Wednesday, February 10, 2016


I am finishing up a book chapter on radiophobia, the "excessive fear" of radiation. The first instance of radiophobia I could find when searching through a a variety of indexes:
Radiophobia: a new psychological syndrome. 1951. Western Journal of Surgery, Obstetrics, and Gynecology, 59.11 (November 1): viii
Beyond Nuclear has a good description of the concept of radiophobia developed above in the article above:
Beyond Nuclear. 2013. Radiophobia: anxiety disorder misused. August 22, 2013, accessed August 24, 2013,
In my book chapter, I trace the articulation and promotion of radiophobia as a social engineering project aimed at adjusting people to atomic technology given public distrust and concern. I am pasting the conclusion from my chapter and a link to a presentation I made of the chapter in November of 2015:

Link to presentation

Below find the conclusion of chapter on Radiophobia for a book exploring social contagion.

Radiophobia, Social Control, and Contested Claims to Truth
Radiophobia emerged in 1951 as a dangerous neurosis characterized by the dread of radiation most characteristically afflicting women concerned about their offspring. Radiophobia is described and promoted by atomic authorities who dismiss fear of atmospheric fallout of ionizing radiation using rationalized models for predicting radiation dose-effects predicated upon arcane and ultimately problematized models of dose-response exposure effects. Health physicists’ rationalized models of radiation exposure sought to replace the affective horrors of burnt and diseased bodies and the uncertainties of heritable mutations with abstract calculations of death by cancer (alone) provided in impenetrable technocratic measurements, such rems and millisievert. However, radiophobia’s proponents did not fully monopolize public opinion on radiation exposure effects. Dissident scientists and medical doctors contested radiophobia’s basic premise that the “fear of radiation exceeds its hazards” by describing publicly and in great detail the consequences of bioaccumulation of radionuclides within bone and organs, the special vulnerabilities of the young, and the heritability of radiation-caused germline cell mutations.
Despite their lack of voice, concerned mothers were in the past, and remain in the present, the primary protagonists in the contestations over radiophobia. The meme was designed to vaccinate health care providers and other expert authorities against mothers’ concerns and potential anti-nuclear activism. Radiophobia’s psychoanalytic and technocratic language aimed to minimize mothers’ agency and discipline their resistance to atomic authorities’ assurances of radiation safety. Although hystericized by radiophobia’s proponents, mothers’ tentative inquiries and undisciplined departures re-invigorate marginalized voices concerning ionizing radiation’s health and ecological consequences in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis. Mothers’ efforts to protect their children amplify the significance of scientific contestations over dose-models, special vulnerabilities, and transgenerational effects, especially now that the Japanese government is lifting evacuation orders and encouraging former residents to return home to areas that remain contaminated with genotoxic radionuclides up to 19 times higher in level overall, as compared to the allowable environmental level prior to the disaster. Rising incidents of thyroid cancer and nodules among Fukushima young people disrupt the radiophobia meme, lending support to dissident accounts. The question of whether Fukushima children’s thyroid cancer derives from Daiichi-sourced radiation is debated at length and across years on the international stage and in the pages of scientific journals, while Fukushima mothers strive below the mainstream radar to find the truths that will promote their children’s health and healing, fearing that it is already too late.


  1. Look no futher than the guy Thomas Edison hired to make XRay tubes for him in the late 19th and early 20 th century. Heck, old uneducated Thomas E had enough common sense to have a healthy fear of ionizing radiation and they were just discovering it.  Tumors all over Tom Edisons xray tube blower's body from over exposure to xrays. Then Limb loss, then death.

      The horror prompted Edison to give up on xrays and radioactive substances. Tom E said the thought of xrays made the hair on his neck stand up when he thought about it.

    Thomas Edison was no fancy schmancy nuclear physicist who sat in an ivory tower like ed teller. Edward teller never got his hands dirty and just lied out of his bumb to pad his bank account.  Like you can make huge underground water canals with a bombs and the canals and water will not be permanently radioactive.

    The zickety blippety nuclear physicist whores in their slick 1000 dollar suits and ties promoting hormesis that Busby commented about from a nuclear physics seminar on the ICRP model recently. The pronuke at the conference whores turned most of their presentation at the ICRP into a hormesis kumbaya. The big lie of Whoremesis is at its root definition a completely fabricated and totally unsubstantiated phenomenon.

    Hormesis  was Not originated by life scientists who know that inflammation cascades and immune responses are refractory with the terrible damage done by chronic and concentrated acute radiation exposure.

    The sickness of the radiophobia goes way beyond the sadism of the worst stockhom syndrome. Have a gander or read this article from 1985 about radiation therapy gone  bad and tell me from your heart of hearts that their is an unhealthy fear of the damage ionizing radiation can do  One can also look at kazhakstan where a whole community suffers from the worst possible neurological syndrome sleeping sickness, whereby they are unconscious a week at a time from chronc exposure to so called low level uranium waste.

  2. What the horribly biased, ignorant and stupid wikipedia has to say about the lnd model of radiation by gofman and mental health issues from low dose radiation. The wikipedia article even manages to bring up hormesis. It just goes to show that some what we call science nowadays is permanently entrenched in darkness, irrationality dark age thinking, and superstition.
    Just pure diarrhea of  the most outlandish lies, mind messing propaganda, irrational thinking and cognitive dissonance

    Enough to give a rational person permanent extreme Wikipediaphobia

    Mental health effects From Radiation From Wikipedia entry about Low noThreshold dose model originated by Goffman.
    Further information: Radiophobia

    The consequences of low-level radiation are often more psychological than radiological. Because damage from very-low-level radiation cannot be detected, people exposed to it are left in anguished uncertainty about what will happen to them. Many believe they have been fundamentally contaminated for life and may refuse to have children for fear of birth defects. They may be shunned by others in their community who fear a sort of mysterious contagion.[38]

    Forced evacuation from a radiation or nuclear accident may lead to social isolation, anxiety, depression, psychosomatic medical problems, reckless behavior, even suicide. Such was the outcome of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine. A comprehensive 2005 study concluded that "the mental health impact of Chernobyl is the largest public health problem unleashed by the accident to date".[38] Frank N. von Hippel, a U.S. scientist, commented on the 2011Fukushima nuclear disaster, saying that "fear of ionizing radiation could have long-term psychological effects on a large portion of the population in the contaminated areas".[39]

    Such great psychological danger does not accompany other materials that put people at risk of cancer and other deadly illness. Visceral fear is not widely aroused by, for example, the daily emissions from coal burning, although, as a National Academy of Sciences study found, this causes 10,000 premature deaths a year in the US. It is "only nuclear radiation that bears a huge psychological burden — for it carries a unique historical legacy".[38]

  3. That was I suppose the purpose behind the advertisement for Atomic Cities. Hardly a decade after Hiroshima and Nagasaki the idea sounds a bit tasteless and morbid; but it was maybe seen as a way beyond Radiophobia. In 1950's there was real enthusiasm for modern conveniences and other recent scientific marvels. My mother got an automatic washer and dryer. The washer was upstairs above the kitchen into which it leaked! when something went wrong. Still being a small rural town we never got pulled into wanting to live in an Atomic City, and my mother missed out on radiophobia as far as I know. I remember I did follow carefully the maps the Omaha World Herald would regularly publish on the front with circles emanating out from Offut Air Force Base showing degrees of devastation and radiation. Fortunately we were just beyond the last circle and presumably safe. Even then I did not believe the Soviets were at all interested in bombing the USA. Now it's terrorists. ISIS. Or the domestic ones who are practically everyone. I go back to the summer of 1945. In my recreation of the past these brilliant scientists delay Trinity indefinitely. They know the war is over. They tell Truman the truth that they fear an uncontrolled chain reaction will occur and destroy the world. The atomic bomb remains an idea in the imagination. But curiosity got the upper hand and now we have radioactive material everywhere.

  4. A good healthy dose of radiophobia put millions of americans up in arms about nuclear power after Three mile island and The Movie"The China Sydrome." A large healthy dose of radiophobia now is what americans need. They also need a plan for a concerted effort to do something about it.

    If we keep generating nuclear wastes at the rate we are doing, and building unnecessary bombs, and building more dangerous reactors, we are in trouble. If we do not shut down reactors that will surely meltdown soon as well, trouble.

    We will be one huge radioactive wasteland like kazhakstan. We will have no viable genome like belarus in a short period of time. Places like New Mexico with tipp and los alamos are probably already there. Nevada is worse than a lot of people will admit. The same goes for hanford and the United states nuclear reservation in south western Idaho.

    1. I think we are already there: "Indian Point tritium leak 80% worse than originally reported"

  5. Nothing to be afraid of here folks. Just move along.