Deficiencies of advisory bodies

 

 

1. Advisory bodies did not follow basic scientific methods and principles

   The advisory bodies accepted the unverified LNT hypothesis in the 1950s as a justification for recommending radiation safety  policies such as: keep radiation doses as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). The ALARA principle prevented prospective testing of the alternative radiation hormesis hypothesis when it was proposed in 1980 (Book: Hormesis with Ionizing Radiation, T.D. Luckey). This derailed the scientific method since the invalid hypothesis could not be rejected through testing. (Many retrospective studies were indeed performed, but due to their limitations, a definitive conclusion could not be reached on the subject, and after more than fifty years of intense study, there is still no agreement in the scientific community on even the basic question: Does low-dose radiation increase or decrease cancers?) Advisory bodies, with their recommendation of ALARA which discouraged study of low-dose radiation health effects and so violated the scientific method, are primarily responsible for this lack of scientific progress in this field. See (Doss, 2013).

   The advisory bodies also violated the scientific principles by accepting the LNT hypothesis without data at low doses, but based on data at high doses only (Doss, 2014), (Calabrese, 2009).

 

2. Advisory bodies were not diligent in scrutinizing publications prior to using them

BEIR VII report quoted (Cardis, 2005) data as supportive evidence for the radiation cancer risk factors recommended by the report. This is a study of radiation workers from 15 countries that showed a slightly increased risk of cancer among the workers. On inspection of the data (see graph below) it would be obvious even to a casual observer that the Canadian data is inconsistent with other data and so should be re-evaluated:

In fact, in the text of the (Cardis, 2005) publication, it stated that if Canadian data were excluded, there was no significant excess risk of cancers in the radiation workers (All combined). Hence, BEIR VII committee should have asked for further investigation of the reason for the discrepancy of the Canadian data and not used the data. However, BEIR VII report chose to use these data. 
 

CNSC investigated the discrepancey and reported in 2011 that problems had been identified in the Canadian data (CNSC, 2011), and CNSC withdrew the data from use. Hence, the conclusion of (Cardis, 2005), that there is increased cancer risk from low-dose radiation, would no longer be valid. The use of these data by BEIR VII report shows inadequate scrutiny in their evaluation of data.

 

3. Advisory bodies did not use the correct model for cancer and for the effect of low-dose radiation on cancer. 

BEIR VII report (2005) also ignored the importanct role immune system plays in preventing cancers which has been known since the 1970s, e.g. (Allison, 1970) and (Hoover, 1973). It also ignored publications that showed stimulation of the immune system and reduction of cancers following low-dose radiation exposures, e.g. (Sakamoto, 2004), (Hashimoto, 1999), (Yu, 2004). Since the time of BEIR VII report, more evidence has accumulated for the importance of immune system in preventing cancers (Corthay, 2014) and the stimulation of the immune system by low-dose radiation (Yang, 2014).

 

4. Advisory bodies did not modify their recommendations when evidence contradicting the LNT model appeared

When evidence started appearing contradicting the LNT model, e.g. the (Frigerio, 1973) study of cancer mortality rates vs natural background radiation, (Evans, 1974) study of radium induced bone cancers in radium dial painters, (Chaffey, 1976) and (Choi, 1979) studies of low-dose radiation systemic treatments of cancers, the advisory bodies continued to support the LNT model.

 

More recently, after having recognized the atomic bomb survivor data as the most important data for estimating health effects of low-dose radiation (NRC, 2006), when the (Ozasa, 2012) update to the data showed the data were inconsistent with the LNT model, the advisory bodies ignored the data and continue to support the LNT model.

 

In the Nov 2014 NAS meeting "Planning towards the BEIR VIII Report", the speakers did not acknowledge or discuss this major change in the nature of the atomic bomb survivor data

 

5. Advisory bodies did not modify recommendations even after observing the tremendous harm to the public 

The fear and concerns resulting from the use of the LNT model led to panic evacuation of Fukushima area in the aftermath of the nuclear reactor accidents in 2011, and prolongation of the evacuation. These actions resulted in over 1000 deaths in the short term and disrupted the lives of over 100,000 area residents for no benefit in terms of reduced cancers. In spite of this observation that the LNT model is not a conservative approach to radiation safety as it causes immediate deaths, the LNT model continues to be advocated by the advisory bodies. 

 

In view of such deficiencies in the operation of the advisory bodies, it would not be prudent to follow their recommendations in the area of low-dose radiation health effects. New advisory bodies need to be created without the legacy of support for the LNT model.

Next Section: Atomic bomb survivor data