Ian Fairlee, a well-respected epidemiologist, recently posted about UNSCEAR's new report on the health effects of Fukushima:
UNSCEAR REPORT: http://www.unscear.org/docs/reports/2013/13-85418_Report_2013_Annex_A.pdf
Ian focuses on UNSCEAR's (United Nation's Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation) estimation of the collective dose to the people of Japan from Fukushima and its comparison with UNSCEAR's estimation of the collective dose from Fukushma.
He notes that UNSCEAR retrospectively has revised their estimate of the collective dose from Chernoby. Here is what Ian writes:
From this, one can work out what UNSCEAR now thinks the whole body collective dose to Europe was from Chernobyl: ie 320,000 to 480,000 man Sv, leading to ~32,000 to ~48,000 fatal cancers. This has never been stated before by UNSCEAR. These estimates are close to the 2006 independent TORCH report’s estimates of 30,000 to 60,000 fatal cancers.Ian makes an important observation. UNSCEAR is now admitting that 32,000 to 48,000 fatal cancers occurred from Chernobyl.
I appreciate Ian's analysis because it demonstrates that even the most captured regulatory agencies are being forced by the sheer volume of data to revise upwards their excess mortality estimates from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
That said, I would like to return to the issue of COLLECTIVE DOSE. In my opinion, this is an absolutely LUDICROUS way to estimate health effects from radiation exposure.
Let us look at the estimates of collective dose for Fukushima provided by UNSCEAR:
Essentially, this model averages the volume of radionuclides released, as provided by TEPCO, across the ENTIRE Japanese population.
The averaged individual dose is then entered into a dose-effect model, which is like a calculator for effects. The most commonly used dose-effects model is the ICRP. I'll discuss its limitations in a minute.
First, let us consider for a moment the absurdity of averaging dose across an entire national population when people were, and continue to be, disproportionately affected depending upon proximity and wind direction.
Second, let us consider the absurdity of presuming a one-time exposure from the averaged dose when radionuclides bioaccumulate in food and human tissues where their decay will damage DNA, accelerating aging processes and reducing DNA integrity.
Third, let us consider the absurdity of relying on TEPCO source terms for total emissions. TEPCO is LYING about how much contamination has gone into the atmosphere, aquifer, and ocean. Yes TEPCO is lying. TEPCO has revised their estimates of emissions many times. I've documented it in my book. Moreover, I have watched the webcams for three years and I have seen fires, heat streaming unceasingly, and nearly daily steam emissions from reactors 1-4.
Finally, let us return to the dominant dose effects model, which is the calculator for predicting effects from exposure. While reading this passage about the reference man employed by the ICRP consider the other limitations to the UNSCEAR report. GARBAGE in is GARBAGE OUT.
EXCERPTED from Fukushima and the Privatization of Risk (Palgrave Pivot, 2013):
In 1977, the ICRP created a ‘reference man’ to calculate the excess risks for fatal cancer caused by exposure to radiation.[i] The reference man was defined as a Caucasian man between 20-30 years of age, weighing approximately 154 pounds. The model was offered as basis for setting regulatory exposure guidelines despite the fact that it homogenizes the population, preventing consideration of effects on more vulnerable populations. The 2006 U.S. National Academies’ panel on the risks of low-level radiation, the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) VII report, found that overall fatal cancer risk for females was 37.5 percent greater than for males exposed to the same radiation dose, and children are even more vulnerable.[ii] Despite these findings, the reference man continues to inform many international and national regulatory guidelines, including the ICRP.[iii]
[i] A. Makhijani (April 2009) ‘The Use of Reference Man in Radiation Protection Standards and Guidance with Recommendations for Change’, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, http://ieer.org/downloads/53.
[ii] National Research Council Health Risks.
[iii] The Nuclear Energy Agency Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development 2011 report, Evolution of ICRP Recommendations 1977, 1990, and 2007, explains that the ICRP distinguished between non-stochastic (deterministic) and stochastic (probabilistic) effects in 1977, but didn’t provide quantitative estimates of the stochastic risk for fatal cancer across the lifespan and severe hereditary effects from radiation until 1990 (pp. 15-16). The 2007 ICRP publication incorporates ‘detriment,’ which attempts to quantify all deleterious effects of exposure by including cancer incidences, not simply fatal cases (p. 16). The models still relies on a homogenized reference man and doesn’t address other diseases (Available, http://www.oecd-nea.org/rp/reports/2011/nea6920-ICRP-recommendations.pdf, date accessed 22 May 2013).