Radiation Research Society – 14th Report. Low Level Radioactivity More Carcinogenic than previously known.

(Had this in draft all week… Might as well post it):  — Not the most joy-inducing reading material, but a new landmark study of atomic bomb survivors regarding the effects of radioactivity (ionizing radiation), uncovered that the risks for low level radiation do not correspond with linear risk modeling: the relative risk at lower levels of exposure is markedly higher.

Quoting within the limits of Fair Use (See Disclaimer)

‘Studies of the Mortality of Atomic Bomb Survivors, Report 14, 1950–2003:  An Overview of Cancer and Noncancer Diseases.’

Basic background:The Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF), and its predecessor the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC), has conducted a mortality study since 1950 on a fixed population [Life Span Study (LSS) cohort] of about 120,000 subjects including atomic bomb survivors and residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who were not in either city at the time of the bombing to determine the late health effects of ionizing radiation derived from the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

{NOTE: For help with radiation units, such as the the mentioned radiation unit “Gy” = ‘Gray’, which approximates the “absorbed dose” of ionizing radiation (For easy conversion:   1 nGy/hr ≈ 0.001 µSv/hr.), see also my Radiation Units Page.}

  • ! –>  MOST RECOMMENDED  –> Incredible Video Summary of this study on ‘Goddards Journal’ on YouTube, with excellent comparissons to previous studies.  If nothing else, watch this:

From the report:  “This is the 14th report in a series of periodic general reports on mortality in the Life Span Study (LSS) cohort of atomic bomb survivors followed by the Radiation Effects Research Foundation to investigate the late health effects of the radiation from the atomic bombs.

One of several graphs in the doc., showing the negative health effects observed for low-level radiation fallout exposure can be greater than would be expected: in this graph you can see that in the 0.1 Gy to 0.3 Gy range, the risks are notably higher than in 0.4 to 0.6 Gy range, for instance. See pdf. for more.  See also Fig 5.

During the period 1950–2003, 58% of the 86,611 LSS cohort members with DS02 dose estimates have died. The 6 years of additional follow-up since the previous report provide substantially more information at longer periods after radiation exposure (17% more cancer deaths), especially among those under age 10 at exposure (58% more deaths).

Poisson regression methods were used to investigate the magnitude of the radiation-associated risks, the shape of the dose response, and effect modification by gender, age at exposure, and attained age. The risk of all causes of death was positively associated with radiation dose.

Fig 5. (annotated in color by me). These findings show to what extent the observations deviate from the expected linear modeled risk: clearly low-level radiation is more dangerous than was previously understood.  The lowest point on the x-axis on this graph (which, converted corresponds with 20 milliSievert, the declared “safe level” for Fukushima contamination.  WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE!

And later, added to the same post on 8/24/2011:  The Telegraph (UK) adding that “Fukushima caesium leaks ‘equal 168 Hiroshimas’ “    That makes the above study a little more relevant, I think.

  • For additional information, my Radiation Exposure Effects page also mentions some other important studies, including the ECRR Recommendations:

“[The] European Committee on Radiation Risk, which mentions a study  [highly contested by much of the nuclear establishment, as acceptance would mean that all risk assessments would have to be “adjusted to reality” (imagine that!) and most likely render the nuclear industry obsolete due the long-term risks by far out-weighting the short-term benefits.  That’s MY perspective. – mvb]   by Martin Tondel (See his bio here at Göteborgs Universitet, Sverige / Sweden) of cancer in northern Sweden published in 2004:  Tondel’s findings revealed a statistically significant 11% increase in cancer per 100kBq/m2 Cs-137 contamination from Chernobyl. […]”

  • And to point out the obvious, It might take awhile before the EPA updates their information pages…  Pretty much the only thing they’ve done is repeating ad nauseum that, “all of the radiation levels detected by RadNet monitors and sampling have been very low, well below any level of public health concern.”  Where exactly their “public concern level” would start I have yet to find…)   So, to show what needs updating in, for example, the US EPA’s “Radiation: Facts, Risks and Realities” (@ http://www.epa.gov/radiation/docs/402-k-10-008.pdf):
    (I bet it might take the EPA a  rather long while to update their low-level radiation risk info…)
    (Screenshot of EPA info: May 16, 2012) CLICK IMAGE for PDF.

    —> The two points I highlighted (red circles) fail to mention that there’s an excess relative risk at lower levels of radioactive fallout exposure.  See study above for newest information.

  • http://www.nirs.org/falsepromises.pdf  from 2008 may be useful as well:

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