Archive for August, 2010


August 31, 2010

The imagining of Mr Scott attending court to testify as a witness for the British Government against the nuclear veterans is just that. However, the British Government’s routine stance that veterans were not harmed by their participation must be challenged. And the Government will defend itself by any means.

Bobby Scott seems to supply a means, until he is challenged. And to challenge the statements of Mr Scott demands that his sources be challenged.

One of his sources is the published results of the DOE sponored research into low LET external x ray exposure of white mice as published by Sykes et al, Flinders University, South Australia.

The primary variables of that experiment are described in the published papers. They do not include the variation of cellular oxygen tension within the target mice.

The induction of abnormal chemistry within cells resultant from irradiation has long been known and studied. The use of various radio-protectives chemicals arise form the concept. Hiroshima doctor are reported by Hersey (“Hiroshima”) to have observed that of those victims of the atomic bomb who suffered no harm but for radiation sickness there were two groups: 1. Those more likely to survive the illness and 2. Those more likely to die.

The Hiroshima doctors found that those beyond the blast and thermal zone who were at rest at time of exposure (primarily via neutron and gamma radiation at the time of detonation) were far more likely to survive than those who had been working. Digging ditches (HIroshima was busy building firebreaks at the time, fearing a fire raid) and other such tasks.

The abnormal chemistry induced by ionising radiation within the cell renders nuclear weapons a type of chemical weapon.


water in human cell + one track of ionising radiation = the release of free hydrogen and oxygen ions into the cell contents. H2O + E = H and O radicals.

2. Free Oxygen within the cell is also subject to this ionisation – that is, the removal of electrons from atoms by the action of a track of ionising radiation through the cell.

3. The chemical activity and the nature of that activity changes. The highly reactive ions recombine through a series of steps to form not water, but chemicals such as Hydrogen Peroxide. H2O2 is formed, in place of the normal H20.

I have two primary sources for this.

a. The training notes supplied to me by my Army Captain during formal lectures. I attended these regularly during my service as a member of an Australian Radiac Unit.
(Upon my discharge, I was informed that I was free to use the notes.)

b. The book “Atomic Radiation and Life”, Peter Alexander, Penguin Books, 1957. Alexander gives his address as Chester Beaty Research Institute, Institute of Cancer Research: Royal Chester Hospital, London, S.W.3. In regard to the oxygen effect, Chapter 5, “The Two Edged Sword, Cancer Cure and Cause”, Chapter 6 “Protection”, Chapter 8 “Enter the Chemist”.

In Chapter 8, on pages 183 and 184 Alexander states: “A suggestion made as long ago as 1929 by Risse, one of the earlietst workers in the field, hs now been confirmed; on irradiation, water is split up into free radicals: H20 ………..> H- + H0- These, it will be remembered (see page 19), are highly reactive entities since they do not have the electron configuration required for stable molecules.” Alexander explains the process of electron number change needed to achieve stability. He continues: ” The great reactivity of activated water is due to these radicals, which attack most organic substances so as to attain a normal electron configuration.” (ibid)

It can be seen then that there are two modes by which ionising radiation imparts an effect upon the cell:
1, Linear Energy Transfer – a collision between a component particle of a radiation track and a component of a chromosome. Great damage Alexander elsewhere explains the threshold energy the particle must exceed in order to cause damage. This is not a threshold dose, it is a threshold energy. To bend a bumbper bar on a car, the colliding cyclist must be travelling X miles and hour. Same thing.

2. Ionisation. The effect which gives iionising radiation its name and which distinquishes it from other forms of radiation. Its not heart, its not light, its ionising.

Ionising – the formation of ions by the removal of electrons from the atoms of a substance or person. (It is unlikely that ionising radiation in the context of health physics would create ions by removing part or all of the atomic nucleus. Though I suppose neutron radiation might do it. This is the role of neutrons in fission.)

It is no surprise that the history of the consequences of the use of nuclear contains a significant example of the attempt to conceal the chemical basis of nuclear weapons. This example raises the question of when and how radiation may be used a weapon or as a benefit. It is, quote Alexander, a two edged sword, it is dual-use. Its use as a benefit depends upon need and informed consent. Anything else is a breach of the Nuremberg Principles. The breach of which caused Clinton to 1. issue the relevant Executive Order. 2. Initiate the process tht resulted in the calling for tenders for the DOE study of Low Energy, Low Dose radiarion exposure, as won by Flinders Universiry, South Australia and quoted by Scott, Lanl, New Mexico.

In regard to this second mode, given the fact the oxygen is a reactive gas, presenting a large target to a track of radiation, what effect does our status as an “air breathing” mammals have on our vulnerablity or resistance to the effects of ionising radiation? Alexander soon explains.

On page 188 Alexander, under the section “The Oxygen Effect” writes, from page 188, “The sensitivity of almost all biological systems to the action of the radiations of relatively low specific ionization (eg therapy X rays and gamma rays becomes less as the amount of oxygen present in the surrounding atmosphere is decreased below that contained in air. ” The reduction of sensivity is subantial.

Alexander further states ” The way in which oxygen enhances the radiation effect could involve either the initial chemical reaction or the subsequent biological processes by which the initial chemical damage is amplified until it is seen as a radiation injury some hours or even days after the irradiation. Although no completely decisve test has yet been made there is much evidence to indicate that oxygen enhances the initial damage. This view is supported by the observation that the determining factor is the concentration of oxygen during the irradiation and changes immediately before or after irradiation do not influence radiosensitivity. Chemical experiments have shown that oxygen reacts very rapidly with the hydrogen radical formed by the indirect action to give rise to another radical, HO-2 (2 is subtext) , ie, H- + O2……> HO-2.” (a negative ion composed of one Hydrogen and 2 Oxygen atoms.)

Alexander continues: “Oxygen also increases the amount of hydrogen peroxide produced by radiations of low specific ionization, and many chemical reactions produced by these free radicals in water occur to a greater extent in the presence than in the absence of oxygen”. “…the chemical changes produced by direct action are also influenced by oxygen and the oxygen effect does not prove that the indirect action of free radicals contributes more than direct action to the important initial changes.” (Alexander then goes on to describe some radio-protective chemicals and the modes of action.)

Clearly this is a call to research. The oxgen effect was well known in 1957 because Alexander’s semi popular paperback was read by many people in England and Australia at the time. In 1957 there was much interest in Adelaide regarding the effects of radiation. That was the year of the final, nasty, round of British A bomb tests at Maralinga. My copy of Alexander’s book was obtained when the Advertiser Newspaper sold it, in 1996, at a second hand book sale.

In 1957 sections of the general public were interested and capable of understanding the subject. Key scientists helped explain the mechansims involved in the modes of radiation damage, recovery and resistentce pertaining to ionising radiation.

It is therefore very odd that what was once well known as an important effect of the kind of radiaiton Sykes et al were contracted to study is ignored so blatantly in the design of the experiment the research team were compelled to pursue.

None of the mice were forced to exert themselves during eposure, none of them were tested in a reduced or enhanced oxygen concentration atmosphere. The Oxygen effect was it seems to me, ignored.

As a result only modality of action was studied. Linus Pauling wasn’t wrong about free radicals in this respect. But he does not get a look in. LET is immediate. The abnormal chemistry following ionisation of the cell contents beyond the cell nucleus is totally ignored. The results then are minus a leg.

The results are used by Scott of Los Alamos to justify his stance that radon, for example, is good for you, or that the trillions spent in cleanup of contaminated sites in the US is of no benefit.

Depends on how hard one is working at the time Bobby. That was seen by the Hiroshima doctors in August – September 1945 mate. The mechanism for it is explained by Alexander above.

There is an obvious economic benefit to relevant government entities in this very grave omission. An omission which occurred at the design stage. And that is, if the current campaign by Bobby Scott suceeds, the contaminated sites in the US will not be cleaned up, money will be saved, and the US military will be able to expend more radioactive ammunition with less clean up cost than at present.

Radiation is dual use. This is a major finding and plank of the President’s Advisory Comittee on Radiation. Reporting in the mid 1990s, the Committee found that US authorities had deliberately denied the right of informed consent to people subjhect to deliberate radiation exposure. The role of medicine extended beyond the patient to the well. Patients have a right to refuse treatment. Apparently the well do not.

Such use of medical concepts – extending a treatment to the well for any reason, without informed consent is a breach of the Nuremberg Principles, a primary concern of the ACHRE in its report to President Clinton.

People in key position have academic qualifications. This qualification does not take away the right of citiizens in a democracy to discourse, dissent and access to the rights and protections they are entitled to and by which government is restrained. Treating the populations of entire nations as they one’s private patient when in fact they are not is an abuse of medicine. Where there is an obvious military benefit to such actions there is an obvious basis to the accusation that the undertaking has a dual use purpose.

Where “dual use” is as defined by ACHRE.

Nuclear Veterans in Britain and Australia

August 31, 2010

Dear All,

Attached for information is a file containing copies of recent UK newspaper articles.

Note the proposed study into the health of nuclear veterans and the possibility of a later study of veterans’ children.

Note also the attempt by the MOD to gag MPs on the subject of nuclear veterans. This would allow the health study to be carried out by NRPB resulting in the study having less validity than a paper boat in a hurricane.

Susie Boniface has interpreted the current treatment of Australian nuclear veterans on the basis of media releases. She does not understand that a new classification of British Nuclear Test service has been fenced off from hazardous service and requires almost impossible requirements for classification in this category:
The illness must be identified as due to nuclear service:
Acceptable illnesses are confined, in most cases, to certain cancers where a minimum specified dose of atomic radiation must be shown to have been applied to a specific organ.

The spurious results of the Australian Cancer and Mortality Study will almost certainly be produced as evidence of minimum exposure in any future UK study of Nuclear Veterans.

Kind regards,
Alan Batchelor







And here we have an email from England which explains and exposes the same old agenda the governments apply from tactics inherited from Groves, Teller, LIbby, Penney and Titterton (their boy in Australia, an agent bound, in his own words, by “the official secrets Act” and “American control”
of information at that time) and applies them to Nuclear Veterans in today’s world.
No doubt on some date in the near future Radiation Hormesis will have its day in court in England, having been imported from the New Mexico desert for the occassion.

But on that day, there will be people bright enough to point out to the Judge that the LET of the beta emitted by fission products does indeed produce the results actually observed in the cells of nuclear veterans as reported recently by Massey University, New Zealand. Years earlier photographs of the same and similar damage had been published in England (Peter Alexander, “Atomic Radiation and LIfe”, 1957):
The fact is that what resolves down to a low rate of radioactivity as measured in 2 dimensional space by the probe of a radiation detector swept over an area becomes, when embedded in living tissue constructed in 3 dimensional reality, a very high rate of radioactivity emitted from the centre of sphere of constantly irradiated living tissue. Such a hot particle is much more likely to be alpha (the bomb fuel) or Beta (the fission products) than gamma. And the absorped dose from such internal exposure is much higher for the cells subject to the embedded emitter than would be the case for whole body exposure due to an external x ray or gamma source. As external threats, both apha and beta might be considered feeble by military planners. As internal threats, not attenuated by distance (inverse square law) and other shielding considerations, the inverse square law dictates that the cell generations nearsest the embedded source are subject to high levels of absorbed dose. And the DOE sponsored research at Flinders University which gives Scott of Los Alamos his apparent ammunition did not study internal emitters. Only very low energy external x rays. This is a crux of it.

Dear All ,

UK Press Reports

Thanks to Alan for his email and comments .

Alan makes some very valid points . Nuclear veterans should not take too much notice of what is being reported in the press . The facts are as follows :

1) Governments have lost sole control of the understanding of the science of radiation damage to health from low dose alpha and beta ingested and inhaled fall out .

2) Governments have been overtaken by advanced blood testing techniques that have indicated genetic damage in nuclear veterans .

Both of these points have been recognised in the High Court , in London, on the 5th June 2009 , in the 200 page verdict at the limitation trial by Judge Foskett . Fall out alpha and beta particulates was acknowledged as the ” prime causal link to ill health in nuclear veterans ” and the genetic damage shown by the NZ Massey University study , by Professor Rowland was regarded as ” crucial and pivotal ” in the decision to allow the UK nuclear veterans litigation to proceed to full high court trial .

Of course , none of this suits the agendas of Governments to deny accountability or responsibility , under the military covenant , so the UK MoD has exercised its right to appeal against this verdict . Without offering any new evidence .Meanwhile , politicians and officials are attempting to undermine the NZ study , which has been peer reviewed and judicially accepted .

Alan is correct in his assessment of Government tactics . They are , unbelieveably, still living two decades in the past and attempting to foist upon veterans yet more NRPB – type statistical ( easily manipulated to a bias , epidemiological studies, like the Aus Cancer and Mortality Study as Alan says having ” less validity than a paper boat in a hurricane ” ) in order to attempt to regain and keep ” control of the science ” . This will not work .

3) The report saying a new study on veterans is “welcomed” by UK nuclear veterans is a figment of the UK MoD’s fevered imagination and the reporters’ assumption . No consultation has take place on this with veterans in UK apart from the BNTVA which is now a charitable organisation . It was something agreed by the outgoing Chairman John Lowe for reasons that are a mystery to most veterans . John had , incidentally , agreed with the CVFI no further studies were needed on veterans but ONLY on the children . So this study is just another attempt by Government to gain control of the science ( by offering another biased report ) and waste more yet tax payer’s money to bury the truth .

4) The report on the gagging of UK MP’s is not entirely accurate , because it is not working . We are still in contact with many MP’s and we are still expressing our points of view on the campaign website : nuclear test shame . wordpress . com . However , the attempt to gag MP’s and stfle debate is an illustration of the desperation and desire of Governments to continue to politically exclude us all from justice .

5) As Alan says, Susie’s report on the current treatment of Australian veterans misses the point .

What the Australian Government has done , we suspect with the active support of the UK , is to make it so difficult to qualify for compensation that the vast majority of nuclear test victims will be excluded . That is Governments are intent upon ignoring the inhalation of low dose alpha and beta particles fall out particles as ” the prime causal link to ill health in nuclear veterans ” (Judge Foskett 05.06.2009 ) and focus , as they have done since Hiroshima , on the excessive and inflated ICRP whole body dosage readings to equate to the radiological ” safe ” threshold of exposure rate for radiation protection purposes .( This is a very old ‘red herring ‘ since film batch dosimeters do not register low level radioisotopes that become internal emitters when ingested or inhaled .)

Thanks for the warning Alan , since the UK / Aus Governments are working together( 1993 Treaty Series agreement ) we now know the UK Ministry of Defence will be attemping the same disingenuous ‘fencing of entitlements ‘ here when they are forced to mediate a settlement of claims in the current UK Atomic Veterans Litigation .

Let’s all make it quite clear to the press , politicians and officials : genetic damage in veterans ( chromosomal translocations in the DNA ) is the causal link to immune system damage , chronic illness , premature heart disease , psychological damage , cancers and genetic damage passed to the children and grandchildren of veterans . It is not just a causal link to a range of cancers .

6) The only way to fight this is to trust in litigation and not in the attempts by politicians internationally to bury the truth . The use of litigation does not suit the agenda’s of politicians because they are unable to bury the truth in a courtroom where their policy is open to close legal and scientific scrutiny .This dislike of litigation was confirmed in 1999 when the New Zealand veterans applied for a $200,000 grant to sue the UK MoD for compensation the British High Commissioner informed the leader of a NZ political party this would be viewed as an ” unfriendly act ” . The NZ government, with the benefit of hindsight , actually did the next best thing they gave $100,000 towards the Rowland Study to BLOOD TEST nuclear veterans and thus provided the ” crucial and pivotal ” science – based evidence that ‘the mark of the bomb’ is left in those who took part in the nuclear weapons experiments at UK nuclear test locations .

Thanks to Alan for his consistent fight to destroy the tattered scientific credibility of the Aus Cancer and Mortality Study . We note this is copied to several politicians so this email will no doubt end up with the UK Ministry of Defence as part of the 1993 Treaty Series agreement . That suits us . They and their political friends have lost sole control of the truth of the science . They need to know they can no longer defend the indefensible at ever increasing cost to the tax payer . They all need to know we are winning .

With kind regards to all,

The Action Executive
The Combined Veterans’ Forum International ( CVFI )
Shirley Denson – Dennis Hayden- Ken McGinley (UK ) – Roy Sefton ( NZ )

Even Dr Stone was incredulous when he learned, while in Hiroshima studying the corpses, of US media reports quoting Groves claim that there was no radiation in Japan and that reports of radiation poisoning (as it was then known) was merely a propaganda ploy on the part of the Japanese.

The methodolgy of government does seem to change much.

Where was I? Oh yea, the Oxygen Effect as an Ignored Variable.

Presidential Cancer Panel vs B. Scott, Los Alamos, on Radon Exposure

August 31, 2010

The 2008-2009 Annual Report of the President’s Cancer Panel Included the publication “Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk : What We Can Do Now”, is available from the website of the National Cancer Institute at

The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated. With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are
un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread. One such ubiquitous chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), is still found in many consumer products and remains unregulated in the United States, despite the growing link between BPA and several diseases, including various cancers.
While BPA has received considerable media coverage, the public remains unaware of many common environmental carcinogens such as naturally occurring radon and manufacturing and combustion by-products such as formaldehyde and benzene. Most also are unaware that children are far more vulnerable to environmental toxins and radiation than adults. Efforts to inform the public of such harmful exposures and how to prevent them must be increased. All levels of government, from federal to local, must work to protect every American from needless disease through rigorous regulation of environmental pollutants.
Environmental exposures that increase the national cancer burden do not represent a new front in the ongoing war on cancer. However, the grievous harm from this group of carcinogens has not been addressed adequately by the National Cancer Program. The American people—even before they are born—are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures. The Panel urges you most strongly to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our Nation’s productivity, and devastate American lives.
LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S.Chair Margaret L. Kripke, Ph.D.
(pp 12)

Cancer risk assessment also is hampered by lack of access to existing exposure data, especially for occupational/industrial exposures, and regarding levels of radon, asbestos, and other contaminants in schools and day care centers.
(pp 16)

These statements, addressed to the President of the United States are very clear. The synergistic effect of certain chemicals together with sources of radiation such as radon (an “internal hazard”) present a clear danger to vulnerable people.

Alone, the listed chemicals and radiation sources are still threats. In concert the effect of one is magnified by the presence of others.

The report continues:
“While ionizing radiation exposures from radon, occupational, and other sources have remained essentially stable over the past 30  years, Americans now are estimated to receive nearly half of their total radiation exposure from medical imaging and other medical sources, compared with only 15  percent in the early 1980s. The increase in medical radiation has nearly doubled the total average effective radiation dose per individual in the United  States. Computed tomography (CT) and nuclear medicine tests alone now contribute 36  percent of the total radiation exposure and 75  percent of the medical radiation exposure of the U.S. population. Medical imaging of children is of special concern; compared with adults, children have many more  years of life during which a malignancy initiated by medical radiation can develop. Many referring physicians, radiology professionals, and the public are unaware of the radiation dose associated with various tests or the total radiation dose and related increased cancer risk individuals may accumulate over a lifetime. People who receive multiple scans or other tests that require radiation may accumulate doses equal to or exceeding that of Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors. It is believed that a single large dose of ionizing radiation and numerous low doses equal to the single large dose have much the same effect on the body over time.
Moreover, radiation dose for the same test can vary dramatically depending on the equipment used, technologist skill, application of dose-reduction strategies, and patient size, age, and gender. Licensure of imaging and radiation therapy technologists varies depending on the type of test performed by the technologist. Some states have only partial regulation; six states and the District of Columbia have no licensure or regulatory provisions of any kind.
In addition, pharmaceuticals have become a considerable source of environmental contamination. Drugs of all types enter the water supply when they are excreted or improperly disposed of; the health impact of long-term exposure to varying mixtures of these compounds is unknown.

Exposure to Contaminants
and Other Hazards from
Military Sources
The military is a major source of toxic occupational and environmental exposures that can increase cancer risk. Information is available about some military activities that have directly or indirectly exposed military and civilian personnel to carcinogens and contaminated soil and water in numerous locations in the United  States and abroad. However, we may never know the full extent of environmental contamination from military sources. Nearly 900 Superfund sites are abandoned military facilities or facilities that produced materials and products for or otherwise supported military needs. Some of these sites and the areas surrounding them became heavily contaminated due to improper storage and disposal of known or suspected carcinogens including solvents, machining oils, metalworking fluids, and metals. In some cases, these contaminants have spread far beyond their points of origin because they have been transported by wind currents or have leached into drinking water supplies.
Hundreds of thousands of military personnel and civilians in the United  States received significant radiation doses as a result of their participation in nuclear weapons testing and supporting occupations and industries, including nuclear fuel and weapons production, and uranium mining, milling, and ore transport. Hundreds of thousands more were irradiated at levels sufficient to cause cancer and other diseases. These populations include the families of military and civilian workers, and people—known as “downwinders”—living or working in communities surrounding or downstream from testing and related activities, and in relatively distant areas to which nuclear fallout or other radioactive material spread. Federal responses to the plight of affected individuals have been unsatisfactory. Those affected lack knowledge about the extent of their exposure or potential health problems they may face. Similarly, most health care providers are not aware of cancer and other latent radiation effects and therefore are unlikely to adequately monitor patients for these health conditions. Exposure to ionizing radiation related to nuclear weapons testing is an underappreciated issue worldwide.
Exposure to Environmental Hazards from Natural Sources
Most environmental hazards with the potential to raise cancer risk are the product of human activity, but some environmental carcinogens come from natural sources. For example, radon gas, which forms naturally from the breakdown of uranium mineral deposits, is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United  States and the leading cause of lung cancer among people who have never smoked. Radon-induced lung cancer is responsible for an estimated average of 21,000 deaths annually. People who smoke and also are exposed to radon have a higher risk of lung cancer than from either exposure alone.
Although human activities such as mining, ore processing, use of arsenic-containing pesticides, and burning of fossil fuels are major contributors to waterborne arsenic in the U.S., most inorganic arsenic in drinking water is from natural sources. Inorganic arsenic in drinking water has been linked to skin, lung, bladder, and kidney cancer in both sexes and with prostate cancer in men, as well as numerous non-cancerous conditions including endocrine, reproductive, and developmental effects.
Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: A Call to Action
The burgeoning number and complexity of known or suspected environmental carcinogens compel us to act to protect public health, even though we may lack irrefutable proof of harm. Action is possible at several levels: conducting scientific research to enhance our understanding and by extension, our ability to prevent and respond to environmental carcinogens; enforcing existing policies and regulations that protect workers and the public; implementing policy and regulatory changes that support public health and reduce the burden of cancer; and taking personal action.
The Panel concludes that:
We Need to Determine the Full Extent of Environmental Influences on Cancer.
At this time, we do not know how much environmental exposures influence cancer risk and related immune and endocrine dysfunction. Environmental contamination varies greatly by type and magnitude across the nation, and the lifetime effects of exposure to combinations of chemicals and other agents are largely unstudied. Similarly, the cancer impact of exposures during key “windows of vulnerability” such as the prenatal period, early life, and puberty are not well understood. Nonetheless, while these diverse effects often are difficult to quantify with existing technologies and research methods, in a great many instances, we know enough to act.”
(Pp 12 – 14)

Despite these definite findings and recommendations by the Presidential Panel, it is clear the military “requirement” to continue to disperese radioactive substances over target ranges in the USA is in conflict with the requirement to clean up all contaminated sites. Identified contaminants include DU. (See previous post reguarding DOE and Nevada negotiaitons with USAF on this issue). Further the cleanup of older contaminated sites is an ongoing cost. The situation is immense, complex and costly.

It is a drain upon the military industrial complex.

Focussing solely on Radon, for simplicity I shall now look at some statements by Bobby Scott of Los Alamos, who repeatedly cites Sykes et al’s work conducted in Adelaide, South Australia, funded by US DOE contract. The research identified a claimed hormesistic effect in specially bred white mice subjected to very low dose and very low dose rate low LET x rays.

Radon exposure caused the acknowledged deaths of many uranium miners until OH&S measures were put in place after many years of struggle. If Scott is correct one would have expected more miners to die of cancer once the radon levels in mines were lowered. For he claims, citing Japanese research, that higher levels of radon exposures protect against cancer, and presented this in a presentation in Carlsbad as follows:

Title: “The LNT Hypothesis May Have Outlived Its Usefulness”
Author: Bobby R. Scott, Ph.D.
Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Albuquerque NM, USA
Seminar, Los Alamos National Laboratory November 10, 2005

“Trillion-Dollar Mistake (continued)
“The regulations limiting human exposure to low-level radiation are not known to have prevented a single health effect in anyone despite decades of use. But they have cost more than $1 trillion in the U.S. alone…” (power point plate 8 )

“Low-Dose, Low-LET Radiation Protects from the Following:
• Protectsagainstmutationinduction(Pam Sykes’ group)!
• Protectsagainstneoplastictransformation (Les Redpath’s group)!
• Protectsagainstcanceroccurrence (epidemiological and animal data)!
• Extendstumorlatentperiod(Ron Mitchel’s group)!
• Suppressesoccurrenceofdiseasesother than cancer (Kazuo Sakai’s group)!” (power point plate 10)

“High-Level Radon-Associated Protection Against Cancer
Cancer Site or Type
Leukemia Stomach Breast Lung Colon/rectum
Females Males 0.47 0.56 0.55 0.60 0.74 – 0.81 0.53 0.86 0.70
High-level-radon spa area in Japan (Misasa) relative to Japanese population (1952-1992) (Mifune et al. Jpn. J. Cancer Res. 83, p.1, 1992) (power point plate 38)

The final quoted plate from the power point presentation : “High Level Radon-Associated Protection Against Cancer” clearly flies in the face of the findings and recommendations of the Presidential Cancer Panel quoted above.

My blog is just that. Its not an academic discourse. It is impossible in this limited format to fully explain the import and negative impact of Scott’s position.

Although I do not doubt Pam Sykes ! team found the effects they were seeking (that is, a proof of Brucer’s very early position and as such a basis for the rebirth of ideology held by 1950s AEC culture).
I do know that there are cases of individuals who displayed the protective effects explained by Hormesis both in the case of Hiroshima (Shmizu) and in the case of a Maralinga nuclear test veteran.

In the case of Shimizu, his long life can be contrasted very easily by the much larger group who at the same time as he was entering HIroshima after the bomb, did so too. Many became sick, a large number died, and some survived. Shimizu was one survivor who lived a long time, into his 80s. Many others who survived had shortened lives. The Maralinga veteran has a very strong immune response to radioactive substances. Radioactive coatings on his heart blood vessel stents (put there in response to his radiation induced heart disease) are quickly attacked and eaten away. The whole aim of the coating was to prevent this, and in a “normal” bio setting this would be the case.

So the cursory lumping together of single element studies, including Sykes et al, in order to justify cheaper cleanups of Superfund contaminated sites in the US does not wash. One of the fundamental flaws in Scott’s position is the failure to consider higher energy beta particles, which impart LETs approaching that of alpha. He also fails to lay out for the ordinary person the great difference between internal and external exposures. This is importance. At base, I personally have little arguement with the concept that very low energy, very low dose very low dose rate external purely electromagnetic radiation may have a beneficial effect. An affect akin to the effect of the random noise found in the nervous system. This noise lift the nerves up closer to action threshold than would otherwise be the case. So the organsim has a much more rapid rise time than would otherwise be the case. The preparedness of the genetic repair mechanisms may very well then depend upon the present of a harmless noise in the external em ioisation signal as recieved at target. It, like the nerves, is lifted closer to, even up to, action level. Natural cosmic radiation in fact varies over a 24 hour cycle and the trigger signal may be, at the level of the repair mechanism a kind of “cycadian rythmn”. But it is low energy, low dose, low dose rate. I cannot abide the view that high intensity hot particles, capable of inflicting constant damage to the cells in which they are embedded, and which are in the context of a contaminated environment, in equilbrium, are beneficial. They are not. The view that they are low exposure dose derives from the failure of 2 dimensional monitoring to detect intense point souces with 3 dimensional space. Once taken into the body, it is the irradiation of cells local to the hot particle which causes challenge, damage, change and death. It is not a benefit. It is a harm. The fission products are generally far more radioactive than the non fission decay products of uranium. And these are beta emitters. Scott only admits alpha as a high LET ionising particle.

Further, the US EPA stands in direct contradiction taken by Bobby Scott and Los Alamos National Labs.

“[April 2010] Presidential Cancer Panel Calls for Greater Action on Radon – The 2008-2009 Annual Report of the President’s Cancer Panel, entitled “Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We can Do Now” (PDF, 240 pp., 7.3 M) has been released. The Report highlights the risks from radon and states that “the cancer risk attributable to residential radon exposure has been clearly demonstrated and must be better addressed.” The Panel includes several far-reaching recommendations to reduce radon exposure in the U.S., including lowering the EPA action level, requiring radon-resistant techniques in new home construction, more research for improved accuracy and reliability in radon testing methods, and mandatory testing and disclosure of radon levels in schools, daycare, and workplaces.”

The US EPA has for many years been working to alert Americans to the risks posed by Radon and I would urge people not to believe Bobby Scott et al, Los Alamos National Labs.

Not only did those with cleanup duties have to negotiate with USAF over levels of contamination to cleanup, seems the EPA will have to also.

And who knows, maybe the Presidential Cancer Panel as well.

How diluted do you want your environmental laws and awaresness to be?

If Bobby Scott wants to relax in a radon enhanced spa in Japan that’s up to him. He has a belief.
Radiation at low levels from external gamma and cosmic rays is one thing. Radiation delivered to the lungs by Radon decay products such as Polonium amounts to an accreting life long exposure dose
to generations of the same cell lines. It is a vector by which cancer is induced. The EPA finds smokes exposed to both Radon and smoking have an alarming cancer rate. People who dont smoke die from
Radon induced cancers. This EPA position is conservative and ignores enhanced radon exposures suffered by specific groups, such as Native Americans living downwind of uranium mines.

The agenda being expressed by Scott and Los Alamos is patently clear in the light of the economics of cleanup in the midst of a DU centric military and within the historical setting of the need to clean up legacy nuclear sites.

there is nothing new in the concept of the organism using environmental “noise” to provide a readiness signal to enable a rapid “action” in the biological systems. “Hormesis” is not Homeopathy. Its equivalent is found in the nervous system which generates its own noise floor. Rise time in nevous system transmission signals are shorter as a result. (see “On the Fluctuation of Threshold of the Nerve Fibre. 1960”, File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat by AA VERVEEN – Cited by 23 – Related articles
He (Pecher) assumed that irregular fluctuations in the threshold of the nerve fibre …. Pecher made an analysis of the distribution of responses, …
Similarly that part of background which is low level non particulate ionising radiation may provide an action trigger for repair mechanisms within the cell nucleus. Whereas alpha and beta particles embedded in tissue stimulate to the point of defeat those same repair mechanisms. And where external purely em ionising radiation imposes an acreting burden of exposure doses over time, disease is more likely to result. In the modern world the radioactivity more and more people experience is not of the type and character which occupanied us as the species arose. We evolved against a background of decreasing natural radioactivity levels, and against a rising oxygen concentration in the early atmosphere. More on cellular oxygen tension as a valid variable later. Suffice to say now, Pam’s special mice weren’t digging ditches at the time of their controlled exposure. Ditch digging is a human behaviour.
Paul Langley

Next: more from the Nuclear Veterans, an email from Major Alan Batchelor (ret) News clippings from England. Dennis Hayden. What Pam said BEFORE the DOE contract got going, from the Atomic ExServicemens’ Association.

The NATO Use of Depleted Uranium during the Balkans Conflict

August 29, 2010

Pub Med

Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 2005;32(1):58-60.
Effect of depleted uranium weapons used in the Balkan war on the incidence of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and invasive cancer of the cervix in Greece.

Papathanasiou K, Gianoulis C, Tolikas A, Dovas D, Koutsos J, Fragkedakis N, Papathanasiou N.

Second Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Aristotles University of Thessaloniki, Hippocratio Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the incidence rates of CIN and invasive cancer of the cervix in two district areas near the borders with the former Yugoslavia and an urban area away from these borders three years before and three years after the bombings in this country.

MATERIAL: Two peripheral hospitals (in Kilkis and Serres) which are near the border with the former Yugoslavia and one University hospital (Hippocratio hospital of Thessaloniki) in a rural area away from the borders, where routine Papanicolaou smear tests for screening of CIN and invasive cancer of the cervix are performed in the general female population.

METHODS: Hospital records were searched for abnormal smear test results. Incidence rates of CIN and invasive cancer of the cervix three years before (1997-1999) and three years after (2000-2002) the bombings were calculated and compared in the three different settings. The relation between the mean age of the first occurrence of an abnormal smear test was also examined. The results were examined using the chi-square test.

RESULTS: The incidence of CIN in the three-year period 1997-1999 was 0.68% and 0.9% for the two district hospitals of Kilkis and Serres, respectively. These figures rose to 1.11% and 1.13% in the three-year period 2000-2002 for the two district hospitals. The incidence of CIN in the three-year period 1997-1999 was 1.06% for the Hippokrateion University Hospital of Thessaloniki and 0.88% for the three-year period 2000-2002. There has been a small but not statistically significant increase in the incidence rates of CIN in the two district areas near the borders with the former Yugoslavia over the last few years (p = 0.355 for Kilkis and p = 0.472 for Serres), compared with the small but statistically significant decrease in the incidence of CIN in the urban area of Thessaloniki (p = 0.0275). The rates of invasive cancer of the cervix diagnosed from the routine smear tests were too small to make any conclusions.

CONCLUSION: The increase in the incidence of precancerous lesions of the cervix in areas near the borders with the former Yugoslavia during the last three years may be influenced by environmental factors such as exposure to depleted uranium due to the bombings of 1999. To comfirm this bigger epidemiological studies are needed.

PMID: 15864941 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Publication Types, MeSH Terms, Substances
Publication Types:

* Multicenter Study

MeSH Terms:

* Adult
* Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia/epidemiology*
* Environmental Exposure/adverse effects
* Female
* Greece/epidemiology
* Humans
* Incidence
* Neoplasm Invasiveness
* Radioactive Pollutants/toxicity*
* Rural Health
* Uranium/toxicity*
* Urban Health
* Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/epidemiology*
* Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/pathology
* Vaginal Smears
* War*
* Yugoslavia


* Radioactive Pollutants
* Uranium

LinkOut – more resources

I think Flinders University would have an important opportunity here to test its Hormesis (beneficial) response in mice model to actual human populations in Former Yugoslavia and Greece. This should be done also to compare the Los Alamos conclusion as expressed by Scott to be tested in the real world. As these Greek findings were published at around the same time frame as Scott’s, one wonders why no comparison of data sets was undertaken and publically reported by Los Alamos and Flinders University.

See also

Incidence of major congenital malformations in a region of Bosnia and Herzegovina allegedly polluted with depleted uranium.

Sumanović-Glamuzina D, Saraga-Karacić V, Roncević Z, Milanov A, Bozić T, Boranić M.

Croat Med J. 2003 Oct;44(5):579-84.PMID: 14515417 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]Free ArticleRelated citations

Depleted uranium in Kosovo: results of a survey by gamma spectrometry on soil samples.

Uyttenhove J, Lemmens M, Zizi M.

Health Phys. 2002 Oct;83(4):543-8.PMID: 12240731 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


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Croat Med J. 2003 Oct;44(5):579-84.
Incidence of major congenital malformations in a region of Bosnia and Herzegovina allegedly polluted with depleted uranium.

Sumanović-Glamuzina D, Saraga-Karacić V, Roncević Z, Milanov A, Bozić T, Boranić M.

Department of Pediatrics, Mostar University Hospital, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of major congenital malformations in West Herzegovina, a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, immediately and five years after 1991-1995 military activities, which allegedly included the use of weapons with depleted uranium.

METHODS: The study included all live-born and stillborn neonates and excluded all aborted fetuses in two one-year cohorts (1995 and 2000) of neonates in the Maternity Ward of the Mostar University Hospital. Malformations were recorded according to the recommendations of the EUROCAT protocol.

RESULTS: Major malformations were found in 40 (2.16%) out of 1,853 neonates in 1995 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.49-2.82%) and in 33 (2.26%) out of 1,463 neonates five years later (95% CI, 1.50-3.01%), ie, at comparable prevalence. In both cohorts, anomalies of the musculoskeletal system were the most common, followed by anomalies of the digestive system (in 1995) and the cardiovascular system (in 2000). The prevalence of malformations and the organ systems involved were essentially comparable with those in other populations not affected by military activities.

CONCLUSION: Despite alleged environmental pollution in some regions of the former Yugoslavia, which was attributed to military activities and the presence of depleted uranium (the “Balkan syndrome”), there was no significant postwar increase in the prevalence of congenital malformations.

PMID: 14515417 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]Free Article

Health Phys. 2002 Oct;83(4):543-8.
Depleted uranium in Kosovo: results of a survey by gamma spectrometry on soil samples.

Uyttenhove J, Lemmens M, Zizi M.

Ghent University, Physics Lab, Gent, Belgium.

The presence of depleted uranium in the soil of former Yugoslavia after the 1999 conflict raised great public concern all over the world. The so-called Balkan-syndrome is often linked with depleted uranium contamination. An excellent compilation of data about DU and its possible impact on health and environment can be found in the 1999 UNEP report and publications from the Swedish Radiation Protection Institute. Unfortunately, very few systematic and reliable data on the possible depleted uranium concentrations were until now available. Some of these rare data are only available on the web, without adequate information about the experimental procedure used. To clarify the situation, a systematic survey was started in the summer of 2000 as a collaborative effort between Ghent University (Physics Laboratory) and the Belgian Ministry of Defense (Medical Service). From 50 sites selected all over Kosovo, 150 soil samples were measured in the laboratory with a high-resolution gamma-spectrometer. Some sites (14) were explicitly selected based on military information on the use of depleted uranium munitions in the vicinity. After careful analysis we can conclude that there is no indication of any depleted uranium contamination on these 50 sites with a minimal detectable activity of 15 Bq; this corresponds approximately to 1 mg depleted uranium in a typical sample (100-150 g).

PMID: 12240731 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Depleted uranium ‘threatens Balkan cancer epidemic’
A-10 aircraft fired depleted uranium munitions

By Environment Correspondent Alex Kirby

A British scientist says the Americans’ use of depleted uranium weapons in the war with Serbia is likely to cause 10,000 extra deaths from cancer.

A British biologist, Roger Coghill, says he expects the depleted uranium (DU) weapons used by US aircraft over Kosovo will cause more than 10,000 fatal cancer cases.

Mr Coghill, who runs his own research laboratory in south Wales, was speaking at a London conference called to discuss the use by American and British forces of DU in Iraq in the 1991 Gulf war.

High radiation levels

He said there had been evidence in other parts of the Balkans of elevated radiation levels during and soon after the war with Serbia.

[ image: Destruction may be followed by cancer deaths]
Destruction may be followed by cancer deaths
In mid-June scientists at Kozani in northern Greece were reporting that radiation levels were 25% above normal whenever the wind blew from the direction of Kosovo.

And Bulgarian researchers reported finding levels eight times higher than usual within Bulgaria itself, and up to 30 times higher in Yugoslavia.

DU is a by-product of the enrichment of uranium for making nuclear weapons and reactor fuel. It is 1.7 times heavier than lead, and is used for making armour-piercing rounds.

Safety controversy

Both the Pentagon and the Ministry of Defence insist that it poses no significant danger. But Mr Coghill says that, while DU in its inert form is safe enough, when it strikes a target it does become a real danger.

“In an impact DU catches fire, and much of the round is turned into burning dust. The particles are extremely small, they can travel up to 300 kilometres. They are also beta-emitters, which are dangerous if inhaled.”

The particles can then lodge in the lungs, resisting the body’s attempts to flush them out, and can wreak havoc with the immune system. They can migrate to any tissue, though they often make for the kidneys.

Using calculations based on the Pentagon’s statement that one in five of the rounds fired by its A-10 aircraft over Kosovo were DU munitions, Mr Coghill estimates that more than 500,000 DU rounds were fired, of which half detonated.

He says that would have resulted in the release of about one thirty-thousandth of the amount of radiation released at Chernobyl in 1986. “But that was in the form of caesium on the ground. This is free-floating particulate matter.”

Delayed effect

Mr Coghill says the maximum effect will be reached about six months after the war, and he thinks the first cancers – probably leukaemias – will start to show up about a year after that.

“Throughout the Balkan region, I calculate that there will be an extra 10,150 deaths from cancer because of the use of DU. That will include local people, K-FOR personnel, aid workers, everyone.”

He accepts that doubts remain over the effects of DU, and says it is vital to listen to critics who suggest that the higher cancer rates seen in parts of Iraq may have been caused by chemical weapons instead.

However, Mr Coghill notes that Bosnia, where DU weapons were used in 1995, was not attacked with chemical munitions, unlike Iraq.

“No epidemiological study can ever prove causality – all it can do is show an association. For proof, you need human, animal and cellular studies. All of those have been carried out on DU, and they support the association,” says Mr Coghill.

“The total evidence is strong that DU is behind Gulf War Syndrome, and the increased rates of disease in Iraq – and in Bosnia.

“The birth deformities seen in the Gulf are identical to those seen in Bosnia, and in the children of some US service personnel who were exposed to DU.”

He says there is telling confirmation of his distrust of DU. It comes in the form of evidence submitted by radiation physicists at the University of Maryland to the US Department of Energy in April on the long-term use of DU.

“They concluded that DU should never be used in a battlefield scenario, because of its hazards to health.”

A Coghill Paper

Tel: 00 44 1495 763389 Fax: 00 44 1495 769882

The public at large, both in UK and in Yugoslavia, are unaware that 30 mm bullets being fired by A-10 anti-tank aircraft and probably all Tomahawk Cruise missiles in this action contain depleted uranium (DU).

The development of these radioactive weapons is based on the fact that uranium (atomic mass 238) is much denser than lead (atomic mass 207), and therefore its kinetic energy is sufficient to penetrate tank armour or concrete buildings more effectively than lead, prior to detonation. The design of the bullet is to incorporate a long thin cylinder of DU housed in a plastic sheath or “sabot”. This means in turn that the very small leading edge of the bullet peirces with maximum impact. The same principle is used in Tomahawk Cruise missiles, with the aim of piercing concrete obstructions rather than metal.

The bullets were used in the Gulf War , and some 1 million of them still lie in the deserts of that region where subsequently the incidence of leukaemias, cancer, and birth defects have risen sharply as a consequence of the ensuing environmental radiation. The amount of DU scattered around the Gulf war zone is given as 350 tonnes, but including the nose cones of Cruise missiles and helicopter rotors, the figure is nearer 750 tonnes.
This is 27 TBequerels of radioactivity, one fiftieth of the total alpha releases from Sellafield over its entire operating history. The same is happening in Bosnia where DU was also employed. Some 80,000 US Gulf War veterans now suffer from the so-called Gulf War syndrome, whose symptoms are identical to radiation sickness. The US military are well aware of this and are on record as confirming 2.5mGy/hr at the surface of a DU shell, a dose equivalent to a chest X-ray per hour. Each A-10 Thunderbolt 30mm cannon anti tank shell contains some 275g (10.1 Bq). A single 120mm Abrams tank DU shell contains 3kg of U-238 (111 MBq) of activity.

When DU bombs detonate, uranium oxide is formed in particulates of between 0.5 and 5 microns. These can be windborne several hundred miles or suspended electrostatically in the atmosphere. The half life of Uranium is 109 (ten to the ninth) years, so they do not decay. One “hot particle” of this DU material in the lungs is equivalent to a chest X-ray per hour for life. It is impossible to remove, so the donated lung gradually irradiates the victim until death ensues. In the use of DU both ground-based combatants and their targets are almost certain to suffer long term radiation sickness and premature death. The Pentagon view is that the short term effectiveness outweighs the long term situation, but this is in error.

The public at large are unaware that these weapons are weapons of mass destruction and have been requested to be placed, like cluster bombs, on the Geneva Convention banned list.

It is said that the unprecedented use of Cruise missiles with DU inserts in Yugoslavia will have the same effect as the Chernobyl and Mile Island disaster. Again these calculations by eminent radiation physicists are not being released to the media. In other words the action of NATO not only.
In this respect but also, since they have no UN mandate, are illegal, and likely to have a long term pernicious effect not only on that part of Europe, but on their own ground troops if deployed, and almost certainly on the refugees from the Kosovo region. This may be partly why NATO is reluctant to engage ground troops: You will see they are beginning already to wear submicron gas masks on the CNN and other news program pictures.

The Yugoslav population however, together with aid workers and ethnic Albanians are largely unprotected.

Appendix: Metal of Dishonor, 1997.

Did the Pentagon poison Iraq’s people and U.S. Soldiers with radioactive weapons? Learn about the criminal use of depleted uranium. Scientists, Gulf War veterans, leaders of environmental, anti-nuclear, anti-military and community movements discuss: a new generation of radioactive conventional weapons; the connections of Depleted Uranium to Gulf War Syndrome; the Pentagon recycling of nuclear waste–a new global threat; and an international movement to BAN all DU weapons.

In May, 1997, the International Action Center published a book of essays and lectures on depleted uranium: the contamination of the planet by the United States military. In addition to exposing the deadly duplicity of the Department of Defense, the book documents the genocide of Native Americans and Iraqis by military radiation, the connection between depleted uranium and Gulf War Syndrome, the underestimated dangers from low-level radiation, the legal ramifications of DU Production and Use, and the growing movement against DU.

Excerpted from Metal of Dishonor : How Depleted Uranium Penetrates Steel, Radiates People and Contaminates the Environment by Ramsey Clark, Helen Caldicott, Michio Kaku, and Jay Gould. Copyright © 1997. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved Preface Metal of Dishonor grew out of the work of the Depleted Uranium Education Project and the other organizations that contributed to building a meeting at the United Nations Church Center in New York on September 12, 1996. Hundreds of individuals have made Metal of Dishonor and the entire Depleted Uranium Education Project possible.

Their contributions document the hazardous, radioactive nature of depleted uranium weapons. Scientific papers, scholarly briefs, and forceful arguments-some based on talks given at the September 12 meeting-make up the articles in this book. Scientists, medical and legal experts, political analysts and community activists wrote them. This heterogeneous collection of articles, most published here for the first time, makes a strong case that depleted-uranium weapons are not only lethal to their intended targets, they are dangerous for the humans who handle them and for the present and future environment of the planet. They also show there is potential for building a movement to end this danger.

On February 27, 1997, the Pentagon admitted that eight days of logs documenting chemical exposure have “disappeared.” These logs were stored on disc and hard copy in different places. This monumental slip raises these questions: How much other information has also disappeared or been suppressed? Is an even larger coverup taking place? Is something vital about DU also being covered up? We have not yet found data that enumerate how many women, poor people, how many African American, Latino and other people of color suffer from Gulf War Syndrome. But we know that youth in Black, Latino and other communities that face racism are disproportionately pushed into the military by lack of economic opportunity in U.S. society.

Almost half the troops in the Gulf were Black and Latino. The largest number of women in military history served in the Gulf War. It is routine for both the military and the government to ignore these sectors of society regarding benefits and care. It is also that part of the population most likely to need government benefits to get any health care. We have gathered material to explain the impact of uranium mining and waste on Native American lands, the impact on peoples of the South Pacific and U.S. veterans exposed to nuclear blast sites, the impact on peoples living near nuclear reactors and the impact on peoples in the Middle East. Further research in all of these areas is needed along with research on the health and environmental consequences in areas surrounding military test sites and production facilities. Although some of the articles in Metal of Dishonor cover more than one subject, we’ve grouped them all in specific sections based on a major subject covered. For the convenience of the reader, we’ve published the more important quotes from government sources in Appendix I. And we have included a section on organizations and resources in Appendix VII that should make it easy for anyone motivated by reading this book to connect with the groups that are carrying out the struggle against DU.

We hope Metal of Dishonor will serve as an organizing tool that will contribute to the fight for an independent inquiry into the causes of Gulf War Syndrome and an eventual ban on the use of depleted-uranium weapons.

Excerpt: Foreword

What Government Documents Admit “If DU enters the body, it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences. The risks associated with DU in the body are both chemical and radiological.” “Personnel inside or near vehicles struck by DU penetrators could receive significant internal exposures.”

From the Army Environmental Policy Institute (AEPI), Health and Environmental Consequences of Depleted Uranium Use in the U.S. Army, June 1995 “Short-term effects of high doses can result in death, while long-term effects of low doses have been implicated in cancer.” “Aerosol DU exposures to soldiers on the battlefield could be significant with potential radiological and toxicological effects.”

From the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) report, included as Appendix D of AMMCOM’s Kinetic Energy Penetrator Long Term Strategy Study, Danesi, July 1990.

This report was completed six months before Desert Storm. “Inhaled insoluble oxides stay in the lungs longer and pose a potential cancer risk due to radiation. Ingested DU dust can also pose both a radioactive and a toxicity risk.”

Operation Desert Storm: Army Not Adequately Prepared to Deal With Depleted Uranium Contamination, United States General Accounting Office (GAO/NSIAD-93-90), January 1993, pp. 17-18.

What the Government Is Telling Us “The Committee concludes that it is unlikely that health effects reports by Gulf War Veterans today are the result of exposure to depleted uranium during the Gulf war.”

From the Final Report: Presidential Advisory Committee of Gulf War Veterans

Illnesses, December 1996.

Notes and references from “Depleted Uranium in the Balkans”
American University, Washington, DC, USA.

Arbuthnot, Felicity. Depleted uranium: a post-war disaster for environment and health .
Amsterdam: Laka Foundation, 1999.

Daxon, Eric G. and Jeffrey H. Musk. Assessment of the risks from imbedded fragments of depleted uranium .
Bethesda, MD: US Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, 1993.

Kirk, William S. Depleted uranium: a chapter from mineral facts and problems, 1980 edition .
Washington, DC: US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, 1981.

US Army Environmental Policy Institute Health and environmental consequences of depleted uranium use in the US Army:
technical report . Atlanta, GA: Army Environmental Policy Institute, 1995.

US National Research Council on Depleted Uranium. Trends in the use of depleted uranium: report .
Washington, DC: US National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, 1971.


1). Capella, Peter & Owen Bowcott. “NATO urged to clean up its uranium debris in Kosovo.” Guardian Unlimited Online. Jan. 2001. Online. Google. 28 Jan. 2001.
2). Ibid.
3). Wozniak, Curt. “Issue Brief: Depleted Uranium Weapons.” Physicians for Social Responsibility. July 1999. Physicians for Social Responsibility Online. Online. Google. 12 Feb. 2001.
4). Ibid.
5). Kevic, Amra. “BALKANS: Yugoslavia Accuses NATO of Wider Uranium Use.” Reuters/Boston Globe. April 1999. Boston Globe Online. Online. Google. 12 Feb. 2001.
6). Ibid.
7). Ibid.
8). Chossudovsky, Michel. “Impacts of NATO’s “humanitarian” bombings, The Balance Sheet of Destruction in Yugoslavia.” Online. Goggle. 12 Feb. 2001.
9). Ibid.
10). Ibid.
11). Wozniak, Curt. “Issue Brief: Depleted Uranium Weapons.” Physicians for Social Responsibility. July 1999. Physicians for Social Responsibility Online. Online. Google. 12 Feb. 2001.
12). Ibid.
13). Kevic, Amra. “BALKANS: Yugoslavia Accuses NATO of Wider Uranium Use.” Reuters/Boston Globe. April 1999. Boston Globe Online. Online. Google. 12 Feb. 2001.
14). Egorov, Sergey A. “The Kosovo crisis and the law of armed conflicts.” International Review of the Red Cross. 31 March 2000. International Review of the Red Cross Online. Online. Google. 28 Feb.
15). Ibid.
16). Joksimovich, Vojin. “Militarism and Ecology: NATO Ecocide in Serbia.” Mediterranean Quarterly. July 2000. Project Muse. Online. Google. 12 Feb. 2001.
17). Ibid.
18). Ibid.
19). Ibid.
20). Ibid.
21). Ibid.

When police search for murder weapon, I imagine they seek on the basis of context provided by the murder scene. There may always be more than one weapon. The minimum required is one.

Before finding that Papathanasiou K et al (Greece) found sufficient contrary evidence to place them in opposition to Sykes et al (Adelaide South Australia, Flinders University) and Scott (Los Alamos) in his interpretation of Sykes et al, let’s look again at the DOE funded experiment performed by Sykes et al.

Did it omit a significant variable? (apart from type of LET, which was determined by the constraints imposed by the design of the experiment as defined by US DOE – it was an experiment designed to study responses at low, very low, energies. Lower than a beta particle LET, lower than an Alpha LET.)
DU is an alpha emitter.

If so, what?

And regardless, are the findings of Sykes et al sufficient to warrant Scott’s conclusions?

Let’s have a look

“Borne by the USA: Remediation Agency Mandates in Tension with Continued Military contamination of Specific Sites.”

August 28, 2010

Let me start in 1945.

“If alpha emitting elements are taken into the body by inhalation or ingestion or from open wounds, serious problems such as cancer may develop.”
(Source: “Medical Response to Terrorism Preparedness and Clinical Practice,” Editor in
Chief Daniel C Keyes Editors Johnathan L Burstein Richard B Schwarz Raymond E.
Swienton, Chapter 13 Types of Radiation Explained for the Nonphysicist by Greene
Shepherd Page 138).

As for particles which emit Beta radiation: “This radiation becomes dangerous if the radioactive
material is ingested or inhaled. Some of the isotopes are retained in the body for a long
period – sometimes permanently – when the alpha or beta radiations can be
extremely dangerous, since vital organs are exposed and a cancer hazard set up.” (Source:
Alexander, Peter, “Atomic Radiation and Life”, Pelican Books, A399, 1957 Page 27)

As this hazard is based upon chance inhalation of very small radioactive particles, external
monitoring of surfaces may be an inadequate guide as to safety. For example : “…the
problem that highly active particles may be present in the air although the external dose rate
is below the recommended operative action level is not only theoretical.
” (Source: Pollanen,
R. “Nuclear Fuel Particles in the Environment – Characteristics, Atmospheric
Transport and Skin Doses”, STUK – Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, University of
Helsinki, Department of Physics, Academic Dissertation, presented May 28, 2002.
ISBN 951-712-528-3).

No amount of 2 dimensional monitoring can prevent the internalisation of small highly
dangerous particles which invisibly infect the 3 dimensional biosphere.
And so the innocent continue to suffer, though the terminology has changed from “fallout” to
“Hot Particle”.
The first implication is the severing of radiological safety knowledge. For example: “In
1943, when the first reasonable large-scale fission yields were examined by us in Berkeley,
(Seaborg and MacMillan), and it was clear that fission products would be a very great
hazard if we ever succeeded in obtaining chain reactions of military significance, the report
was labeled with the reddest of classifications. I was so horrified by the biological
conclusions (radiation hazard) of John Lawrence and Dr Stone…. In the end, if we peg away,
truth will out. Let’s not jump to the lions but gird up our loins! “.(Source: – Sir Mark
Oliphant, writing to Hedley Marston, 12.9.56 (AAS – Marston; 21), cited by Dr Roger Cross,
“Fallout – HedleyMarston and the British Bomb Tests in Australia,” R. Cross,
Wakefield Press Copyright Roger Cross, 2001, ISBN 1 86254 523 5.

Also severed was prewar research into nuclear medicine. If the research involved radioactive
substances which were identified by the Manhattan Project as relevant to either atomic fallout
or neutron induced beta emitters, the research was suppressed. (Source: Brucer, Marshall, “A
Chronology of Nuclear Medicine”. Heritage Publishers, St. Louis, 1990. Esp: “Chronology
from 1940 to 1953 – Vignettes on Manhattan District Days and Atomic Medicine.” p 259,
“The initial declassification of MED reports (Manhattan Engineering District Declassified

A third implication was the necessity to avoid international condemnation for the dropping of
the atomic bombs. Such a consequence for the United States of America should the facts of
the weapon effects become fully appreciated by the world at the time were explained to
Secretary of War Stimson of the USA on 11 June 1945 in a report authored by an expert
group comprised of 3 physicists, 3 chemists and a biologist. The report was entitled “Social
and Political Implications of Atomic Energy” by Drs James Franck, Donald Hughes, Leo
Szilard, Thorfin Hogness, Glenn Seaborg, Eugene Rabinowitch and J.J. Nickson

A fourth implication has been the denial of the chemical nature of nuclear and radiological
weapons. This consists of 1. Direct insult to DNA 2. THE FORMATION OF ABNORMAL
radiation causes water in cells to produce hydrogen peroxide and free radicals of oxygen and
(Source: Alexander, Peter, “Atomic Radiation and Life”, Pelican Books, A399, 1957,
Chapter 8 “Enter the Chemist”, pp179 – 193, in particular, page 188, “The Oxygen Effect”.
Alexander’s work cites sources such as Gray, 1946, Lea, 1947, Evans, 1952, and Pollard

A fifth implication is the downplaying of alpha and beta emitting particles in the environment
as internal hazards. For example the United States and other countries maintain that Depleted
Uranium ammunition is safe after use, that its dust poses no threat.

However: “Since the Department of Interior will retain the ultimate land management for all
of the public lands encompassing the Range, they, as well as the Air Force should be
consulted concerning the proposal to potentially disperse more than 1.5 tons of Depleted
Uranium (DU) and up to 100 pounds of Beryllium on the public lands encompassing the
” (Source: Paul J. Liebendorfer, P.E. Bureau of Federal Facilities, State of Nevada,
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Division of Environmental Protection
333 W. Nye Lane, Room 138 Carson City, Nevada 89706-0851, Letter dated July 12 1999 to
Mr. George Laskar Assistant Area Manager Department of Energy, Albuquerque Operations
office P. O. Box 5400 Albuquerque, NM 87185
“Soils Project
Soils Project analyzes contaminated surface and shallow subsurface soils on the Nevada Test
Site and the Nellis Test and Training Range, including the Tonopah Test Range.
Contamination at these sites is the result of historic nuclear detonations, weapons safety
experiments, rocket engine development, and hydronuclear tests.
The contaminants of concern are primarily americium, plutonium, depleted uranium, and
other man-made radioactive materials. In addition, there are sites where metals may be
present above regulatory limits. The U.S. Department of Energy Nevada Site Office is
working closely with the U.S. Air Force and the State of Nevada to determine what corrective
actions may be necessary.
” (Source: US Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security
Administration, U.S. DOE/NNSA – Nevada Site Office Environment Management
The nature of the fission products were well known to the Manhattan
Project by 1943. It had been Seaborg’s job (UC Berkeley and Segre’s job (Los Alamos) to identify them.
These hazards included radioactive isotopes that while posing either no or lesser harms when
outside of the body, presented grave threats to the health and safety of individuals when
internalised. Internal hazards were minimized. Hamilton was engaged under specific contract to inject these into animals and document the results. This led later to the infamous human injection trials using plutonium, a nuclear fuel. Fission products were also injected into humans where not medical benefit was expected and without informed consent of the victim. After the war the experiments continued. and even though the personnel involved subject to the Nuremberg Principles which arose post war, these Priniciples were ignored in a manner which provides a central definition for the culture of the AEC. Indeed the New York Times called Hamilton “Dr Death”, in their view, an American Mengele.
This occurred years later to after Welsome’s 1994 articles appeared in The Albuquerque Tribune/ This led to Hazel O’Leary, after confirmatory investigations of her Department (Energy) to approach President Clinton, the formation of the ACHRE, the finding of some truth, and the tendering of contracts. including the one Dr Pamela Sykes team won shortly after Clinton left office.

The main thing that was ahcieved administratively was the vast online archive of documents freely available here:

Professor Shimizu paints a detailed picture of his 1945 induced beta investigations.
Modern researchers using the same or similar soil samples found alpha radiation emitting
nuclear bomb fuel and fission products where Shimizu reports no “acceptable” alpha
radiation detection.

The control of Japanese information regarding biological, chemical and nuclear weapons was
enforced by the United States for many years. This control enabled the progress of the US
biological, chemical and nuclear weapon development in secret, while in fact the program
owed much to the information gained by the US from the Japanese biological and chemical
weapon programmes.

This secrecy has delayed independent research and possibly forced compliance on Japanese
research up until the time Professor Shimizu wrote his Paper.

In 1999 the Japanese Imperial Army Disclosure Act may have fostered more openness in
researching these inter wined topics. Captured Japanese chemical warfare documents ended up at Dugway Testing Ground and the Pentagon.

The use of Depleted Uranium weaponry continues. The inhalant sized
fine particles of pure uranium oxide produced by these weapons upon firing pose a threat to health.
This threat and the need to clean up DU affected areas of the USA continues to be a matter of
debate between levels and sections of the US Government. For example correspondence
cited reveals Depleted Uranium and other man made radioactive substances may be above
regulatory limits but that “the U.S. Department of Energy Nevada Site Office is working
closely with the U.S. Air Force and the State of Nevada to determine what corrective actions
may be necessary.”
The desire to continue Depleted Uranium use as a weapon is presently being balanced against
regulations in US Law which recognise alpha emitters as a hazard. However modern battle
tactics determine that DU weapons are fired. There is little basis for public confidence in the
United States Air Force negotiating with civil safety authorities in regard to how much DU
munitions debris it is able to deposit on test ranges.

Within this conflicted scenario, the victims of nuclear and radiological warfare are denied
recognition, and radioactive ammunition is still fired in foreign fields of combat with no such
official debate about clean up .

The vector for affliction suffered by the pre war radium dial painters – procedures for the
internalisation of alpha emitters – has in effect been weaponised in various forms.
The solution was identified by Professor Shimizu in 1982. It is up to us to gain a new sense
of ourselves and of the place of humanity within a higher context. There is light and dark in
all nations. One will not find the light if citizens simply trust the experts without questioning them and watching them.
Paul Langley
9 April 2008″

By Paul Langley This draft : 9 April 2008 First draft : 2 Nov 2006
Copyright National Library of Australia Bibliographic ID 4316228

And so Hormesis is a very handy device. Scott and others involved with the Los Alamos Labs have stated to the effect that costly cleanups of such sites can be foregone. This is advocated on the basis of the claimed health benefits conveyed to people by those sites. Scott is not a doctor. In the case of the healthy there is no medical benefit if there is no treatment. Medical treatments require informed consent. To impose them without this is a breach of the Nuremberg Principles frormulated by the Atlantioc Alliance to which the United States and England are two signatories.

This is what the implimentation of Scott’s and Syke’s views mean in my opinion.

I wonder if any of this histolry had been considered by Flinders University. Probably not.

What of the people living adjacent to the Naval Air Gunnery School at Fallon, Nevada?

A few years ago a cancer cluster appeared in Fallon, affecting young children and young adults.

After an intensive search for the cause – was it leakage from the underground Nuclear test site there? Was it wind drifted uranium dust from the firing range? was it spilt jet fuel? was it agro chemicals from the farms? was it pollution from the heavy industry? After an extensive Federal and State investigation, no cause could be found.

Google Search “Fallon Cancer Cluster”

See also

Finally, who is correct the experts concerned about human uptake of the fission product Cesium 137 found in Fish caught and consumed in the Savannah River ? (See previous post)
Or Scott from Los Alamos who states that for all the trillions spent on safety at contaminated sites, no evidence exists to say it was of benefit?

Whereas Clinton’s Administration demonstrated, as reported by the New York Tiomes, that indeed, what had been claimed to be safe by the AEC had in fact shortened thousands of lives. (See earlier post quoting that finding).

So what was the purpose of the contract let to Flinders University and how has that knowledge been deployed?
Has it been deployed in full openness in accordance with the relevant Executive Order?

Has any Agency of Public Health confirmed that exposure to Radon confers a health benefit to people as claimed by Scott of Los Alamos National Labs?

If so, why has not this been changed:

Resolving the tension between the requirement to remediate contaminated land with the military imperative to contaminate and recontaminate that land by imposing a claimed health benefit upon unfetted military preference runs smack up against Eisenhowers warning:

Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

Public Papers of the Presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960, p. 1035- 1040

“My fellow Americans:

Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.

This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.

Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.

Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the Nation.

My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and, finally, to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years.

In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the national good rather than mere partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the Nation should go forward. So, my official relationship with the Congress ends in a feeling, on my part, of gratitude that we have been able to do so much together.


We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.


Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology — global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger is poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle — with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research — these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs — balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage — balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of stress and threat. But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. I mention two only.


A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present

* and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.


Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society’s future, we — you and I, and our government — must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.


Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war — as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years — I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.


So — in this my last good night to you as your President — I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and peace. I trust that in that service you find some things worthy; as for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the future.

You and I — my fellow citizens — need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nation’s great goals.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America’s prayerful and continuing aspiration:

We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.”

So you see, one does not need make a fishing expedition to figure this thing out. The US military cannot afford to both contaminate the land and clean it up.


Human Radiation Experiments and the Nuremberg Principles:

Failure to clean up contaminated sites constitutes a breach as the failure prolongs the experiments. We are not white mice in a lab. We demand the right of informed consent.


NATO DU dust in the former Yugoslavia. Is it good for health? Does it invoke Hormesis, particularly in children?

Effects of Cooking on Radiocesium in Fish from Savannah River.

August 28, 2010


Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Volume 46, Number 2, 231-235, DOI: 10.1007/s00244-003-2314-4
Effects of Cooking on Radiocesium in Fish from the Savannah River: Exposure Differences for the Public

Joanna Burger, Karen F. Gaines, C. Shane Boring, J. Snodgrass, W. L. Stephens and M. Gochfeld

Understanding the factors that contribute to the risk from fish consumption is an important public health concern because of potential adverse effects of radionuclides, organochlorines, other pesticides, and mercury. Risk from consumption is normally computed on the basis of contaminant levels in fish, meal frequency, and meal size, yet cooking practices may also affect risk. This study examines the effect of deep-frying on radiocesium (137Cs) levels and risk to people fishing along the Savannah River. South Carolina and Georgia have issued consumption advisories for the Savannah River, based partly on 137Cs. 137Cs levels were significantly higher in the cooked fish compared to the raw fish on a wet weight basis. Mean 137Cs levels were 0.61 pCi/g (wet weight basis) in raw fish, 0.81 pCi/g in cooked–breaded, and 0.99 pCi/g in cooked–unbreaded fish. Deep-frying with and without breading resulted in a weight loss of 25 and 39%, while 137Cs levels increased by 32 and 62%, respectively. Therefore, the differences were due mainly to weight loss during cooking. However, the data suggest that risk assessments should be based on cooked portion size for contaminant analysis, or the risk from 137Cs in fish will be underestimated. People are likely to estimate the amounts of fish they eat based on a meal size of the cooked portion, while risk assessors determine 137Cs levels in raw fish. A conversion factor of at least two for 137Cs increase during cooking is reasonable and conservative, given the variability in 137Cs levels. The data also suggest that surveys determining consumption should specifically ask about portion size before or after cooking and state which was used in their methods.
© Springer, Part of Springer Science+Business Media Privacy, Disclaimer, Terms & Conditions, and Copyright Info

See also

The Savannah River Site (SRS) is a nuclear reservation in the United States in the state of South Carolina, located on land in Aiken, Allendale and Barnwell Counties adjacent to the Savannah River, 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Augusta, Georgia. The site was built during the 1950s to refine nuclear materials for deployment in nuclear weapons. It covers 310 square miles (800 km2) and employs more than 10,000 people.

“It is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The management and operating contract is held by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions LLC (SRNS), and the Liquid Waste Operations contract is held by Savannah River Remediation, which is a team of companies led by URS Corporation.

A major focus is cleanup activities related to work done in the past for the nation’s nuclear deterrent.Currently none of the reactors on-site are operating (see list of nuclear reactors), although two of the reactor buildings are being used to consolidate and store nuclear materials. SRS is also home to the Savannah River National Laboratory and the nation’s only operating radiochemical separations facility. Its tritium facilities are also the United States’ only source of tritium, an essential component in nuclear weapons. And, the nation’s only mixed oxide fuel manufacturing plant is being constructed at SRS. When operational, the MOX facility will convert legacy weapons-grade plutonium into fuel suitable for commercial power reactors.”

Obviously the conflict of interest the Advisory Committee (ACHRE) to President Clinton found in relation to the AEC continues in the DOE. Its funding of radiation research probably has an agenda.

After recieving US DOE a funded contract for studying the effects of low level external x ray exposures to mice in South Australia, the research team, led by Dr Sykes of Flinders University, published its paper. (See earlier blog entry). The FU team reported seeing responses in mice which tended to confirm Radiation Hormesis. That is, after exposure, in relation to LET (linear Energy Transfer, roughly, the impact damage caused by a track of radiation imparting energy – most specifically – to critical genetic structures within the cell nucleus) the genetic repair mechanims were seen to be stimulated.

Following the completion of the US DOE/Flinders University paper, the following paper was published at the Los Alamos National Laboratory:

“The LNT Hypothesis May Have Outlived Its Usefulness
Bobby R. Scott, Ph.D.
Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute,
Albuquerque NM, USA
Seminar, Los Alamos National Laboratory
November 10, 2005”

(Google reference:
Microsoft PowerPoint – Los_Alamos_Seminar_Nov_05_B_corrected
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
Seminar, Los Alamos National Laboratory. November 10, 2005 ….. Dr. Pamela Sykes (Flinders U., Adelaide) …

On page 8 of this paper Scott writes:
“The regulations limiting human
exposure to low-level radiation are
not known to have prevented a single
health effect in anyone despite
decades of use. But they have cost
more than $1 trillion in the U.S.

This contradicts the findings of the Clinton ACHRE, published in its Final Report. (see earlier blog quotation of the New York Times re deaths and illnesses for thousands of Manhattan Project and AEC weapons workers) And which spurred Clinton to fund more research, particularly as related to people in the US affected by nuclear weapons testing esp the “Downwinder” population. In my opinon, and as documented on DOE’s own Opennet online database, fission product fallout was the primary concern for these people, not immediate gamma. At 180 miles down wind from NTS Mercury cattle suffered beta burn. (Cronkite, AEC, 1954). This occurred due to radioactive fallout sitting on the cattle skin. The gamma and neutron burst of the bombs had no effect at 180 miles. The question remains “What was the effect of the total fission product uptake by the humans who lived with the cattle and who drank the milk and ate the meat.

Since the Sykes et al paper, Los Alamos has applied low LET external exposure dose response in mice to scenarios where humans are exposed to DOE and Los Alamos originated radiation exposures of an entirely different kind. The kind caused by eating fish caught in Savannah River to cite but one example.

Part of Scott’s justification for his statement consists of the following:

“Low-Dose, Low-LET Radiation Protects
from the Following:
• Protects against mutation induction (Pam
Sykes’ group)!
• Protects against neoplastic transformation
(Les Redpath’s group)!
• Protects against cancer occurrence
(epidemiological and animal data)!
• Extends tumor latent period (Ron
Mitchel’s group)!
• Suppresses occurrence of diseases other
than cancer (Kazuo Sakai’s group)! ”

I am familiar with the narrative provided by Prof Sakae Shimizu, one of the first scientists to survey radiation in Hiroshima in August and September 1945, until he was prevented from continuing by the Occupation Forces who confiscated his records. He became ill with radiation sickness and was bed ridden for some weeks. He coughed up blood. He was not exposed to the bomb blast, he was exposed to the immediate environs of HIroshima. He worked in the Kyoto University Lab where less than a gram of uranium was being studied. Prof Shimizu lived a long live, working in radiation related areas, including employment with the IAEA. He died aged in his 80s. He had a long and distinguished life.

Is this evidence of Radiation Hormesis at work? Did he live longer than he otherwise would have if the bomb had not been dropped ? I don’t think such a proposition is tenable.

I know a nuclear veteran who displays very potent signs of a strong immune response to radiation. It is specific and personal. I wont put the details here just yet. Its a very important story. It has to do with the man’s heart condition. (Prof Shimizu was the man who discovered the link between radiation exposure and increased risk of heart attack, something Scott of Los Alamos does not raise, probably because Scott is not a medical doctor and he is therefore reliant on the source medical data provided to him by Los Alamos. ) Let us assume this nuclear veteran is very robust in his body’s ability to repair radiation caused damage (apart from his heart). Let us assume Scott is right in his application and conclusions.

We may be happy to learn that the nuclear veteran with clear signs of “resistence” to or “protection” from the effects of radiation (apart from his heart condition) is so protected and that it was, in the view of Los Alamos via Scott, imbued in this nuclear veteran by his participation in the nuclear tests at Maralinga.

But we have to stop and remember his mates don’t we? After all, this man is the only one left out of his cohort. The rest, all of them, are dead. And many died many years ago. So could it be the radiation exposure had no beneficial effect, no Hormetic effect, for anyone? Becauae seeing as we have with us a sole survivor of a cohort, it is reasonable to suspect his survival relates more to his own body’s individual response to radiation than it does to any protective effect given him by his exposures to bombs and bomb fallout and hot particles from his work of target vehicle recovery and decontamination.

(I have to stop there. Except to ask why are the hospital records from the Maralinga and Pt Augusta Hospitals? They are sealed secret and under watch by the Federal government. Even though hospitals are State agencies.) Not such a great proof of Hormesis at the level of actual lived experience.

Following Brucer’s line of thought, and here, used without acknowledgement by Scott, (Brucer popularised the concept of Hormesis within the then AEC) one ends up at the various Institutes of Homeopathy around the world. And of course, conventional doctors have a set of views of the validity of Homeopathy. Scott is not a medical doctor.

In any event, in his paper Scott cites himself repeatedluy on 18:
Scott BR. Nonlinearity (in press, 2005b)
• Scott BR. BELLE Newsletter (in press,
• Scott BR. Radiat. Prot. Management
• Scott BR and Haque M. International J.
Low Radiation (to be submitted)

On page 38 he has a table entitled
“High-Level Radon-Associated
Protection Against Cancer”

Someone had better tell to the US EPA to pull down its very very contradictory website warning of the hazards of radon.

Scott acknowledges the following contributors (pp 54)

Dr. Galina Zhutova (SUBI, Ozersk)
• Dr. Zoya Tokarskaya (SUBI, Ozersk)
• Dr. Leslie Redpath (U. California, Irvine)
• Dr. Pamela Sykes (Flinders U., Adelaide)
• Ms. Tanya Day (Student, Flinders U.)
• Dr. Noelle Metting (DOE BER)
• Edward Calabrese (U. Mass.)
• Jennifer Di Palma (UNM student)
• Munima Haque (U. Illinois student)
• Olga Danilova (Translator, Moscow)
• Others at LRRI

On page 54 his lists his sponsor:
This work was supported by the Offices of
Science (BER) and Environmental
Management, U.S. Department of Energy,
Grant Numbers DE-FG02-ER63671 and DEFG02-

And its just a hop and a skip from there to Fallon. What do you do when you have a Land Management Task to cleanup a former test site, now a current DU ammunition firing site and where the military have a desire to continue to fire the DU while the Land Remediation section of DOE have a responsibility to clean it up? Farm the problem out to FU SA. Solution: Its good for you. Leave it there. And that has actually been said in the South Australian media. By a person involved in the DOE funded research.

Anyway, have a google for “Fallon Cancer Cluster”. I have about 1,000 pages on that tragedy. I started looking into it in 2002.

Page 54 of the Scott report consists of a Radiation Warning Symbol ( originally designed in large part by Dr Brucer) modified so that an open smile with teeth can be seen in the lower part of the symbol. Two eyes have been inserted onto the symbol at congruent placements.

I have a great deal of difficulty visualising though Mr Scott being much of a fisherman. I might be wrong.

Before I move onto the Land Remediation vs the military (as it was a few years back ) needs for the same land story, there’s another couple of references I need to throw in at this point.

The following are the Google hit descriptions following a search for “pamela sykes hormesis los alamos”

26 Dec 2002 … Pamela Sikes. Homepage: E-Mail: Referred By: …. Los Alamos, NM, US. Comments: Born 1/8/1926 on farm near Santo. ……/queries2002.htm – Cached – Similar
5. Sitemap
9780099461302 0099461307 Brownies at the Zoo, Pamela Sykes ….. Practices for Groundwater Protection at the Los Alamos National Laboratory – Final Report, … – Cached
6. [PDF]
2004 PBNC – PP (web)
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
24 Mar 2004 … Los Alamos National Laboratory. Bernadette L. Kirk ….. What Becomes of Nuclear Risk Assessment in Light of Radiation Hormesis? Jerry …. In Vivo Mutagenic Effect of VERY Low Dose Radiation, Pamela J. Sykes (Flinders … – Similar
7. [PDF]
2004 PBNC – FP (web)
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
17 Mar 2004 … Los Alamos National Laboratory. Bernadette L. Kirk …… Antone Brooks (Washington State Univ), Pamela Sykes (Flinders …
8. [PDF]
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View as HTML
by BR Scott – 2007 – Related articles
Los Alamos National. Laboratory, November 10, 2005. Invited seminar, “The LNT hypothesis vs. radiation hormesis: Implications for managing ……
Accelerator-Driven Neutron Applications Inc. Los Alamos, NM …… Hormesis, Palo Alto, CA. Connecticut Agricultural Exp, New Haven, CT … – Similar
8 Jul 2005 … UC Los efforts, told Science that the CIRM is actively looking for …… Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Advanced Computing Laboratory. ……/Science-Magazine-5732-2005-07-08 – Cached

I won’t follow Scott’s devise of citing myself. Next post will be “Land in the USA: Remediation Agency Mandates in Tension with Continued Military contamination of Specific Sites.”

There’s something fishy going on here. Having been an avid reader of anything I could lay my hands on regarding Brucer since 1999, and having read his seminal work, I have a definate view as to why it was, apart from the famous Flinders Mice, that Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, won the DOE contract which has caused such a potent implimentation of concepts described over many years by Dr Marshall Brucer, AEC. He called it “Hormesis”. See previous post showing the Clinton era finding that his stance was essentially incorrect in relation to the actual casualities among the relevant workforces. That in essence, the studies over the years (famously, Mancuso and Stewart; Lyons; Johnson, Bertell etc) were right despite AEC/DOE denials. And that’s not even taking into accout the Cesium laden fish still swimming in the Savannah River.

I bet the DOE and Los Alamos are keeping to themselves the effects of environmental hot particles on the mutation rates of viruses and bacteria.

Hormesis. The concept that if you get smacked in the face, you’ll be better off because the event stimulates repair. Course it does. Its also Common Assault. It still needs reporting to the police, because who knows what the attacker is going to be dumb enough to do next.

In no way does the above imply any wrong doing by anyone. The DOE is free to let contracts to Flinders University, Adelaide, Uranium mining capital of the Southern Hemisphere. The FU team is free to openly re brand Hormesis and extent medical concepts outside of the Flimders Medical Centre and impose them on the healthy.

Or are they? Any Doctor who emptied a vial of Metastron into the environs because diluted over the area of the lunch room it would constitute a “Hormetic Dose” would still be arrested. And not just for breaching OH&S. In the modern world, it would be viewed more seriously than that.

My premise: The experiment was tendered in the expectation that the findings would be used to justify the lowering of standards for cleanups at specific sites. Especially those sites in the USA currently used by the military where that use results in further radiological contamination, and where those sites are covered by laws which mandate that they be cleaned up. Can’t have it both was, could not do the research in the USA for obvious reasons – send it to as near the South Pole as possible = and then hit the popuilance with the Brucer scenario. AEC 1959 work culture pops back up and is still with us in 2010.

Radiation and Tobacco Related illness Part 1

August 23, 2010

Radioactive tobacco
by David Malmo-Levine (02 Jan, 2002)

It’s not tobacco’s tar which kills, but the radiation!

Cannabis is often compared to tobacco, with the damage caused by smoking tobacco given as a reason to prohibit use of cannabis. Yet most of the harms caused by tobacco use are due not to tar, but to the use of radioactive fertilizers. Surprisingly, radiation seems to be the most dangerous and important factor behind tobacco lung damage.

Radioactive fertilizer

It’s a well established but little known fact that commercially grown tobacco is contaminated with radiation. The major source of this radiation is phosphate fertilizer.1 The big tobacco companies all use chemical phosphate fertilizer, which is high in radioactive metals, year after year on the same soil. These metals build up in the soil, attach themselves to the resinous tobacco leaf and ride tobacco trichomes in tobacco smoke, gathering in small “hot spots” in the small-air passageways of the lungs.2 Tobacco is especially effective at absorbing radioactive elements from phosphate fertilizers, and also from naturally occurring radiation in the soil, air, and water.3

To grow what the tobacco industry calls “more flavorful” tobacco, US farmers use high-phosphate fertilizers. The phosphate is taken from a rock mineral, apatite, that is ground into powder, dissolved in acid and further processed. Apatite rock also contains radium, and the radioactive elements lead 210 and polonium 210. The radioactivity of common chemical fertilizer can be verified with a Geiger-Mueller counter and an open sack of everyday 13-13-13 type of fertilizer (or any other chemical fertilizer high in phosphate content).4

Conservative estimates put the level of radiation absorbed by a pack-and-a-half a day smoker at the equivalent of 300 chest X-rays every year.5 The Office of Radiation, Chemical & Biological Safety at Michigan State University reports that the radiation level for the same smoker was as high as 800 chest X-rays per year.6 Another report argues that a typical nicotine user might be getting the equivalent of almost 22,000 chest X-rays per year.7

US Surgeon General C Everett Koop stated on national television in 1990 that tobacco radiation is probably responsible for 90% of tobacco-related cancer.8 Dr RT Ravenholt, former director of World Health Surveys at the Centers for Disease Control, has stated that “Americans are exposed to far more radiation from tobacco smoke than from any other source.”9

Researchers have induced cancer in animal test subjects that inhaled polonium 210, but were unable to cause cancer through the inhalation of any of the non-radioactive chemical carcinogens found in tobacco.10 The most potent non-radioactive chemical, benzopyrene, exists in cigarettes in amounts sufficient to account for only 1% of the cancer found in smokers.9

Smoke screen

Surprisingly, the US National Cancer Institute, with an annual budget of $500 million, has no active grants for research on radiation as a cause of lung cancer.1

Tobacco smoking has been popular for centuries,11 but lung cancer rates have only increased significantly after the 1930’s.12 In 1930 the lung cancer death rate for white US males was 3.8 per 100,000 people. By 1956 the rate had increased almost tenfold, to 31 per 100,000.13 Between 1938 and 1960, the level of polonium 210 in American tobacco tripled, commensurate with the increased use of chemical fertilizers.14

Publicly available internal memos of tobacco giant Philip Morris indicate that the tobacco corporation was well aware of radiation contamination in 1974, and that they had means to remove polonium from tobacco in 1980, by using ammonium phosphate as a fertilizer, instead of calcium phosphate. One memo describes switching to ammonium phosphate as a “valid but expensive point.”15

Attorney Amos Hausner, son of the prosecutor who sent Nazi Adolf Eichmann to the gallows, is using these memos as evidence to fight the biggest lawsuit in Israel’s history, to make one Israeli and six US tobacco companies pay up to $8 billion for allegedly poisoning Israelis with radioactive cigarettes.16

image: Adbusters
image: Adbusters
Organic solutions

The radioactive elements in phosphate fertilizers also make their way into our food and drink. Many food products, especially nuts, fruits, and leafy plants like tobacco absorb radioactive elements from the soil, and concentrate them within themselves.17

The fluorosilicic acid used to make the “fluoridated water” most of us get from our taps is made from various fluorine gases captured in pollution scrubbers during the manufacture of phosphate fertilizers. This fluoride solution put into our water for “strong teeth” also contains radioactive elements from the phosphate extraction.18

Although eating and drinking radioactive products is not beneficial, the most harmful and direct way to consume these elements is through smoking them.19

The unnecessary radiation delivered from soil-damaging, synthetic chemical fertilizers can easily be reduced through the use of alternative phosphate sources including organic fertilizers.20 In one test, an organic fertilizer appeared to emit less alpha radiation than a chemical fertilizer.21 More tests are needed to confirm this vital bit of harm-reduction information.

Organic fertilizers such as organic vegetable compost, animal manure, wood ash and seaweed have proven to be sustainable and non-harmful to microbes, worms, farmers and eaters or smokers. Chemical phosphates may seem like a bargain compared to natural phosphorous, until you factor in the health and environmental costs.

To ensure that cannabis remains the safest way to get high, we must always use organic fertilizers and non-toxic pesticides. We should also properly cure the buds, take advantage of high-potency breeding and use smart-smoking devices like vaporizers and double-chambered glass water bongs. These will all help to address concern over potential lung damage far more effectively than either a jail cell or a 12-step program.

Tobacco smokers can also use this information to avoid radioactive brands of tobacco. American Spirit is one of a few companies that offers an organic line of cigarettes, and organic cigars are also available from a few companies. You can also grow your own tobacco, which is surprisingly easy and fun.

Until the public has an accurate understanding of how phosphate fertilizers carry radiation, and why commercial tobacco causes lung cancer but cannabis does not, there will be many needless tobacco-related deaths, and increased resistance to the full legalization of marijuana.


1. Winters, TH and Franza, JR. ‘Radioactivity in Cigarette Smoke,’ New England Journal of Medicine, 1982. 306(6): 364-365, web
2. Edward A Martell, PhD. ‘Letter to the Editor,’ New England Journal of Medicine, 1982. 307(5): 309-313, web
3. Ponte, Lowell. ‘Radioactivity: The New-Found Danger in Cigarettes,’ Reader’s Digest, March 1986. pp. 123-127.
4. Kilthau, GF. ‘Cancer risk in relation to radioactivity in tobacco,’ Radiologic Technology, Vol 67, January 11, 1996, web
5. Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. Website, 2001, web
6. Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Utah State University. ‘Cigarettes are a Major Source of Radiation Exposure,’ Safety Line, Issue 33, Fall 1996, web
7. Nursing & Allied Healthweek, 1996,
8. Herer, Jack. The Emperor Wears No Clothes, 11th edition, 1998. p. 110, web
9. Litwak, Mark. ‘Would You Still Rather Fight Than Switch?’ Whole Life Times, April/May, 1985. pp 11, web
10. Yuille, CL; Berke, HL; Hull, T. ‘Lung cancer following Pb210 inhalation in rats.’ Radiation Res, 1967. 31:760-774.
11. Borio, Gene. Tobacco Timeline. Website, 2001, web
12. Taylor, Peter. The Smoke Ring. Pantheon Books, NY, 1984. pp. 2-3, web
13. Smith, Lendon, MD. ‘There Ought to Be a Law,’, November 20, 1992, web
14. Marmorstein, J. ‘Lung cancer: is the increasing incidence due to radioactive polonium in cigarettes?’ South Medical Journal, February 1986. 79(2):145-50, web
15. Phillip Morris internal memo, April 2 1980. Available online at, web
16. Goldin, Megan. “‘Radioactive’ cigarettes cited in Israeli lawsuit.” Reuters, June 23, 2000.
17. Health Physics Society, ‘Naturally occuring radioactive materials factsheet,’ 1997. see also: Watters, RL. Hansen, WR. ‘The hazards implication of the transfer of unsupported 210 Po from alkaline soil to plants,’ Health Physics Journal, April 1970. 18(4):409-13, web and web
18. Glasser, George. ‘Fluoride and the phosphate connection.’ Earth Island Journal,, web
19. Watson, AP. ‘Polonium-210 and Lead-210 in Food and Tobacco Products: A Review of Parameters and an Estimate of Potential Exposure and Dose.’ Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1983. Florida Institute of Phosphate Research.
20. Burnett, William; Schultz, Michael; Hull, Carter. ‘Behavior of Radionuclides During Ammonocarbonation of Phosphogypsum.’ Florida State University, Florida Institute of Phosphate Research. March, 1995, web
21. Hornby, Paul, Dr. Personal communication, 2001.

� David Malmo-Levine: email
� American Spirit: 1-800-332-5595; web

US EPA on radioactive Tobacco
Radiation in Tobacco
RadTown USA Topics
Personal Exposure:
This page provides a brief overview of radiation in tobacco and its effect on smokers.

On this page:

* Overview
* Who is protecting you
* What can you do to protect yourself
* Resources


Every year 440,000 people die in the US from tobacco use and smoke-related diseases, which is approximately 20% of all deaths in the United States. Cigarettes kill more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined.

While not an obvious source of radiation exposure, cigarette smokers inhale radioactive material that, over time, contribute large radiation dose to the lungs. Worse, smokers are not the only ones affected by the radiation in cigarettes. Second-hand can be just as harmful to nearby non-smokers.

Naturally-occurring radioactive minerals accumulate on the sticky surfaces of tobacco leaves as the plant grows, and these minerals remain on the leaves throughout the manufacturing process. Additionally, the use of the phosphate fertilizer Apatite – which contains radium, lead-210, and polonium-210 – also increases the amount of radiation in tobacco plants.

The radium that accumulates on the tobacco leaves predominantly emits alpha and gamma radiation. The lead-210 and polonium-210 particles lodge in the smoker’s lungs, where they accumulate for decades (lead-210 has a half-life of 22.3 years). The tar from tobacco builds up on the bronchioles and traps even more of these particles. Over time, these particles can damage the lungs and lead to lung cancer.

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Who is protecting you
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

EPA’s Indoor Environments program has a voluntary smoke-free home campaign to increase awareness of secondhand smoke and the health risks of smoking indoors.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

The Office of the Surgeon General is responsible for warning labels on cigarettes and offers programs to help people stop smoking.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides information on tobacco use, promotes disease prevention, and provides educational tools for communities to take action to protect nonsmokers from second-hand tobacco smoke in public places.

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What you can do to protect yourself

To reduce the adverse effects of radiation in tobacco products:

* Do not chew tobacco or smoke (especially cigarettes without filters)
* Minimize exposure to second-hand smoke

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Smoke Free Homes and Cars Program
January 2009. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
This bilingual site provides information on second-hand smoke and creating a smoke-free environment, as well as access to bilingual materials on these topics.
Cigarette Smoking exit EPA
November 2003. American Cancer Society
This site provides information on the health effects of smoking, nicotine addiction and the benefits of quitting.
Smoking & Tobacco Use
October 2009. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
This site offers links to useful information and documents on smoking and prevention.
Tobacco Smoke
May 2009. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Radiation Protection This page answers commonly asked questions about radioactive materials in cigarettes.


Radiation Protection

Contact Us Search: All EPA This Area

* You are here: EPA Home
* Radiation Protection
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* Becoming Aware of Radiation Sources
* Tobacco Smoke

Tobacco Smoke

While cigarette smoke is not an obvious source of radiation exposure, it contains small amounts of radioactive materials which smokers bring into their lungs as they inhale. The radioactive particles lodge in lung tissue and over time contribute a huge radiation dose. Radioactivity may be one of the key factors in lung cancer among smokers†.

On this page:

* How many people are exposed to radioactivity in cigarettes?
* How does radioactive material get into a cigarette?
* What happens when I smoke a cigarette?+
* Resources

How many people are exposed to radioactivity in cigarettes?

According to the American Lung Association, there are about 48 million adult smokers in the U.S., and 4.8 million adolescent smokers. This means that the U.S., population, directly exposed to radioactivity in cigarette smoke, is approximately 53 million.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80 percent of adult tobacco users started smoking as teens; 35 percent had become daily smokers by age 18. Thirty nine percent of adult smokers smoke one pack of cigarettes per day, and 20% smoke more than a pack a day.

Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S., with 440,000 deaths per year attributed to smoking. And, there are 123,000 lung cancer deaths annually attributed to smoking cigarettes. Nearly 1 of every 5 deaths is related to smoking, more than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined.

In addition to smokers, those exposed to secondhand or side-stream smoke have been shown to risk disease as well. In some studies, it has been found that side-stream or secondhand smoke is two to five times more concentrated in some carcinogens than the mainstream smoke inhaled by a smoker. Each year, approximately 3,000 nonsmoking adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing the smoke of others’ cigarettes. Environmental tobacco smoke also causes an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 deaths from heart disease in people who are not current smokers. Secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemical compounds, including 69 known carcinogens such as formaldehyde, lead, arsenic, benzene, and radioactive polonium 210.

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How does radioactive material get into a cigarette?

The tobacco leaves used in making cigarettes contain radioactive material, particularly lead-210 and polonium-210. The radionuclide content of tobacco leaves depends heavily on soil conditions and fertilizer use.

Soils that contain elevated radium lead to high radon gas emanations rising into the growing tobacco crop. Radon rapidly decays into a series of solid, highly radioactive metals (radon decay products). These metals cling to dust particles which in turn are collected by the sticky tobacco leaves. The sticky compound that seeps from the trichomes is not water soluble, so the particles do not wash off in the rain. There they stay, through curing process, cutting, and manufacture into cigarettes.Lead-210 and Polonium-210 can be absorbed into tobacco leaves directly from the soil. But more importantly, fine, sticky hairs (called trichomes) on both sides of tobacco leaves grab airborne radioactive particles.
For example, phosphate fertilizers, favored by the tobacco industry, contain radium and its decay products (including lead-210 and polonium-210). When phosphate fertilizer is spread on tobacco fields year after year, the concentration of lead-210 and polonium-210 in the soil rises.

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What happens when I smoke a cigarette?

Research indicates that lead-210 and polonium-210 are present in tobacco smoke as it passes into the lung. The concentration of lead-210 and polonium-210 in tobacco leaf is relatively low, however, this low concentration can accumulate into very high concentrations in the lungs of smokers.

As it passes into the lungs, the smoke impacts the branches of the lung passages, called bronchioles, where the branches split. Tar from tobacco smoke builds up there, and traps lead-210 and polonium-210 against the sensitive tissues of the bronchioles. Studies show filters on ordinary commercial cigarette remove only a modest amount of radioactivity from the smoke inhaled into the lungs of smokers. Most of what is deposited is lead-210, but polonium-210 (whose half life is about 138 days) quickly grows in as the lead-210 (half life = 22.3 years) decays and becomes the dominant radionuclide. Over time, the concentration of polonium-210 directly on tissues of the bronchioles grows very high, and intense localized radiation doses can occur at the bronchioles.

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Cancer Facts & Figures 2008 Exit EPA Disclaimer
August 2008 – American Cancer Society
Trends in Tobacco Use Exit EPA Disclaimer
August 2008 – American Lung Association
Source of Lead-210 and Polonium-210 in Tobacco Exit EPA Disclaimer
August 2008
2004 Surgeon General’s Report—The Health Consequences of Smoking Exit EPA Disclaimer
August 2008
The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General
August 2008
Statement by American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, American Heart Association and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Exit EPA Disclaimer
August 2008
Radioactivity in Tobacco Leaves
August 2008

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†There is very little information concerning radioactivity in cigar, pipe, or smokeless tobacco, or on the potential health effects from radioactivity in tobacco products other than cigarettes.

What does all this say about the Radiation Hormesis in the real world applied to humans and not mice Pam Sykes lab?
Winters-TH, Franza-JR, Radioactivity in Cigarette Smoke, New England Journal of Medicine, 1982; 306(6): 364-365

To the Editor: During the 17 years since the Surgeon General’s first report on smoking, intense research activity has been focused on the carcinogenic potential of the tar component of cigarette smoke. Only one definite chemical carcinogen — benzopyrene — has been found. Conspicuous because of its absence is research into the role of the radioactive component of cigarette smoke.

The alpha emitters polonium-210 and lead-210 are highly concentrated on tobacco trichomes and insoluble particles in cigarette smoke (1). The major source of the polonium is phosphate fertilizer, which is used in growing tobacco. The trichomes of the leaves concentrate the polonium, which persists when tobacco is dried and processed.

Levels of Po-210 were measured in cigarette smoke by Radford and Hunt (2) and in the bronchial epithelium of smokers and nonsmokers by Little et al. (3) After inhalation, ciliary action causes the insoluble radioactive particles to accumulate at the bifurcation of segmental bronchi, a common site of origin of bronchogenic carcinomas.

In a person smoking 1 1/2 packs of cigarettes per day, the radiation dose to the bronchial epithelium in areas of bifurcation is 8000 mrem per year — the equivalent of the dose to the skin from 300 x-ray films of the chest per year. This figure is comparable to total-body exposure to natural background radiation containing 80 mrem per year in someone living in the Boston area.

It is a common practive to assume that the exposure received from a radiation source is distributed throughout a tissue. In this way, a high level of exposure in a localized region — e.g. bronchial epithelium — is averaged out over the entire tissue mass, suggesting a low level of exposure. However, alpha particles have a range of only 40 um in the body. A cell nucleus of 5 to 6 um that is traversed by a single alpha particle receives a dose of 1000 rems. Thus, although the total tissue dose might be considered negligible, cells close to an alpha source receive high doses. The Po-210 alpha activity of cigarette smoke may be a very effective carcinogen if a multiple mutation mechanism is involved.

Radford and Hunt have determined that 75 per cent of the alpha activity of cigarette smoke enters the ambient air and is unabsorbed by the smoker, (2) making it available for deposit in the lungs of others. Little et al. have measured levels of Po-210 in the lungs of nonsmokers that may not be accounted for on the basis of natural exposure to this isotope.

The detrimental effects of tobacco smoke have been considerably underestimated, making it less likely that chemical carcinogens alone are responsible for the observed incidence of tobacco-related carcinoma. Alpha emitters in cigarette smoke result in appreciable radiation exposure to the bronchial epithelium of smokers and probably secondhand smokers. Alpha radiation is a possible etio- logic factor in tobacco-related carcinoma, and it deserves further study.

Thomas H. Winters, M.D.
Joseph R. Di Franza, M.D.
University of Massachusetts Medical Center
Worcester, Ma 01605

1. Martell EA. Radioactivity of tobacco trichomes and insoluble cigarette smoke particles. Nature. 1974; 249:215-7.
2. Radford EP Jr, Hunt VR. Polonium-210: a volatile radioelement in cigarettes. Science. 1964; 143:247-9
3. Little JB, Radford EP Jr, McCombs HL, Hunt VR. Distribution of polonium-210 in pulmonary tissues of cigarette smokers. N Engl J Med. 1965; 273:1343-51.

NEJM 307(5):309-313.

To the Editor: In a letter in the Feb 11 issue, Winters and DiFranza (1) correctly point out that alpha radiation from polonium-210 is a possible causal factor in tobacco-related carcinoma, but they incorrectly state that “inhaled” Po210 is a factor and that research on this important possibility has been neglected. I will briefly review recent pertinent research.

Radford and Hunt (2) first suggested that alpha radiation from Po210 in cigarette smoke may be important in the genesis of bronchial cancer. Little et al. (3) found surprisingly high concentrations of Po210 at single bronchial bifurcations in seven of 37 cigarette smokers. Holtzman and others (4 – 6) raised doubts about the validity of these observations because inhaled volatile Po210 is soluble and rapidly cleared. Subsequently, I determined (7) that lead-210 (a beta-emitting precursor of Po210) is highly concentrated in tobacco trichomes and that trichome combustion in burning cigarettes produces insoluble, Pb210-enriched particles in mainstream smoke. Thus, the high concentrations of Po210 observed at segmental bifurcations (4 – 6) can be explained by the persistence of insoluble, Pb210-enriched particles deposited at bifurcations and by the ingrowth of Po210 in these particles. (7,8) Radford and Martell (9) confirmed that the excess Po210 in the bronchial epithelium of smokers is accomplished by a larger excess of Pb210.

Fleischer and Parungo (10) provided experimental evidence indicating that radon decay products and Pb210 are concentrated on trichome tips. Mechanisms of accumulation of Pb210 on tobacco trichomes are discussed by Martell and Poet. (11)

Two recent studies (12,13) indicate that alpha radiation from inhaled indoor radon progeny may explain the incidence of lung cancer in nonsmokers. Martell and Sweder (14) report that indoor radon decay products that pass from the room air through burning cigarettes into mainstream smoke are present in large, insoluble smoke particles that are selectively deposited at bifurcations. Thus, the smoker receives alpha radiation at bronchial bifurcations from these three sources: from indoor radon progeny inhaled between cigarettes, from Po214 in mainstream smoke particles, and from Po210 that grows into Pb210 enriched particles that persist at bifurcations. I estimate that the cumulative alpha dose at the bifurcations of smokers who die of lung cancer is about 80rad (1600rem) — a dose sufficient to induce malignant transformations by alpha interactions with basal cells.

Edward A Martell, Ph.D.
National Center for Atmospheric Research
Boulder, CO 80307

1. Winters TH, DiFranza JR. Radioactivity in Cigarette Smoke. NEJM 1982 306:364-365
2. Radford EP, Hunt VR. Polonium-210: a volatile radioelement in cigarettes. Science. 1964; 143:247-249
3. Little JB, Radford EP, McCombs HL, Hunt VR. Distribution of polonium-210 in pulminary tissues of cigarette smokers. NEJM. 1965; 273:1343-1351
4. Holtzman RB, Ilcewicz FH. Lead-210 and polonium-210 in tissues of cigarette smokers. Science. 1966; 153:1259-1260
5. Little JB, Radford EP. Polonium-210 in bronchial epithelium of cigarette smokers. Science. 1967; 155:606
6. Holtzman RB. Polonium-210 in bronchial epithelium of cigarette smokers. Science. 1967; 155:607
7. Martell EA. Radioactivity in tobacco trichomes and insoluble cigarette smoke particles. Nature. 1974; 249:215-7
8. Martell EA. Tobacco radioactivity and cancer in smokers. Am Sci. 1975; 63:404-412
9. Radford EP, Martell EA. Polonium-210: lead-210 ratios as an index of residence times of insoluble particles from cigarette smoke in bronchial epithelium. In: Walton WH, ed. Inhaled particles, part 2. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1977:567-580
10. Fleischer RL, Parungo FP. Aerosol particles on tobacco trichomes. Nature. 1974; 250:158-159
11. Martell EA, Poet SE. Radon Progeny on Biological Surfaces and their effects. In: Vohra KG, et al., eds. Proceedings, Bombay Symposium on Natural Radiation in the Environment. New Delhi: Wiley Eastern Ltd., 1982
12. Evans RD, Harley JH, Jacobi W, Mclean AS, Mills WA, Stewart CG. Estimate risk from environmental exposure to radon-222 and its decay products. Nature. 1981;290;98-100
13. Harley NH, Pasternack BS. A model for predicting lung cancer risks induced by environmental levels of radon daughters. Health Phys. 1981; 40:307-16.
14. Martell EA, Sweder KS. The roles of polonium isotopes in the etiology of lung cancer in cigarette smokers and uranium miners. In: Gomez M, ed. Proceedings of a symposium on radiation hazards in mining. New York: American Institute of Mining Engineers, 1982:383-389.

To the Editor: The presence of Po210 and Pb210 in cigarette smoke may help to explain a paradox found in smokers of low-tar, low-nicotine cigarettes.

Hammond et al. (1) noted that the number of deaths from lung cancer was greater in subjects who smoked 20 to 39 low-tar, low-nicotine cigarettes a day than in those who smoked one to 19 high-tar, high-nicotine cigarettes a day. Thus, the number of cigarettes smoked may be more important than their tar and nicotine content.

Two features of low-tar low-nicotine cigarettes that help to reduce the amounts of tar in inhaled smoke may have little effect or adverse effects on the amounts of Po210 and Pb210 in inhaled smoke. In the first place, the use of higher porosity paper and perforated filters may enhance the completeness of combustion. Although this may decrease the tar and nicotine content in inhaled smoke, it may increase the pyrolysis of trichomes, resulting in smoke particles with higher specific activities of Pb210. Secondly, cigarette filters have been shown to have no noticeable protective effect against Po210 inhalation. (2) If Po210 and Pb210 contribute to tobacco related cancer, then the number of cigarettes smoked may be more important than the tar or nicotine content.

Although intensive effort has been successful in producing low-tar, low-nicotine cigarettes, perhaps future research should be aimed toward the development of low Po210, low Pb210 cigarettes.

Jeffrey I. Cohen M.D.
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC 27710

1. Hammond EC, Garfinkel L, Seidman H, Lew EA. Some Recent findings concerning cigarette smoking. In: Origins of Human Cancer. New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1977:101-112
2. Rajewski B, Stahlholfen W. Polonium-210 activity in the lungs of cigarette smokers. Nature. 1966; 209:1312-1313

To the Editor: Contrary to the contention of Winters and DiFranza that research into the carcinogenic potential of the radioactive component of cigarette smoke is conspicuous by its absence, we and others have studied and reported on this risk since the theory was first proposed by Radford and Hunt in 1964. (1) Within five years of the initial report that the radioactive alpha emitter Po210 was present in mainstream smoke and in samples of bronchial epithelium from cigarette smokers, results from over two dozen related studies were published. The source of the Po210 and Pb210 (The beta emitter Pb210 is the long lived precursor that supports the Po210) was investigated, (2) the contents of these nuclides in various tobaccos documented, (3) the fraction transferred to the mainstream or sidestream smoke (or both) determined, (4) and the concentration in the whole lungs of smokers and nonsmokers measured. (5)

Measurements made with cigarette smoke condensate demonstrate that although radium and thorium are also present in cigarette smoke, 99% of the alpha activity is from Po210. (6) Measurements of the whole lungs of smokers and exsmokers show that the inhaled Po210 is retained in the lower lung. (7)

A relatively new detection technique using nuclear-track-etch film has allowed us to determine the amount and microdistribution of alpha activity on the bronchial mucosa in fresh autopsy specemins. (8) We examined about one-fourth of the upper respiratory tract in each of seven persons (Three smokers, two exsmokers, and two nonsmokers). A few areas of slightly elevated alpha activity were found in each of the bronchial trees examined except that of one young smoker, in which efficient bronchial clearance would be expected. The average dose rate to the basal cells of the bronchial epithelium from alpha activity in these seven persons ranged from 2.0 to 40mrem per year. For comparison, the natural background dose from inhaled radon-daughter alpha activity is about 2000mrem per year. One area of a few square millimeters, containing markedly elevated activity, was found in the bronchii of an older smoker. This area could deliver an annual dose of about 20,000mrem, comparable to the results originally reported by Bradford and Hunt. This activity can lead to a lifetime dose similar to the alpha dose that appears to yield an elevated risk of lung cancer in underground miners. However, the total dose cannot be calculated, since the residence time of such an alpha emitting spot on the bronchial tree is not known.

The importance of proper assessment of the risk to cigarette smokers from radionuclides in the smoke cannot be overstated. In view of the present knowledge, it is improbable that a single area of a few square millimeters of high alpha activity in the bronchial tree is important. Nonetheless, Po210 is the only component in cigarette smoke tar that has produced cancers by itself in laboratory animals as a result of inhalation exposure. (9)

We firmly believe that the role of alpha radiation in tobacco related carcinogenesis deserves further study. The techniques to define its role in this disease are now available.

Beverly S. Cohen, Ph.D.
Naomi H. Harley, Ph.D.
New York University School of Medicine
New York, NY 10016

1. Radford EP, Hunt R. Polonium-210: a volatile radioelement in cigarettes. Science. 1964; 143:247-249
2. Tso TC, Harley NH, Alexander LT. Source of Pb210 and Po210 in tobacco. Science. 1966; 153:880-882
3. Black SC, Bretthauer EW. Polonium in tobacco. Radiat Health Data Rep. 1968;9:145
4. Ferri ES, Christiansen H. Lead-210 in tobacco and cigarette smoke. Public Health Rep. 1967; 82:828
5. Hill CR. Polonium-210 in man. Nature 1965; 208:423-428
6. Cohen BS, Eisenbud M, Harley NH. Alpha radioactivity in cigarette smoke. Radiat Res. 1979;83:190-196
7. Cohen BS, Eisenbud M, Wrenn ME, Harley NH. Distribution of polonium-210 in the human lung. Radiat Res. 1979;79:162-168
8. Cohen BS, Eisenbud M, Harley NH. Measurement of the alpha activity on the mucosal surface of the human bronchial tree. Health Phys. 1980:619-632.
9. Yuille CL, Berke HL, Hull T. Lung cancer following Pb210 inhalation in rats. Radiat Res. 1967;31:760-774

To the Editor: The letter of Winters and DiFranza has renewed the earlier suggestion that the radioisotope Po210 may have an important role in the induction of lung cancer in smokers. In particular, it is claimed that the radionuclide may be deposited very inhomogeneously in the bronchial epithelium, in the form of a limited number of relatively “hot” particles, and that such hot particles may be much more effective carcinogenically than the same amount of radioactivity would be if it were more uniformly distributed. The basis of both these claims must be questioned.

Evidence on the question of the carcinogenicity of hot particles has been reviewed by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, (1) which found the actual situation to be just the reverse of that suggested by the correspondents. The evidence cited for the actual formation of hot particles (2) comes from a study of the Po210 in a series of several very small samples of bronchial epithelium (usually less than 25mg) collected from smokers’ lungs. In these measurements, the activities in individual samples were so low that for a proportion at least, only about 20 counts were recorded in a counting period of three to seven days against a background of 40 counts. Proper analysis of the statistical validity of these observations was not given by the original authors and is not possible from their reported data. Contrary evidence, not cited by the correspondents, is provided by a somewhat earlier paper (3) that reported the results of auto radiographic examination of excised segments of bronchial epithelium; this study found no evidence of surface concentrations of alpha activity of more than 0.01pCi per square centimeter, corresponding to a mean dose rate of about 10mrem per year. Finally, the correspondents’ suggestion that the “major source of the polonium is phosphate fertilizer” is not substantiated and is at variance with published data (3,4) indicating that it originates as atmospheric fallout of the decay products of natural radon-222.

C.R. Hill, M.D.
Institute of Cancer Research
Royal Marsden Hospital
Sutton, Surrey SM2 5PX,

1. International Commission on Radiological Protection. Biological effects of inhaled radionuclides, ICRP Publication 31, Section G, 86-92. Ann ICRP. 1980;4 (No. 1/2)
2. Little JB, Radford EP, McCombs HL, Hunt VR. Distribution of polonium-210 in pulminary tissues of cigarette smokers. NEJM 1965;273:1343-1351
3. Hill CR. Polonium-210 in man. Nature. 1965; 208:423-428
4. Hill CR. Lead-210 and polonium-210 in grass. Nature, 1960; 187:211-212

To the Editor: The Surgeon General’s recent denunciation of tobacco smoking and the American Cancer Society’s pessimistic prognosis that lung cancer will be the number one cause of death from cancer in women by 1985 (1) provide timely emphasis on the recent NEJM letter on radioactive alpha emitters in tobacco smoke. Some of the further study encouraged by Winters and DiFranza has in fact been performed, yielding results far more foreboding than expected.

In two separate studies, Little et al. (2,3) have induced respiratory tumors in hamsters by intratracheal instillation of Po210 in various amounts down to less than one-fifth that inhaled by a heavy cigarette smoker (one who consumes two packs a day) during 25 years. The incidence of tumors at the lowest dose was 13%, including borderline carcinomas, and was 11% for frankly malignant tumors.

Contrary to the expected results of most radiobiologists, dose reduction did not result in either a constant dose-response ratio (the linear response hypothesis) or a larger dose-response ratio (The threshold or sigmoid hypothesis) but instead produced a marked decrease in the dose-response ratio. In one study, a reduction in activity from 0.700microCi of Po210 instilled to 0.00375microCi of Po210 instilled — about a two hundred-fold decrease — resulted in a decrease in the incidence of tumors from 61% to 13% (including borderline cases) — only a fourfold decrease.

This decrease in the dose-response ratio with decreasing dose has also been observed in other studies of the effects of low dose alpha radiation and other radiation particles with high linear energy transfer (LET). In a study of osteosarcoma induction by alpha radiation, Muller et al. (4) had over a 100-fold decrease in the dose-response ratio from their highest dose (1500rad) to their lowest dose (15rad). For neutron radiation, Rossi et al. (5) found similar results, with leukemia induction having the smallest dose-response ratio in the lowest dose in survivors of the atomic bomb. Similarly, Hall et al. (6) found that both dose protraction and dose reduction for neutron radiation increased the cell-lethality-dose ratio of hamster cells in vitro.

The importance of these results with low dose irradiation by high LET particles should not be overlooked. Doses in the range of several thousand to 10^5 rad have generally been necessary for the experimental induction of lung cancer by beta or gamma radiation (with low LET), (7,8) as compared with the studies by Little et al., in which the lowest dose of 15rad (0.00375microCi in the lung volume for the lifetime of the hamsters) induced cancer at an incidence of about 13%.

Presumably, the high density of ionization along the track of alpha radiation (about one ion pair for every 2 Angstrom traveled) and other high-LET radiation is the prime factor causing Po210 to be an extremely efficient carcinogen.

Clearly, further work is warranted in this area, but we should not hesitate to disseminate the information already at hand — that the alpha-radiation exposure to the lungs of tobacco smokers is extremely important.

Walter L. Wagner, B.A.
Veterans Administration
Medical Center
San Francisco, CA 94121

1. American Cancer Society. Ca: a cancer journal for clinicians. Jan/Feb 1981;Vol 31, No. 1
2. Little JB, Kennedy AR, McGandy RB. Lung cancer induced in hamsters by low doses of alpha radiation from polonium-210. Science. 1975; 188:737-738
3. Little JB, O’Toole WF. Respiratory tract tumors in hamsters induced by benz(a)pyrene and Po210 radiation. Cancer Res. 1974; 34:3026-3039
4. Muller WA, Gossner W, Hug O, Luz A. Late effects after incorporation of the short-lived alpha-emitters Ra224 and Th227 in mice. Health Phys. 1978; 35:33-55
5. Rossi HH, Mays CW. Leukemia risk from neutrons. Health Phys. 1978; 34:355-360
6. Hall EJ, Rossi HH, Roizin LA. Low-dose-rate irradiation of mammalian cells with radium and californium-252. Radiology. 1971; 99:445-451
7. Cember H. Radiogenic Lung Cancer. Prog Exp Tumor Res. 1964; 4:251.
8. Sanders CL, Thompson RC, Blair WJ. CITE>AEC Symp Ser. 1970; 18:285.

To the editor: The letter by Winters and DiFranza rivets much needed attention on the earlier finding of Radford and Hunt, (1) which is crucial to an understanding of the pathogenesis of smoking diseases. (2,3)

Although Winters and DiFranza tellingly describe the mechanisms by which Po210 on insoluble particles in cigarette smoke causes lung cancer, they neglect the even more important matter of how Po210 and other mutagens from tobacco smoke cause malignant neoplasms, degenerative cardiovascular diseases, and other diseases throughout the body of smokers (Table 1).
Effects of Smoking on Tissues Directly and Indirectly Exposed to Radiation in Current Cigarette Smokers*
Cause of Death Number of Deaths Observed/Expected (ratio)
Observed Expected
All causes 36,143 20,857 1.73
Emphysema 1,201 81 14.83
Of directly exposed tissue 3,061 296 10.34
– Of buccal cavity 110 26 4.23
– Of pharynx 92 7 13.14
– Of larynx 94 8 11.75
– Of lung and bronchus 2,609 231 11.29
– Of esophagus 156 24 6.50
Of indirectly exposed tissue 4,547 3,292 1.38
– Of stomach 390 257 1.52
– Of intestines 662 597 1.11
– Of rectum 239 215 1.11
– Of liver and biliary passages 176 75 2.35
– Of pancreas 459 256 1.79
– Of prostate 660 504 1.31
– Of kidney 175 124 1.41
– Of bladder 326 151 2.16
– Of brain 160 152 1.05
– Malignant lymphomas 370 347 1.07
– Leukemias 333 207 1.61
– All other cancers 597 407 1.47
All cardiovascular diseases 21,413 13,572 1.58
– Coronary heart disease 13,845 8,787 1.58
– Aortic aneurysm 900 172 5.23
– Cor pulmonale 44 8 5.50
– All other cardiovascular 6,624 4,605 1.44
Ulcer of stomach, duodenum or jejenum 289 93 3.10
Cirrhosis of liver 404 150 2.69
*Data adapted from Rogot and Murray. (4)

Volatilized, soluble Po210, produced at the burning temperature of cigarettes, (1) is cleared from the bronchial mucosa at the expense of the rest of the body, being absorbed through the pulmonary circulation and carried by the systemic circulation to every tissue and cell, causing mutations of cellular genetic structures, deviation of cellular characteristics from their optimal normal state, accelerated aging, and early death from a body-wide spectrum of diseases, reminiscent of the disease and mortality patterns afflicting early radiologists and others with long-term exposure to x-rays and other forms of ionizing radiation. (5,6)

The proof of circulating mutagens from smoking is that Po210 and other mutagens can be recovered not only from tobacco smoke and bronchial mucosa, but also from the blood and urine of smokers. (1,7)

R.T. Ravenholt M.D., M.P.H.
Centers For Disease Control
Washington Office
Rockville, MD 20857

1. Radford EP Jr, Hunt VR. Polonium-210: a volatile radioelement in cigarettes. Science. 1964; 143:247-249
2. Ravenholt RT. Malignant cellular evolution: an analysis of the causation and prevention of cancer. Lancet. 1966; 1:523-526
3. Ravenholt RT, Lavinski MJ, Nellist D, Takenaga M. Effects of smoking upon reproduction. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1966; 96:267-281
4. Rogot E., Murray JL. Smoking and causes of death among U.S. veterans: 16 years of observation. Public Health Rep. 1980:213-222
5. Warren S. Longevity and causes of death from irradiation in physicians. JAMA. 1956; 162:464-468
6. National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. Long term effects of ionizing radiation from external sources. Washington D.C.: National Research Council, 1961.
7. Office on Smoking and Health. Smoking and Health: a report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: Office on smoking and health, 1979. (DHEW publication no. [PHS]79-50066).

To the editor: We concur with Drs. Winters and DiFranza that the scientific and medical community as well as public health officials should be more concerned with the detrimental effects of cigarette smoking. Reviews on the carcinogenic effect of cigarette smoke are made available to United States physicians at regular intervals through the Surgeon General’s reports entitled Smoking and Health. (1) From these reports it is clear that benzo(a)pyrene is by far not the only carcinogen identified in cigarette smoke. Benzo(a)pyrene serves merely as an indicator for the wide spectrum of carcinogenic polycyclic hydrocarbons, all of which are pyro synthesized by the same mechanism during smoking. Aside from these hydrocarbons, cigarette smoke contains other carcinogens such as aza-arenes, aromatic amines (including beta-napthylamine), nickel, volatile nitrosamines, and especially tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines. (1-3) The N-nitrsamine compounds are formed by nitrosation of nicotine and other alkaloids; their concentrations in tobacco and smoke exceed those of nitrosamines found in other consumer products by at least several hundred fold. These nitrosamines are probably formed from nicotine in vivo. (2,3) Above all, one needs to consider that the carcinogenic potential of tobacco is a composite effect of tumor initiators, tumor promoters, or co-carcinogens, and organ-specific carcinogens. (1,2)

Dietrich Hoffmann, Ph.D.
Ernst L. Wynder, M.D.
American Health Foundation
New York, NY 10017

1. Office on smoking and health. Smoking and Health: a report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: Office on smoking and health, 1979. (DHEW Publication No. [PHS]79-50066)
2. Wynder EL, Hoffman D. Tobacco and health: a societal challenge. NEJM 1979; 300:894-903
3. Hofmann D, Adams JD, Brunnemann KD, Hecht DD. Formation, occurrence and carcinogenesity of N-nitrosamines in tobacco products. Am. Chem. Soc. Symp. Ser. 1981; 174:247-273

To the editor: We thank Dr. Martell and Drs. Cohen and Harley for their reviews of the literature. Judging by the response to our original letter, research into the radioactive component has been in progress since the early 1960’s, but the existence of this research is largely unknown outside a small segment of the scientific community. We were gratified to receive hundreds of phone calls from smokers who quit on learning about the alpha radiation in cigarette smoke.

Hill examined the lungs of only two smokers old enough to have metaplastic lesions. In addition, he analyzed whole bronchial specemins weighing 5g to 15g, of which only 2% by weight was epithelium. His result of 0.007 pCi per gram of tissue is in reasonable agreement with Little’s result of 0.012pCi per gram of whole bronchus and thus does not disprove the existence of hot spots. In addition, the accumulation of Pb210 on tobacco leaves is from natural and unnatural radon-222 decay products and from phosphate fertilizers.

We thank Dr. Wagner for pointing out that alpha radiation now appears to be 1000 times more carcinogenic than gamma radiation. Standard practice reguards alpha radiation as only 10 to 20 times as carcinogenic as gamma radiation.

The growing list of malignant diseases associated with smoking, presented by Dr. Ravenholt, begs for causal explanation. Smokers have higher levels of Po210 in the lungs, bone blood and urine. (1-3) Higher levels of Po210 have been consistently found in smokers in the liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas, and gonads. (4,5) A study with an adequate number of subjects would probably demonstrate a significant difference. The Po210 must be strongly considered as a cause of these cancers.

Drs. Cohen and Harley report finding one “hot spot” on studying the alpha activity of alpha Po210 in tracheal autopsy specemins of seven people, three of whom were smokers. (6) This supports Little and his colleagues’ previous findings of :hot spots” in 7 out of 37 smokers.

We thank Drs. Hoffmann and Wynder for correcting us about the variety of chemical carcinogens present in cigarette smoke. It is possible that chemicals and Po210 act as cocarcinogens in the following manner. Chemical and possibly physical agents create metaplastic nonciliated epithilial lesions. Auerbach demonstrated such lesions in 100% of heavy smokers. (7) The Po210 present on insoluble particles gains entrance to epithelial cells in such non-ciliated areas of mucous stagnation. Ingrowth of Po210 from the decay of Pb210 results in high doses of alpha radiation to already metaplastic cells. (8) Continued smoking ensures a steady delivery of Pb210 to these stagnant sites. Little and his co-workers have demonstrated synergism between benzo(a)pyrene and Po210 in an animal model. (9)

In view of the potential role of alpha radiation in a variety of tobacco related neoplasias, we believe that this area deserves more intense research. We find it surprising that the National Cancer Institute, with an annual budget of $500 million, has no active grants on alpha radiation as a cause of lung cancer (National Cancer Institute: personal communication).

We have found when educating smokers that more are encouraged to quit as they learn of the presence of radiation in cigarette smoke.

Joseph R. DiFranza, M.D.
Thomas H. Winters, M.D.
University of Massachusetts Medical Center
Worcester, MA 01605


1. Little JB, Radford EP Jr, McCombs HL, Hunt VR. Distribution of polonium-210 in pulminary tissues of cigarette smokers. NEJM 1965; 273:1343-1351
2. Radford EP Jr, Hunt VR. Polonium-210: a volatile radioelement in cigarettes. Science. 1964; 143:247-249
3. Holtzman RB, Ilcewicz FH. Lead 210 and Po210 in tissues of cigarette smokers. Science. 1966; 153:1259-1260
4. Blanchard RL. Concentrations of Pb210 and Po210 in human soft tissues. Health Phys. 1967; 13:625-632.
5. Hill CR. Polonium 210 in man. Nature. 1965; 208:423-428
6. Cohen BS, Eisenbud M, Harley NH. Measurement of the alpha radioactivity on the mucosal surface of the human bronchial tree. Health Phys. 1980; 619-32
7. Auerbach O, Stout AP, Hammond EC, Garfinkel L. Changes in bronchial epithelium in relation to cigarette smoking and in relation to lung cancer. NEJM 1961; 265:253-67
8. Radford EP, Martell EA. Polonium 210/Lead 210 ratios as an index of residence times of insoluble particles from cigarette smoke in bronchial epithelium. In: Walton WH, ed. Inhaled Particles. IV. Part 2, Oxford, Pergamon Press, 1977:567-580
9. Little JB, McGrandy RB, Kennedy AR. Interactions between polonium 210 alpha radiation, benzo(a)pyrene, and 0.9% NaCl instillations in the induction of experimental lung cancer. Cancer Res. 1978; 38:1929-1935.

Dr Gofman and the AEC – Exclusion and Repression

August 20, 2010

Oral History of
Dr. John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.

Conducted December 20, 1994

United States Department of Energy
Office of Human Radiation Experiments
June 1995

Linking Radiation to Breast Cancer (1965)
GOFMAN: But do you know that by 1965, not a word had come out of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission on breast cancer, which we now know is [the] most sensitive [tissue] to radiation[-induced cancer]?

A doctor in Nova Scotia by the name of Ian McKenzie published a paper in the British Journal of Cancer, saying, “I had a lady come into my office with a breast cancer. [It] looked to me as though she’d had a lot of radiation on the skin over the breast cancer. I asked her about it [and] she didn’t know of any radiation.”

[It] turned out [that] the lady had been in a TB sanitorium 15 or 20 years before. The then-leading therapy of tuberculosis was to inject air into the space between the chest wall and the lung. That’s called pneumothorax, air in the thorax. The idea was to rest the lung. It was an extremely important technique because people who didn’t get their lung at rest where the parts of the lung were already eaten up by TB, even though they didn’t seem sick, continued to spew out tubercosid,43but when they had that rest of the lung, the two parts came together and they stopped spewing out tubercosid and went home instead of going to the graveyard. So the treatment by pneumothorax was the leading therapy for TB. There were people who looked like they were going to do fine before that, and went on to die, because it wasn’t available to them before about ’27 or ’28.

So she had this pneumothorax treatment and had been fluoroscoped44 200 times. She never thought she’d had radiation; she’d been fluoroscoped 200 times!
GOURLEY: On her feet?
GOFMAN: No, on her chest, because they wanted to see if there was still air left from the previous injection and do you need a new one. So they were just checking these people by fluoroscopy, and that’s where she got a hell of a big dose of radiation. So McKenzie went to the sanitorium records, pulled out the records of about 800 women-it was about 570 who hadn’t had the treatment and a few hundred that had-and showed that there was about a 15- or 20-fold excess of breast cancer.

As a result of that, in ’65, the people at Hiroshima/Nagasaki, said “Well, McKenzie [found] this, we ought to find something here.” Then they looked and they published that they were having breast cancers in Hiroshima/Nagasaki from the radiation.
GOURLEY: Now, was this data gathered by DBM at Livermore as well?
GOFMAN: You mean the Japanese data. That came directly out of ABCC [(Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission)]. We were looking at things like that. So I’m trying to point out to you everything wasn’t too well known at that time.
GOURLEY: People didn’t always know where to look?
GOFMAN: I don’t know why they didn’t, they weren’t up to speed on looking [at] that thing out of Japan. But they corrected it. After that, they looked pretty hard at the breast cancer and they [did] some nice work on breast cancer in Japan.
Conflict With the AEC on Low-Level Effects of Radiation (1969)
GOFMAN: At any rate, I was coming up to ’69 and the talk that I gave. Tamplin had the invitation to this nuclear power thing. I’d given the talk at the IEEE, as I say, an extremely conciliatory talk: not a wild, raving, manic thing at all, which I’m capable of doing.

Anyway, Mike May calls me over and says, “Jack, the AEC is upset about your talk before the IEEE.” I said, “Why? [It was] such a reasonable talk.” He said, “No, no, it’s not what you said. It’s the fact that you didn’t notify them in advance of giving it and they get flack from newspaper people and so forth.” So he said, “Would it be agreeable with you, whenever you or Tamplin or somebody is going to give one of the papers on the health effects of radiation,” (which was our mission; just doing my job), “would you consider sending a copy to the AEC in advance?” I said, “Sure, that’s fine.” I said, “They’re not going to censor it?” He said, “Who would stand for that?”

The next paper up was Tamplin’s for that nuclear power symposium. We gave a copy to Mike May and sent a copy off to Washington.

A couple of days later Tamplin walked into my office. Threw down this paper on my desk. He says, “Look at this!” I looked at it. Everything was lined out what he wanted to say-the only thing left were the prepositions and conjunctions. I said, “[Did] this come back from Washington?” He said, “Hell, no! This is Roger Batzel,” who’s Mike May’s right hand. He told me that if I want to, go ahead and give the original talk at this meeting, [but] I can only go as a private citizen, not as a member of the Livermore Lab. I cannot use Laboratory secretaries to type anything and I must pay my own expenses for the travel. Ordinarily, the Lab loved it when we would go give a talk somewhere; it’s publicity for the Lab.
GOURLEY: Especially if one said there were no harmful proven effects.
GOFMAN: Right. So all these things that [we] can’t announce, even being a member of Livermore. I just couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. I called up Mike, and I believe that session he came over to see. I said, “Mike, what in world’s going on? I agreed to have this stuff we are doing seen by the AEC in advance. But,” I said, “censorship like this!”

[Mike said,] “Jack, why don’t you be realistic?” That was the first time Mike had ever said anything like that to me. You know what I told him? You know, when I told Totter to go to hell about that Sternglass thing, he didn’t say a word about it. He said, “Why don’t you be realistic: you just can’t put out stuff like this.”

I said, “I’m very realistic, Mike. If this is going to stand, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do this afternoon. I’m going to call up the guy who’s organizing the [AAAS nuclear power] symposium and I’m going to tell him that Tamplin can’t come to the meeting. The reason he can’t come is the Livermore Lab is a scientific whorehouse. He’s being censored by the Livermore Lab.”

Mike said, “Jack, you know we’ve known each other a long time.” He says, “Why don’t you go home and sleep on it and we’ll talk tomorrow.” I said, “Well, I’m telling you what I’m going to do, Mike.” He said, “Yeah I know, but just sleep on it.”

The next day we got together and I had already called the guy [from the AAAS nuclear power symposium] and told him exactly what I told Mike that I was going to tell him. He was very upset because he was going to be the chairman of this meeting. He didn’t want to have to read my letter to the assembled meeting saying that Livermore Lab is a scientific whorehouse.

So Mike said, “You really did that?” “Yeah, but it’s just what I said I would do, Mike.” He stormed out and we never talked for about 9 months after that. Well then, the rest is sort of history.
Testifying Before Congress on Radiation Effects
GOFMAN: Senator [Edmund] Muskie [(D., Minnesota)] was holding some hearings on the underground uses of nuclear energy. His aide in Washington had asked if I’d come and testify. He didn’t know about this whole paper I’d given, so I essentially upgraded the thing Tamplin and I had done and went back to testify before Muskie’s committee. Senator Mike Gravel was there from Alaska and he turned out to be a real friend. Muskie was very friendly. But then it was pretty sure we’d better call that number 13,000 cancer deaths, not 16,000. We’d been wavering before that.

Ed Bowser was the Secretary on the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. This is also very important for you two to know. The Joint Committee on Atomic Energy was as aristocratic as you can get. Ed Bowser came into Muskie’s hearing room and he said, “Can you come over to the Joint Committee Headquarters? The Chairman wants to see you.” That’s Chet Holifield, [U.S.] Representative from California. The Chairmanship of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy alternated: one session [it would be a] Senator, next would be a House Representative. They went back and forth. Holifield was the chairman.

So I said, “Sure, I can come over,” and said, “Tamplin is in town with me.” “Oh, bring him along, by all means.” So we went over to the Headquarters and went through secret passages in the Congressional Building. They were up there in the Green Room; all very secret. There were a number of people from the Joint Committee staff there. I remember one guy by the name of Dr. Graham; he was friendly.

Chet Holifield and Craig Hosmer of the Joint Committee came in and Holifield turned to me and said, “Just what the hell do you two think you’re doing, getting all those little old ladies in tennis shoes up in arms about our atomic energy program?” I said, “I don’t think we’re doing that Mr. Holifield. We were doing our job.” This guy Graham said, “Mr. Holifield, these are two of our distinguished scientists from the Livermore Lab.”

Holifield said, “I don’t give a damn who they are: They are hurting the atomic energy program.” He said, “listen, I’ve been told that if we gave everybody in this country one hundred times the dose that’s allowed, nobody would be hurt.” I said, “Well, Mr. Holifield, that doesn’t agree with anything we’ve learned about this question. That sounds like a horrible dose. Where did you hear this?” He said, “The Atomic Energy Commissioners told me that.”

I said, “Well, Mr. Holifield, I’ll look into it. I’m surprised, but that doesn’t square with our findings.” He said, “That’s what they told me.” Then he turned to me and said, “There are people like you who have tried to hurt the Atomic Energy Commission program before. We got them, and we’ll get you.” He didn’t mean to kill us, but he meant they could take care of our reputation. That’s a long story.
HEFNER: This is a Congress person?
GOFMAN: Yes, the Chairman of the Joint Committee and the Representative in the House of Representatives-from California, no less.
HEFNER: Threatening you?
GOFMAN: Yes. We went back on the airplane, [and] I said to Tamplin, “Where the hell do you think the commissioners got this stuff? Is Chet Holifield telling it straight that he was told that 100 times the dose wouldn’t hurt anybody.” He said, “I don’t know.” So we went through everything we could and we found one thing that could be the basis of it.

Namely [that] Robley Evens at MIT was continuing to [study] the dial painters. He had published stuff saying he saw no harm down under a thousand rads-not a rad, under a thousand rads. The commissioners were obviously referring to Robley Evans [and] the dial painters [from the 1920s].

There were plenty of things wrong with this thousand-rad safe threshold. [(My later studies show there were many allusions to 500 or more rads being “safe”-in addition to Robley Evans’.)] But there was that basis [and others], and they did misinform Holifield. By then, newspaper people were getting interested in the whole thing. CBS [television news] decided to have [a] week-long set of five morning sessions on radiation hazards and we were on five of them, and commissioners were on [some of] them.

What we had said in our paper was, “We ought to think of cutting the allowable dose tenfold,” and the AEC said this was awful. The [AEC] said, “We’re never going to give people even one millirad, let alone a hundred seventy millirads.” I said, “Then you got no problem; we’re suggesting cutting it to 17.” Then they would turn around and say, “We don’t know if that’s enough of a cushion.” They didn’t make any sense at all.

Everybody who was anybody realized the Atomic Energy Commissioners were getting their feet in deeper and deeper in this whole controversy. Glenn Seaborg has written a book recently, [in] which he says exactly that. I’ll tell you about that in a little bit.

That’s when things really started happening. We were on these TV programs. CBS morning show, lots of newspaper articles and the Saturday Evening Post, and somebody asked John Totter what he thought of our work. He said, “It’s ludicrous, just nothing correct about it at all.”
GOURLEY: I read criticisms: John Gofman’s sloppy work, bad statistics. What you do have to say about these things?
GOFMAN: [What I have to say is that whatever rubbish you are reading is undocumented bull_ _ _ _.] It just became a war. It just became a war as far as they were concerned. They were going to destroy us.

A couple of interesting things happened. I wrote a letter to Glenn Seaborg. I said, “Glenn, you[‘ve] got some rotten apples in that barrel. Your staff attacks on us are going to hurt you. It’s going to hurt the atomic energy program. It’s going to hurt us. It’s just going to discredit everything.” I said, “I think you ought to do something about it. We are doing exactly the job we were assigned to do.”

He wrote back and said, “Look, the way we do things is, we don’t reach down into the departments. You’re going to have to solve this with John Totter.” There was no solving it with John Totter. He was continuing to attack us, as were others in the Commission. Glenn did not attack publicly; this came later.

I heard back from the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. Bowser called me up and said, “The Chairman is inviting you to a hearing. We’re going to discuss your work.” That was the plan. The standard plan for destroying you was to hold a hearing where people from all over the Commission come in and address the issues that you are raising.

I just realized we’d better have a lot more ammunition. Art Tamplin and I worked our butts off and we did about 14 separate papers. They’re referred to as the “GT” [(Gofman-Tamplin)] documents and they were all eventually published in the Congressional Record.

So, we had 178 pages of testimony. I said to Bowser, “Tell the Chairman I need about three hours to testify.” He said, “Three hours, we’ve never given anyone over an hour!” So I said, “I think I need three hours; I have a lot to say.” He said, “Well, I’ll talk to the Chairman.” He comes back, calls me up, and says, “You have one hour. The Chairman says that if there’s more that you have to talk about, we’ll schedule some more hearings.”

So we had 178 pages of scientific stuff and I took it over to the Information Division at Livermore Lab. They nearly had a conniption fit. They had heard all the flack about this. Roger Batzel came running over to see me. We’ve always maintained a open dialog in spite of everything. He said, “What’s going on here? Why do you need this 178 pages of stuff and you want 250 copies?” I said, “Yes, Roger. Chet Holifield has invited me to speak at a hearing of the Joint Committee,” and I said, “If you don’t want to do it, I’ll call Holifield’s office and tell him the Lab has decided not to permit me to prepare this material for you, Mr. Holifield.” He said, “Oh no, no, don’t do that. We’ll do it.” So I got the 250 [copies], of which I sent 100 to scientists around the country, thinking it might be a good idea to have a copy out in some other people’s hands.

We went in and I presented the thing. I thought they were going to just tear it apart. Holifield said, “Well, you submitted so much material. We haven’t had time to go over it. We’ll call you back. Do nothing until you hear from me.” So we never heard again from Holifield.
Gofman and Tamplin Ostracized
GOFMAN: But there was an important thing that had happened in the interim between the day we first met Holifield and when we went back to Washington to present this stuff at this hearing. Even though I had given up on my official appointments at Livermore and I was just in the lab; I was very happy doing research.
GOURLEY: What was your research based on at that point?
GOFMAN: Chromosome studies. During the period where I had been head of the department and Associate Director of the Lab, I had mornings open to anyone who wanted to come into my office: had all kinds of problems, needed another technician or their wife was sick, they needed this, or [one] needed that, or they wanted to talk about their research. It was Grand Central Station [un]til noon. Twelve o’clock noon, I went into the lab to work and I never would see people. I wanted to work.

During those several weeks, both Tamplin and I were working until 11, 12, or 1 in the morning every night to try to get these papers ready for the Joint Committee. I noticed the most interesting thing during those weeks. Nobody ever came into my office again, nobody. From Grand Central Station to a desert. Nobody needed to see me at all.

So, I just worked in the lab. I worked on this preparation. But on two occasions in the evening, two different scientists stuck their head in my office. I can paraphrase only what they said, not exactly: “Look John, I looked over your calculations on this whole flack about radiation. I agree with you. I don’t see anything wrong with your calculations.” I’d said, “Great. Tamplin and I have a lot to do. How about you doing this or that on some other part of it?” And the answer from them was essentially this, “Look, you’re a professor in the University, you don’t have anything to worry about. If I help you, they’ll slice my throat.”

I said (to myself), “Look, this is a slave empire. If you never find radiation harmful, [or if] you can find huge doses harmful, nobody worries you. That doesn’t worry [the] Commission. They can see that. But start to find that low doses are harmful and they’re going to fight you every step of the way. They don’t give two hoots in hell that it kills millions of people or billions. They’re going to fight to preserve the empire. The bureaucratic empire and the bureaucrats cannot tolerate radiation to be harmful.”
Benefits of Radiation Therapy and Ethics
GOURLEY: Now, one thing confuses me terribly about all this, and I’m not a scientist and I’m new on this: You, yourself, said that [there are] medical benefits in certain cases and certain specific cancers and that sort of thing. How does the line fall between where it can be therapeutic, [and] where it’s harmful?
GOFMAN: Line falls at one point. I have no difficulty with radiation therapy being beneficial in certain situations. I have no difficulty with diagnostic radiation, finding something important out [from] a diagnosis that can [save] a person’s life.
GOURLEY: Which diagnosis are you speaking of here?
GOFMAN: You can talk about the possibility of pneumonia that’s not appreciated or some mass in the abdomen or something like a cardiac lesion. I have never in my life said people should not have an x ray. I have never argued against radiation therapy. I talked to you earlier about some places where I participated in radiation therapy and I know people were benefited.
GOFMAN: That is a world apart from what your problem is in this whole thing. Where I stand on it is, you voluntarily, you accept a risk for a benefit to you or your child or your mother or father if you discussed it with them. That’s not what I’m talking about. It’s when somebody says you shall be allowed to get x units of radiation as a member of the public without any benefit to you: “Society will benefit.”

That’s immoral, it’s illegal, and it’s being done every day. I just think it’s just illegal and it’s a violation of the Declaration of Independence. It’s a violation of Constitutional rights and none of the medical ethicists are saying a goddamn thing about. I’m very critical of medical ethicists for that.

I’ve written some things down for you on the fact as a polluter or potential polluter, and radiation is one pollutant. If you say that your pollutant is safe when you know it is unsafe someone can get hurt, and thereby you try to get your pollution accepted at some level, you are guilty of random premeditated murder. That’s a crime. If you say you don’t know whether it’s safe, then you are guilty of a different crime, that’s a Nuremberg crime, experimenting on people. So as a polluter you’ve got to come clean. There is no basis for saying it’s safe when you know it isn’t. That’s a lie and a fraud and a crime.
GOURLEY: Now, what about some of these spas and stuff?
GOFMAN: There are spas where you can go breathe radon and you can go get yourself a good case of lung cancer. There are many people who believe in them and go to them. Stopping people from being nutty is not my function in life.
GOURLEY: So you don’t think there’s a therapeutic benefit there?
GOFMAN: There may be; I don’t think so. Let me put it this way. I was telling you a little earlier about these doctors writing papers [stating that they] treated 500 cases with 92 percent success. Now people say that disease never existed! This thymus thing is not believed to have existed. I can pull out paper after paper of leading institutions where doctors are saying I had success in one hundred to five thousand patients. What the hell are they talking about? Just like your people who go to spas, I think.

So, I don’t know what to say about it other than-did you ever see David Copperfield, the illusionist who could make a train disappear? Well, I think there are a lot of David Copperfields around in the world having illusions.

But my dividing line in answering your questions is: What you do [to] yourself is your business. You chose to take a risk; that’s okay with me. You should be told the truth about what the risk is. I don’t think it would be fair of me to tell you, “Hey, look, Karoline, you go ahead and have this radiation treatment, it will never hurt anybody.” That’s false; that’s terrible on my part. But if I tell you what the hazard is, or we don’t know the hazard-there may be no harm, there may be. If you then want to do it, I don’t believe it’s anybody’s business.

The only place where I deviate from that is that if you harm yourself and then have children and can pass that harm onto your children; that’s unfair. I don’t have any difficulty with people doing hazardous things. There are, after all, astronauts. Nobody’s going [to] say being an astronaut is a safe job. Yet, they do it, and I think that’s their privilege.
Concern Over Low-Dosage Harm; Public Acceptance of Nuclear Energy
GOURLEY: How much dosage do you think you’ve accumulated?
GOFMAN: About 100 rads. People would say, “How come you’re living?” If you read any of my papers, then you’d know why. Even at a 100 R it causes a lot of harm and a lot of cancers. More people would escape the harm than would get harmed on a statistical basis.

But I consider myself pretty lucky. Two guys there at Rad Lab, Joe Hamilton and Bert Low-Beer, weren’t so lucky. They were both guys who took a lot of radiation and both died of an early leukemia. So, I feel that every decade I pass is just amazing to me. I didn’t expect to live.

I consider the whole approach on permissible doses of the poison is illegal, dishonest, and I can tell you the proof of my position is really what the vast majority of the public believes is this. The vast majority of the public does not know I exist. But I can tell you that proof that the vast majority of the public would agree with me. It’s the fact that AEC and ERDA45and the Department of Energy are desperately frightened by anybody knowing that there is no safe dose of radiation. Because why are they are frightened? Because they know damn well you cannot sell poison to the public.
GOFMAN: Just tell people, “But we’re going to give your children radiation. Some of your children are going to have a defective heart and some of them are going to come out with only part of their brain. But think nothing of it, our atomic power program is great.” You sell that; where?
GOURLEY: Now you’ve been quoted on a lot of things: “There’s no safe dose.”
GOFMAN: [You bet I have, and I am correct]. There is no safe way.
GOURLEY: What about [natural] background [radiation]?
GOFMAN: What about it? I’ve talked about background a lot. Background is roughly one-tenth of a roentgen per year of external background, leaving aside radon. It is my opinion, background is causing just as many cancers and genetic injuries as I’ve calculated for any man-made radiation. Look, the Lord did not say, “I’m going to set in a certain amount of background that is okay and make it safe.” I know of nothing that came down from the mountain that guarantees that safety. I believe background radiation is just as harmful as any other kind of radiation.

By the way, I’d like to address another point. What about genetic repair? We do indeed have repair systems. DNA repair, chromosome repair, those are real things that do operate. John Gofman never said repair doesn’t operate. What I’ve done in four chapters of my 1990 book (a copy of which I’d be happy to give you), in chapters 18, 19, 20, and 21, I finally was able to do a thing I’ve been thinking about for 20 years, namely to test the idea of whether it’s possible for there to be a safe dose.

I concluded, by nuclear track analysis through cells, that cancer has been produced down as low as one track through a cell, [one] radiation track. Karoline, there is no lower dose than one track. Either [you] have a track going through a cell or you don’t. There’s no little bit of it. Since cancer has been produced with one track, there is not any safe dose and it can’t be.

People said, “What about repair?” Great. The only difficulty about repair is, a lot of the damage that radiation does is repaired. But there’s a certain [amount] of damage not repaired. A certain amount of the damage is unrepairable by the mechanisms we have and a certain amount of the damage is misrepaired.

All [of] the cancers and all the genetic injuries perceived are due to those three residual things: the unrepaired, the unrepairable, and the misrepaired injury. I wouldn’t be surprised if something like 90 percent of damage is repaired and we [are] darn lucky to have repair systems.

Background doesn’t phase me: There is no safe dose.
GOURLEY: You think it would surprise some of your critics to hear you say that the background doesn’t phase you?
GOFMAN: You might say the argument doesn’t phase me. I didn’t mean that background is all right. No, it doesn’t phase me to have you say, “What about background?”
GOURLEY: I’m just learning.
GOFMAN: It’s a very good question. I’ve been asked it many times. I can show you in an extended thing how it is so easily possible to get the wrong answer on questions like this. Even well-meaning people can get the wrong answer. A certain number of times if you set the experiment up, you’re guaranteed to get the wrong answer. So it doesn’t surprise me that there are a lot of sincere people out there who really believe I’m wrong.
GOURLEY: For example?
GOFMAN: Sincere people who really believe I’m wrong? I really don’t know any of them.
GOURLEY: Are there any particular judges?
Attempt to Discredit Gofman’s Testimony in Johnston Versus U.S.
GOFMAN: I’ll tell you something. First of all, William Douglas, former Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, wrote me some very complimentary letters about my work. He was a great fan of my work; thought I was right on track.

I was a witness in the Karen Silkwood case. Judge Frank Theis was the judge. It was a jury trial. As you know, we won that case. Judge Theis said some very nice things about me. I was back in Wichita, which is his home. He took me out to lunch. Then we had a talk about things like that.

Then Judge Jenkins in Utah, the downwinder trial, said some very nice things about me. There’s Judge Patrick Kelly in Wichita, who said some extremely unnice things about me. I’ll tell you something about that case.
GOURLEY: I’d love to hear what you have to say about that case.
GOFMAN: I have a lot to say about that case. There’s going to be some developments I hope within the next year. I can only say that at this point.
GOURLEY: Can you give us a hint?
GOFMAN: Yes, I’m going to have something from some major judges of the Federal Court say something about that.
GOFMAN: But there’s a very important thing about, Judge Kelly’s [decision] in Johnston vs. the U.S. It is so scary that you might think you’re living in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, not in the United States. Let me tell you what that is.

I was in [to see] Karl Morgan,46the eminent physicist, the man that I just think so highly of. We were both witnesses in that case. I’m sure you know the scathing condemnation that Judge Kelly provided both Morgan and me. I think Earl Johnston, I think he took off on him, too.

Any rate, I testified and I went back to San Francisco and about four weeks later, Ken Peterson, the lawyer, called me up and said, “John, [when] you were being sworn in and examined, we used the fact that there’s a plaque which you said was given to you by the Atomic Energy Commission for the discovery of 233U [and] its fissionability and that it’s on the door of the room where you did the work.” I said, “Yes, what about it Ken?” (I have Glenn Seaborg’s book showing a picture of the plaque. If you’ve never seen it I’ll show you the book in the next five minutes.)

Peterson asked, “you think that it could be that the plaque’s been taken down?” I said, “Ken, are you crazy? That plaque is not going to come down until that building comes down.” I said, “It’s sitting just 10 feet away from the plaque given to Seaborg. That plaque has to be there.”

“I didn’t think we’d be calling you to talk about this, but I think we’d better.” Peterson said, “You’re pretty sure the plaque is there?”

I said, “Of course it’s there Ken. If you want me to I’ll go over and take a picture of it,” (which I did by the way)-“What makes you think the plaque isn’t there?” He’s in Wichita and he thinks my plaque isn’t there anymore.

So he said, “Well, they brought up Jacob Frabrikant, member of the BEIR47 committee.” Jacob Frabikant is from Berkeley.
HEFNER: He passed away about two years ago.
GOFMAN: Frabrikant?
HEFNER: Jacob Frabrikant.
GOFMAN: I didn’t know that.
HEFNER: Yes, we’ll talk about that later.
GOFMAN: I didn’t know that. Anyway, though I don’t speak about the dead, I’ll have to. Peterson said they brought Jacob Frabikant in, and this is the conversation, paraphrased:

“Dr. Frabikant, are you on the Berkeley Campus?” He said, “Yes.” Have you ever gone by Gilman Hall?” He said, “Yes.” “Have you ever gone into Gilman Hall?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “Have you ever been on the third floor of Gilman Hall?” Imagine this, Jacob Frabrikant had about as much business on the third floor of Gilman Hall as I had on the moon shot. He said, “Did you ever see a plaque on any of the doors on the third floor of Gilman Hall?” He said, “Yes.” “What did the plaque say?” “It said, ‘For the discovery of plutonium.'” “No other plaque there?” He said, “Not that I saw.” “Thank you.”

So here somebody came in, a professor at Berkeley, who had made a liar out of me. There is no plaque there [is, in effect, what Frabrikant had said in testimony.] So I said, “Well, Ken, this is serious. I’ll go over.”

O’Connor and I went over, [and] took a picture of a calendar and the plaque on the wall. I’m going to get that picture of the plaque, you ought to see it.

The reason I said you [Karoline] should really worry about this is where you’re living [Washington, DC]. Glenn Seaborg [was] the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, who wrote a press release for AEC in 1968 saying what a great discovery the 233U work was and that they were awarding this bronze plaque to the discoverers for this [work]. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Justice Department, trying a case in [Wichita], act as though they don’t know that a different branch of government has announced this “fifty quadrillion dollar” discovery. There is your plaque in Glenn Seaborg’s book. Fourteen years after this book, they frame up this thing in Wichita, and you asked me to comment on Judge Kelly and the whole shebang?

Sure, the plaque’s on the door. It’s not coming down until the building comes down. Then they’ll put it somewhere else in the Chemistry Department. That’s the kind of tricks they were up to. Judge Kelly’s decision doesn’t phase me. But god, they spent a lot of public funds sending out thousands of copies of Judge Kelly’s decision. Where did you get a copy?
GOURLEY: From the law books.
GOFMAN: They sent it out all over the country. I’ll tell you about that sort of thing. In Judge Jenkins’ courtroom in the Utah case, there was no jury, because the trial was against the U.S. government. Anything against the U.S. government, you don’t get a jury. Judge Theis in the Karen Silkwood case, there was a jury. Judge Theis and Judge Jenkins both are just elegant men. If Theis hadn’t had a jury in the Karen Silkwood case, I think we would have won based on Judge Theis. But we did have a jury.

But when the case came up of Johnston vs. U.S., what you may not know from the law book, there were 19 civilian defendants, companies, in addition to the Government. Based upon my deposition and Karl Morgan’s deposition, they[, the private companies,] plunked down a million nine hundred thousand dollars, not to go to trial. Did you know that? A million nine hundred thousand dollars, [be]cause they thought the evidence was that good against them. When Ken Peterson called, it was the day before they were going to go to trial, but they all settled except the U.S. government.

Ken said, “Well, now let’s try it against the U.S. government.” I said, “Ken, are you crazy? You just got a million nine hundred thousand dollars put in your lap. Anytime you go to court with a judge and no jury, you’re taking an awful big chance. It happens occasionally, you’ll come out all right, but don’t count on it. I’d love to be out of this case, now that you’re alone against the government, because you lose the jury. If one of those civilian defendants had stayed in, we would have had a jury in Wichita. Patrick Kelly wouldn’t be able to [do] what he did. But once you don’t have anybody but the Government, no jury.”

[Ken] said, “I feel I have to do this for my clients. They think we ought to go after the Government and we [have] Judge Kelly’s decision, including a frame-up using Frabrikant as their foil.”
The Need for Cultural Change at the Department of Energy

The Liberal Party and Nuclear Power Reactors

August 18, 2010

The “Australian”, 20 April 2007.

PM takes a punt on nukes in the race for power

JOHN Howard yesterday took the huge election-year political gamble of telling Australians they must face the reality that nuclear power stations “will come”, probably in 10 years.

After committing Australia to the nuclear power path on Saturday, the Prime Minister went further yesterday, putting the nuclear power option at the heart of his election campaign on the economy and climate change, defying a Labor scare campaign and claims he was committing political suicide. “It’s not political suicide to tell the truth,” Mr Howard told the Nine Network’s Sunday program. “There are only two ways that you can run power stations … in this country. You can do it on fossil fuel or you can do it with nuclear power.

“It’ll be years before we have any nuclear reactors, probably 10 years, and where they will go will be determined by commercial decisions and they’ll be governed by the normal processes of environment and other approval, but we at least have to start contemplating it, and it will come.”

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

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Kevin Rudd, who conceded at the ALP national conference that uranium exports and nuclear power helped other nations reduce greenhouse gases, described Mr Howard’s nuclear plan to reduce reliance on fossil fuels as “the Montgomery Burns solution for Australia’s future climate change challenge”.

The Opposition Leader said Labor saw expanding uranium exports and nuclear energy “as a step forward for other economies which don’t have the same rich array of energy options as Australia”, but opposed a nuclear industry in Australia.

Mr Rudd asked where the reactors might be built: “Twenty-five nuclear reactors spread right across the country, coast to coast, in an electorate coming to you soon. We have calculated 23 of his members of parliament have already ruled out having a nuclear reactor in their electorate.”

But Mr Howard insisted the “nuclear option had to be on the table”. He said: “The Australian public will appreciate candour on public policy issues and if we are really serious about climate change, we have to look at everything.”

His stance is likely to be supported by the latest study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to be released on Friday, which is expected to say nuclear generation could prove a powerful means of cutting carbon emissions.

Mr Howard’s move to clear the way for a nuclear industry — including repealing legislation banning nuclear power, spending more on research, establishing safety regulations and filling technical gaps — came as the ALP lifted a 25-year ban on new uranium mines.

Mr Rudd yesterday told the ABC that “Mr Howard, who has been a climate change denier and climate change sceptic for the 11 years of his Government, then five minutes to midnight on the road to an election says, ‘Wow, we’ve got a problem with climate change, what are going to do about it, let’s snatch the reactor option off the shelf’.”

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said a nuclear power industry would hurt Queensland’s tourist industry.

Mr Howard rejected this, saying that “millions of people still visit Paris even though 80 per cent of French electricity comes from nuclear power”.

This announcement followed on the heels of the release of the Federal health survey of nuclear veterans,. This survey found, despite the evidence to the contrary, that greatly elevated rates of many kinds of cancer suffered by Australian Nuclear Veterans was due not to exposures to radiation suffered by the veterans, but by their exposure to petrol at Maralinga!!

In regard to Australia’s Nuclear Veterans, the “Mortality and Cancer
Incidence Main Findings” document of the Australian Participants in British
Nuclear Tests in Australia Study, June 2006, states the following:
“The cancer incidence study showed an overall increase in the number of
cancers in test participants, similar to that found in the mortality study. The
number of cancer cases found among participants was 2456, which was 23%
higher than expected. A significant increase in both the number of deaths and
the number of cases was found for (figures in brackets show increase in
mortality and incidence):
• all cancers (18% and 23%)
• cancers of the lip, oral cavity and pharynx (50% and 41%)
• lung cancer (20% and 28%)
• colorectal cancer (24% and 16%)
prostate • cancer (26% and 22%).
The number of cancer cases (but not the number of deaths) was also
significantly greater in test participants for the following cancers (figures in
brackets show increase in incidence):
• oesophageal cancer (48%)
• melanoma (40%)
• all leukaemias (43%)
all leukaemias except chronic lymphatic leukaemia (61%).
Other findings included:
• of the 26 mesothelioma cases in test participants, 16 occurred in RAN
personnel, which was nearly three times the number expected
in RAAF personnel, there was nearly double the expected number of deaths
from melanoma, and cases of melanoma were increased by two–thirds.
The increases in cancer rates do not appear to have been caused by
exposure to radiation.”

In the absence of a correlation with radiation exposure, the excess of non-CLL leukaemia is unexplained. Other than radiation, the best established cause of leukaemia is exposure to benzene, but there is no information available about benzene exposure in test participants.
Full texts available at:

These incredible conclusions show the lengths the government sponsored scientists went to discount radiation exposure as the cause of the veterans’ suffering. They relied instead on “mystery” and a theory of beneze exposure (ie petrol) even though there is not basis for doing so (“he best established cause of leukaemia is exposure to benzene, but there is no information available about benzene exposure in test participants.” Various members of the veteran community continue to attempt to present government with accurate radiological exposure figures).

In the end the study clearly aided the Liberal Party in its 2007 announcement of proposed sitings of nuclear power reactors as explained by Howard, above. The first step was to attempt to discredit the veterans and explain away their excess cancer rates.

It can be anticipated that the current Liberal Party policies on this matter remain the same as they were in the Howard era. It is Thatcher’s platform. Appearing to be dragged kicking and screaming into the reality of climate change, only a small increase in electrical grid baseload would serve as a trigger that might alllow a Liberal government to invoke the nuclear option.

Such an increase in baseload might be expected if plug in electric cars become widely used in Australia.

In this of course there are alternatives to both coal and nuclear. Such vehicles could be recharged by city based solar powered charging stations. Widespread use of photovoltaic cells on high rise facias would enable a reasonably energy dense form of solar collection in cities.

The salient point to consider is this: without a widespread and scientifically led debate on nuclear power, inevitably, the Australian public may be led to believe, falsely, that for example clean cars and a reliable grid could only be supplied by nuclear power. This is not true. Current alternate renewables can supply vastly more energy through the grid than is currently the case.

No major party is prepared to engage the facts and openly debate nuclear power in the light of nuclear history.

Inevitably then, within 5 to 10 years funding for nuclear power generation will be given the green light over the heads of a public in fear of an insecure baseload capacity.

The deception is very deep, for a relatively minor investment in concentrated solar power stations in Australia’s remote areas could, within 2-5 years, render the need for the consideration for nuclear power station redundant.

The political need to show nuclear power is safe is seen in some quarters as being crucial. So crucial that science is distorted, and history forgotten.

The Sykes, et al, Abstract

August 17, 2010

RADIATION RESEARCH 162, 447–452 (2004)
0033-7587/04 $15.00
2004 by Radiation Research Society.
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.

The Linear No-Threshold Model does not Hold for Low-Dose Ionizing Radiation
Antony M. Hooker,a Madhava Bhat,b Tanya K. Day,a Joanne M. Lane,a Sarah J. Swinburne,a Alexander A. Morleya and Pamela J. Sykesa,

(a Department of Haematology and Genetic Pathology, Flinders University and Flinders Medical Centre, Australia; and b Department of Medical Physics, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, Australia)

The following abstract is available as free content at the above web address and is cited and quoted as minimally here here as possible in order to allow non-peer review.

“……… Regulatory limits for radiation exposure are based on the linear no-threshold model, which predicts that the relationship between biological effects and radiation dose is linear, and that
any dose has some effect. Chromosomal changes are an important effect of ionizing radiation because of their role in carcinogenesis. Here we exposed pKZ1 mice to single wholebody
X-radiation doses as low as 1 mGy. We observed three different phases of response………These results do not fit a linear nothreshold model, and they may have implications for the way in which regulatory standards are presently set and for understanding radiation effects.” copyright 2004 by Radiation Research Society

And hence, despite the actual empirical evidence admitted by the US government in January 2000 which finds that thousands of people exposed to occupational low-level radiation in occupational settings suffered disease and premature death because of that exposure, again we have the US DOE (formerly the AEC) applying mice data to humans, just as Stone et al did at the Met Lab in Chicago and at Crocker Lab UCLA in 1942, just as Brucer did in 1987. Concluding it was safe, those who actually suffered as a result were suppressed and pursued into silence, the AEC hoped, by decades of long campaigns of denial. The historical record shows this most plainly. It shows it most recently.

Despite being armed with updated research methods, the Sykes team at Flinders University made the same mistake as Stone and Brucer. They all studied the wrong species.

I could go on and give my point of view of certain aspects of the paper. However I will let the authors of it have a final word:

“However, definitive conclusions regarding the significance of these results for human health are premature.” (ibid pp 451)

In the 1970s I became confused during a radiological safety training session. These training sessions were in house and conducted at my place of employment in a unit of the Australian Army.

We were discussing the effects of radiation on animals and humans. The instructor put to the attendees that the smaller the creature, the higher the dose of radiation needed to injure it and to kill it. I found this hard to understand. Surely a smaller field of radiation would expose more of the creature and thus the effects would be carried by a greater proportion of its body. A mouse would die before an elephant. I was told I was wrong. I persisted and asked if I might be allowed to catch a spider, put it in a jar and place the jar and spider in a calibrator tube over night. Cobalt source one end, lid shut, lead gates open, spider in the jar the other end. Immersed in a gamma beam so intense that it would render me ataxic and disorientated in 30 seconds, and dead within a day if I were the one placed in the calibrator tube. We knocked off at 5pm, leaving the spider to its fate.

The next morning, the lead gates were closed, the source removed, the lid opened and the jar with its spider extracted. I took the lid off the jar. After about 12 hours of intense gamma irradiation, the spider walked from the jar on the tiled floor as if nothing had happened to it.

Those reading this with a vested interest will know the officer in charge of the excersize will remember it.

The mouse experiments conducted by Adelaide researchers initially with US DOE funding do nothing to explain the deaths and illnesses of radiation workers as reported by the Clinton Administration. There is no basis therefore for putting the view that sites contaminated by nuclear activity need not be cleaned to current standards or that these standards be diluted or weakened.

Not until the illnesses and death admitted so far can be explained within the terms of reference.

There is another factor. The oxygen effect. The mice in the experiments described were subject to exposures within a biological setting. One of the parameters of exposure was state of oxygenation of the cells. No doubt the mice were doing micey things during their time of exposure. These things do note include such human activity as digging ditches, marching, lifting beams or any other uniquely human activity.

The “Oxygen Effect” is well known as crucial variable in the human response to exposure to ionising radiaiton. As the following demonstrates:

“Within Hersey’s reporting of the Hiroshima Doctors’ conclusions regarding A
Bomb Disease, the reader may discern a characteristic of living tissue and its
response to ionizing radiation which has, at least in the past, been named the
“Oxygen Effect”. I quote from Peter Alexander, who wrote the following in
1957: “ The changes produced by X and gamma rays in all kinds of living
matter are much greater in the presence than in the absence of oxygen. The
radio – sensitivity depends on the amount of oxygen present, and from Fig. 37
it can be seen that it reaches its limiting value when this is the same as in air.
Enriching the normal atmosphere with oxygen does not increase sensitivity,
but removal of oxygen from the air decreases it.
That means that if a certain change is produced by 100 r in air, then 200-300 r
will be necessary to achieve the same effect in the absence of oxygen. The
remarkable aspect of this oxygen effect is its universality; it applies equally to
the lethal dose for animals, the production of chromosome breaks in bean root
or pollen grains, the killing of tumor cells or bacteria, and the production of
mutations in fruit flies. There are two schools of thought about the
mechanism: the presence of oxygen modifies the primary chemical changes
produced by radiation, or the presence of oxygen influences the metabolic
processes necessary for the development of the minute initial chemical
change into the observed injury. No crucial experiments have been made to
distinguish unambiguously between these two possibilities, but the chemical
theory seems the most plausible……Moreover, oxygen must be present during
the irradiation itself, and the radio sensitivity is unaffected by changes in
oxygen immediately after irradiation. Since it takes some time for the injury to
develop, one would expect on the metabolic theory that oxygen would be
needed after irradiation…” [17]
On the basis of this reality, I conclude from Hersey’s report that the Hiroshima
Doctors observed the “Oxygen Effect” as it applied to their patients. Those
who were resting at the time of the A bomb explosion were less affected by
the consequent irradiation of their bodies compared to those who were
exerting themselves. This observation by the Hiroshima Doctors is consistent
with the Oxygen Effects as explained by Alexander, 1957.
The human dose response to irradiation is complex. A given cohort of
survivors retain very individual variations. This may upset the Australian
Government’s obsession with statistics in regard to our Australian radiation
On page 188 of his book, Alexander describes one fundamental route by
which the effect may be observed. “Chemical experiments show that oxygen
reacts very rapidly with the hydrogen radical formed by the indirect action of
radiation to give another radical, HO2 i.e., H+02 ………> HO2. Oxygen also
increases the amount of hydrogen peroxide produced by radiations of low
specific ionization
…” [18]
This action is an injurious chemical action caused by the detonation of an
atomic bomb. The weapon caused the formation of hydrogen peroxide to
arise from water present in the living cells of its victims.” (Langley, P, “Medicine and the Bomb – DEceptions from Trinity to Maralinga” (short title), “The Prediction of the Radiological Effects of Atomic Bombs From Knowledge Published Prior to August 1945, Volume 1 The Findings of Nuclear Medicine Published Prior to 1943. The Integration of these Findings into the Manhattan Project.” (Long title)
Imprint: Paul Langley, Port Willunga, South Australia. Copyright 11 May 2009
ISBN: 978-0-646-51823-7pp 34, 35 citing Hersey & Alexander)

It is patently clear that the effects of ionising radiation upon the human include abnormal cellular biochemistry. This in part or in full explains the “by stander effect” – harms exhibited in cells not irradiated themselves, but sited adjacent to cells which are or were irradiated. The extent of this radiation induced harmful biochemistry and the damage it causes is varied by the state of oxygen tension within the target cells. Hersey reported that the Hiroshima doctors observed very early on that those A bomb victims who were resting at the time of the detonation of the Hiroshima bomb were more likely to recover than those who were active and respiring at a higher rate. Distance from hypocentre and shielding considerations in both cases being the same.

This variable is ignored in the very narrow focus of the apparent DOE research design which Flinders University contracted to fulfill. The results of the research fulfill the contract but not therefore the fundamental questions as to the safety or otherwise of given low level exposures suffered by humans in the real world.

Radiogenic disease is multifactorial and hinges upon damage to myriad biological systems including biochemistry. As abnormal biochemistry persists after the ionisation event, it prolongs the effects of an instantaneous exposure. There is more to human response than the response to LET. The track which caused the LET will also have liberated free radicals from the cell contents as the radiation tracked through the cell to the nucleus of that cell. This is there basis of the immunological response, not at the level of the chromosome, but at the level of the cell.

Mice cells and human cells are different. The AEC conducted secret human radiation experiments for decades and has been roundly condemned for its conduct. Its successor, the DOE, needs to look to its own data base and take into account the whole of the body of its knowledge before it complies with the conclusion, the very dangerous conclusuion, that “These results do not fit a linear no threshold model, and they may have implications for the way in which regulatory standards are presently set and for understanding radiation effects.”

Contaminated sites, made filthy by the AEC , need to be cleaned up by the DOE. No amount of coaching otherwise from experts in Adelaide, South Australia should convince the American people otherwise.

The focus given to the Flinders University team was too narrow, and consisted only of the non particulate X and gamma. In the real world, Nevada downwiders rode horses and used agro chemicals down wind of the Nevada test site, engaged in heavy excertions and were subject to beta emitting fission products deposited upon them and their environs by the detonation of atomic weapons. These weapons were detonated at the Nevada Test Site on average twice weekly during the decades of the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.

The authors of the above report consider that “However, the human population is unlikely to be exposed to such doses.” (Source: “The Linear No-Threshold Model does not Hold for Low-Dose Ionizing Radiation”, Antony M. Hooker,a Madhava Bhat,b Tanya K. Day,a Joanne M. Lane,a Sarah J. Swinburne,a Alexander A. Morleya and Pamela J. Sykes. RADIATION RESEARCH 162, 447–452 (2004).

History reveals the truth of the matter. The presence of Beta lesions in Nevada in 1953 (Cronikite, AEC) and the Pacific in 1954 (Cronkite, AEC) testifies to the contrary.