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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

RADIATION HORMESIS - SPREADING THE QUESTION

I would like to thank Jerry Pournelle for taking the time to report my quite complex, heavily linked, recent post on radiation hormesis & the herd of irradiated cattle put down when they reached record breaking ages. He added:

A reader sends this. It was not easily formatted, and it takes some attention to understand, but the subject is important. I had thought that the LNT people were slowly giving up, but perhaps not.

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There is a great deal of money at stake in this. The tort bar lawyers will be involved.
That latter is a point I had not thought of - perhaps because I live in a less litigious society. I had realised that, since the LNT is fundamental to any opposition to the use of nuclear power in electricity generation; in the prevention of the Orion nuclear space project achieving its perfectly feasible goals of "Mars by 1965, Saturn by 1970"; & in low level radiation medicine not being half as effective at saving lives as smoking is at ending them it has had an immensely destructive effect on humanity. How anybody can pay for that I cannot see but I can now see some lawyers will want to find out. Beyond any economic cost the post Hiroshima & justified fear that scientists had let the djinn out of the bottle nust have been exacerbated by the largely unjustified fear of the insidious radiation boogyman, which has done so much to power the whole anti-technology movement.

I can imagine a number of people, such as those on the British investigation who said that the evidence would fit absolutely any line whatsoever, going through their emails to see if they have ever admitted trying to "hide the decline". And of course, all the politicians who have lied to promote this scare saying they never knew better, though the decision to get rid of the cattle must have been either a political or military one & there is no reason the military would want it.

Professor Fred Singer, publisher of SEPP also accepts that radiation hormesis is the proven scientific paradigm. This is from one of the articles republished by SEPP:
According to the LNT hypothesis, such levels [background radiation levers in the early days of the planet] should have sterilized the earth and eradicated all life. Instead, radiation may have produced multiple new mutations in existing life forms, with the negative disadvantageous mutations disappearing rapidly, and the positive advantageous mutations prospering and propagating. Indeed, it seems likely that this radiological imperative was a significant factor in the evolution of all species...

This current zeal for zero-tolerance of radiation is reminiscent of the puritanical efforts of early missionaries visiting South Sea Islands for the first time. Because of their zero-tolerance for alcoholic beverages, these newcomers coerced the natives into giving up their fermented home-brews containing many natural nutrients, which eventually led to deficiency states of several vitamins and minerals. Inadvertently, these missionaries documented the Law of Unintended Consequences -- and helped pave the road to hell with their good intentions.

It has already been documented that nuclear workers with additional low-level exposures (LLE) have statistically significant longer life spans and lower cancer incidences than matched-control workers without the LLE. Our current radiation antipathy and LNT hypothesis would never predict this result, so this unexpected improvement for exposed workers continues to be largely ignored and unacknowledged. An Internet search for "radiation hormesis" produces a wealth of positive information, information that is almost completely lacking in prior and current medical textbooks and physics publications.
It may well turn out that, as with global warming an awful lot of scientists had been persuaded that the LNT theory, like warming, was a "scientific consensus" & to keep quiet about their doubts because in a consensus there must be some people who actually know. If so, because there is so much much evidence against it particularly repeatable plant & animal experiments, it may prove even more brittle than the catastrophic warming "consensus". Certainly I have found nobody able to put a coherent argument for LNT except ad hominum ones.

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Comments:
Forgive me, please, for this query, but the chart at the top of the story seems to suggest 20,000 microsieverts/day as being an optimal dose for longevity.

If my math is correct, that translates to 2,000 mrem/day, or 2 rem/day, a dose far above all other hormesis discussions I have seen.

May I ask you to source that, please?
 
Sorry. I got the chart from a Google image search form LightandMatter.com & have twice asked their advice without reply. I assume that somebody somewhere had confused a millisievert with a microsievert (1000 times less) & will remove thegraph. Fortunately it was just there for illustrative purposes & is not referred to in the text.
 
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