Friday, February 26, 2016

All Cancer Mortality in A-Bomb Survivors

The "all cancer mortality" curve of Figure 16, taken from the work of H. Kato, et al. [Kato, H., et al. Dose-response analysis among bomb survivors exposed to low-level radiation. Health Physics, 52, 645, 1987], is noticeably similar to the preceding curve, which depicts leukemia deaths. While the "all cancer" graph (Figure 16) is more indicative of hormesis, both figures are in absolute conflict with the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) theory.

Source for Figure 16: All Cancer Mortality in Japanese Bomb Survivors: Kato, H., Schull, W.J., Awa, A., Akiyama, M., and Otake, M. Dose-response analyses among atomic bomb survivors exposed to low-level radiation. Health Physics, 53, 645, 1987.

So what has been happening in this continuing saga? By now most Japanese scientists and a sizable portion of the public are aware of the increase in longevity of the bomb survivors. But has this caused any change in the way radiation is viewed by the Japanese regulators? Have we seen any statement from the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) suggesting a change in the rules that "have been used by numerous international bodies as a basis for establishing radiation protection standards"? [From "Greetings from the Chairman and Vice-Chairman," RERF web site, www.rerf.or.jp/]

Perhaps I missed the announcements.

It is interesting, however, to observe some of the LNT politics in Japan, as we will see a marked similarity to what is happening in the United States and other countries. As I understand it, the Japanese government is even more bureaucracy-bound than ours. So when we ask the question: "Who has an interest in maintaining the present protection standards?" we get the same answer: the government and its minions who are busy, busy, busy at protecting everyone. They couldn't care less about changing the rules to make their "protection" quite unnecessary.

We shouldn't leave Japan without touching on the RERF. Established in 1972 as a continuation of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, the organization has a history of being quite anti-nuclear in its outlook and pronouncements. (Maybe with pictures of total devastation of the two cities on every wall, that is somewhat understandable.) One burr under the saddle of researchers is the secrecy in which exposure data is held even after six decades. Then, too, there are charges that some data have been "adjusted" to give results more like what the 300 or so people with the foundation prefer to see. Funding for the RERF is shared by the Japanese and U.S. governments, the latter being divided between the Department of Energy and the National Academy of Sciences. (One scientist who should know declares that funding has been cut since it became evident that bomb survivors were outliving their unexposed peers, but I have not been able to confirm this.)

While the Japanese government may be reluctant to challenge the LNT, that is not the case for the privately owned utilities and for independent researchers at about a dozen Japanese universities. You will no doubt be amazed and astounded by the current studies from Japan brought to you in chapter 18.

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Have you ever wondered about the dangers posed from being a radiation worker in a nuclear power or weapons plant? Maybe you should be so lucky! See the next chapter for details.