothing. It took a dozen years for Andrew Wakefield’s vaccines-cause-autism paper to finally be retracted, and that was published in a high-impact journal, received an extraordinary amount of attention in the press, and embraced by fringe advocacy groups.

          Meanwhile, nobody cares about Scherb’s work or takes it seriously. For example, if it were so groundbreaking and “rock solid,” then why isn’t his research cited in BEIR VII? Some of the papers that you keep linking to over and over are certainly old enough to have been considered by the committee.

          The only people who cite his work are known quacks or researchers who have already been found guilty of “scientific dishonesty.”

  3. Radiation Hormesis
    Let’s confront our fears, Ionizing Radiation is safer than people realize.

    Ten reports which provide evidence about the health effects from low and moderate levels of radiation follow.

    Report #1) Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama have a 25% higher cancer death rate than Wyoming, Idaho, and New Mexico, even though background radiation in the Mountain States is three times higher than in the Gulf States.

    Report #2) Radiation from potassium-40 in our cells is vital for health

    Radioactive potassium in our bodies generates about 25 mrem of radiation per year – more than the EPA safety limit. It comes from potassium-40, a naturally occurring radioactive isotope of potassium. Animals grown in the laboratory consuming only non-radioactive potassium-39, with no potassium-40 in their diet develop severe growth defects.

    Report #3) Shipyard worker study (1980-1988) Longevity is the most appropriate measure
    of radiation induced health effects.
    The 28,000 nuclear shipyard workers with the largest cumulative doses had a death rate from all causes 24% lower (p<10-16) than that of 32,000 age-matched and job-matched unexposed shipyard workers. The details of this important study have still not been published. The DOE news release about the study did not mention that the deaths from all causes of the nuclear workers were 16 standard deviations lower than the controls.

    Report #4) Cobalt 60 in the steel of Taiwan apartment buildings.

    Approximately 10,000 people occupied these buildings and received an average radiation dose of 400 mSv, unknowingly, during a 9-20 year period. They did not suffer a higher incidence of cancer mortality, as the LNT theory would predict. On the contrary, the incidence of cancer deaths in this population was greatly reduced to about 3 per cent of the incidence of spontaneous cancer death in the general Taiwan public. In addition, the incidence of congenital malformations was also reduced-to about 7 per cent of the incidence in the general public.

    Report #5) 100 year British Radiologists Study: Radiation increased the longevity of British Radiologists.

    Early British radiologists (1897-1920) had a standard mortality ratio (SMR) for cancer 75% higher than the SMR for cancer of all male English physicians. The increased cancer mortality was clearly a result of their large radiation dose. However, even these heavily exposed pre-1921 radiologists had a SMR for non-cancer 14% lower (p < 0.05) than the SMR for non-cancer of all male medical practitioners. Since 80% of the radiologists died from non-cancer causes, the decreased SMR for non-cancer completely cancelled their 75% excess cancer mortality. In other words even the earliest radiologists did not suffer any loss in longevity due to their large exposures. Their radiation risk netted to zero.

    Report #6) Radium Dial Painters
    Bone Sarcoma in Humans Induce by a high dosage of Radium: A Threshold response

    All 64 sarcoma cases occurred in the 264 cases with more than 10 Sv accumulated dose, while no sarcomas appeared in the 2119 cases with less than 10 Sv accumulated dose.

    Report #7) Radiation from a chemical explosion in a nuclear waste tank in Eastern Urals

    Liquid in a nuclear waste tank was aerosolized in the 1975 explosion producing a maximum human exposure of 500 mSv. No radiation injuries were observed in 7852 inhabitants and cancer mortality rates were lowered 27% in the dose group receiving 40 mSv, 39% in the dose group receiving 120mSv and 28% in the dose group receiving 500 mSv.

    Report #8) Chernobyl

    Zbigniew Jaworowski, chairman of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) reported that the irradiated group of Chernobyl fire fighters experienced a much lower incidence of all cancers than the neighboring unirradiated population. Depending upon the type of cancer the incidence of cancer was 30% to 69% lower than the unirradiated population. This indicates that moderate levels of radiation prevent in cancer.

    Report #9) Fukushima

    There has been no health consequences from the radiation at Fukushima. No one has died and none are expected to die in the next 50 years from radiation related causes. The ALARA principle turns out not to have been a conservative path. Nearly all the Japanese with homes in the exclusion zone could safely return home within a few weeks. There is no need to bury their topsoil. The highest annual dose in the exclusion zone for the first year after Fukushima was only 25 mSv/year. Stress from relocation of 480,000 has caused an estimated 1600 deaths.

    Report #10) Atomic bomb survivors have greater longevity than control group

    Nearly 100,000 survivors were followed for radiation induced cancer for 50 years, only 0.44% of one percent died from radiation induced solid tumor cancer. Survivors are outliving the control group by a considerable amount indicating a benefit from low to medium level radiation. For every 100 bomb survivors reaching the age of 80 only 38 of the control group survive to 80 years.

    1. Excellent John! Do you have any more for places like Ramsar Iran and Guarapari Beach Brazil?

    2. Your attack on my report of potassium 40 being a nutritional requirement is totally off the mark. I am an 80 year old emeritus professor of biology I stand by my statement. I am aware of numerous studies dating way back into the 1950s that demonstrated organisms placed in potassium without potassium-40 became biologically deficient. Upon replacement of potassium-40 normal health returned. Check out muckerheide@comcast.net.

      Let me give you a biologist’s explanation of the mechanism of radiation hormesis. Briefly, low dose of ionizing radiation works like an immunization shot to create a memory response causing heightened long term immunity with beneficial health effects including a lowering of cancer incidence and increased resistance to infectious diseases. Several mechanisms are involved, including radiation induced DNA repair enzymes and induction of a group of enzymes which breakdown free radicals that cause mutations in DNA structure. Other radiation hormesis mechanisms cause the elimination of cells with damaged DNA. DNA damage is associated with an increased potential for cancer. T lymphocytes seek out and cause lyses of injured cells and apoptosis, where in damaged cells program their own death. A low dose of radiation is like vitamin for the immune system

      1. When people migrate from one region of the world to another their longevity changes to reflect the longevity of the new location, Japanese who move to England on average have a shorter life while the reverse is the case for Brits who resettle in Japan. John Cameron always wanted to do a study to test the case for low-does radiation benefit. He wanted to enlist seniors from gulf states where cancer rates are high into a double blind study, Half would be given 10mGy/year in order to determine if the longevity differences between gulf and mountain states related to low-dose radiation.

      2. Life expectancy in the USA seems to be lower than in most other “similar” countries, particularly Japan. Average natural background radiation dose in the USA is higher – about double that in Japan, and about 30% more than a “World” average. Why shouldn’t we conclude that lower background radiation is better for long life?

        The suicide rate in Japan is about double that in the United States. Why shouldn’t we conclude that lower background radiation makes people want to kill themselves?

      3. “Why shouldn’t we conclude that lower background radiation is better for long life?”

        Is this a serious suggestion? What is the rate of obesity in Japan as compared to the United States?

        Do people in America living at sea level live longer than people living at altitude?

  4. You know what else is entering the mainstream? This garbage: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3171748/Land-mutant-daisies-Radiation-causes-flowers-grow-strangely-near-site-nuclear-plant-suffered-meltdown-tragic-tsunami.html

    Some guy allegedly photographed some daisies in Fukushima exhibiting fasciation, which is rare but by no means uncommon, particularly in flowers like daisies, and some unknown person asserted without evidence that the mutation in the photo was caused by nuclear radiation. Now media outlets around the globe, including National Geographic, are picking up this “story” and spreading the fear.

    I’m trying to do my bit to inject factual content into the comments sections wherever I can, but the fear mongering machine is a depressingly massive beast.

  5. And now the scientists and doctors are claiming that lack of exposure to small quantities early in life is the reason that there are so many more people with allergies, asthma and other respiratory problems. The effort should be in determining the truth.

    1. Frankly, I wouldn’t at all be surprised to discover that “JohnGalt” is an anti-vaxer.

      1. He knows how to use the “strike” tag, but “blockquote” still eludes him.

      2. Scolding and similar behavior convinces nobody.
        As there is apparently no other argument, it seems that the other person is right.

        It also reduces the status of those who scold.
        So a next time:
        – The public will be less willing to read his comments.
        – The reader will be less convinced, even if he/she comes with good arguments, as the reader is less willing to accept something from people behaving badly.

        So, why this unproductive behavior?

    2. This thread is about using the scientific knowledge as basis for determining safe levels for ionizing radiation. However, anti-vaxers and the anti-pasteurization of milk crowd have one thing in common with LNT regulator; they are all based on junk science. These practices put not only the health of their families at risk, but also members of the general public at risk.
      Undulant fever, tuberculosis, and some terrible diarrheal diseases that last for months are spread by consumption of raw milk. I always told my microbiology class that it was best for the sake of your children to have them vaccinated. It was also the good citizen thing to do. If a high enough portion of the population is immunized there are too few susceptible to sustain an epidemic. We call this herd immunity. Please contribute your share to herd immunity.

      1. @John Tjostem
        Have there been any studies on the effects of the massive over prescribing of antibiotics on the balance of bacteria needed in the human digestive system? Could the different types of bacteria in different countries/areas factor into the changes in longevity in different countries and explain why “Japanese who move to England on average have a shorter life while the reverse is the case for Brits who resettle in Japan?” Seems to me that the types of bacteria would be different and that the individual moving would be subject to a different bacteria. Several (many) of which he was not exposed to before and has not developed a tolerance for, and/or that interfere with those he presently has, e.g. Montezuma’s Revenge.

        1. One area of concern is the agricultural use of antibiotics. Antibiotics that are added to animal feed to keep animals healthy so that maximum growth rate is maintained.This gives microorganisms opportunity to select resistance to antibiotics. It would help if antibiotics useful for treatment of human infection were off-limits for prophylactic use in livestock. I am not up on measures currently being done.

          It is also important that the full course of antibiotic be consumed. If a low concentration of antibiotic remains in the blood when there are still a few disease organisms left this is an opportunity select disease resistant forms. In the case of TB the course of treatment is long and the patients are often street people with a drug habit, Public health workers try to go out on the street and watch to see that the medicine is swallowed. We have done pretty well to keep a head of the resistance. MERSA is a problem.

          Jet planes make this world a small place. The 1918 flu made ti around the world in a few months, today it takes only hours.

  6. Poison may have short term beneficial effects (e.g. arsenic to cure syphilis). Even strong poison (chemotherapy to kill cancer).
    But long-term effects are negative (a.o. due to the strain for cells to defend themselves). Chemotherapy may also cause cancer.

    You can see it with the skin of people who bronze themselves (e.g. on the beach). When they get older, their tanned skin loses flexibility due to incapacitated cells by the (solar) UV-radiation. Even if they never burned their skin.
    An example of incomplete repair.
    It shows as non-exposed parts of their skin is still flexible, not wrinkled.

    1. Your hypothesis is wrong. The A-bomb victims are living much longer than their country men who were not exposed bomb radiation. The British radiologists lived much longer than the control group of physicians, Early radiologist had a higher incidence of cancer but lower death rate from non cancer sources so they netted out even with the control group. Shipyard worker study (1980-1988) demonstrate that longevity is the most appropriate measure of radiation induced health effects.
      The 28,000 nuclear shipyard workers with the largest cumulative doses had a death rate from all causes 24% lower (p<10-16) than that of 32,000 age-matched and job-matched unexposed shipyard workers. The details of this important study have still not been published. The DOE news release about the study did not mention that the deaths from all causes of the nuclear workers were 16 standard deviations lower than the controls.

      Don't compare UV radiation with ionizing radiation, The mechanism for the DNA Damage is completely different. I had a lab exercise which demonstrated the light repair mechanism and the germicidal effect of short wavelength UV. Bacteria have evolved two unrelated mechanism.to deal with UV damage.Light repair and dark repair. Sunlight induces an enzyme that breaks bonds installed by UV into the DNA molecule.

      Skin cancer and premature aging of the skin are serious consequences of UV on the light skinned, UV radiation s a major source of cancer. It is a much larger problem than cancer from ionizing radiation, Ionizing radiation is a poor mutagen and carcinogen. Evolution has selected for more skin pigmentation for those living in areas where sunlight is greater.

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