By John W. Gofman and Egan O'Connor, Spring 1994
- Part 1 -- Reconciliation after a Long War
- Part 2 -- A Set of Premises about Truth and Deceit
- Part 3 -- Specific Suggestions for DOE and Others
- Part 4 -- Some Sympathetic Remarks to the Current Insiders
- Part 5 -- Where the Real Action Occurs: Database Control
- Part 6 -- Some "Eyewash" Proposals Which Will not Work
- Part 7 -- A Terrible Silence in Our Universities and Medical Schools
- Part 8 -- The Current Situation regarding Radiation Databases
- Part 9 -- Creating Bonds of Trust, or Just "Smoke and Mirrors"?
1 Reconciliation after a Long War
Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary is an extraordinary person whom we and many others have come to trust as an individual. She inherited a government agency whose history of deception, intimidation, and pollution amounts to a war against the public and its health. Indeed, Hazel O'Leary acknowledges the extremely low credibility of DOE (Department of Energy) with the public --- a formidable obstacle to DOE's current goals.
One of Hazel O'Leary's top priorities, according to her own public statements (e.g., National Press Club, February 1994), is to place the DOE itself high on a list of trusted institutions by the end of 1994. It will require systematic and profound changes before the rest of DOE can enjoy public trust, in the opinion of many people (ourselves included). But it may be "do-able. "
What are some essential ingredients of a system which would produce information on health and safety issues which the public could believe? We propose, for discussion and modifications, some ideas about the required ingredients (Part 3).
Although we will speak here about radiation, the ideas should also apply to generating believable information (a) about health effects from other pollutants too, e.g., heavy metals and environmental estrogens, (b) about current and proposed containment systems for various poisons, and (c) about the size of human doses from the non-contained fraction of such poisons after their complex behavior in the free environment.
Believable information requires trustworthy databases --- computerized collections of data from which analysts can derive relationships (for example, the relationship between the amount of exposure to a pollutant and health status). It is urgent to guard the databases from falsification (Parts 5, 6, 7, 8).
Unfortunately, Hazel O'Leary plans to leave DOE after one term, at the end of 1996. So, there are only 2.5 years to help her to install a system for DOE and its subsidiaries which (a) will deserve public trust after Hazel O'Leary's departure, and which (b) could be adopted also by the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission), EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), CDC (Centers for Disease Control), NCI (National Cancer Institute), FDA (Food and Drug Administration), and many other government agencies which deal (directly, or via numerous grants and contracts) with public health and safety.
2 A Set of Premises about Truth and Deceit
Deceit is a gross violation of human rights when its use jeopardizes people's health and safety. Thus, everyone has a duty to prevent or expose this class of deceit. But if the pains of performing a duty are large while the pains of non-performance are small, do not expect much performance.
2A If crooks make a database, even Einstein would get false answers from it. (See Parts 5, 6, 7, 8.)
2B As statistical treatment of biological data becomes more elaborate, the results become more suspect --- and doubts are often justified.
2C In any enterprise, if dissenters are likely to be punished, their colleagues prefer to stay out of trouble by censoring themselves. Self-censorship is the main way in which dissent and warnings are stifled, whether the enterprise is research, construction, or operations.
2D An enterprise which does not strongly encourage and protect dissent, is not looking for the truth. Instead, it is building an artificial consensus, and deceiving the public by pointing to such a consensus as evidence of truth. On issues of public health and safety, the only consensus which the public can trust is one which evolves when dissenters are genuinely safe to express their views in public and when individuals who attempt to stifle dissent experience severe sanctions. The public has no basis for confidence in enterprises which merely claim that they handle dissent correctly --- by processes out of public view.
2E There is an economic cost in every enterprise to suppressing the morally weak (and sometimes actively evil) parts of human nature. So let's clearly acknowledge that "policing" measures --- to assure that truth receives the top priority on matters of public health and safety --- will cost some money. DOE, for example, will never gain public trust just by saying, "Trust us! " The public is no longer naive. (See Part 9.)
2F Some fraction of DOE's annual budget should be set aside indefinitely for measures to earn public trust. We shall refer to this set-aside as "the credibility pot." Set-asides have a precedent. When Congress established the Human Genome Project, it required a percentage of the budget to be devoted to investigating the implications and ethical problems with the project, in order to prevent later difficulties and to earn public confidence (Cable News Network, Feb. 4, 1994).
2G Self-policing systems are the most effective, most pleasant, and least costly. Self-policing occurs when people have incentives to make morally good choices, and incentives to avoid the rotten options.
2H Most people --- including those who are now distrusted by the public --- prefer to be trusted, to be praised, to be genuinely proud of their work, and to help protect public health and safety. Individuals feel such a strong need to regard themselves as morally good people that even the worst scoundrels and cowards seem to justify their bad behavior to themselves.
2-Eye Almost all people involved in public health and safety would eagerly follow their consciences if current incentives were reversed, so that the consequences of the best behavior were pleasant rather than painful for themselves. They want to do the right thing, and the public wants them to do it. Nonetheless, this vast pool of talent and experience is necessarily distrusted by much of the public because the current system rewards silence and punishes open dissent.
2J Most of the wrongdoing which leads to whistleblowing could be averted --- if people in an enterprise really felt safe about raising questions early and openly. By the time whistleblowing occurs, the wrongdoing has already occurred. Although recent federal laws on whistleblowing are better than past laws, powerful deterrents are still allowed to operate against whistleblowers --- who can apply for redress via the Dept. of Labor after they have already suffered reprisals. So, current "protection" does not go into operation until both the wrongdoing and the reprisals have already occurred.
3 Specific Suggestions for DOE and Others
3A The key to credibility for DOE lies in genuine encouragement of dissent in public (Part 2). Although this will require a "sea change" in current practices, several of the suggestions below could be promptly "do-able" by Hazel O'Leary without any Congressional action. If Hazel O'Leary receives the support she will need to establish a functioning model of genuine support for open dissent, she could create a magnificent legacy for humanity, inspiring change far beyond just the US Dept. of Energy. Consider the dismal report in 3B, below.
3B On July 22, 1992, the Wall Street Journal, carried a front-page report entitled, "General Electric's Drive to Purge Fraud Is Hampered by Workers' Mistrust; Some Fear Getting the Ax If They Follow Directive to Report Wrongdoing. " The report includes a quote from the editor of DOJ Alert (a journal covering events at the US Dept. of Justice) who says that throughout the defense industry, "if you're an employee and you complain [of wrongdoing], you take your career in your hand. " Is it any wonder that induction of a slave-mentality is so common?
3C At DOE and elsewhere, just a declaration supporting dissent in public would be meaningless unless retaliation, by immediate supervisors and fearful co-workers, is suppressed by new incentives and disincentives.
3D Supervisors and co-workers who actively help to protect dissent and to see that the rules of objective research are scrupulously followed, should expect and receive rewards --such as meaningful merits in their personnel files, and public honors. One might even consider having a few cash-bearing prizes awarded annually by grateful grassroots groups, out of "the credibility pot" of government funds (see 2F).
3E Supervisors and co-workers who are found to have impeded dissent or impeded adherence to the rules of objective research --- actively or by turning a "blind eye" --- must be the ones to receive severe demerits or other punishments for this behavior. They have gambled with the public's health and safety. Response to such behavior must be more than a "slap on the wrist" or a monetary fine for the institution. The pain needs to be felt personally by the responsible individuals.
3F Genuine encouragement of dissent means that, whenever necessary, employees who raise unpopular questions can count on receiving immediate protection from "goons" and their threats (car tamperings, pet poisonings, arson, etc.). Costs of appropriate security will be paid from "the credibility pot."
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke, English statesman, 1729-1797.
3G To help discourage frivolous complaints, the complainers themselves receive no rewards. Moreover, we do not propose changes for routine grievances between employers and employees. Our suggestions apply only to complaints and inquiries connected with public health and safety.
3H An employee is entitled to initiate a public hearing about his/her concern (see 3-Eye).
3-Eye Citizens at large (not just people whose work relates to health and safety) also have "standing" to raise questions and to require clarifications about health and safety issues, to initiate a public hearing before people whose fairness they trust (see 3K & 3L), and to receive protection from "goons" when necessary.
3J Every complaint from employees or the public must get a hearing, open to the public and press. Although the current distrust may cause "too many" complaints at first, the number of complaints by the public will fall dramatically after the system is seen effectively to encourage and protect dissenters within the government and its contractors.
3K Questions and complaints should be handled promptly and with common sense, without the use of any attorneys or courts. Instead, the system can use arbitrators (professional or informal).
3L Both parties must agree on the choice of each arbitrator, so they agree that their panel consists of people who are fair-minded and non-corrupt. If one party tries to delay the hearing by refusing to reach agreement on arbitrators, the entire panel will be selected by drawing proposed names from a bag. Arbitrators will be paid, as appropriate, from "the credibility pot. " The arbitrators will jointly set common-sense guidelines for their hearing, with respect to duration, sequence, avoidance of slander, etc., after considering suggestions from the parties.
3M Arbitrators will be charged with working out solutions which promote public confidence. If government agencies and contractors genuinely want to be trusted, they will inquire very willingly from their grassroots opponents, "What must we do so that you will believe our information?" If citizens convince various arbitration panels that this goal requires re-doing some past research (e.g., "dose reconstruction") or hiring "watchdog" experts, selected by the complaining group, then the cost of such experts for the needed duration is part of the policing function and is paid for from "the credibility pot. "
3N The policing costs to generate believable studies will diminish when the "old hands" at DOE and government contractors develop faith that an enduring system is finally in place which encourages them to speak directly and candidly to the public without reprisals.
3-Oh Because the networkof government-funded "risk assessments" extends into universities, commercial businesses, and non-profit "think-tanks," government grants and contracts for such work need to require that the arbitration process described above operates also with respect to such grants and contracts.
3P To achieve a goal, the simplest possible procedures are desirable, of course. If anyone can think of even simpler proposals than these, please make them.
4 Some Sympathetic Remarks to the Current Insiders
To the current insiders, we say that the proposed measures should assure your liberation from any humiliating choices in the future between your conscience and your career.
In 1986, to their ever-lasting shame, some engineers who opposed launching the "Challenger" space-shuttle failed to "go public" with their warning. They shut up, and it blew up.
Avoiding Chronic Hassles
If people doing "risk assessment" are distressed by the prospect of spending a lot of time dealing with inquiries and complaints by colleagues and by the public, to you we say that there is a way to avoid chronic hassles:
Clarify every questionable research procedure or assumption early and in public. You can not be harrassed under the proposed system. If you issue the challenges, and if you issue reports which explain your jargon and statistical maneuvers, people will not need to hassle you. Being clear may slow up your work a bit, but the public will trust you and even come to appreciate you. If some unfair hassling occurs anyway, an arbitration panel win quickly terminate such hassles.
5 Where the Real Action Occurs: Database Control
We began with the statement that, "If crooks make a database, even Einstein would get false answers from it." This point (2A) deserves frequent emphasis.
Is there any reason at all to trust the radiation databases which are controlled by governments? If the tobacco industry produced a database on the relationship between tobacco consumption and health problems, almost no one would take it seriously because there is an obvious motive for falsification.
We would not regard such doubters as "paranoid." We might regard people as fools if they did not doubt such databases. And the same reasoning applies to the current radiation databases.
Radiation health effects are the main obstacle to nuclear programs everywhere. Potential health effects are the reason that people care about residual nuclear pollution at bomb-plants, worry about escape of radionuclides from proposed storage sites, and object to routine and accidental nuclear pollution from current and proposed facilities.
As the chief sponsors of civilian and military nuclear activities, governments have a very large motive for falsifying the radiation databases which they control. If they use their control to produce databases which falsely indicate that low-dose radiation has no harmful effects, then everyone who uses such databases for the next 50 or 100 years would disseminate this dis-information.
So, if a cover-up of health hazards from radiation is wanted, the real action will occur in the construction, maintenance, and retroactive revision of the databases. Is it happening? Unless dissent is protected, how would anyone except the culprits know?
DOE, for example, controls many key databases on radiation health effects (Part 8), but we've not seen public commitments from Hazel O'Leary, yet, to doing "whatever it takes" to assure the protection of the databases themselves from bias.
6 Some "Eyewash" Proposals Which Will Not Work
Moving control of databases from one agency to another solves nothing. The key to truth in radiation health research is protection of the databases --- wherever they are --- from biased entries (next paragraph). This can not be assured by the current "citizen advisory panels," or by "independent external review" (suggested via the National Academy, Jan. 1994), unless such panels are hands-on "watchdogs" located on-site day after day, year after year, with the authority and expertise to assure proper procedures in all the labs and institutes which are involved with each database.
There are many ways to "fix" a database to produce desired results (warnings and discussions in Gofman 1988, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93a, 94). Especially with low-dose effects, the un-blinded reassignment of just a handful of cases to higher or lower dose-groups, or the dropping of just a few cases, or the re-diagnosis of just a few cases, can produce any answer the sponsor desires. And this kind of improper action would all occur out of sight, before any tables of data appear in a report or paper for "independent review."
It is ludicrous to believe that the current citizen advisory panels, or independent technical panels, or "peer-reviewers" looking at results before publication, would be able to detect questionable changes in the databases.
To assure the objectivity of past and future radiation databases, it will require the continuous on-site presence of some independent "watchdog" experts who are accountable directly to the appropriate arbitration panels. Fewer and fewer "watchdogs" will be needed as the regular workers with these databases gain confidence that they can "tell all" in public without reprisals.
7 A Terrible Silence in Our Universities and Medical Schools
Our government controls all the important radiation health databases in this country, and some abroad (list in Part 8). It's as if the tobacco industry controlled all the databases about the health effects of tobacco (see Part 5).
The obvious conflict of interest in the control of radiation databases is something which editors of our leading biomedical journals and professors of epidemiology, in our medical schools and schools of public health, should have protested long ago --- even if they knew nothing of specific problems with these databases.
But such people, outside the radiation community, also depend on government grants. All our government agencies are fingers on a single hand, and experts probably fear (correctly) that "boat-rockers" in biomedical research will be less favored to receive grants and appointments to "prestigious" committees and peer-review panels. And so they appear to be injected, not by a syringe of "experimental plutonium," but by a syringe of silence.
It would be silly to lament that "almost everyone has his/her price" and "money talks." Although people can not change human nature, they can change what society pays for. Why not devise a system which pays generously for truth --- starting with health and safety issues?
8 The Current Situation regarding Radiation Databases
Under the current incentives for silence and non-announcement of undesired "findings," our government either funds or directly controls the radiation health-effects databases listed below.
8A New databases currently under construction on public doses and possible effects from:
- Hanford Nuclear Reservation
- Nevada Test Site
- Oak Ridge National Lab
- Savannah River Nuclear Facility
- Rocky Flats Nuclear Warhead Factory
- Additional nuclear fuel and bomb facilities.
8B The old and new nuclear-worker databases at Hanford, Oak Ridge, etc. In 1977, when Dr. Thomas Mancuso and co-workers found excess cancer in the Hanford workers at low doses, the US Government impounded the database which Mancuso had organized, and subsequently did who-knows-what with this database before it released computer tapes to selected analysts years later. Do these tapes provide improperly manipulated data? Outsiders are not given access to the original records --- indeed, a Senate Committee claims Oak Ridge has destroyed many original records (Sci. News, March 23, 1991, p.181).
8C Follow-up studies of workers exposed to plutonium and external radiation. Dr. Gregg Wilkinson undertook some of such work as an epidemiologist at the Los Alamos National Lab (a DOE lab). Wilkinson is now at the University of Texas, Galveston. Why? Because not quite everyone has a price. In the 1980s, Wilkinson refused to alter his findings or their interpretation concerning excess cancer, despite "definite pressure from several sources within DOE." He was threatened with demotion if he published the results without revision. He published the unaltered study in 1987, and left the Lab. One of us (JWG) had similar experiences at the Livermore National Lab between 1969-1972.
8D The Atomic-Bomb Survivor Studies. These databases are under the control of RERF (Radiation Effects Research Foundation, in Hiroshima), which is a joint enterprise of DOE and the Japanese Ministry of Health. DOE routes its input to RERF via the National Academy of Sciences. In violation of one of the most basic rules of credible epidemiologic research, in 1986 RERF began imposing massive, retroactive alterations upon this database, after results were already known from 40 years of follow-up. These retroactive alterations of the cohorts are not updates --- they are potential opportunities for the entry of bias into the databases.
"Man's most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to
believe." Euripedes, Greek dramatist, 5th century B.C.
We have demonstrated a scientifically objective way to make use of revised dose-estimates in these dose-response studies, but we alone are using it (Gofman 1990, 1994). The government-sponsored radiation community now uses only the retroactively shuffled databases. Moreover, retroactive alterations of the databases by RERF will continue indefinitely. With enough disregard for the rules of credible research at RERF, ultimately the databases may produce any answers the sponsors want.
8E The Chernobyl study of 1991. The chairman of RERF (see 8D) was also the Chairman of the 1990 survey of alleged Chernobyl health effects conducted for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA, in Vienna). Although the IAEA survey was presented in May 1991 as if it were a scientifically valid refutation of such alleged health effects, the presentation was a grand deception because the database was incapable of supporting any such conclusion (see Gofman 1991, 1994). With respect to estimating Chernobyl health effects, DOE's own 1987 evaluation emphasizes its "zero-risk model" --- a euphemism for declaring that doses below a threshold level have no health effects --- despite human evidence to the contrary (Gofman 1981, 86, 90).
8F The Chelyabinsk database in Russia. RERF (see 8D) is deeply involved in the structuring and analysis of these tainted data. It would be folly to believe any "finding" from a database where the doses are totally unknown, where the Russians were instructed to lie if someone developed a health problem known to be radiation-inducible, and where there are no rules about blinding, etc. But our DOE, through RERF, appears eager to work with such data.
8G The future Chernobyl databases. The US Government, along with the nuclear-promoting governments of Japan, France, England, Germany, and Russia, is sponsoring the database for Chernobyl health effects under the umbrella of the World Health Organization (WHO, in Geneva). RERF is involved, too (see 8D). Who will guarantee exclusion of the utterly untrustworthy database assembled in Obninsk under the Gorbachev regime --- a regime which forbid (a) anyone to make independent measurements of dose during the accident, and which forbid (b) any diagnoses of problems known to be radiation-inducible?
8H The "Atomic Veterans." As for the American military personnel exposed to nuclear bomb-tests, the government presently controls all the dose-estimates --- which it frequently says are unfundable or are in a group destroyed by a warehouse fire.
However, advancing techniques in biological dosimetry (the growing ability to detect smaller and smaller chromosome aberrations) may make it possible --- with good "blinding" procedures in place --- to ascertain past accumulated whole-body doses of radiation received by "atomic veterans" and by many other populations under study. The National Assn. of Atomic Veterans (a grassroots volunteer group in Salem, Mass.) is trying to collect information on the health status of such veterans. However, NAAV can not sponsor a properly done follow-up study, because such studies cost multi-millions of dollars.
A Protest about Databases Never Attempted
While the government provides large budgets decade after decade to study radiation effects on mice and rats, we protest the failure of our government to find out what happened to the health of important sets of exposed humans --- not only a quarter-million "atomic veterans," but also special groups such as the 25 firefighters who inhaled plutonium during the 1965 fire at Rocky Flats, and the 200 Americans who were sent to clean up the plutonium which was spread over the ice around Greenland by a crashed bomber in 1968. It looks as if our government has tried to prevent some kinds of knowledge from existing at all.
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them . . . " Frederick Douglass, former slave (USA) and educator, 1817-1895.
9 Creating Bonds of Trust, or Just "Smoke and Mirrors"?
Hazel O'Leary wants DOE to be high on a list of trusted institutions by the end of 1994. So she needs to ponder the reason that people are so very angry about DOE's non-existent credibility. It is because they are worried about their health and the health of their children and grandchildren.
If people are left at the end of 1994 and 1996 with no new reasons to trust the databases on radiation health effects, then they will still have no reason to trust any analyses and "risk assessments" which involve radiation health effects.
If no meaningful steps are taken to protect future databases on health effects, and to assess the credibility of the existing databases, then our government will again be putting protection of nuclear enterprises ahead of protecting the public health and the integrity of health-science itself. Without effective steps to protect the databases, most of the other efforts to earn public trust will amount just to "smoke and mirrors" again.
Measures to assure the integrity of the databases are essential . . . but not sufficient. In addition, there must be measures to protect dissent in their analysis. But if only dissent in analysis is protected --- without protecting the databases themselves --- then there will still be no barriers to dis-information. "If crooks make a database, even Einstein would get false answers from it. "
If we care about the health of future generations, we have an obligation to make the best kinds of behavior "pay." And that is the aim of our suggestions in Part 3. No such goal was evident in measures taken by the previous DOE Secretary, who also prayed a lot for DOE's credibility, but not realistically. While Hazel O'Leary is in office, there is a brief chance to establish a set of new rules --- realistically based in human nature --which could endure after her departure . . . and which could be an inspiration reaching far beyond DOE.
Hazel O'Leary will face a fireball of opposition plus massive inertia on proposals to assure "truth in radiation research." As good as she is, she faces the powerful law of "Concentrated Benefit over Diffuse Injury" (CNR essay, Fall 1993). She can not defeat it by herself. She will need encouragement, specific suggestions, and helpful pressure.
The fact that so many people are taking Hazel O'Leary into their hearts is poignant evidence of how much we yearn to be free from the expectation of deceit and betrayal by our government. Hazel O'Leary has become an exciting symbol of hope . . . but she will surely become a heroine who fails, if we leave her to plan and attempt this revolution alone.
In Hazel O'Leary's talk at the National Press Club, broadcast by C-SPAN on Feb. 15, 1994, she listed five DOE priorities (additional to credibility):
non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, nuclear waste-storage, environmental clean-up of past DOE pollution, civilian products from DOE's national labs, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.
And what about radiation health effects? Although health effects are central to the public's concern about waste-storage and clean-up, we've seen no public commitments, yet, to doing "whatever it takes" to assure truth in radiation research. Hazel O'Leary, Secretary of DOE, 1000 Independence Ave SW, Washington DC 20585.
"Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps."
-- David Lloyd George, British statesman, 1863-1945.
Part 2D: How to Cause a "Sea Change" at the National Labs?
It will not be easy to make DOE-dependent experts feel confident that they can "go public" without receiving punishment, and that reprisals will be directed at the harrassers, not at themselves.
We can hardly imagine a greater assist for truth in radiation research than public endorsement by Directors of the DOE'S National Labs of a statement such as: "A genuine search for truth requires that dissenters be encouraged and protected, and we will take severe measures against anyone at our labs who interferes with dissent on matters related to public health and safety.
Can any of them be persuaded by grassroots groups to give public support to such a policy? If not, why not?
Can Glenn Seaborg, AEC Chairman from 1961-1971, now be persuaded to say that stifling of scientific dissent is such a crime against humanity that he urges Hazel O'Leary to do "whatever it takes" to encourage and protect dissent in DOE's national labs? If not, why not? Since Dr. Seaborg was AEC Chairman during the reprisals against Drs. Gofman and Tamplin at the Livermore National Lab, a strong statement now by Dr. Seaborg would help a lot to convince fearful scientists at DOE and its subsidiaries that a new policy really is possible. Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg, University of California, Lawrence Berkeley Lab, Mail Stop 70-A-3307, Berkeley, CA 94720.
- What Every Optimist Knows
But the world is full of zanies and fools
And because these daft and dewey-eyes dopes
(Partial lyric for the song entitled "Impossible"
Details about current protections for whistleblowers under various federal laws are available from a non-profit educational group: The National Whistleblowers Center, 517 Florida Ave NW, Washington DC 20001. Tel: 202-667-7515. Fax: 202-462-4145. Net: < http://www.whistleblowers.org/ >. Resources include handbooks, flyers, videotapes, workshops, internships, referrals to attorneys with expertise in whistleblower law.
Rules of objective epidemiological research --- for example, "blinding" --- are examined in Gofman 1988, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93a, 94. See listing in Part 6, below.
Parts 3K & 3L
For additional information on non-court arbitration and dispute resolution, contact: American Arbitration Association, 140 West 51st Street, New York City NY 10020 (212-484-4000, http://www.adr.org/ ). And, Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution in Washington DC (202-783-7277, http://www.igc.apc.org/spidr/).
In January 1994, the National Academy of Sciences released a report entitled "Building Consensus through Risk Assessment and Management of the DOE's Environmental Remediation Program," prepared by a panel chaired by Professor Frank L. Parker, Westinghouse Savannah River Distinguished Scientist at Clemson University. Parker is a nuclear power enthusiast who asserts that nuclear poisons are a small problem compared with the poisons from fossil fuels (e.g., his Op-Ed essay Dec. 22, 1991 in the State newspaper, Columbia SC).
DOE requested the "Building Consensus. report, which recommends that the worst sites be addressed first, and that "risk assessment" be used to determine which contaminated sites pose the largest dangers, so that money won't be wasted.
If "risk assessments" are to be valid and useful for decision-making, the report says that DOE must ensure that the assessments
be perceived as being neutral and credible, be conducted in a scientifically valid and responsible way, be subject to external review, and be capable of communicating information on risks and uncertainty.Available for $10 from National Academy Press, Order Dept, 2101 Constitution Avenue NW, Box 285, Washington DC 20055. Tel: 1-800-624-6242 *2, Net: < http://www.nap.edu/ >.
Warnings from a different perspective are presented in:
- Gofman 1988: Health Physics Vol.55, No.3: 580-581, Sept. 1988.
- Gofman 1989: Health Physics Vol.57, No.6: 1037-1038, Dec. 1989.
- Gofman 1990: Radiation-Induced Cancer from Low-Dose Exposure: An Independent Analysis. 480 pages. ISBN 0-932682-89-8. The issue of improper adjusting of databases: Chapters 5, 6, 22, 25. The disproof of any threshold-dose for ionizing radiation: Chapters 18-21.
- Gofman 1991: Holocaust vs. Nothing Happened: Tales from a Distant Place [Chernobyl] with a Problem Very Close to All of Us. This four-page essay describes nine basic rules for doing credible epidemiological research.
- Gofman 1992: Bio-Medical `Un-Knowledge' and Nuclear Pollution: A Common-Sense Proposal. Presentation on the occasion of the Right Livelihood Award, Stockholm, Dec. 9, 1992.
- Gofman 1993a: "Beware the Data Diddlers." Five-page article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 1993, pp.40-44.
- Gofman 1993b: Reflections on `Mission Impossible.' Ten-minutes of remarks, invited for presentation at the 30th anniversary of Livermore National Lab's biomedical research division, Nov. 1993.
- Gofman 1994: Radiation and Chernobyl: This Generation and Beyond. Estimated 650 pages. ISBN 0-932682-93-6. The issue of improper adjustment of databases: Chapters 1, 5, 8, 11, 16, 17.
Thomas Mancuso et al, "Radiation Exposures of Hanford Workers Dying from Cancer and Other Causes," Health Physics 1977, Vol.33, No.5: 369-384. Supplement, in 1978. Dr. Mancuso lives in Pittsburgh, PA.
Gregg S. Wilkinson et al, "Mortality among Plutonium and Other Radiation Workers at a Plutonium Weapons Facility," American Journal of Epidemiology, February 1987, Vol.125, No.2: 231-250. Dr. Wilkinson is now Chief, Division of Epidemiology, Dept. of Preventive Medicine, Univ. of Texas Medical Branch, J-47, 8th and Mechanic St., Galveston, TX 77550.
Parts 8D & 8E
The Gofman references are provided in Part 6, above, with two exceptions. Gofman 1981 is Radiation and Human Health; 908 pages; ISBN 0-87156-275-8; evidence against any threshold at pages 404-411. Gofman 1986 is "Assessing Chernobyl's Cancer Consequences," a 57-page paper presented Sept. 9, 1986, at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society and distributed widely inside and outside the government-sponsored radiation community; disproof of any threshold at pages 6-14.
DOE's 30-page report (1987) on Chernobyl, with its "zero-risk-model," is examined in Gofman 1990, Chapter 24. A greatly abbreviated version of the DOE report, emphasizing the alleged possibility of no health effects, was disseminated by the journal Science, December 16, 1988, Vol.242: 1513-1519.
In May 1992, RERF (see Part 8D) signed an agreement to collaborate on research with Russia's Ural Research Center for Radiation Medicine, and in June 1992, the US Dept. of Energy and US Dept. of Defense co-sponsored the Chelyabinsk International Workshop to discuss more "collaborative research." See RERF Update, Summer 1992, Vol.4, No.2: 1-2. RERF Update is an attractive quarterly which summarizes RERF's new research results and activities; available by request from RERF, 5-2 Hijiyama Park, Minami-Ku, Hiroshima 732, Japan.
The National Assn. of Atomic Veterans is located at Post Office Box 4424, Salem MA 01970. Chairman is Oscar Rosen, Ph.D. Tel: 508-744-9396, < http://www.dnc.net/users/derf/NAAV.HTM >.
Cartoons bv Golliver
Golliver is the pen-name of Gary Oliver, an extremely talented cartoonist in Hudspeth County, Texas, who has been producing dozens of hilarious blasts against hypocrisy and corruption -- with special emphasis on siting of nuclear waste dumps, nuclear power, toxic sludge, destruction of forests and aquifers, "jobs vs. the environment," and more. He may be the hidden treasure of the environmental movement. He has offered to help worthy efforts outside of Texas too, by adapting his existing work (or even producing new cartoons), at a fee which grassroots groups really can afford. Tel: 915-729-4280.
RECENT TV VIDEO-TAPES
Related to Some Topics in CNR's Bonds Of Trust Essay:
- We encourage people (especially at DOE and its labs and subsidiaries) to reprint and distribute these proposals widely. No permission is required.
- John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D., is chairman of the Committee for Nuclear Responsibility, and Egan O'Connor is editor. Dr. Gofman is professor emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of four books on the health consequences of exposure to ionizing radiation --- 1981, 85, 90, 94 (in preparation). In earlier years, JWG proved the fissionability of uranium-233 (in 1942) and developed chemical techniques to deliver the first milligram-quantities of plutonium for the Manhattan Project (in 1943); did pioneer research on heart disease and lipoproteins (1947-1963); established (in 1963) the Biomedical Research Division of the Livermore National Lab, where he examined the health effects of radiation and studied chromosomal origins of cancer. Support for his research was taken away in 1972, in reprisal for his emphatic and persistent public statements about the health hazards of radiation.
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