Dr. John Cameron
Radiation Science and Health
June 14, 2006
The International Commission for Radiological Protection (ICRP) adopted the linear nonthreshold model of radiation risk to simplify the administration of radiation protection. (ICRP 1977) At that time there were already several good epidemiological studies that contradicted the assumption. It had been known since 1973 (Frigerio, et. al.) that the 7 western U.S. states with the highest background radiation have cancer death rates 15% lower than the average for the 48 contiguous states (P<10-5). In 1974 Evans published his study of radium dial painters which showed that no luminizers had any radium induced osteogenic sarcoma unless the dose to their skeletons exceeded 1,000 rads (10 Gy) or 200 Sv, if one used a Q value for alpha particles of 20. This high threshold was affirmed by Rowland (1996) who also pointed out that the luminizers had no increase in leukemia —the most radiation sensitive malignancy—despite the huge doses to the their skeletons. Another gross contradiction of the LNT assumption.
Most radiation scientists understand the bureaucratic reasons for the LNT assumption. Unfortunately some radiation (political?) scientists have endeavored to convert the LNT assumption into a scientific fact. NCRP Report No. 136 is the fourth attempt of a NCRP Scientific Committee to accomplish this goal. It has failed.
There is much to criticize about their latest attempt. I have neither the knowledge nor the energy to attempt a thorough critique of the report. I will limit my evaluation to its most blatant errors. The report ignored data from two excellent epidemiological studies which show significant health benefits from adiation. The report includes one seriously flawed study that appears to support the LNT assumption. I will criticize the narrowness of the recommended research, which is limited to research to support the LNT assumption. I will propose a double blind human radiation study to test the hypothesis that moderate dose rate radiation stimulates the immune system and reduces deaths from cancer and other causes.