Conflict of interest issues 

 

Study of history of the LNT model has shown presence of conflict of interest issues in the initial adoption of the LNT model by the Genetics Panel of the National Acedemy of Sciences, the first advisory body to adopt the LNT model (Seltzer, 2007) (Calabrese, 2014)

 

Some details are presented here.

 

Summary Report of BEAR I Genetics Committee of the National Acedemy of Sciences was published in Science, in 1956. Some of the statements in the summary report:

  • “The genetic harm is proportional to the total dose”

  • “there is no such figure other than zero” (for the amount of radiation that is genetically harmless)

  • “our society should hold additional radiation exposure as low as it possibly can”  

 

The essence of the LNT model and ALARA principle are embodied in these statements of the report.

 

The Report was also published in New York Times, received high publicity, and resulted in public fear of low-dose radiation.

 

A year later, in letters exchanged between committee members (Seltzer, 2007) (Calabrese, 2014),

they made statements such as:

  • “I, myself, have a hard time keeping a straight face when there is talk about genetic deaths and the tremendous dangers of irradiation” 

  • “Let us be honest with ourselves—we are both interested in genetics research, and for the sake of it, we are willing to stretch a point when necessary”

  • “Now, the business of genetic effects of atomic energy has produced a public scare, and a consequent interest in and recognition of importance of genetics. This is to the good, since it will make some people read up on genetics who would not have done so otherwise, and it may lead to the powers-that-be giving money for genetic research which they would not give otherwise.”

 

These exchanges are highly informative, as they indicate the true reason for the initial adoption of the LNT model was not that the smallest amount of radiation is dangerous according to the committee members but their own self-interest.

 

You may wonder: What is the reason for the persistence of the LNT model? Are there conflict of interest issues involved in the continued support for the LNT model also? This is an unanswered question and needs to be investigated.

 

A Google search would readily show the large numbers and amounts of publicly funded research grants that major advocates of the LNT model have had in the past and continue to receive. Such grants would not be justifiable and forthcoming if the LNT model were rejected. 

 

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