Outstanding Leadership Award was presented to Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information (SARI) at the annual conference of International Dose-Response Society today at Amherst, MA. I am one of the founding members of SARI, and I accepted the award on its behalf. For more information on SARI, visit their website at: http://radiationeffects.org/)
Below is the summary of remarks I made on the occasion:
I wish to thank the International Dose-Response Society for giving the Outstanding Leadership Award to SARI. This recognition of the SARI efforts is very encouraging, especially since it is a relatively new group. I wish to acknowledge the contributions of all the SARI members and Associate Members in our efforts to overcome the misinformation that exists regarding low-dose radiation health effects. This misinformation is indeed a major problem for our society in many different ways. Let me discuss briefly the impact of the currently accepted and used linear no-threshold (LNT) model on the war on cancer.
Cancer continues to be a major problem in our society as there has been only a small reduction of cancer mortality rates during the past fifty years, and much of this reduction can be attributed to reduction of smoking in earlier years. The war on cancer has not been won, and some claim it has been lost. Hence, it is a shame that the LNT model blocked the study of radiation hormesis when evidence for it was discovered in the 1970s. If we had studied radiation hormesis in the 1970s, we could likely have begun to use it in the 1980s and 1990s to reduce cancers, and would have achieved about 20 or 30% reduction of cancer mortality rates. This reduction is much more than what we have achieved with our present approach to cancer. By eliminating the LNT model and enabling study and use of radiation hormesis, we can hope to achieve this type of reduction in cancer mortality rates. From my point of view, this is the most important reason to eliminate the LNT model.
Another important reason to discontinue the use of the LNT model is that it can reduce and eliminate the fear of low-dose radiation and so the fear of nuclear power in the developing countries. Energy is a major constraint for development in these countries, and traditional energy production entails large-scale pollution which is known to cause health problems including increased mortality. If the concerns regarding nuclear power are reduced and eliminated, developing countries can utilize nuclear power without much objections and can have plentiful power to attain their goals of rapid and sustained economic development.
Thus, it is important to overthrow the current LNT model regime and replace it with one that recognizes the beneficial effects of low-dose radiation. The recent NRC petitions from SARI and SARI members has started the conversation on the subject in the regulatory agencies but are not likely to achieve actual change in regulations. We are continuing to work to educate the public about the observed health effects of low-dose radiation and correct the current misunderstanding that pervades our society on this subject. Some of us from SARI have joined with other interested individuals to form a nonprofit foundation called XLNT Foundation to undertake this public education on a larger scale and campaign for the elimination of the LNT model. We are hopeful of the success of these and other efforts sometime in the future.