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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Low Level Radiation - Definitely Not Bad For You

  A round up of some recent stuff via Next Big Future.

    Main article
Cornwall, a popular tourist destination in southwest England, has four times the level of radon as other parts of the country.
The highest level of background radiation is in the state of Kerala and city of Chennai in southern India, where people receive average doses above 30 millisieverts per year, or 3.42 microsieverts an hour,..

In Brazil and Sudan, exposure can reach 40 millisieverts a year or 4.57 microsieverts an hour.
Background radiation is 50 times higher than New York in the Sudan and parts of India.

Background radiation is 5 times higher than New York in India in general

Background radiation is almost 3 times higher than New York in the UK
Radiation levels are also far higher on planes.

Long term studies do not show increased deaths from the radiation

Environmental Health Perspectives - Integrated Molecular Analysis Indicates Undetectable DNA Damage in Mice after Continuous Irradiation at ~400-fold Natural Background Radiation 
RESULTS: Under low dose-rate conditions, we did not observe any changes in the levels of the DNA nucleobase damage products hypoxanthine, 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine, 1,N6-ethenoadenine or 3,N4-ethenocytosine above background. The micronucleus assay revealed no evidence that low dose-rate radiation induced DNA fragmentation. Furthermore, there was no evidence of double strand break-induced homologous recombination. Finally, low dose-rate radiation did not induce Cdkn1a, Gadd45a, Mdm2, Atm, or Dbd2. Importantly, the same total dose, when delivered acutely, induced micronuclei and transcriptional responses.
CONCLUSIONS: Together, these results demonstrate in an in vivo animal model that lowering the dose-rate suppresses the potentially deleterious impact of radiation
  Not not sufficient evidence or questionable evidence but "no evidence" to support the LNT claims.

  The point about planes is valuable because records of aircrew flight times are obviously available making establishing exposure an arithmetic exercise. And we find:
No extra deaths for air crews who can get flying long haul routes for ten years would get 30-90 milliSv (30,000 to 90,000 microsieverts) and for 20 year would get 60-180 milliSv

  Going to the abstract of the article
Exposure to cosmic ionising radiation, in addition to other specific occupational risks, is of concern to aircrew members. Epidemiological studies provide an objective way to assess the health of this occupational group. We systematically reviewed the epidemiological literature on health of aircrew members since 1990, focusing on cancer as the endpoint of interest. Sixty-five relevant publications were identified and reviewed. Whereas overall cancer incidence and mortality was generally lower than in the comparison population, consistently elevated risks were reported for breast cancer incidence in female aircrew members and for melanoma in both male and female aircrew members. Brain cancer was increased in some studies among pilots. Occasionally trends of increasing cancer mortality or incidence with increasing estimated radiation dose were reported. Ionising radiation is considered to contribute little if at all to the elevated risks for cancers among aircrew, whereas excess ultraviolet radiation is a probable cause of the increased melanoma risk.

  You can see from the way this is written that the intent was to confirm the official position. When you start pointing out that a few cancers are above average you are pointing out the obvious. With hundreds of different types it is statistically certain that some will be above average and some below. Even here, being good scientists reporting results they didn't want, they have the honesty to say that there is a reasonable explanation for one of them.

    But the killer is the "generally lower than in the comparison population". That is not zero evidence for the official theory it is significant evidence for hormesis in human beings.
   It is not, on its own, conclusive evidence for hormesis. However it is not on its own. Professor Cohen's study of the effects of geological background radiation across the USA showed a beneficial hormetic effect equal to half the negative effect of smoking. Also there has been a century of laboratory proof on cells, microbes and plants. There are many many others listed by me here. The aircraft result is merely the cherry topping, but nonetheless important. Even if a few are questionable the overwhelming amount of evidence is conclusive.

   All the moreso since there remains zero, not very little but zero, for the politically maintained theory that low level radiation is harmful. A theory for which there is no evidence is technically called a hypothesis, one for which there is only overwhelming evidence that it is wrong is technically called bullshit.

   The LNT bullshit is not science. No "scientist" promoting it can, by definition, actually be a scientist though in a world where Madonna claims to be one a number of "Cabala scientists" reducing radiation levels by prayer, such government fed leeches, like SEPA, will doubtless continue calling themselves such.

   Without the LNT theory the entire anti-nuclear scare is baseless. Indeed the nuclear industry is the only one which, through its "pollution" has net saved lives. The anti-nuclear fraud has cost the world decades of serious wealth creation and 10s of millions of lives.
  And fortunately an increasing number of real scientists are willing to put their heads above the parapet to say so.

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Nice article, thanks for the information.
You have to be careful of the "healthy worker effect" if you compare jet aircrew to the general population. It might be more revealing to compare them to, say, helicopter pilots, seaplane pilots or whatnot.
I am assuming that the study was done with some such comparable "comparison population". This being based on (A) the scientists doing it being good & perhaps more certainly (B) them not wanting to skew their results with comparatively more healthy aircrew when they were expecting a result that would show aircrew "suffering" from excess radiation. If they had been suffering but a less healthy comparison had been chosen the effect they wanted would disappear.
Radioactive decay is proportional to the total amount of the radioactive material, and thus the background level of radiation from this source has been diminishing slowly since the solar system was formed. Life on earth has existed with this as an intrinsic part of it's environment throughout hundreds of millions of years of evolution. It is therefore highly probable that some use will have been found for this resource in biology. That we have not yet pinned down the exact mechanisms does not preclude them existing.
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