The Committee For Nuclear Responsibility
Summary Listings of
Additional Electronic CNR Publications
At the present time
21, 2015), the following are available,
listed chronologically, most recent first:
2 0 0 8 :
Heart Risk due to Low Radiation Doses: Major Additional Evidence
Sep 1, 2008
by Egan O'Connor, editor for the late Prof. John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.
strong evidence exists supporting the hypothesis that
medical imaging by fluoroscopy and planar x-rays is an important
causal co-actor in ischemic heart disease (IHD) as well as in
human cancer --- an hypothesis described in Medical News Today
29 Aug 2008
Risk Due to Low Radiation Doses Worth Investigating Say Scientists
by Catharine Paddock, PhD, referring to Batti, Sigurdson, & Mabuchi in
Lancet Aug 30, 2008...)
support for the hypothesis was uncovered and published
in 1999 in a monograph (ISBN 0932682979) entitled Radiation from
Medical Procedures in the Pathogenesis of Cancer and Ischemic
Heart Disease: Dose-Response Studies with Physicians per 100,000
, by the late John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D....
complete monograph is available in PDF
and its Executive Summary, table of contents,
extensive reference list, and first five chapters are
available in hypertext, free, online at
On the same site are the six main critiques by
Medical News Today
indicates in its title, a causal
relationship between low-dose ionizing radiation and IHD is “worth
investigating” further, especially since acquired mutations in the
heart can accumulate with each additional radiation exposure.
The growing use of fluoroscopy and CT in medicine makes it
imperative to become familiar with verbatim excerpts from three
major reports on the “safe-dose fallacy,” provided in
the 1999 monograph
CT Heart Scans: Two Warnings from U.S. Medical History
Jul 10, 2008, unabbreviated version
By Egan O'Connor, editor for the late Prof. John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.
two major points can be summarized at the outset (details and references
below), with respect to the valuable New York Times
' June 29, 2008 article,
"Weighing the Costs of a CT Scan's Look inside the Heart
by Alex Berenson and Reed Abelson.
Coronary Artery Disease: The article overlooked evidence uncovered in 1999
(Part 1, below
) that x-ray-induced mutations
in the coronary arteries may well have had a
role in initiating and/or accelerating
atherosclerosis (Part 4, below
). This is
called "Hypothesis-2" in the 1999 study.
Cancer: A credible warning (also based on the 1999 research described in
), is that
accumulated lifetime exposures to medical x-rays --- which include
CT and fluoroscopic exams --- may constitute a causal
co-actor in more
than 50% of current cancer mortality in the USA. This is called "Hypothesis-1" in
the 1999 study.
"over 50%" estimate is at least as scientifically credible as the popular estimate
that medical x-rays account for only 1% of American cancer
p.1256, Table 20). I defend this assertion below
). Both estimates are "ballpark" estimates,
meaning that the absence of appropriate data necessitates the incorporation of several
important approximations and assumptions.
2 0 0 7 :
John W. Gofman, 88;
medical physicist warned of the health effects of radiation
Aug 28, 2007
by Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
John W. Gofman, the medical physicist whose fight for what he
considered scientific honesty in understanding the health effects of
ionizing radiation made him a pariah to the nuclear power industry and
the U.S. government, died of heart failure Aug. 15 at his home in San
Francisco. He was 88.
called the father of the antinuclear movement, Gofman and his
colleague at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Arthur R. Tamplin,
developed data in 1969 showing that the risk from low doses of
radiation was 20 times higher than stated by the government.
publication of the data, despite strong efforts to censor
it, led them to lose virtually all of their research funding and,
eventually, their positions at the government laboratory.
of their conclusions have subsequently been validated, but critics
say the risks have been ignored by an electric power industry that sees
nuclear energy as a pollution-free alternative to fossil fuels and by a
medical industry that continues to use much larger amounts of radiation
for medical tests than are required.
always stood up for the integrity of science," said Charles Weiner,
professor emeritus of the history of science at MIT.
was really an original voice" in the debate over the risks of
nuclear power, Weiner said, "someone who was an insider in nuclear
weapons production who was very highly regarded by leaders in the field
. . . and who brought credential, credibility and authority."
2 0 0 4 :
2 0 0 3 :
FDA Proposes New X-Ray Regulations: Immense Health Benefits Possible
--- Unless Naysayers Prevail.
X-Ray-Induced Diseases, Hormesis, and Medical Ethics.
Mar 31, 2003.
Testimony submitted to the FDA, by John Gofman and Egan O'Connor
communication, with its three attachments, is
offered in complete support of the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration's (FDA) proposed performance standards for
new x-ray fluoroscopic systems . . . Our
purpose here is to contribute scientifcally strong
evidence that the FDA has greatly underestimated the health
benefits of its own proposals . . .
FDA asks an important question (FR, p.76072):
With such a favorable ratio of benefits over costs, why must a
federal mandate be invoked? The FDA's answer: The "market"
does not respond to the ratio because the costs accrue to the
profession, but the benefits accrue to the patients.
believe that the above dynamic does operate, but
that it operates only because the medical profession has been
taught for decades that the cancer hazard from medical x-rays is
negligible. That same message continues to be repeated today,
not only by the FDA (Part 2, above),
but elsewhere with greater vigor (Part 6, below).
great contrast to claims of very low hazards from
customary medical x-ray practices (and thus, negligible health
benefits from dose-reduction), we have uncovered powerful
evidence that customary x-ray practices became and remain one
of the necessary causal co-actors in over half of the fatal cases
of cancer and
over half of the fatal cases of ischemic heart
disease (coronary artery disease) in the USA
The study's method and findings are most succinctly summarized
(i.e., Parts 4
). . . .
you care, you measure." This axiom reflects the
well-known fact in business and education that, if you are
about achieving a goal, you establish a system to
measure progress or its absence. "What you measure
improves." Without seeing the improvement, or knowing of its
absence, people lack guidance and motivation, and are robbed of
their pride in achievement.
is impossible to believe that doses during
fluoroscopy will be cut in half (and much more) unless the
of fluoroscopic x-ray dose becomes easy and
2 0 0 2 :
What Are the Main Critiques of the 1999 Study by Gofman,
after Three Years of Peer-Review?
Six Critiques of Radiation from Medical Procedures
in the Causation of Cancer and Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD),
study's two principal conclusions are 1)
introduced into medicine in 1896, became and remains a necessary causal
co-actor in over half of the fatal cases of cancer in the USA, and 2)
became and remains a necessary causal co-actor also in over half of the
fatal cases of ischemic heart disease (coronary artery disease) in the USA. . . .
conclusions above are obviously so important for human
health that they demand thoughtful, independent scrutiny, i.e.,
have our conclusions held up under peer-review? Has
someone shown a reason to discard them, to ignore them, or to modify
them? Not so far. . . .
then, are the findings not yet treated as one of the major
medical breakthroughs of the past decade? Experience shows that it always
takes time for humans to discard mistaken beliefs, especially when the
beliefs are so comforting (e.g., "The harm from medical x-rays is trivial").
Still, patience may be no virtue when very many premature deaths could be
prevented by a little speed (Gofman 1999
). We agree with the
author, Kenneth Graham, who has observed:
strongest human instinct is to impart information, and the
second strongest is to resist it."
- The following is a publication of
Making Personal Decisions about X-ray Screening Tests,
Such as Mammography and CT of the Lung,
Colon, Heart, or the Entire Body, May 2002
The fact that some people do benefit from various x-ray screening
tests certainly does not guarantee that individuals who consent to (or insist
upon) getting screened are likely to receive more personal benefit than
older you are, the more abnormalities you have accumulated.
When they are detected by x-ray screening, you are very likely to face a
host of additional procedures which are not risk-free (e.g., more x-rays,
biopsies, surgeries, etc.) --- quite possibly to care for abnormalities which
would never have caused you any trouble.
health professionals are finally asking: Do some sorts
of screening policies cause more harm than good? Because the potential
benefits have been so widely promoted, this document concentrates on
providing more information about the likelihood of harms.
2 0 0 1 :
- The following are publications of
Links to Professional Societies, Current to 12 Oct 2001
In this document, the X-rays and Health Project (XaHP) offers links
and addresses to six professional societies whose leaders and members
have either the authority or expertise to reduce x-ray dose per x-ray
messages of encouragement from non-members can intensify
professional attention to dose-reduction . . . When you contact
the leaders of these societies, you could express
your confidence that they have the skills to achieve a
better benefit-risk ratio for patients by reducing
x-ray doses . . .
societies fall into three categories: (1) Radiologists, (2) Radiologic
Technologists, (3) Health Physicists. In addition, we have listed a
route of easy access to the radiation divisions of Health Departments
in every state.
Who Says that Usual X-Ray Doses Can Be Much Lower?, Oct 2001
To help educate health professionals and the public about x-ray
dose-levels, the X-Rays and Health Project has assembled some
excerpts from the peer-reviewed radiology journal American
Journal of Roentgenology.
(Roentgen ray is another name for
x-ray.) The AJR
is edited by Lee F. Rogers, M.D. and
published by the American Roentgen Ray Society
which was founded in 1900 -- the nation's first radiology
X-Radiation and Gamma Radiation:
Comments on Their Nomination as Known Human Carcinogens
for the Eleventh Report on Carcinogens (RoC),
Sep 11, 2001
These comments apply primarily to x-ray exposure received during medical
imaging procedures (during diagnosis, during surgery, during placement of
catheters, needles). These comments do not address x-rays and gamma rays
used at very high doses for cancer therapy because the
Report on Carcinogens (RoC) lists causes of cancer, not
potential treatments. . . .
mistaken assumption, that x-ray exposure from medical imaging is negligible, has been very widely embraced. Although the NTP Reports on Carcinogens explicitly exclude any risk-assessments, the NTP has the responsibility to evaluate whether
or not exposure to a nominated carcinogen is literally negligible. . . .
is a vast literature on human cell-studies which demonstrates that x-rays
and gamma rays are a potent cause of structural chromosomal mutations of every sort, including re-arrangements, acentric fragments, and deletions
ranging in size from multiple genes probably down to single nucleotides. (The deletion of a single nucleotide is no small matter, since it can scramble the genetic code by causing a frame-shift.)
Computed Tomography (CT) X-Ray Exams:
Estimated Doses to Patients, Sep 2001
CT doses below are merely "ballpark" values. Entrance
doses during CT scans are almost never measured. Actual doses
--- even from the same equipment for the same patient --- can vary
many-fold according to the settings selected for kVp, mAs, pitch,
filtration, slice-width, and some other variables.
doses in centi-Gray units (cGy) are distinctly different
entities from "effective" doses in centi-Sievert units
(cSv). Real doses quantify energy per gram of tissue delivered by
an x-ray exam to the irradiated sections of the body, whereas
"effective" doses are artificial values based on
assumptions about risk ("detriment").
Breast Cancer: Why Do We Permit So Many
Preventable Cases?, Jun 2001
A guaranteed way to reduce future breast cancer is to reduce x-ray dose per
x-ray imaging procedure. And if we are serious
about achieving good
images with the least
possible x-ray doses, x-ray measurements are
the key. If we care, we measure -- because otherwise we do not know if
we are succeeding or failing. "What you measure improves," is an
appropriate motto here.
unaware of any other aspect of medicine where we use a potentially
lethal agent without measuring the dose and making every effort to
reduce the risk. It is not good enough, morally, that the benefit
exceeds the risk. The moral imperative includes making the risk
as small as possible.
will deny that patients commonly receive much higher x-ray
doses than necessary. Such denials would be wrong according to recent
articles right in the medical literature (links and references at
Techniques to reduce x-ray doses are already known and demonstrated,
and await application. . . .
will we find the "Heroes for Breast Health?" There are three
professional groups, present in large hospitals, who are outstanding
candidates for this honor: The radiologists, radiologic technologists, and
health physicists. Together they have the expertise to do what is needed to
reduce x-ray dose per x-ray imaging procedure. Links to their main
professional societies are provided at
these three groups decide to accept this responsibility, they will
change the entire landscape in the breast-cancer field. Local chapters could
contribute successful models which other localities could duplicate. By
leading a relentless program to reduce doses during x-ray imaging, these
professionals can say "NO!" to permitting a great many preventable
cases of future breast cancer, and they would deserve every honor of the
realm, absolutely! Will they rise to the occasion? How soon?
How the Cold War Caused Millions of American Deaths
Through Medical Practice:
A Story of Intended and Unintended Consequences, Apr, 2001
key point is that peacetime nuclear activities (military
and civilian) expose the general public to low
doses of ionizing
government's solution to quelling public fear of
"radiation" was to have its agents assert --- for decades after it
was no longer true --- that evidence
of human harm from
ionizing radiation comes exclusively from exposure to high
doses, and that evidence
of human harm from low doses
does not exist. . . . What
the government and its agents failed to point out in
the 1950s and early 1960s was that no studies capable
producing evidence about low doses had ever been completed. . . .
years of ridiculing the fear of low-dose ionizing
radiation ("radio-phobia") have had a tragic unintended
or three generations of practicing physicians and
their professors at medical schools have mistakenly believed
that danger from x-ray imaging procedures was either absent or
trivial. . . .
evidence in my 1999 monograph (Ref.4
), which no
one has refuted, indicates that about 250,000 persons each year
in the USA are dying prematurely from cancer and coronary
heart disease due to the unnecessary
half of the x-ray
doses which they accumulated earlier in life, during x-ray
imaging procedures. This has been going on for 50 years, and
continues. . . .
Cold War propaganda has left the medical professions
unaware of the premature, preventable, x-ray-induced deaths
which they have been causing, by using higher x-ray doses than
needed during imaging.
era of unawareness should end --- forever. Ethical
responsibility for current and future x-ray practice rests now
with the medical professions, and especially with the gatekeepers
to their education: The medical school professors, the medical
journal editors, and the members of the radiological professional
societies. How will they respond?
X-Ray Dose-Measuring Service for Physicians and Dentists,
Jan 21, 2001
entrance dose of x-rays is the dose
received at the body's surface, where the x-ray beam
enters. The exit dose, which is what results in an
image, is very much lower. The body absorbs the
difference between the entrance and exit doses.
(ThermoLuminescent Dosimeters) can measure the x-ray entrance
dose received by any patient during an x-ray imaging procedure. . . .
X-ray practitioners can obtain TLDs the instructions, and the
reading service by mail from an accredited laboratory at the
University of Wisconsin.
Solving Energy Shortages without Nuclear Power:
Three Easy Rules, Apr 2001
three main arguments against nuclear electricity are
even stronger now than they were 30 years ago, when CNR
began putting them forth. This very short summary, with some
updated resources, will be handy during the new effort to revive
nuke-power. . . .
hydrogen economy, with the hydrogen provided by
various types of solar technologies, can liberate the planet both
from production of more radioactive poisons by nuke-plants and
from the greenhouse gases and other pollutants produced by
fossil fuels. The USA could commit itself to the hydrogen
economy now, for the sake of health, the environment, national
security, and abolition of wars over oil. The fuel of responsible
civilizations will be renewable solar-generated hydrogen gas.
. . . Claims, that "advanced" nuke-plants are inherently safe, merit no
credence until their proponents show that they believe their own
claims. If they do, they would openly beg Congress to
exempt every "advanced" nuke-plant from the law (the
Price-Anderson Act) which protects the nuke industry from full
liability for catastrophic radioactive releases.
any case, sudden catastrophic releases are a threat
limited to a few decades of operation. The real problem
endures for over 1,000 years. About 400 nuke-plants now
operate worldwide (100 in the USA). Permission to operate a
few additional nuke-plants might appear like a minor issue. But
if ten new nuke-plants each operate for at least 30 years, they
would commit posterity to isolating (containing) additional
radioactive poisons equivalent to the long-lived poisons
produced by exploding 300,000 Hiroshima-bombs: 1,000
bombs/year per plant * 10 plants * 30 years. The poison
generated by just ten plants would be about 20 times more than
all the long-lived radioactive fallout from all the atmospheric
nuclear bomb-tests conducted by the US, UK, and USSR
combined . . .
additional nuke-plant of any design inevitably
increases the legacy of radioactive poison --- to threaten
posterity for at least 40 generations. This fact was and remains
enough to make nuke-plants unacceptable --- the ultimate
selfishness. Ethics aside, it is clear that nuke-plants were not
necessary in the past, and will not be necessary in the future.
The Causes of Cancer: Is There "Too Much Emphasis on Genes,
and Not Enough on the Environment?" How to Avoid Some Mistakes, Apr 2001
abnormalities can be divided into two classes: Inherited and acquired. . . .
individuals inherit genetic abnormalities which can
predispose every cell to become malignant, but the full set of
genetic abnormalites required for malignancy is very rarely (if
ever) inherited. Instead, the full set is accumulated in a
particular cell over time. And the probability of accumulation
in the same cell is determined by the cell's "environment" ---
by its exposure to agents which can cause alterations in that
cell's genetic molecules. Because the importance of acquired
genetic abnormalities, in causing cancer, is very widely
acknowledged, no discontinuity really exists between "genetic
causes" and "environmental causes" of cancer.
Key Facts Justifying Opposition to Nuclear
Pollution at Any Level:
A Brief Letter of Concern, Feb 6, 2001
topic of this letter is the fact that there exists no
threshold dose of ionizing radiation below which natural repair, of
radiation damage to the genetic molecules, always occurs perfectly. . . .
short, a single x-ray photon or the radioactive decay of a
single atom is physically capable of causing permanent and consequential
mutations --- including mutations which cause cancer. The chance that
this will occur is proportional to dose, right down to zero
dose. . . .
follows from the absence of any safe dose that citizens
everywhere have a strong scientific basis for opposing activities which
can cause radioactive pollution at any level. The fact that humans cannot
escape exposure to ionizing radiation, from various natural sources, is no
reason to let human activities increase the exposure. Moreover, the
record of governments and their licensed agents has often been horrible
regarding containment of radioactive poisons. This record argues strongly
against confidence in any promises of future containment.
2 0 0 0 :
- The following are publications of
Eight Key Points: Your Stake in
the Patients' Right-to-Know about X-Rays, Dec 7, 2000
recent study (Radiation from Medical Procedures
, 699 pages)
provides the first powerful evidence that the U.S. population's accumulated
exposure to medical x-rays is a necessary co-actor in causing over half the
deaths from cancer, and over half the deaths also from ischemic (coronary) heartdisease. Since the study's publication in November 1999, no one has shown that
it overestimates the impact of x-rays in causing cancer and coronary heart
disease. Some people say "it must be an overestimate," but they have never
shown how. Some of the critics have never even looked at the study.
right time to start action on the "Doses Down Now" policy is
because achievements in your locality can benefit your family and
community within 18-24 months, without waiting for statewide or nationwide
success. Any locality can get its x-ray doses down, regardless of how slowly
regions might make progress. The "Doses Down Now" policy is a proven
to prevent some of the cancer problem, not a "maybe." So please invite people
on your E-mail address book to join the "Patients' Right-to-Know" effort.
A Proposal for Radiologists:
How a Specific Consultation Can Become a Major
Asset for the Practice and for the Community, Oct 2000
Radiologists in Toronto invited a team of medical
physicists to observe their actual x-ray imaging practices, to
measure doses, to teach low-dose techniques, to tune-up
existing equipment, and to ensure proper processing of exposed
films. . . . The consultation demonstrated
that --- without loss of image-quality --- average dose could
be reduced "by a factor of at least 3 with little work and by
a factor of 10 or more if all conditions are optimized"
(Taylor 1983, p.557). These achievements
were obtained without purchases of major new equipment.
Mammography and XaHP (the X-Rays and Health Project):
Is There Any Conflict? Four Brief Comments, Oct 2000
If there is a war on cancer, but no group or agency is
devoted to reducing exposure to a PROVEN cause of every major
type of cancer --- namely, x-rays --- then the decision to
neglect x-rays really CAUSES the future xray-induced cancers
(and heart attacks) which could have been prevented. This
logic creates the moral obligation to succeed at what is
demonstrably feasible: Obtaining all the benefits of medical
and dental x-rays, at lower doses per procedure. An imaginary
conflict, between this goal and mammography, would be tragic
for nearly everyone.
Do X-Ray Practitioners Give Enough Attention
to Minimizing the Patients' X-Ray Dosage?
Some Opinions, Some Facts, Sep 2000
The personal comments of the radiologist's wife seem
to be consistent with the published comments of Joel E. Gray,
Ph.D., professor and medical physicist at the Mayo Clinic
until his recent retirement to become a consultant. Dr. Gray
is a world-class expert in obtaining high-quality x-ray images
while minimizing x-ray dosage to patients and staff. . . .
your exposures have not been measured recently,
you cannot be sure what exposures you are using. And if you
don't know what your exposures are, you don't know if you are
doing a good job" (Gray 1998a, p.61). Dr. Gray stresses that
dose-reduction techniques not only reduce the risk of causing
cancer, but they can sometimes produce better images.
How X-Ray Doses Vary From One X-Ray Practitioner to Another:
Nationwide Surveys, Sep 2000
An assumption, widely held among physicians and
patients alike, is that x-ray practitioners in general already
give x-ray doses which are as low as technically possible,
consistent with obtaining good images.
assumption is demonstrably false, as illustrated
by the table below, which is based on nationwide surveys of
about 300 facilities (CRCPD 1989 + CRCPD 1994). . . .
E. Gray, Ph.D. --- using the CRCPD data plus his
own vast experience as a professor and medical physicist at
the Mayo Clinic (and currently as a private consultant) ---
has published two articles which further demolish the
assumption that doses received during x-ray imaging are
already as low as technically possible (Gray 1998a+b).
Dr. Gray's articles also describe
"relatively simple, inexpensive, and easily applied"
techniques which, combined, can reduce dose in various
circumstances to one-fifth the amount given if such measures
are not used. Unfortunately, the two articles are very hard
to obtain, and they probably have been seen by almost no one
in medicine and certainly not by the public.
Fear, and the Patients' Right-to-Know:
The Viewpoint of an Influential Radiologist,
Deserving a Public Response, Sep 2000
The goal of the X-Rays and Health Project (XaHP) is to reduce
the x-ray dose per x-ray procedure, to the minimum level
consistent with obtaining the medical and dental benefits. The
reason for dose-reduction is that x-rays increase the risk of
consequential mutations, even when each x-ray exposure occurs
at low doses. . . .
our opinion, a medical degree confers an especially strong
duty to examine evidence bearing on life and death very
carefully, before urging anyone to ignore it.
that persons with such a degree hear about a new
study whose conclusion is that millions of future cases of
cancer and coronary heart disease could be prevented by
reducing x-ray dosage per x-ray procedure. Such a benefit would
hardly be trivial! Without examining and refuting the new
evidence, can physicians ethically urge anyone to ignore it?
What about the very great harm that such advice may cause?
viewpoint is that the best outcome for health, with
respect to x-rays, will occur only if both patients and
physicians are aware of the full range of informed medical
opinion. Our informed opinion is that reducing x-ray dosage per
x-ray procedure will prevent significant shares of future cases
of cancer and coronary heart disease. That would be an immense
health benefit. The evidence is so strong that we would feel
ashamed if we did nothing about it.
A Patient's Guide, When X-Rays Are Proposed, Sep 2000
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration makes this
estimate on its website, March 2000: Seven out of 10
Americans will get a medical or dental x-ray "picture" this year. . . . Sooner
or later, you or a family member is very likely
to contemplate an x-ray, due to a medical or dental problem or
due to an accident.
types of x-ray imaging procedures which generally
(not always) deliver the highest x-ray doses are fluoroscopy
and CT exams (XaHP Doc.102). The American Cancer Society has
stated, "Fluoroscopy delivers larger doses of x-ray than that
used in standard films. If there is an alternative means of
making a diagnosis, fluoroscopy should be avoided". . . .
is no mystery about how to reduce doses,
technically. What is lacking is leadership. If just a few
thousand American radiologists would openly endorse the goal,
their leadership (in our opinion) could reduce the average
dose-level administered by other radiologists virtually
overnight. Other kinds of x-ray practitioners would follow
Making the Bay Area a Model for California and the Nation:
A Guaranteed Way to Reduce Future Cancer-Rates, Fall 2000
A dose-reduction program requires no one to give up any of the
benefits of x-ray images. The fact is that the benefits of
x-ray images can be obtained from lower doses. Only 25% of
x-ray practitioners are using the lowest doses technically
possible. The other 75% are giving patients higher doses than
the doses needed for high-quality images --- in some cases,
5-times, 10-times, 15-times more dose than needed. . . .
suggest that the goal in the Bay Area, and
in every county of the nation, should be that all x-ray
practitioners give patients the lowest x-ray doses technically
possible, consistent with obtaining good images. No patient
deserves to receive an unnecessary x-ray-induced death later
on, due to uselessly high x-ray exposure. . . .
the two goals of the
Policy Statement had been adopted 30 years ago, when it was
first clear that x-rays are a cause of Cancer in adults,
countless cases of misery would have been prevented. It is a
moral imperative to do now what could have been done
ago. The Bay Area can lead the way, as a model for the rest
of California and the nation.
X-Rays: The Fallacy of the "Day in the Sun" Comparison,
Feb 28, 2000
Usually, when exposure to x-rays is compared with "a day in the sun" or "a day
at the beach," the mistaken assumption is that the ultraviolet light from the
sun is comparable to the penetrating photons of x-rays and gamma rays. . . .
When the "day in the sun" analogy is meant to compare x-ray exposure to
exposure by one day of natural background radiation, the comparison is still
mistaken, even though natural background radiation has access to the body's
A New, Low-Cost Way to Shake a Mistaken Mindset, Apr 2, 2000
Now, there is a new, low-cost way to
challenge [the] harmful mindset ... that ionizing radiation makes
only a small contribution to our rate of Cancer (and
no contribution at all to our rate of Coronary Heart
Disease). People can readily distribute the
32-page Executive Summary
"Radiation from Medical Procedures
to members of pollution advisory panels, enivronmental groups,
local cancer-action groups, local physicians, local
chapters of professional groups, local college
faculties, local consumer protection groups, local
holistic medical groups, local media and columnists,
etc. The "trickle-up" from a million copies would do
a lot to undermine the mistaken mindset. That's one
way that "alternative" medicine became "mainstream."
Preventing an Exercise in Self-Defeat:
The Relevance of Medical Radiation to Nuclear Pollution,
types of ionizing radiation do their
damage in the same way (Part
), insights gained
from the study of people exposed to one type of ionizing
radiation apply also to the other types of radiation
(with minor modifications).
it would be scientific lunacy for persons
working on nuclear pollution to reject the knowledge
gained from studying the health-harm from medical xrays.
For example, some of the most important insights in the
whole scientific effort have been based on medical xrays:
xrays provided Alice Stewart's evidence,
in 1956-1958, that pre-birth exposure to ionizing
radiation increases the risk of childhood Cancers and
to medical xrays, in therapy of the
painful spinal disease "Ankylosing Spondylitis," provided
the first evidence in the 1960s that nearly all
human Cancer would probably turn out to be inducible by
ionizing radiation. This early warning was correct.
exposure to medical xrays provided the type
of evidence which made it possible in 1990 for us to
prove, by any reasonable standard of biomedical proof,
that there is no safe
(risk-free) dose-level or dose-rate
of ionizing radiation with respect to causing Cancer
And much of the same evidence was subsequently used in
1995 by the British National Radiological Protection
Board, to conclude that "the weight of the evidence falls
decisively" against any threshold (safe dose).
in 1999, data from human exposure to medical
xrays provides the first powerful evidence that exposure
to ionizing radiation is a cause of Coronary Heart
Disease. This discovery is clearly as important as the
discovery that exposure to ionizing radiation is a cause
could anyone assume that all the discoveries
above have no relevance to exposure by nuclear
pollutants? Such an assumption would be an irrational
denial of the essential feature of ionizing radiation.
Everyone concerned about nuclear pollution has a huge
stake in knowledge gained from studies of medical xrays.
One Easy and
Important Step You Can Take
Toward Avoiding Cancer and Coronary Heart Disease:
An Affordable Summary of New Evidence about X-Rays, 2/00
- Are X-Ray Procedures Equivalent, in
Extra Radiation Dose,
To Taking an Airplane Trip?, 2/28/00
- What Is an "Entrance Dose" of X-Rays?, 2/00
- RAMP Addition-1: "Expectations", 2/19/00
Demonstration, for All-Cancers-Combined:
The Findings in RAMP Are in Line with Reasonable Scientific Expectations.
A Response to Claims that the Findings
Are not in Line with Reasonable Expectations.
- RAMP Addition-2: "Causation", 2/25/00
A Response to the Comment, "Very Impressive Dose-Responses ---
But Dose-Responses Do Not Prove Causation by Radiation Because
They Do Not Rule Out Some Other Cause of the Observed Relationships."
- RAMP Addition-3: "Atherogenic Mutations", 3/9/00
The Unified Model of Atherogenesis and Acute IHD Death:
Additional Evidence Related to Monoclonality, and to Acquired Mutations.
1 9 9 9 :
Letter of Concern, regarding the biological effects of ionizing radiation, May 11, 1999
Cancer in the Family: Does Each Case Require More Than One Cause?
The Likelihood of Co-Action, Apr 1999
to popular belief, [terms such as "radiation-induced Cancer"] do not
necessarily mean that radiation acts alone to cause a case of
Cancer, or that smoking acts alone to cause a case of Cancer,
or that a workplace carcinogen acts alone to cause a case of
Cancer, . . . . Indeed, the "general wisdom" is that they do
not act alone (Part 3).
. . . To allow for the likelihood that a case of Cancer
requires more than one cause, one should think of
"radiation-induced Cancers" as cases which would be absent
(prevented) in the absence of radiation exposure (Parts 7 + 8). . . .
of the interesting implications of co-action is
this: Reducing exposure to a single carcinogen reduces the
power of all of its partners in causing Cancer. If one can
identify a single carcinogen which is a necessary co-actor in
many common types of Cancer (which means, the carcinogen will
have a high Fractional Causation), then one can make real
progress in preventing Cancer by reducing exposure to that
year, the Committee will publish strong new
evidence that ionizing radiation is such a carcinogen.
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CNR Renewal Request, Fall 1998
of the most overlooked dangers from nuclear pollution, and
from other sources of irradiation, is the problem of inherited
afflictions when the exposed persons subsequently conceive
children. This topic belongs at the top of the list of importance,
with respect to nuclear power and nuclear pollution. . . .
scientifically credible warning that at least one-fourth --- and
maybe more than half --- of the inherited tendencies are probably
due to the very low-dose radiation which humans have been receiving
(generation after generation) from natural background sources.
"Asleep at the Wheel": The Special Menace
of Inherited Afflictions from Ionizing Radiation,
topic which consumes Parts 5,6,7 of this
article is the famous failure to detect (at a statistically
significant level) any extra frequency of inherited
afflictions, in the Japanese children of the Atomic Bomb
main importance of the "famous failure" has
been its power to render much of the environmental and medical
communities "asleep at the wheel," with respect to the menace
of inherited afflictions caused by ionizing radiation. Some
environmentalists even talk about "giving nuclear power a
second chance." And some people in medicine are so relaxed,
about low-dose radiation, that their customers have to fight
in order to obtain shielding of their ovaries and testes from
suspect that hardly one-percent of
environmentalists and medical professionals know (a) that
when the A-Bomb Genetics Program was initiated, it was already
acknowledged that, in all probability, it would be inherently
incapable of producing statistically significant results (see
Para.5b), and (b) that very few
inherited effects were even explored in that Program (see
Part 6). One purpose of this
article is to document statements (a) and (b).
other purpose of this article is to set forth
a scientifically credible warning that ionizing radiation is
probably the single most menacing mutagen to which people
everywhere are exposed --- and by itself is probably the
mutagen which accounts for one-quarter or more of humanity's
inherited afflictions (Para.2b). This
warning is tied to three types of relevant human evidence (Parts
9,10,11). . . .
very low doubling-dose for radiation-induced
chromosomal mutations, and confirmation of the importance of
such mutations in inherited disorders, combine almost to
scream at humanity: "Do not permit increases in nuclear
pollution. At enormous expense, you can recapture only a
small part of what you let loose. Irrevocable nuclear
pollution inevitably increases humanity's rate of inherited
The Fission-Product Equivalence
between Nuclear Reactors and Nuclear Weapons, Fall 1998
Adapted from Vol.117, No. 105, Jul 8, 1971,
of the Congressional Record
calculations below establish that one large nuclear power
plant, during one year of operation, produces
as much long-lived radioactive poison (fission products)
as produced by the explosion of about 1,000 Hiroshima
bombs. . . .
is desired here is a determination which
compares production of long-lived fission products (for
example, strontium-90 or cesium-137) by nuclear power
reactors, with such production by nuclear weapons. In
particular, we shall determine what Kilotonnage of atomic
fission bombs (the Hiroshima bomb was a fission bomb) is
required to produce an inventory of long-lived fission
products equivalent to the inventory within a 1000 Megawatt
(electrical) nuclear generating station which has operated for
Comments on Extremely Low Frequency
Electric and Magnetic Fields, 10/2/98
have received the full 500-page "Working Group Report
on identifying (not quantifying) potential health hazards from
exposure to power-line frequency EMFs (NIH Pub. 98-3981). You
, especially about the group's vote (by 19 out
of 30 members) to classify ELF EMFs as "possibly carcinogenic
to humans" (p.396), according to IARC criteria. . . .
In the absence of conclusive evidence about adverse
health effects from EMFs, there is a troubling ethical issue
which NIEHS and Congress should not overlook. People are
getting exposed without their consent
to an agent of unknown
toxicity. The fact, that this is true also for most chemical
pollutants, does not make it morally defensible. The
doctrine, that there is a right to expose people unless they
(or their government) can prove harm, amounts to enrolling the
population in a giant biological experiment without consent.
And after harm is established, the cost-benefit doctrine of
pollution takes over, and this doctrine still assumes a
polluter's right to expose people without their consent, as
long as the majority of 535 members of Congress decree that
the economic benefit to society (and possibly to certain
Congressmen and polluters) is "worth it." . . .
Indeed, because of the potential conflict of interest
in such research, I urge NIEHS to adopt a policy ---
starting with a website addendum to this report --- of
requiring every member of a Working Group, Task Force,
Advisory Panel, etc. to disclose the source and amount of
his/her past and current funding, and if at a university, any
benefactors of his or her department. If judges, non-profit
board members, lawyers, security analysts, and many other
high-status professionals routinely disclose their sources of
funding --- without claiming that such disclosure impugns
their integrity --- then scientists deserve no exemption. As
you know, journals routinely ask for such disclosure from
scientists. But I find no clue about past and current funding
of the various experts named on pages 1-4. Nor do I find any
discussion of the "interests" of those who picked
Working Group members, and the criteria for selecting Dr. X
instead of Dr. Y for a slot.
Mammography: An Individual's Estimated Risk that the
Will Cause Radiation-Induced Breast Cancer, 6/9/98
Confirmation that Ionizing Radiation Can
Induce Genomic Instability:
What is Genomic Instability, and Why Is It So Important?,
instability --- also called "genetic
instability" and "chromosomal instability" --- refers to
abnormally high rates (possibly accelerating rates) of genetic
change occurring serially and spontaneously in
cell-populations, as they descend from the same ancestral
cell. By contrast, normal cells maintain genomic stability
operation of elaborate systems which ensure accurate
duplication and distribution of DNA to progeny-cells,
and which prevent duplication of genetically abnormal cells. . . .
is genomic instability so important? Many (not
all) cancer biologists now believe that genomic instability
"not only initiates carcinogenesis, but also allows the tumor
cell to become metastatic and evade drug
toxicity" . . ., and "The loss of stability of the genome is
becoming accepted as one of the most important aspects of
carcinogenesis" . . ., and "One of the
hallmarks of the cancer cell is the inherent instability of
its genome". . . .
view of all the five facts above
it would be inappropriate to doubt the menace of low-dose ionizing
in view of all the five facts
it is strange --- in studies which attempt to explain a difference in
cancer-rates between two groups --- that the question is so
seldom asked: How do the radiation histories differ between
the groups? In view of the five facts above, it should be the
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Reject the Policy of Putting Radioactive Scrap-Metal into Commerce,
Dec 1, 1997
If You Ever Take an Xray, Fly, or Live at High Altitude, Are You Silly to
Reject the Policy of Putting Radioactive Scrap-Metal into Commerce?
every other "Below Regulatory Concern" (BRC)
practice, commercial use of radioactive scrap-metal amounts to
permission to commit premeditated random murder --- as does
every "permissible dose" of nuclear pollution. These BRC and
"permissible" doctrines violate human rights in a profound way. . . . The
morally bankrupt aspect of radioactive scrap and nuclear
pollution is that these practices force unwilling and
unsuspecting people to take extra radiation exposure. These
practices amount to deadly trespass.
Cassini Fly-By, An Open Inquiry to NASA and DOE, Oct 23, 1997
Will the "Ceramic" Plutonium Still Be a Cohesive Solid,
or Will Its Self-Irradiation Have Made It Very Fragile?
and DOE have issued public assurances that, during the
fly-by of Cassini on route to Saturn, even a burn-up accident
would cause no health-hazard on Earth. Reason: The
plutonium-dioxide on board is said to be a cohesive solid
("ceramic") which would never be able to fall-out as small
inhalable particles of the size (less than 10 microns in diameter)
which could deposit themselves in human lungs and cause lung cancer.
are the calculations which indicate that, as a result of
self-irradiation, every plutonium atom on the mission will have
been subjected on the average to about 800 high-energy events, per
year of decay before the fly-by.
do not know the evidence that Cassini's pellets of "ceramic"
plutonium-dioxide will still be a cohesive solid after all that
internal bombardment. . . . If the results go in the direction
of fine powder rather than "ceramic" cohesion, such results
would seriously undermine current claims that a fly-by accident
would have no health consequences on Earth.
Dr. Gofman in a PBS NewsHour Forum on "Is
the Cassini Mission Safe?
The Following 3 Pieces Together Comprise The Fall '97 mailing:
Need for "Adversary Science" -- the Cassini Example
key lesson about Cassini, in our opinion, is that
society should finally stop the repeated lunacy of depending
on risk-estimates provided by the enthusiasts
enterprise --- in this case, NASA, the Jet Propulsion Lab, and
others. . . .
do we mean by Adversary Science? We mean
financial support for competing teams of experts assigned to
find out, and to tell the public, about any hazards which the
enthusiasts of a project may have failed to report, or even to
early-warning function would be a research and publicity effort,
not a regulatory effort. . . . The world automatically funds plenty
of Promotion Science (by governments, some industries, some
foundations). For a more balanced public debate, humanity needs a
system also to fund automatically some Adversary Science. Certainly
not to give Adversary Scientists a veto. Just to provide a more
See Also: Dr. Gofman in a PBS NewsHour Forum on "Is
the Cassini Mission Safe?
Solar-Energy Update: Good News about
Solar Energy & Energy-Efficiency
May 1997, a wonderful book about progress in
solar energy and energy-efficiency was published: Charging
Ahead: The Business of Renewable Energy and What It Means for
, by John J. Berger, Ph.D. (398 pages; Holt & Co.; $30;
It can be bought directly from 1-800-288-2131 or 1-800-544-4565). . . .
. . . The mystery: What slows up adoption of these popular, proven,
renewable technologies? This book explains --- and could
empower the public to remove those obstacles. Dr. Berger has
done a monumental public service. His book (selected for
listing by Science News Books
) belongs in the hands of every
owner of a home or building, every person who dislikes smog
and oil-wars and nuclear pollution, and in every college, high
school, and public library.
Corrections of Frontline's "Nuclear Reaction"
"Frontline" PBS broadcast named "Nuclear
Reaction" resembles, in our opinion, a promotional film for
nuclear electricity. Like other Frontlines, Nuclear Reaction
is likely to be broadcast repeatedly. After
writing PBS about one of the program's many factual errors
also acquired the program's verbatim transscript. Below, we select
of the Frontline errors for correction.
The Free-Radical Fallacy about Ionizing Radiation:
Demonstration That a Popular Claim Is Senseless,
some peer-review journals and various interviews in the media, what we
call the Free-Radical1
Fallacy has been employed in an effort to deny the menace of
low-dose ionizing radiation. Here, we will demonstrate why
it is a fallacy and explain how to demolish the false claim that
ionizing radiation "must" be a negligible health menace, because it
adds so few free-radicals to the large number which are present anyway
in each of our cells. Our demonstration, which uses only simple
arithmetic, disposes of the Free-Radical Fallacy in an objective way,
and describes a unique
feature of ionizing radiation which is
not in dispute. Our demonstration is suitable for students, teachers,
science writers, physicians, and concerned medical patients.
last paragraph (4e
) states the
broader fact-based theme at the very heart
of the Committee's mission:
Because of its unique property, ionizing radiation
is a unique menace to our DNA and chromosomes. This fact
needs wide recognition, as mankind learns that far more health
problems are mutation-based than anyone could prove 15 years
A Wake-Up Call for Everyone Who Dislikes Cancer
and Inherited Afflictions, Spring 1997
media generally refer to "Gofman, long-time opponent of nuclear
power," but they almost never label people who deny harm from low-dose
radiation as "long-time advocates of nuclear-power" (or mammography, etc.)
or as people who have a personal conflict of interest because their grants
or livelihoods come from interests who irradiate people. . . .
our own view, it is quite possible that a permanent doubling of the
"background" dose of ionizing radiation, worldwide, would very gradually
double mankind's burden of inherited afflictions --- from mental handicaps
to predispositions to emotional disorders, cardio-vascular diseases,
cancers, immune-system disorders, and so forth. Such a doubling would be the
greatest imaginable crime against humanity. . . .
the very time when more and more dreadful
afflictions (not only cancer) are discovered to be gene-based,
one might expect a very loud consensus in favor of immediate
reduction of exposure to ionizing radiation. Instead, we see
the opposite: A growing effort to belittle the menace of this
particular mutagen. It takes our breath away.
Letter of Protest to KQED President re:
Frontline's "Nuclear Reaction", Apr 25, 1997
about a week prior to the broadcast of the FRONTLINE
program on nuclear power, KQED incessantly ran an ad showing
that a piece of paper would stop the alpha particle radiation
from a piece of plutonium. The context was, of course,
suggesting that plutonium is not all that dangerous as a
toxic material --- "even a piece of paper stops all the
is an absolute violation of your privilege to use the
airwaves. It is not appropriate for you to air materiel which
can have major harmful consequences for life for your
listeners. In this case, the horrendous blunder on plutonium
can in time add to the death toll which will result from
population exposure to plutonium.
Some Reviews and Comments on the Book
Breast Cancer-Free Zones: Why Not?
An Effective Way to Begin
Resistance To New Ideas: A Relevant Story from the Past
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Answers to Frequently-Asked-Questions about "Radiation",
Xrays and gamma rays, which are a type of
electro-magnetic radiation, are far more energetic per photon than
visible light, and immensely more energetic per photon than
microwaves and radiowaves. Nonetheless, xrays and gamma rays
do their biological damage via particles, especially
electrons. . . . Regardless of their origin, as high-speed particles
slow down, they transfer unnaturally large amounts of energy
at irregular intervals to various cells. These transfers of
too much energy are unlike the smaller energy-transfers in
routine body-chemistry, and the bigger transfers can cause
complex, non-repairable damage to a cell's library of genetic
instructions --- the chromosomes and DNA. Some types of
permanent injury kill the cell, but other types do not.
Letters To the Editor -- Unsafe in any dose,
Sep 19, 1996
of California would be crazy not to insist, even
belatedly, on credible proof that the radioactive and
"mixed" inventory at LBNL will remain contained -- not only
during routine operations, but also through earthquakes,
mud slides, and especially fire such as the terrible
conflagration which might have consumed the lab just a few
years ago. Can a good hot fire and its wind lift and then
drop the radioactive and chemical poisons as "fallout"? I
am astonished to be told that this question seems not to
have been answered in a straightforward, persuasive manner yet.
Chernobyl's 10th: Cancer and Nuclear-Age Peace
-- Don't Be Deceived,
Mar 9, 1996
The monolithic nuclear/radiation "community" cannot afford to
provide a meaningful analysis of the radiation consequences. Life,
for this monolith, requires the lowest possible death consequences
of Chernobyl. . . . Those enterprises (military or civilian) which
deliver ionizing radiation to people, anywhere in the world, share
the common goal of underestimating the health-hazard of ionizing
radiation. Thus, the military enterprises, the nuclear power
enterprises, and the medical radiation enterprises (x-rays and
"nuclear medicine") share a common endeavor.
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What Is Factually Wrong with This Belief:
"Harm from Low-Dose
Radiation Is Just Hypothetical
--- Not Proven", Fall 1995
Advances in identifying the causes of cancer and inherited
afflictions receive much attention in the media because people
care very much about preventing these miseries. The mistake we
address here is the claim that harm from ionizing radiation, a
proven carcinogen and mutagen, is "only hypothetical" at low
dose-levels. This misinformation is routinely treated as
credible and is disseminated widely . . . The purpose of this
communication is to show you, in abbreviated fashion, the
factual basis for rejecting the claim that no harm has yet
been proven from low-dose radiation. . . .
Seven Comments on Proposed Radiation "Standards"
for the Yucca
Mountain Rad-Waste Repository:
Oct 26, 1995
The concept of irreversible rad-waste burial
represents an assault against current and future generations.
Virtually no one believes it will all stay contained and out of
when the U.S. Government seeks advice from
the National Research Council on setting "standards"
(so-called permissible limits) for future radiation
exposure from Yucca Mountain and other rad-waste burial
sites, the government is conceding that some of the poison
will probably get into the biosphere. In response, the YMS
Committee concedes that rad-waste burial at Yucca Mountain
is possible only if people are convinced that "very low
radiation doses pose a negligibly small risk" (p.7).
can any level of premeditated random murder be
presented by policy-makers as "negligible"? Is this really
happening in the USA? Can anyone in the National Research
Council or the Environmental Protection Agency possibly
endorse a right to inflict radiation-induced cancers and
inherited afflictions on current and future generations?
These are criminal acts. . . .
can not justify exposing other people to
extra ionizing radiation via nuclear pollution by
speculating, contrary to the evidence, that maybe a safe
dose exists. The people who advocate such a position are
accomplices to premeditated massive experimentation on
their fellow humans --- even into future generations.
Experimentation on other humans without their individual
consent is a crime identified by the Nuremberg Tribunals.
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Reflections on "Mission Impossible"
for the 30th Anniversary of LLNL, Biology Programs,
Nov 22, 1993
am sure that there are objective, DOE-sponsored experts who are very
sad about DOE's lack of credibility, which taints their own work. So
a solution would be in your interest as well as the public's. I do
not believe the Laboratory and DOE can ever achieve credibility on the
issue of health effects of radiation (or other pollutants) unless you
establish some powerful counter-measures to the obvious conflict of
such measure could be a permanent policy of setting aside a
segment of the health effects budget --- say 5 or 10 % --- to be
administered by independent, non-governmental, citizen-based groups
who would sponsor on-site experts of their own choosing. The daily
on-site presence of potential whistle-blowers would do a lot to
liberate DOE-sponsored analysts from any humiliating pressures, and
would give their own work some real credibility.
can not guarantee that this would work. But I do guarantee that
more than powerless "citizen advisors" are needed to give DOE-sponsored
health studies some public credibility. Without a serious plan to cope
with conflict of interest, the bio-medical programs will remain -- with
respect to public respect -- on a Mission Impossible.
What Is Humanity's Most Harmful Law?
The Law of Concentrated Benefit
over Diffuse Injury, Nov 1993
law of Concentrated Benefit over Diffuse Injury can be
stated as follows:
A small, determined group, working energetically for its
own narrow interests, can almost always impose an injustice
upon a vastly larger group, provided that the larger group
believes that the injury is "hypothetical," or
distant-in-the-future, or real-but-small relative to the
real-and-large cost of preventing it.
scholars have written about this extremely important
axiom before -- it is not original with us. The fact that
narrow special interests are always at work for their own
benefit at the expense of others
is not at all surprising,
given human nature. And it is not surprising that the
victims select what appears to be the strategy of least
cost to themselves.
surprising aspect is the failure of so many victims --
especially in peaceful democracies -- to appreciate the
consequences which inevitably accrue, when
each small injustice has such a high chance of prevailing.
Beware the Data Diddlers, by Dr. John Gofman,
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 1993
there is ample evidence that nuclear pollution presents health risks,
how can we properly assess the degree of risk when the governments
that have unleashed the poisons also sponsor virtually all the health
research concerning nuclear radiation?
conflict-of-interest problem has a common-sense solution. We -- and
"we" refers mainly to individuals and nongovernmental organizations --
must insist that independent "watchdog
" be established to monitor the work of those who may have
a vested interest in underestimating the health risks that may be
attributed to nuclear radiation. . . .
work on the risks of low-dose radiation has been controversial. Some
scientists say they agree with me. Many say they do not. But whether I'm
right or wrong about the low-dose question is irrelevant in evaluating the
watchdog proposal. The watchdog idea serves the interests of objective,
scientific inquiry. It does not promote the interest of any particular point
of view regarding the possible outcomes of specific studies. . . .
sponsors of current research on radiation and other types of pollution
may fight vigorously behind the scenes to kill the watchdog idea. And after
the watchdog proposal is accepted -- soon, I hope -- people must still
remain vigilant. They must insure that independent experts are not -- or
do not become -- sheep who wear a watchdog costume. In the end,
we are all
. We owe future generations at least that much.
From Hanford To Chernobyl . . . And Beyond?,
1989, a group of radiation experts who were sent to the
Chernobyl area by the World Health Organization (WHO) denied
that any of the health problems were related to radiation. In May
1991, a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) produced the same denial. Neither report denied health
problems. Rather, the reports denied any connection between the
problems and radiation. Both sets of experts claimed that the
Chernobyl populations which they visited suffered from
exaggerated fears about their radiation exposures.
think that the explanation for some of the health
problems may be radiation-induced hypo-thyroidism from
radio-iodine --- rather than "radio-phobia." This essay
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The Right Livelihood Award, 1992, John Gofman (USA),
for his pioneering work in exposing the health effects of low-level
- HTML Format
To counter such scientifically questionable practices
Gofman has called for an independent `Watchdog Authority'
to oversee the next generation of Chernobyl studies,
and particularly to enforce nine essential rules (many
of which were broken by the IAEA and WHO studies
mentioned earlier) of good scientific
practice: comparable groups, a real difference of
dose, a sufficiently big difference of dose, careful
reconstruction of dose, `blinding' of dose analysts,
`blinding' of diagnostic analysts, no changes after
results are known, no excessive sub-division of data
and no prejudgements.
Bio-Medical "Un-Knowledge" And Nuclear Pollution:
A Common-Sense Proposal,
On the occasion of the Right Livelihood Award, Stockholm,
Dec 9, 1992.
"Bio-medical un-knowledge" is an abbreviation for all the findings
which are the opposite of what is true about health and disease.
. . . How can humanity
have even the remotest chance of protecting its own
health, when an agent of poisoning the population is
also the sponsor of virtually all the health
research concerning the pollutant? . . .
the database itself is false -- either from
careless work or from intentional bias -- it poisons
every conclusion which emerges from it. A false
database causes innocent analysts of such data to
fill the medical journals and textbooks with
un-knowledge. It renders all its users into agents
of possibly deadly mis-information. . .
No One Escapes Harm:
The Essential Story of In-Utero Irradiation,
is a certainty rather than a risk during the 8-25 week
period [of gestation of the human fetus]. No one who is thus irradiated
in-utero completely escapes some loss of mental function. These are
reasonable conclusions from the only existing human evidence, but of
course, they might someday be modified by additional human evidence. . . .
really huge aggregate injury arises because evidence and logic
combine to indicate that everyone who receives extra in-utero
radiation during the 8-25 week period loses some mental function, in
proportion to the extra dose. Those who are not pushed over the
arbitrary dividing line into full-blown mental retardation are injured
too. At each dose-level, those who were destined to be mentally
retarded anyway become more retarded, those who were destined for
average function become below-average, and those who were destined
for brilliant mental function become less brilliant.
Radiation-Inducible Chromosome Injuries:
Some Recent Evidence on Health Consequences
-- Major Consequences,
are the structures, in the nuclei of our cells,
which are composed of helical, double-stranded DNA and associated
proteins. The DNA molecules encode our human and individual
genetic heritage. Two types of genetic injury which are readily
caused by ionizing radiation at very low doses and low dose-rates
are chromosomal deletions and translocations.
evidence links a great variety of chromosomal deletions and
translocations with devastating birth defects and mental
handicaps. Nonetheless, pressure to "forgive" more nuclear
pollution --- and thus "forgive" more involuntary exposures to
ionizing radiation --- is reviving in a big way. One consequence
of additional exposure would be additional injury of the
population's chromosomes, our library of genetic information.
chromosome story is a classic example of how "permissible"
levels of radiation and other pollutants are recklessly established
under the "prove harm" doctrine before technologies even exist for
proving which agents can be the cause of dreadful health effects.
CNR paper describes the evidence which links chromosomal
deletions and translocations with mental handicap and structural
defects of the heart, kidneys, digestive tract, skeleton, and
genitalia, and it also describes the limits of technology which
have delayed this evidence for so long.
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Assessing Chernobyl's Cancer Consequences:
Application of Four "Laws" of Radiation Carcinogenesis
The American Chemical Society
Symposium On Low-Level Radiation,
Division of Chemical Health and Safety,
Sep 9, 1986
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CNR Publication List: Sep 1978
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Testimony by John W. Gofman for the NRC GESMO Hearings
addresses the considerations of the toxicity of plutonium
Feb 21, 1977
Letter to James Schlesinger
on National Energy Policy Recommendations
Mar 17, 1977
Gross Energy Available through Light Water Reactors
C.N.R. Report 1977-2
Jimmy Carter's Energy Plan: Myths vs. Realities
by John W. Gofman and Egan O'Connor
- Part I: Solar Energy
CNR Report 1977-3, June 6, 1977
- Part II: Energy Conservation
CNR Report 1977-4, June 6, 1977
- Part III: Nuclear Fission
CNR Report 1977-5, June 6, 1977
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The Cancer Hazard from Inhaled Plutonium,
CNR Report 1975-1 - R,
May 14, 1975
Estimated Production of Human Lung Cancers
by Plutonium from Worldwide Fallout,
CNR Report 1975-2,
Jul 10, 1975
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Some Important Unexamined Questions Concerning
The Barnwell Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Plant
Testimony Before The Nuclear Study Committee,
The Legislature of the State oF South Carolina,
Jan 7, 1972
Reacting to reactors -- The "peaceful atom": Time for a moratorium
Environmental Action, Nov 25, 1972
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is no significant
technical controversy that can be resolved by a debate on the
merits of specific gadgets in the nuclear power industry. What
is really at issue is a moral question -- the right of one
generation of humans to take upon itself the arrogance of
possibly compromising the earth as an habitable place for this
and essentially all future generations. Nuclear power generation
carries with it the prospect of visiting increased cancer upon
this and a thousand generations to come. Additionally, nuclear
power generation carries with it the prospect of genetic
deterioration of humans that will insure an increase in most of
the common causes of death in future generations. . . .
only way we will achieve clean synthetic gas from coal in
large quantities and a full solar energy economy in the early
future is via an immediate rejection of nuclear fission power as
an acceptable option. Such rejection would be meaningful through
a national moratorium on the operation or construction of any
nuclear fission power plants. The resources, both public and
private, freed by a moratorium on nuclear fission power will be
enormous. The acceptable alternatives will move rapidly toward
realization once these resources are available.
energy industry has no place in its ledgers marked "health
and welfare of future generations." Therefore, the task of
accomplishing a moratorium and providing a sane energy economy
cannot be entrusted to that industry. But individuals in society
do have a moral obligation to avoid recklessness and extremism
in dealing with the future of living creatures on earth. Given
the nature of the real problem of nuclear power, a problem
admitted by proponents and opponents of nuclear power, it is
difficult to understand the position of anyone who is not
insistent upon an immediate moratorium on all nuclear fission
1 9 7 1 :
Epidemiologic Studies of Carcinogenesis By Ionizing Radiation,
by John W. Gofman and Arthur R. Tamplin,
Proceedings of the Sixth Berkeley Symposium on
Mathematical Statistics and Probability, Jul 20, 1971