Monday, February 29, 2016

Leukemia in Male Employees of Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd.

A later study by M.A. Gribbin et al. examined leukemia mortality of 9,997 male employees of Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd., with an average exposure of 4.9 cSv (4,900 mrem) compared to 5,504 unexposed co-workers. [Gribbin, M.A., Howe, G.R. and Weeks, J.L. A study of the mortality of AECL employees, V, The second analysis: Mortality during the period 1950 - 1985, Report No. AECL-10615, p48, Atomic Energy of Canada, 1992. Also quoted by Z. Jaworowski in "Stimulating effects of ionizing radiation: New issues for regulatory policy." Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 22:2, 1994.]

Figure 18 presents the data in the form of standard mortality ratios for the various types of leukemia.

Source for Figure 18 Leukemia Mortality of AECL Employees: Gribbin, M.A., Howe, G.R. and Weeks, J.L. A study of the mortality of AECL employees, V, The second analysis: Mortality during the period 1950 - 1985, Report No. AECL-10615, p48, Atomic Energy of Canada, 1992.

Commenting on this study, Dr. Jaworoski states: "As shown in Table 6 [from which the graph data was taken], the mortality due to all leukemias in the exposed group was only 32% of that in the general Canadian population. The observed mortality among employees of AECL from all cancers and from all non-cancer diseases was also less than expected." [Zbigniew Jaworowski, professor emeritus at the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection (Poland) and a member of the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR).]

While this is a relatively small study, the consistently lower leukemia mortality rate - previously considered the established sign of excessive radiation exposure - seems to be a powerful argument for hormesis at work.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

On to Ontario

In a 1983 study by J.D. Abbatt et al., the standard mortality ratios (SMRs) of 4,000 nuclear workers were compared with those of 21,000 unexposed "thermal" workers and to those of the general population of nearby Ontario, Canada. [Abbatt, J.D., et al. Epidemiological studies in three corporations covering the Canadian nuclear fuel cycle. From: Biological Effects of Low Level Radiation, International Atomic Energy Agency, STI/PUB 646, Vienna, 1983.]

Exposures for the nuclear cohort in this investigation, which covered twenty years of plant operation, averaged 7 cGy (7,000 mrad) or about twenty-three years of additional annual background radiation per worker.

Hold the phone. Just what is a "standard mortality ratio" (SMR)? And what does HWE mean? (It hasn't come up yet, but it's getting ready to.) Glad you asked.

First the SMR: If, in the United States, it is observed that 20,000 of the 1 million makes aged fifty-nine die per year, we can say that the rate of deaths for this group is 2% and that becomes the basis for comparison of other smaller groups of fifty-nine-year-old, left-handed Presbyterians, there are only ten deaths, giving us a death rate of 1%. To obtain the standard mortality ratio of the Presbyterian lefties we divide its 1% rate by the 2% rate for the total population, yielding the ratio 0.50.

If we wanted to know the reason for this lesser mortality ratio, we'd call in an epidemiologist. This special type of statistician might note that most U.S. Presbyterians are Caucasians, who have a lower death rate at age fifty-nine than that of the population in general. Hence race would be considered a confounding factor that explains, in part or in total, the difference in the death statistics.

One of the most often used confounding factors in attempts to rebut the hormesis phenomenon is that of the healthy worker effect (HWE).

Any employer requiring reliable workers will want to know, at the time of employment negotiations, the health history of the prospective employee. [Politicians who pander to certain groups attempt to thwart such reasonable actions - as seen by several Federal laws making health questions illegal.]

Since the healthy applicants, who tend to have a history of less health-related absenteeism, are the first hired, it is logical to assume that the workforce will be healthier than a group of people including those who had applied but were not hired for health reasons. In studies relating to, for instance, tooth decay, we would generally tend to find that the employed contingent had sounder teeth than the total population, some of whom might have lifestyles that didn't include the use of a toothbrush. It would be appropriate in this case to attribute the better dental health to the fact that the individual in question was a "healthy worker."

There is a case, however, where LNT proponents use this confounder to confuse: It is when the employees are drawn from the same pool and work in the same or very similar work areas. Since there is no screening test for cancer, there is no way to predict whether the prospective employee will contract it. How, then, can an employee be hired on the basis that he will not contract cancer later? We shouldn't discount the HWE, but we shouldn't let others use it to discount the hormesis phenomenon when it is not applicable. Please pardon the interruption, and now back to our story.

The close agreement shown between the thermal worker SMR and that of the general population in Figure 17 would indicate a high degree of reliability for the overall study with a slight degree of "healthy worker effect" (HWE) noted for the non-nuclear cohort. Since there is no HWE in the comparison of nuclear and thermal workers - both being drawn from the same pool - the only difference in the cohorts is the additional radiation exposure of the nuclear workers. This, it would appear, strongly indicates a beneficial effect of low-level radiation exposure - which, of course, is our definition of radiation hormesis.

Source for Figure 17 Cancer Mortality of Nuclear Plant Workers: Abbatt, J.D., Hamilton, T.R., and Weeks, J.L. Epidemiological studies in three corporations covering the Canadian nuclear fuel cycle, in Biological Effects of Low Level Radiation, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, 351, 1983.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Do Nuclear Workers Glow in the Dark?

Mortality study of plutonium workers at Rocky Flats involving 7,112 workers from 1952 to 1979 gave cancer deaths at 64% of the expected number in the general population. - Nuclear News, December 1981

While the workers building bombs and those involved in electric power generation are in entirely different industries (except in the minds of anti-nuclear protesters), there are many similarities in their work environments. Of particular interest to us are the radiation levels (which are in the area where we would anticipate hormesis), the relatively accurate dosimetry (a fancy scientific word for measuring radiation exposure), and excellent follow-up on the health and longevity of the "participants." We'll look first at two Canadian studies of power plant workers and then at investigations of weapons plant workers by both American and British researchers.

Just in case I forget to mention it three or four times in the next few chapters, none of these investigations had any intention of even considering the possibility of hormesis. They were all expecting to prove a positive correlation between radiation and cancer. That's what a "smart" researcher does: makes sure the report comes out to reaffirm what the political authority footing the bill already believes. [Most experimentalists are dedicated scientists who let the data speak for themselves. But as in all other facets of life, there are some who play it "smart" to make sure they stay on the government payroll. It is these few that I refer to here.]

As you'll see, some researchers show data that offer evidence of the hormesis version of dose-response, but they conclude that there is a linear relation between radiation and exposure and any particular cancer you'd like to worry about.

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,]

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.


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.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Leukemia Mortality Among Survivors

Leukemia is a family of cancer involving the white blood cells. With the exception of lymphocytic leukemia - which is often erroneously included - the disease can be induced by ionizing radiation, and hence is the model of a radiation-engendered disorder. One would therefore expect a sizable increase in leukemia as the exposure level increases from background level of 0.1 cGy as shown in Figure 15. The data - taken from M. Delpha's "Fear of nuclear power could be met with data from Hiroshima" [Delpha, M. Nuclear Europe, 42, 3 1989] - indicate that the leukemia mortality rate shows a minimum at 3.5 cGy, or about ten times the average annual U.S. background level. Only a single data point gives and indication of hormesis; however, a threshold is positively demonstrated, and a clear difference in the effect of low- and high-level radiation is evident - both in conflict with expectations of the LNT.

Source of Figure 15: Leukemia Mortality Among A-Bomb Survivors: Delpha, M. Fear of nuclear power could be met statistically with data from Hiroshima. Nuclear Europe, 42, 3, 1989.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Longevity of Nagasaki Survivors

In an earlier study, Mine had compared the observed deaths of the survivors with the expected number and found all age groups from forty-five year to eighty-plus-years had significantly longer life expectancies - just the opposite of what had been predicted by the LNT.

Figure 14 is plotted from "Observed and expected annual rates of deaths (1970-76) from all causes among atomic bomb survivors in Nagasaki." [Note for Figure 14: Longevity of Nagasaki Survivors: By definition, the ratio of observed to expected deaths in the general population is 1. In this example, only 38% of the expected number of survivors above eighty years old died, as compared with 100% of a similar group in the general population. Source: Mine, M., Nakamura, T., Mori, H., Kondo, H. and Okajima, S. The current mortality rates of A-bomb survivors in Nagasaki City, Japan Journal of Public Health, 28, p337, 1981. (In Japanese with an English abstract.)]

The vertical axis gives the ratio of the observed deaths of male survivors compared with the expected deaths from the general population (who are assumed to be unexposed). Except for the age range of fifty-five to fifty-nine - which had a mortality 12% above the general population - all age groups older than forty-five have less than expected mortality, with the effect increasing with increasing age. [Data from Mine et al. The current mortality rates of A-bomb survivors in Nagasaki City, Japan Journal of Public Health, 28, 337, 1981. N values for data starting at 45-49 are 113, 87, 184, 299, 508, 816, 825, 869.]

Returning to Kondo: "The ratio of observed to expected numbers of deaths shows that the mortality of exposed people was slightly lower than or equal to that of unexposed people at all four low to intermediate doses, 1-49, 50-99, 100-149 and 150-199 rad, and that a significant increase in deaths occurred only in the high dose range, 200-599."

This confirms what we already know - that radiation in huge doses is not something to trifle with. But it also suggests that low-level exposure poses no danger and may be helpful.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

They Lived to Tell About It

The A-bomb survivors are living longer than the controls despite the 400 radiation-induced cancer deaths. - Professor John Cameron, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine

On the morning of August 6, 1945, Hiroshima, Japan, exploded into the first and largest high-level radiation test laboratory in the world. Three days later, because skies over the Kokura Arsenal on the north coast of Kyushu were overcast, Nagasaki became the second. Most victims died from the intense heat or the blast effect, but hundreds were to succumb later to effects of radiation - while thousands of survivors were instantaneously hit with trillions of neutrons and gamma rays.

In the early 1950s, studies of the effects of radiation were needed by the U.S. military and civilian defense authorities because of the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. A joint U.S.-Japan program was initiated to analyze radiation effects on the populations.

Doses to survivors were estimated by their locations at the time of the blasts, with a "health handbook" being kept by each exposed person in which his medical history was meticulously recorded. Of great importance were the potential mutagenic effects (the original concern over "nuclear monsters"), since it was well known that radiation had a mutational effect on fruit flies and other lower organisms and, therefore, was expected to affect humans at high levels. No such consequences were ever found. In fact, not only were the offspring of survivors not negatively affected, but there were benefits that we might now attribute to a hormetic effect of the radiation.

But the primary concern was cancer. Earlier studies of 15,000 people in Great Britain, who had been exposed to upwards of 400 rems in treatment of spinal ailments, had shown a link between high levels of radiation and cancer in a significant percentage of the exposed. The Japanese study, among others, would further refine this relationship to be a 0.018% increase for every absorbed rem. (This is added to the approximately 20% risk of cancer for the average American.) For example a survivor who suffered radiation sickness from an initial pulse of 100 rems would have his or her chance of cancer increased from about 17% to 18.8%. (Remember, this is a dose equal to four times the average lifetime exposure for U.S. residents, occurring in a few seconds or minutes.)

Indeed, there were several hundred excess cancer deaths in Japan among those who received high doses of radiation. [RERF statistics estimate 339 excess cancer deaths (out of 4,687 total cancer deaths) through 1990. John Cameron estimates the projected total at 400.]

And because of the much greater number of persons receiving lesser amounts (typically equivalent to a lifetime of background radiation absorbed in a few seconds) it was feared, on the basis of the newly adopted Linear No-Threshold and collective dose theories, that these survivors were in for even more tragedy. Leukemia would be kicking in in about three to ten years after exposure, with the other cancers occurring within twenty or, at most, thirty years.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the graveyard: The bomb survivors were outliving their unexposed peers. As Dr. Sohei Kondo put it in his 1993 book entitled Health Effects of Low-Level Radiation, "The age-specific rates of death from all causes (observed deaths) [for exposed survivors] in people over sixty years of age were significantly lower than those for people without the health handbook (expected deaths) presumed to be unexposed." [Mentioned earlier in regard to his apoptosis research, Dr. Kondo is professor emeritus of biology, Osaka University and senior researcher, Atomic Energy Research Institute, also in Osaka.] [Kinki University Press, Osaka, 1993, and Medical Physics Publishing, Madison, Wisconsin, 1993. Any serious researcher must have this book. It is the definitive work on the Japanese atomic disaster.]

In short, the exposed had a significantly lower death rate than those who were fortunately out of town for the war-ending fireworks.

Figure 13 demonstrates the classic hormesis-curve shape for death rates of bomb survivors as a function of absorbed dose. [Notes for Figure 13: Death Rates of A-Bomb Survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1950-85) 1. "Relative Risk is the number of people who have died in a particular exposed cohort compared with (divided by) deaths in a similar group of the general population. 2. These data are for male survivors. 3. Only the acute dose resulting from the blast radiation is considered; external and internal doses by fission products, which would enhance the data, are not included. Source: Mine, M. Okumura, Y., Ichimara, M., Nakamura, T., and Kondo, S. Apparently beneficial effect of low to intermediate doses of A-bomb radiation on human life span. International Journal of Radiation Biology, 58:1035, 1990.]

Up to approximately 70 rems (or cSv), the death rate for exposed persons is lower than unexposed. [Mine et al. Apparently beneficial effect of low to intermediate doses of A-bomb radiation on human life span. International Journal of Radiation Biology, 58:1035, 1990.]

(Not shown on this graph, the relative risk for 325 rems is 1.28.) Note that these data were from forty years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki - concluding well past the established latency time for cancer onset from effects of radiation.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Very Strange - But I Don't Make the Data; I Just Report Them

The next figure is about mice that were not subjected to radiation but who had fathers that had been exposed prior to becoming a mouse-parent. (Yes, I realize this may be sounding a little like Psychic Hotline.) Figure 12 shows the life span of unexposed mice who were fathered by mice (naturally) that had received 30, 70, 100 or 150 cGy of X-rays at sixteen weeks of age. (Irradiating the mother mice had no effect on the life span of their progeny.)

Caption for Figure 12: Life Span of Mice Whose Sires Were Irradiated Spaulding, J.F., Brooks, M., and McWilliams, P. Some effects of X irradiation in successive generations on an inbred and hybred [sic] population of mice. Genetics, 50(Suppl.), 1179, 1964. Also in Effects of ionizing radiation in reproduction, Carlson, W.D. and Gassner, R.X., eds., Pergamon Press, London, 1963.

How do I explain such a phenomenon? I haven't the foggiest idea... and I don't think anyone else does either. But if there were a possibility I could add 20% - 40% to the life span of my child by exposing myself to 100 cGy of radiation, that wouldn't be much of a decision. It is questions like these that we should be setting the stage for future generations to answer. Instead we are planning how to waste some $1 trillion cleaning up "nuclear dumps" that are less radioactive than the natural soil in many parts of our world.

You're probably tiring of mousy data, and I said we'd get on to humans after a couple more reports on rodent experiments. We'll just breeze right through these and let you practice your mental conversion from cGys to rads or cSvs to mrems (they are all the same for the radiation in all these citations).

  • "The effect of neutron exposure [3.2 cGy-6.3 cGy] upon the combined sexes showed low doses decreased the natural incidence of all tumors." (emphasis added) [Meweissen, D.J. and Rust, J.H. Reticuloendotheial neoplasms in C57 black mice after fast neutron irradiation at low doses. US Atomic Energy Commission Conference 740930, Oak Ridge, 1976.]
  • Mice exposed to 150,000 mrem at five and twelve days following infection with "friend [sic] virus" recovered while all of the controls died within forty days. [Shen, R.N., Hornback, N.D., Lu, I., Chan, L.T., Drahms, Z., and Droxmeyer, H.E., Low dose total body irradiation; a potent antiviral agent in vivo. International Journal of Radiation Oncology and Biological Physics, 10, 185, 1989.]
  • "[Studies on mice] in the dose range 0-3 Gy by two independent research groups at Oak Ridge and at Casaccio near Rome leads, for gamma radiation and X-rays, to a statistically significant decrease of the cancer rate at low doses and therefore to biphasic relationships for tumors of the reticular tissue, for several solid tumors, as well as for cancer as a whole." (emphasis in the original) [Weber, K. Biphasic dose-effect relationships in experimental studies of radiation cancer in animals. [English summary.] Strahlenbiologie und Strahlenshutz, Hannover. October 1996. IRPA, Progress in Radiation Protection.]
  • "Male mice exposed to acute doses of 2 Gy for 82 successive generations showed no abnormal offspring; this acute dose is equivalent to 50 times background radiation for humans from the time of the Roman Empire to present." [Spaulding, J.F., Brooks, M., and McWilliams, P. Some effects of X irradiation in successive generations on an inbred and hybred [sic] population of mice. Genetics, 50(Suppl.), 1179, 1964. Also in Effects of ionizing radiation in reproduction, Carlson, W.D. and Gassner, R.X., eds., Pergamon Press, London, 1963.]
  • "Urinary testosterone of chronically irradiated mice, 5,000 to 10,000 mrem of X-rays per day, was increased 264% above controls." (Look out, Viagra.) [Liu, S.Z. Effects of low dose ionizing radiation on defense and adaptive mechanisms. Conference on High Background Area Research, Taishan, Nov 1988; China Medical Journal, 102, 750, 1989.]
  • Of the offspring of 124 male mice exposed to 276,000 mrem of X-rays and 124 control mice, 20 of 3,990 pumps from exposed males were stillborn, as compared to 45 of 3,418 control pups. [Luning, K. Studies of irradiated mouse populations. Hereditas, 46m 668, 1960.]
  • In an experiment involving 3,505 autopsied mice with acute exposures of 18 cGy or more, the age-specific lymphocytic lymphoma rate was 16% of controls for 36 cGy exposures and 3% for those exposed to 18 cGy. [Meweissen, D.J., Rust, J.H., Harem, J., and Clement, M.J. Assessment of dose-response relationships in carcinogenesis following low radiation dosage. In Late effects of ionizing radiation. International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, 1978, 291.]
  • Radio-resistance - the resistance to high levels of radiation exposure - in mice was enhanced by previous exposure to lower levels of X-rays. Survival of mice exposed to 700,000 mrem increased from 10% in the control group to 25%, 50%, and 82% for exposures to 120,000 mrem at one, two and three weeks of age, respectively. [Kochanski, W., et al. Immunologic analysis of the condition of increased resistance of organisms exposed to ionizing radiation. Medical Radiology, (Moscow) 1, 43, 1956. (Hmm, why would they have been interested in such a subject?)]
  • Mice that had been exposed - from weaning through breeding - to 1 cGy/day had shorter generation times and higher birth rates that unexposed controls. (A later experiment on "deer mice" by the same researchers gave similar results.) [French, N.R. and Kaaz, H.W. The intrinsic rate of increase of irradiated Peromyscus in the laboratory. Ecology, 49, 1172, 1968.]
  • "For newborn mice exposed to 180 rad at 0.07 R/day, the life span was significantly longer than it was for controls. At all dose levels the 2-month age group lived significantly longer than did the median controls." [Patterson, H. Wade, editor of the Health Physics Journal, elucidating experimental data by Spalding, J.F., Thomas, R.G., and Tiejen, G.L. in Life Span of C57 Mice as Influenced by Radiation Dose, Dose Rate and Age at Exposure, Report No. UC-48; LA-9528, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1982.]
  • "Male AKR mice were irradiated with 5 cGy three times a week or 15 cGy two times a week for 11 weeks from age 40 weeks. The incidence of thymic lymphoma was 80.6% in sham-irradiated mice [controls], 67.5% in mice irradiated with 5 cGy three times a week, and 48.6% in mice irradiated with 15 cGy twice a week." [Ishii, K. and Watanabe, M. Participation of gap-junctional cell communication on the adaptive response in human-cells induced by low-dose of X-rays. International Journal of Radiation Biology, Vol. 69, Issue 3, 1996.]

Gee, I could go on about mice for hours... unfortunately I wouldn't have any readers. So let's move on to the evidence that alerted so many people to the truth of Dr. Luckey's claim of radiation hormesis: the Japanese survivors and their stubborn refusal to die on the LNT schedule.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Radio-Resistance in Mice Previously Exposed to Hormetic Levels

We are aware that inoculations strengthen the immune system by mildly stressing it and causing antibodies to arise that fight any further intrusion of a similar type of invader. In effect, vaccinations are examples of hormesis: Small doses of poison are stimulatory. The poison in this case is a virus, not an inorganic toxin. Hans Seyle (chapter 4) doesn't care what it is. As long as it stresses the host organism, it starts an alarm reaction that stimulates a defense mechanism.

If radiation hormesis is a valid concept, we might expect small doses of radiation to ward off the bio-negative effects of higher doses - obviously not through the creation of antibodies but by some currently unknown mechanism. Figure 11 illustrates just such a phenomenon.

In this 1990 experiment by M. Yonezawa et al. [Yonezawa, M., Takeda, A., and Misonoh, J. Acquired radioresistance after low-dose x-irradiation in mice. Journal of Radiation Research, 31, 256, 1990], mice were irradiated with a low dose of X-rays (50 cGy or 50,000 mrad) two weeks before a second potentially lethal dose of 740 cGy (740,000 mrad). The survival rates of the irradiated group were compared with the unexposed controls. There isn't much question as to which mouse group I'd want to line up with on "innoculation day."

Table 8 (in chapter 8 - or see below) shows the dose-response for humans is similar to that which Yonezawa finds for mice - at 700 mrem, we're both dead or close to it. Would humans have a similar radio-resistance response? We don't know and aren't likely to until the knee-jerk reaction to anything nuclear is abated by scrapping the LNT. If I were a nuclear worker - involved in changing fuel elements where high-level (but so far, nonfatal) accidents have occurred, or an astronaut potentially subjected to a cosmic radiation barrage, or perhaps a soldier with the potential for high-level exposure from a neutron bomb, I think I'd want someone to look into the radio-resistance phenomenon who wasn't committed to the LNT hypothesis and likely to state at the outset, "All radiation is harmful - and it's our job to keep you from having any."

Table 8 – Acute Radiation Syndrome
Subclinical Range
0 – 100 rads
Therapeutic Range
100 – 500 rads
Lethal Range
500+ rads

100 – 200
200 – 300
300 – 500
500 – 2000
Appropriate Action
Clinical surveillance
Therapy effective
Therapy promising
Therapy palliative (comfort patient only)
Incidence of Vomiting
100 rads: 5%
200 rads: 50%
Delay Time
3 hours
2 hours
1 hour
3 min.
3 min.
Main Organs Affected
Blood Forming Tissue
Gastro-intestinal Tract
Central Nervous System
Characteristic Signs
White Blood Cell Decrease
Fatigue, infection, erythema, sterilization, loss of hair above 300 rads, hemorrhage
Diarrhea, fever, electrolyte imbalance, bleeding
Convulsion, coma, loss of muscle control, lethargy, tremors
Critical Period
4 – 6 weeks
5 – 14 days
1 – 48 hours
Post-exposure Therapy
Assure of Safety
Blood analysis; assure of safety
Blood transfusion; anti-biotics
Possible bone marrow transplant
Maintain electrolyte balance
Convalescent Period
Several weeks
1 – 2 months
Death Rate
0% - 40%
40% - 100%
90% - 100%
Death Within
2 – 4 weeks
2 weeks
2 days
Cause of Death
Hemorrhage, infection
Respiratory failure; heart attack

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Parlez-Vous Radiation?

Using lower exposures than the Lorenz and Sacher experiments, a study by French researchers documented the effect of 900 mice - 300 controls, 300 receiving a chronic gamma ray dose at the rate of 7 cGy/year, and 300 exposed similarly to 14 cGy/year. [Caratero, A., Courtade, M., Bonnet, L., Planel, H., and Caratero, C. Effect of a continuous gamma irradiation at a very low dose on the life span of mice. Gerontology, 44, 272-76, 1998. These exposures are twenty-three to forty-six times the U.S. background level.]

Quoting from the abstracted results of the Gerontology article:

"The life span, after the beginning of the experiment, determined by the survival time of 50% of each population, is increased in irradiated mice: 549 in controls, 673 days in both irradiated groups. The differences are significant between the control and the irradiation mice. Differences between mice irradiated with 7 or 14 cGy are not significant."

So what did the researchers conclude?

"These results confirm the possibility of a non-harmful effect (hormesis) of ionizing radiation. They demonstrate that the paradigm, which states that low-dose effects can be predicted [by] high-dose effects, cannot be systematically applied in radiation biology in general and gerontology in particular."

Doesn't sound like there's much vacillation here, does it?

Before moving on to evidence on two-footed subjects, there are a couple of other unusual mouse studies that merit consideration.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Effects of Radiation on the Life Span of Mice

Surely if ionizing radiation has beneficial effects on growth rate and the immune system competence of mice, as evidenced by a decreased susceptibility to cancer, it ought to have a positive effect on life span. As several studies demonstrate, this is indeed the case.

A 1983 investigation by J.B. Storer [Storer, J.B., et al. Life shortening [sic] in Balb/C mice following brief protracted, and fractionated exposures to neutrons. Radiation Research, 96, 396, 1983] was cited by Luckey as an example of how hormesis effects are often overlooked by researchers who are expected a bio-negative response from radiation. [Radiation Hormesis, 1981, pp 46, 50.]

The authors ignored a peaking of longevity between 5 and 10 cGy, hopefully not in any attempt to be fraudulent or unethical, but probably because it would have appeared anomalous in terms of the LNT.

It is an earlier study [Sacher, G.A. and Grahn, G. Survival of mice under duration-of-life exposure to gamma rays. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 32, 277, 1964] - which most certainly gave unintended results - that is of considerable interest to hormesis researchers. Life spans of mice - 90 in a control group, and 90 to 120 in four exposed groups - are plotted in Figure 10 on the basis of daily exposures to cobalt-60 gamma radiation. Exposures, which began 100 days after birth, were continued until the death of the specimen.

Caption for Figure 10 Life Span for Irradiated Mice  Source: Sacher, G.A., and Grahn, G. Survival of mice under duration-of-life exposure to gamma rays. I. The dosage-survival relation and lethality function. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 32, 277, 1964; also ANL Report 6971, 1964, p 94.

Anti-nuclear activists, "animal rightists," and "popular wisdom" would predict dire consequences for test animals subjected to such huge doses of radiation every day of their lives. But this study offers substantial evidence that mice receiving 1,000 times their normal background dose had the longest life spans. [It is my understanding that similar results were reported by a researcher named Searle in 1964, but I have not been able to obtain any more information.] You might recall that, in the earlier discussion of growth rate, the optimum was also 1,000 times normal background.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Effects of Radiation on Cancer in Mice - Lung Cancer Mortality

There are three studies that address the effects of ionizing radiation on lung cancer mortality in mice. The most recent of these was a 1997 experiment by Y. Hosoi and K. Sakamoto [Suppression of spontaneous and artificial tumors by low dose total body irradiation in mice. In Low Doses of Ionizing Radiation: Biological Effects and Regulatory Control, Atomic Energy Agency, TECDOC-976, Vienna, 1997] in which mice were injected with artificial metastases (a fancy medical term for cancer cells) and then irradiated with gamma rays up to 100 cGy (100,000 mrad). Data showed the lowest cancer rate in a range between 15 and 40 cGy, with the minimum being 41% of controls at 15 cGy.

The Hosoi-Sakamoto study demonstrated another tenet of the hormesis theory, however, which most other experimenters have neglected to investigate - namely that hormesis is a property of the organism and not its individual cells. When tumor cells that had been irradiated with 10 to 50 cGy gamma rays in vitro were injected in the mice, there was no difference from the controls - indicating that the suppression affects the mouse, not tumor cells. Unfortunately, the study involved only 200 - 250 mice (perhaps they are scarce in Japan?) and lacks the statistical significance I would like to see for compelling evidence.

Both of the lung cancer experiments were performed by Ullich et al., whom we have seen laboring earlier with mouse pituitaries; and both experiments involved several thousand mice. His 1977 investigation [Ullrich, R.L., et al. Neutron carcinogenesis. Dose and dose-rate effects in BALB.C mice. Radiation Research, 72, 487, 1977], which showed a minimum lung cancer mortality in the area of 100 cSv, was repeated in 1979 [Ullrich, R.L., et al. Influence of irradiation on the development of neoplastic disease in mice. Radiation Research, 80, 135, 1979]. This time, instead of only two data points, six were examined from 10 to 300 cSv. As shown in Figure 9, the minimum appeared around 25 cSv in the 1979 data but was still significantly lower than controls even at the 100 cSv level.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, it is evident that the LNT is completely inadequate to explain this phenomenon, while the hormesis theory predicts just such an occurrence.

Caption for Figure 9 Lung Cancer Mortality in Mice Source: Ullrich, R.L., Jernigan, M.C., and Storer, J.B. Neutron carcinogenesis. Dose and dose-rate effects in BALB/C Mice, Radiation Research, 72, 487, 1977. Also Ullrich, R.L., and Storer, J.B. Influence of irradiation on the development of neoplastic disease in mice. I. Reticular tissue tumors. II. Solid tumor. III. Dose-rate effects. Radiation Research, 80, 135, 1979.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Effects of Radiation on Pituitary Cancer Mortality

In 1979, R.L. Ullrich et al. compared the pituitary cancer mortality rate of 400 female mice exposed to single doses of 10, 25, 50 and 100 cGy. [Ullrich, R.L. et al. Influence of radiation on the development of neoplastic disease in mice. Radiation Research, 80, 135, 1979.]

The normal mortality from this cancer in the control mice was 6.6% - a value that was set as the 100% or control level on Figure 8.

Caption for Figure 8: Pituitary Cancer in Mice: Source: Ullrich, R.L. and Storer, J.B., Influence of radiation on the development of neoplastic disease in mice. Radiation Research, 80, 135, 1979. (For similar studies by Ullrich et al., see also Radiation Research, 68, 115, 1976, and several other case studies in this chapter.)

As shown, pituitary cancer mortality was decreased nearly 20% at an exposure of 25 cGy, which was similar to results for ovarian cancer (20% decrease), mammary cancer (46% decrease), and uterine cancer (13% decrease). Needless to say, these are not the kind (or even the direction) of results predicted by the LNT.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Effects of Radiation on Cancer - Leukemia Mortality

Of the myriad varieties of cancer, leukemia is most often considered to be associated with exposure to ionizing radiation, so we'll look at it, first, in an experiment involving 1,000 young adult mice per group (about 12,000 mice in all), which were exposed to a single dose of gamma radiation from 20 to 600 cGy at the rate of 300 cGy (300 rad) per minute. (Ouch.) This experiment was directed by J.R. Maisin and reported in Radiation Research, 113, 300, 1988 (see Figure 7). To realize just how far apart the Linear No-Threshold Theory and the hormesis model are from one another, the LNT predicts a 60% increase in leukemia at an exposure of 200 cGy, while the actual data show a 35% decrease. One can argue all day the beauty of the LNT and how it is a terrific standard for regulatory control; but these data show that it just isn't true when compared to experiment.

Caption for Figure 7: Leukemia Mortality in Mice: Source: Maisin, J.R., Wambersie, A., Gerber, G.B., Mattelin, G., Lambert-Collier, M., and Guelette, J., Life shortening and disease incidence in C57BL mice after single and fractionated gamma and high energy neutron exposure. Radiation Research, 113, 300, 1988.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Growth Rate of Irradiated Mice

In a 1954 study by E. Lorenz et al. on the "effects of long-continued total body gamma irradiation on mice, guinea pigs, and rabbits," it was found that the growth rate of mice increased in proportion to the exposure, up to the level of 1.0 cGy (1,000 mrad) per day. [Lorenz, Egon, et al. Effects of long-continued total body gamma irradiation on mice, Guinea pigs and rabbits, in Biological Effects of External X and Gamma Radiation, Vol. 1, Zirkle, R. E., ed., McGraw-Hill, New York, 1954.]

Above this point, as shown in Figure 6, the growth rate decreased, until it was the same as the control group at approximately 7.5 cGy per day. Irradiation, which lasted eight hours per day, commenced one month after birth and continued until death. This study did not, however, examine the question of the relative longevity of the mice involved - a subject taken up later in this chapter.

[Caption for Figure 6: Growth Rate of Irradiated Mice - Note: "Control" or "Controls" refers to a group of unexposed animals often as large as the entire exposed cohort. The average behavior of this group is the norm to which all other groups are compared. Source: Lorenz, E., Jacobson, L.O., Heston, W.E., Shimkkin, M., Eschenbrenner, A.B., Deringer, M.K., Doniger, J., and Schweistal, R., Effects of long-continued total body gamma irradiation on mice, Guinea pigs, and rabbits. III. Effects on life span, weight, blood pressure and carcinogenesis and role of intensity of radiation. In Biological Effects of External X and Gamma Radiation, Vol. 1, Zirkle, R. E., ed., McGraw-Hill, New York, 1954.]

The size advantage (considered "healthy" in mice, though probably not popular in Minnie's ballerina class) continued into late maturity - about 100 weeks.

If we consider the background level to be the U.S. average of 0.3 cSv or 300 mrem per year (about 1 mrem per day) [the dose, expressed in units of energy per mass, is independent of the size of the recipient], then the fastest-growing rodents received about 1,000 times their normal background radiation - hardly in keeping with the LNT - which would predict unhealthiness at any level above background. It strongly suggests beneficial radiation effects are at work.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Who's the Leader of the Gang...

Irradiation of the pregnant animals - and the foetuses in utero caused an astonishing decrease of the mortality rate of the infected baby mice. [Mayr and Paulas, Unexpected effects of a whole body irradiation on the mortality rate of baby mice after an experimental infection with the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), Zentralbl. Veterinaermed, 36, 577, 1989.]

As a rule, I don't think much of animal experiments. No, I'm not a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA); in fact, I think many test animals (that would have never existed were it not for testing requirements) have it a whole lot better than their cousins who live in the wild. Can you th ink of anything worse than being a mouse that is in the process of being swallowed whole by a snake? And besides not having to be constantly on the lookout for snakes, cats, and hawks, some of these test critters have a pretty active social life - especially those involved in reproductive studies.

My problem with much of the animal testing is similar to the problem I have with the LNT - it is based on extrapolation with no consideration of a possible (and likely) threshold. For example, cancer researchers will load up some rat - which has been bred for a propensity to have tumors - with the human equivalent of two boxcars per day of an artificial sweetener, and then declare the substance to be a human carcinogen when a few tumors appear. No consideration is given to the possibility that there is a threshold, above which the rat's resistance is overwhelmed, but below which there is no effect.

Fortunately, mouse experiments related to disproving the LNT and demonstrating hormesis are not in this category. A single datum point on the accompanying graphs is often the average of hundreds of mouse lifetimes, and the curves subsequently drawn lie within the range of these experimental data so that no extrapolation is necessary. Besides most of the tested mice should be happy campers, since ionizing radiation in the hormesis range generally promotes health and longevity.

This chapter will look into the effects of low-level (and a few not so low-level) X-rays and gamma radiation on the mice. Most of it is related to cancer, sinc, as we are aware, this disease is commonly associated with radiation and is, in fact, the major detrimental effect of exposure. Other topics include growth rate, life span, radio-resistance (which all parents of teenagers should have), and one inexplicable effect of radiation received by the parents of the test mice.

In the following studies, exposures (rads/Gy) and doses (rems/Sv) are equal, since only gamma and X-ray radiation are involved.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Battling the Bureaucracy

I'd suggest that the only way to change country A's regulators would be for the citizens of A to understand the evidence and know the evidence proves the regulators are wrong; that their regulations are costing lives, not saving them; that the tax money of the citizens is being wasted on nonsensical programs to reduce radiation levels that are already insignificant; and that people and industries are being denied the benefits of nuclear technology because bureaucrats feel a responsibility to "enforce official policy" rather than question, observe and reason.

So, I submit, it is up to us to look at the evidence - of which the following is just a small fraction - and then, with reason and eloquence, persuade our political leaders to lead. Failing that, we should work to throw the blackguards out, and help elect those who will listen to reason - and not to the anti-technologists who would return us to the days of manure, a boring subsistence, and back-breaking labor.

In Luckey's Radiation Hormesis, the source of much of the evidence to be offered in the upcoming chapters, the subject matter was arranged in terms of parameters that were being observed, e.g., fertility, growth rate, immunity, mortality, cancer risk, life span. Subjects of the studies ranged from bacteria to fish eggs, to mice, to beagles, to humans - with each interspersed within the observed parameters. The information presented is technical, quite detailed, and frankly - because I tend to faint when reading italicized Latin words of more than two syllables - can be a bit difficult to understand. But that's what we engineers were put on Earth for: to attempt conversion of scientists' ideas into something normal people can fathom.

For this reason I've concentrated on, and am limiting the data to, studies on mice and men. Mice, because the experiments are with statistically significant numbers of specimens bred to minimize genetic differences - and men (women, too) because of a hunch that readers will be interested in that particular species. Additional details on these and related subjects can be found on the Radiation, Science and Health website at

Upcoming chapters have the following content:

  • Chapter 14: Data from mice experiments concerning responses, such as longevity and various cancer mortalities, to a wide range of exposures
  • Chapter 15: Observations and data from A-bomb survivors
  • Chapter 16: Radiation effects on workers in nuclear power plants and nuclear-weapons facilities
  • Chapter 17: Effects of different levels of background radiation on residents in different geographical areas
  • Chapter 18: Some hormetic effects seen in medical treatment statistics
  • Chapter 19: A huge study of nuclear-shipyard workers by Johns Hopkins University
  • Chapter 20: An even bigger study by Bernard Cohen of the effects of residential radon in the United States. You may have been a participant in the study, as it covered 90% of U.S. residents in more than 1,700 counties.

Hopefully, one or more of these topics will be helpful in your evaluation of the experimental basis of hormesis - or, as United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) puts it - "the adaptive response to radiation in cells and organisms."

Friday, February 12, 2016

Coming, Mother...

This is where evaluation of the evidence by an informed and sensible citizenry comes into play. As matters stand now, we have a "nanny" government that dictates what is good for us and what is not. The government regulators who determine the "rules" usually do so in a manner that will make them popular with those they think are important - it's a process called politics. And almost every "rule" they make has a single stated purpose: to protect us from something, someone or ourselves. If our FDA had been around in Edward Jenner's 1796 England, how many people would have died from smallpox waiting for a bureaucracy to approve vaccinations?

With regard to our subject matter, a presentation by a Canadian regulatory official offers a case in point [at the 1998 Ottawa Conference on Low-Dose Radiation]. The radiation exposure regulators are well aware of the eventual demise of the LNT and the strong evidence that low-level radiation is beneficial. These are not "bad" or conspiratorial activists who want to destroy Canada. But will they consider relaxing the already miniscule limits (5 mSv or 500 mrem) for public exposure to radiation? Will they adopt a policy raising limits for hormesis studies? Absolutely not! They intend to lower the limit even further to 1 mSv (100 mrem)!

Because of a clear and present danger? Not at all. It is because of political pressure from the "all-radiation-is-dangerous" crowd and the eagerness on the part of the regulators to avoid a confrontation with the politically powerful "green lobby." What, pray tell, would it take for the regulators to change their minds and look at the evidence? (I copied this one down verbatim.) They will not consider changing "without the other worldwide regulatory agencies agreeing to adopt it [the less stringent regulations]."

Let's see now, if country A won't change until B, C and D have changed; and country B won't change until A, C and D have changed... gee, it doesn't seem like there's going to be a whole lot of changing going on.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Rummaging Through the Stacks

Where the radiation level is greater, cancer risk is invariably less. [Nambi and Soman. Further observations on environmental radiation and cancer in India, Health Physics, submitted in 1990, unpublished.]

Presenting the evidence of radiation hormesis has been the most daunting problem faced in writing this book; there is just too much of it. Luckey had more than 2,000 citations in his two books, and he estimates that this was about half of the data available in 1990. [Hormesis with Ionizing Radiation, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 1980; and Radiation Hormesis, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 1991.]

In the fifteen years since then, other researchers have become involved, and their research compounds the problem of "too much" evidence. Until of late there had been only a very few experiments designed to address the radiation hormesis hypothesis, and most of these involved non-vertebrates. [Even more rare are subambient (i.e., less than normal background) radiation experiments, which should show a degradation of biologic function when the target microbes are shielded from cosmic and other background sources. Two such experiments are described in Radiation Hormesis, pp. 211-23.]

The data available - which are the backbone of the argument I'm putting forth [While I have absolutely no reason to distrust the recent test reports that attest to the hormesis phenomenon, there is something very satisfying about examining data taken without any conceivable bias toward "the reverse effect." If there were any bias it was to ignore that which didn't fit the curve.] - are generally one of the following types:

  • Animal tests designed to find adverse effects of high levels of ionizing radiation but which happened to take measurements in the low-dose area in the course of the experiment; [According to Luckey, much of the low-dose data - which showed negative correlation of the dose-response relationship - was either ignored, omitted or simply deemed too unimportant to report.]
  • Japanese bombing survivors who were within a known distance of A-bomb detonations and whose exposures could be calculated; [There is considerable controversy about exposures, particularly in Hiroshima, with many researchers believing the data analysis understates the radiation dosage. One problem is related to some data still not being available to investigators - even after more than fifty years!]
  • Statistical evidence on workers in nuclear power plants and weapons manufacturing facilities; and
  • Populations that live in various areas with background radiation up to eighty times the U.S. average.

It would be wonderful if there were carefully controlled experimental data on humans for all diseases over the complete radiation dosage range. To optimize the hormesis effect, it would be marvelous to have double-blind studies over long periods of time, with carefully controlled exposures and rates. But we don't have these things.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Parting Shot in the Radon Controversy

Since it affects only air passageways and the lungs, radon and its progeny do not really give us a "whole body dose" like most of the other radiation sources that provide our background dose. Its contribution of 55% of our natural background is therefore given as an "equivalent whole body dose" calculated from the 2,400 mrem dose given yearly to the bronchial epithelium times an "effective dose equivalent factor" of 0.08. This calculated dose of about 200 mrem (0.2 cGy) is tied to the LNT and might make sense if the linear theory were true - which it is not. In my opinion, the BEIR data on radon and its effects are worse than meaningless. They are unscientific, fraudulent and meaningless.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bane of the EPA

In 1990, the first of Bernard Cohen's studies was published showing that higher household radon levels were associated with lower lung cancer rates. The wealth of evidence rocked the scientific community, most of whom had never bothered to question the Linear-No-Threshold model. They were to be even further "rocked" by his even more comprehensive report in 1995. He is still [2005] evaluating even the most unlikely confounding possibilities that might discredit his highly significant findings. As a seeker of scientific truth, Cohen is working diligently to prove himself wrong.

The evidence chapters of this book contain many references to radon, including a whole chapter on Cohen's study (chapter 20). It might be a good idea for you to read them prior to spending big bucks for a government-approved, radon-reducing heat exchanger, which allowed circulation without appreciably changing the temperature of the room air.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Whom to Believe?

Gasteiner Heilstollen

Spas in the Bad Gastein area of Austria have been known for their health benefits since Roman times - while the U.S. EPA didn't discover radon as a threat until 1984. Note that the level in the "healing gallery" is 1,000 times the "fix it" level of the EPA.

*************************** THIS ***************************
In the Healing Gallery in Gastein deep down in the Radhaus Mountain, there is a worldwide unique healing climate to be found: Because of the air, which contains radon and temperatures of 37 to 41.5 degrees, and a relatively high humidity of between 70 and 100%, your body will refill itself naturally with vitality and strength. Muscles and joints relax as the mountain gives out new energy.

The Healing Gallery is Gastein is the most effective treatment method in Gastein and is probably the most effective natural healing method for treating rheumatic illnesses.

The Natural Healing Power:
  • High radon content (up to 4.5 NanoCurie per litre of air in the Gallery)
  • Damp warmth (air temperature ranges from 37-41.5 degrees Celsius and relatively high air humidity of 70/100%).
  • Speleotherapy conditions (completely pure, dust free, allergy free, and practically bacteria free air, healing aerosol, negative ions)

[above copy taken from]

************************* OR THIS *************************

EPA Recommends:

  • If you are buying a home or selling your home, have it tested for radon.
  • For new homes, ask if radon resistant construction feature(s) have been used.
  • Fix the home if radon level is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher.
  • Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases may be reduced.
  • Take steps to prevent device interference when conducting a radon test.

[above copy taken from]