Trump’s EPA moving to loosen radiation limits

At last Greenie knee-jerk reactions will be replaced by real science.  There is plenty of evidence of radiation hormesis -- the fact that low levels of ionizing radiation are not bad for you and can be good for you.  The claim that ALL radiation is bad is just the simplistic thinking you expect from the Greens

Official bodies have resisted acknowledging hormesis but there are some striking incidents of  it.  Even the Wikipedia article on it treats the topic with respect.  It is far from a "way out" idea.

Everything is disastrous to Greenies and under their influence the reality of hormesis has been resisted.  If ANY radiation is bad, whole heaps of things become bad for us and that suits the scare-mongering proclivities of the Greens.

In fact, quite high doses of radiation can be harmless.  I like this report (via Wikipedia) on the very high natural background gamma radiation cancer rates in Kerala, Southern India:

"Kerala's monazite sand (containing a third of the world's economically recoverable reserves of radioactive thorium) emits about 8 micro Sieverts per hour of gamma radiation, 80 times the dose rate equivalent in London, but a decade long study of 69,985 residents published in Health Physics in 2009: "showed no excess cancer risk from exposure to terrestrial gamma radiation. The excess relative risk of cancer excluding leukemia was estimated to be -0.13 Gy_1 (95% CI: -0.58, 0.46)", indicating no statistically significant positive or negative relationship between background radiation levels and cancer risk in this sample."

Let the panic-mongers put that in their pipes and smoke it!

And Southern Indians are an unusually smart population, particularly in mathematics.  Does radiation improve your mathematical ability?  From what we know of the broadly beneficial effects of low to moderate radiation, it's not impossible!

And I must mention the striking case of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, a Japanese salesman who had the epic misfortune to be exposed to both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic blasts.  So was he fried to a crisp or at least died shortly thereafter?  No.  He was badly burned but recovered well and lived to 93!  Hormesis explains that but nothing else does


There is a review article here in an academic journal which finds that hormesis fits the facts much better than the conventional theory

The EPA is pursuing rule changes that specialists say would weaken the way radiation exposure is regulated, turning to scientific outliers who argue that a bit of radiation damage is actually good for you — like a little bit of sunlight.

The government’s current, decades-old guidance says that any exposure to harmful radiation is a cancer risk.

The Trump administration already has targeted a range of other rules on toxins and pollutants, including coal power plant emissions and car exhaust, that it sees as costly for businesses. Supporters of the EPA’s proposal argue the government’s current model that there is no safe level of radiation — the so-called linear no-threshold model — forces unnecessary spending for handling exposure in accidents, at nuclear plants, in medical centers, and at other sites.

At issue is the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule on transparency in science. EPA spokesman John Konkus said Tuesday, "The proposed regulation doesn’t talk about radiation or any particular chemicals. And as we indicated in our response, EPA’s policy is to continue to use the linear-no-threshold model for population-level radiation protection purposes which would not, under the proposed regulation that has not been finalized, trigger any change in that policy."

But in an April news release announcing the proposed rule the agency quoted Edward Calabrese, a toxicologist at the University of Massachusetts who has said weakening limits on radiation exposure would save billions of dollars and have a positive impact on human health.

The proposed rule would require regulators to consider "various threshold models across the exposure range" when it comes to dangerous substances. While it doesn’t specify radiation, the release quotes Calabrese calling the proposal "a major scientific step forward" in assessing the risk of "chemicals and radiation." Konkus said the release was written during the tenure of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. He could not explain why Calabrese was quoted citing the impact on radiation levels if the agency does not believe there would be any.

Calabrese was to be the lead witness at a congressional hearing Wednesday on the EPA proposal.

Radiation is everywhere, from potassium in bananas to the microwaves popping popcorn. Most of it is benign. But what’s of concern is the higher-energy, shorter-wave radiation, like X-rays, that can penetrate and disrupt living cells, sometimes causing cancer.

As recently as this March, the EPA’s online guidelines for radiation effects advised: "Current science suggests there is some cancer risk from any exposure to radiation."

But that online guidance — separate from the rule-change proposal — was edited in July to add a section emphasizing the low individual odds of cancer: "According to radiation safety experts, radiation exposures of . . . 100 millisieverts usually result in no harmful health effects, because radiation below these levels is a minor contributor to our overall cancer risk," the revised policy says.

Calabrese and his supporters argue that smaller exposures of cell-damaging radiation and other carcinogens can serve as stressors that activate the body’s repair mechanisms and can make people healthier. They compare it to physical exercise or sunlight.

Mainstream scientific consensus on radiation is based on deceptive science, says Calabrese, who argued in a 2014 essay for "righting the past deceptions and correcting the ongoing errors in environmental regulation."

EPA spokesman Konkus said in an e-mail that the proposed rule change is about "increasing transparency on assumptions" about how the body responds to different doses of dangerous substances and that the agency "acknowledges uncertainty regarding health effects at low doses" and supports more research on that.

The radiation regulation is supported by Steven Milloy, a Trump transition team member for the EPA who is known for challenging widely accepted ideas about manmade climate change and the health risks of tobacco. He has been promoting Calabrese’s theory of healthy radiation on his blog.

Jan Beyea, a physicist whose work includes research with the National Academies of Science on the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, said the EPA science proposal represents voices "generally dismissed by the great bulk of scientists."

The EPA proposal would lead to "increases in chemical and radiation exposures in the workplace, home, and outdoor environment, including the vicinity of Superfund sites," Beyea wrote. "The individual risk will likely be low, but not the cumulative social risk," Beyea said.

At the level the EPA website talks about, any one person’s risk of cancer from radiation exposure is perhaps 1 percent, Beyea said.

"If they even look at that — no, no, no," said Terrie Barrie, a resident of Craig, Colo., and an advocate for her husband and other workers at the now-closed Rocky Flats nuclear-weapons plant, where the US government is compensating certain cancer victims regardless of their history of exposure. "There’s no reason not to protect people as much as possible," said Barrie.

Federal agencies for decades have followed a policy that there is no threshold of radiation exposure that is risk-free.


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