Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Plant Erupts into a Poison Fruit: Don't be Fooled by Those Evil Apples


I commented recently about an article in Environmental Health Perspectives.

The EHP article is titled: "Integrated Molecular Analysis Indicates Undetectable DNA Damage in Mice after Continuous Irradiation at ~400-fold Natural Background Radiation."

"This work was supported primarily by the Office of Science (BER), U.S. Department of Energy (DE-FG02-05ER64053). This work was partially supported by R33-CA112151 and 1U19AI68021-06)..."

The article is a research report of an experiment studying the effects of gamma radiation on mice for 6 weeks.

The mice were killed right away (as soon as the 6 weeks of radiation exposure was halted) and only exposed to gamma (not beta or alpha), but the article suggested its findings applied to humans' exposure to nuclear plant fallout.

However, by killing the mice right away, the researchers did not study delayed and bystander effects, which are documented effects of radiation causing cell damage.

[see Dietrich Averbeck, a, Towards a New Paradigm for Evaluating the Effects of Exposure to Ionizing Radiation Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis Volume 687, Issues 1-2, 1 May 2010 pages 7-12]

The concluding sentence of the article on mice exposure to gamma in EHP raised my hackles:

[excerpt from "Integrated Molecular Analysis Indicates"] "Current US policy dictates that a dose-rate of ~30X higher than background is too high to be permissible for human habitation (Federal Emergency Management Agency 2008). Given the enormous costs associated with making constraints on public policy too stringent (or too loose), these studies point to a significant need for additional knowledge regarding the impact of low dose-rate radiation." [end excerpt]

Majia here: Talk about problems with ecological validity. I could not believe the editor let those sentences into the article.

The findings of this study on mice cannot be validly generalized to long-term effects for human exposure to any form of radiation, including gamma (as well as beta and alpha)

THEN the article gets a new headline at Science Daily: "New Look at Prolonged Radiation Exposure: At Low Dose-Rate, Radiation Poses Little Risk to DNA, Study Suggests"

[excerpt] ScienceDaily (May 15, 2012) — "A new study from MIT scientists suggests that the guidelines governments use to determine when to evacuate people following a nuclear accident may be too conservative.

The study, led by Bevin Engelward and Jacquelyn Yanch and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that when mice were exposed to radiation doses about 400 times greater than background levels for five weeks, no DNA damage could be detected."

[end excerpt]

Majia If you read the original study you will see that the Science Daily headline is really totally inappropriate for the actual study on gamma exposure on mice being discussed.

The Science Daily headline is a deliberate misinterpretation of the mice study's generalizability.

There is no ecological validity in extending the results of the study of short term effects of gamma exposure on mice to the effects of long term human exposure to nuclear plant fallout.

Both studies are plants.They were designed to be published together.

I have no doubt about it.

Why now?

Well, there is increasing evidence that nuclear plants cause cancer in children living close to the plants:

Childhood leukemia around French nuclear power plants – the Geocap study, 2002 – 2007,” International Journal of Cancer study by C. Sermage-Faure, D. Laurier, S. Goujon-Bellec, M. Chartier, A. Guyot-Goubin, J. Rudant, D. Hemon and J. Clavelthe document is online in English at:

And then we have Fukushima SPEWING radiation nearly continuously for 14 plus months

Here are some accessible discussions:

Goddard’s Journal on Radiation Safety in Japan 


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