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EPA Says Higher Radiation Levels Pose 'No Harmful Health Effect' (bloomberg.com) 296

Readers share a report: In the event of a dirty bomb or a nuclear meltdown, emergency responders can safely tolerate radiation levels equivalent to thousands of chest X-rays, the Environmental Protection Agency said in new guidelines that ease off on established safety levels. The EPA's determination sets a level ten times the drinking water standard for radiation recommended under President Barack Obama. It could lead to the administration of President Donald Trump weakening radiation safety levels, watchdog groups critical of the move say. "It's really a huge amount of radiation they are saying is safe," said Daniel Hirsch, the retired director of the University of California, Santa Cruz's program on environmental and nuclear policy. "The position taken could readily unravel all radiation protection rules." The change was included as part of EPA "guidance" on messaging and communications in the event of a nuclear power plant meltdown or dirty bomb attack. The FAQ document, dated September 2017, is part of a broader planning document for nuclear emergencies, and does not carry the weight of federal standards or law.
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EPA Says Higher Radiation Levels Pose 'No Harmful Health Effect'

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  • by XXongo ( 3986865 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @02:43PM (#55378937) Homepage
    This has been debated for a long time. It's a question of whether the data from higher exposures can be correctly extrapolated to lower doses using the Linear No Threshold model.
    • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @02:50PM (#55379015) Homepage Journal

      Essentially, the debate is about keeping as broad a safety margin as possible.

      If it were trivially-cheap to analyze water for the presence of lead--let's say it cost 1 penny per hundred billion gallons of treated water to remove and verify lead content down to the 1/1,000,000 ppb level (that means any given lake-sized volume of treated water has a high likelihood of having zero lead atoms in it period)--we would mandate that. Why wouldn't you?

      What failures in measurement expose us to additional radiation? What procedures (e.g. radiology) do we go through that exposes us to additional radiation? For a population of hundreds of million, is this level of radiation prone to cause a hundred more incidences of cancer (trivial) on its own, before interacting with other factors?

      One person in America dying every year might be a triviality. If it costs millions of dollars to prevent that, well, let's not do it: you'll save more lives investing that in charity and anti-poverty measures. If it costs pennies per year, then yes let's do that.

      "Pennies" quickly becomes "dollars" and "millions of dollars" as you add zeroes onto the end of that one person. 1,000 persons per year? Maybe we want to invest several million dollars into this--especially since "dying" isn't binary when you get past bullets to the head. Even highway safety measures come down to death, dismemberment, or property damage.

      It's a matter of risk--a highly-technical concept nobody seems to know all that much about.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "It's a matter of risk--a highly-technical concept nobody seems to know all that much about."

        Epidemiologists would probably laugh at the absurdity of this claim.

        Radiation exposure is well understand and extrapolated, and has been for years. It's one of the reasons why many changes were made to the yearly chest x-ray to check for lung cancers and tb, limiting and lowering dental xrays, reducing exposure from CT scans, targeting treatments to limit exposure, and the like. They already had good studies and d

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Radiation exposure is well understand and extrapolated, and has been for years.

          Yes, it is. And we've known that our safety limits have been ultra conservative for quite some time. Its not been a big issue because it hasn't necessarily caused any problematic compliance costs. However, it has caused confusion among the public that would naturally but wrongly assume that 100 times the safety limit must be a high risk danger when in most cases it isn't

          The easy answer has always been to always do what you can to minimize exposure, so that's how we've characterized it, lower is better. B

          • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @01:35AM (#55381539) Journal

            Radiation exposure is well understand and extrapolated, and has been for years.

            The public risk perception of radiation is so far from reality, it could possibly make us do stupid things.

            Your perception of the risk from radiation is so far from reality, you've simplified the model to the point of being useless.

            That's been my experience of your posts, that all of the knowledge gathered since the 1950s just doesn't exist. You don't understand :

            • The difference between a radionuclide and the radiation it emits
            • The difference between internal and external radiation exposure
            • The difference between being exposed to radiation and having an emitter inside you exposing you 24x7
            • What bioaccumulation is
            • That detection in food and water is really hard
            • That you can eat a radionuclide
            • That you can drink a radionuclide
            • That you can breathe in a radionuclide
            • That some radionuclides appear like different types of micro-nutirents to a matabolism
            • That it deposits in different parts of the body
            • That it can be organically bound in the body and not excreted
            • That organically bound exposure increases absorption of radiation
            • That it can be chemically toxic
            • That children are more susceptible than adults
            • That an effect could be death
            • That an effect could be cancer
            • That an effect could be gene damage
            • That an effect could be failed birth
            • That an effect could be a birth defect
            • That an effect could be transgenic disease that effect the next generation
            • That an effect could be reduced brainweight of, and lower IQ in infants
            • That there is still stuff we don't know

            Then you:

            • Ignore facts even when they are cited from reputable sources
            • Don't seem to want to understand
            • Continue to shill as if you have an agenda
            • Claim everything is FUD
            • Minimize the apparent harm
            • Ignore data collected from unbiased sources
            • Refuse to accept that some data *is* biased Nuclear PR
            • Refuse to accept the impact of media blackout for Fukushima
            • Refuse to accept the work of Ukrainian scientists studying Chernobyl

            There is a reason the NRC uses ALARA [nrc.gov], figuring out this stuff is complicated and the easiest thing to do so your brain doesn't explode from thinking about it is to keep the potential risk of exposure ultra conservative.

          • by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @05:51AM (#55381927)

            No, this is nothing more than Pruitt continuing to use his newfound power at the EPA to cut costs for his corporate owners.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        There are many problems with trying to do this. As TFA demonstrates, most people don't understand the difference between radiation from x-rays and emitted by coal and nuclear plants, for example.

        Number of deaths are not the only factors either. Non-fatal healthcare costs, lost productivity... And the manner of death. It's different if it's one person who dies quickly and painlessly, or a long slow suffering over years. We had this debate with smog and drinking water.

        In any case, this is just an attempt to b

        • In any case, this is just an attempt to boost industries that pollute a lot in a variety of ways, by cutting their costs.

          This has nothing to do with the levels emitted by anything, it's a statement about the levels acceptable for FIRST RESPONDERS in EMERGENCY SITUATIONS.

          In other words, IF there is a leak or accident, which because it is a leak or accident is already outside the regulated levels or it wouldn't be an issue, THEN what levels will we allow first responders to work in while they are dealing with the emergency.

          Note that "cleanup" is not a first response. "Rescuing trapped people" is a first response. "Turning o

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        Of course where the cost-risk-benefit calculations gets really political is where the people bearing the costs and taking the risks are different.

        This makes an already difficult question incredibly difficult.

        Take water. Even in areas where people get their water from a public entity, not everyone will agree on how much to pay for a given level of safety. In fact differences can be traced to objective bases; someone who is 75 isn't going to be interested in cancers that will arise in 30 years, unless he has

    • Repo Man... (Score:4, Funny)

      by sillivalley ( 411349 ) <sillivalley @ c o m c a s t .net> on Monday October 16, 2017 @03:16PM (#55379187)
      This is like a scene out of Repo Man, J Frank Parnell:
      Ever been to Utah? Ra-di-a-tion. Yes, indeed. You hear the most outrageous lies about it. Half-baked goggle-box do-gooders telling everybody it's bad for you. Pernicious nonsense. Everybody could stand a hundred chest X-rays a year. They ought to have them, too. When they canceled the project it almost did me in. One day my mind was full to bursting. The next day - nothing. Swept away. But I'll show them. I had a lobotomy in the end.
  • by Anonymous Cashews ( 5122023 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @02:43PM (#55378941)
    When the neutered Secretary of State says diplomacy will continue with North Korea until the first bomb drops, and the EPA comes out with revised radiation levels that ups the ante from before, I start to worry.
    • Ha! +5 mod points to the OP.

  • by Ogive17 ( 691899 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @02:45PM (#55378967)
    The policy makers must be the 1st to respond to such a disaster.

    We'll find out very quickly if they believe they did the right thing.
    • by GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @02:48PM (#55378995)

      Why wait? Since it's safe, surely they'll have no problem submitting to thousands of chest x-rays right now.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Why wait? Since it's safe, surely they'll have no problem submitting to thousands of chest x-rays right now.

        Well, at least their health insurance will cover 1,000 chest x-rays.

      • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @03:07PM (#55379111) Homepage

        Putting this in some perspective, it's something less than 20 CT scans. While that seems high, it's well within the range of what some (sick) people get. Not a great idea, but a 'tolerable' level of radiation.

        Remember, these are for first responder guidelines. Not chronic exposures. First responders are at some risk of various and sundry hazards. And often first response safety considerations means balancing various issues. Sure, you can dress up in a Class A Hazmat suit but if you keel over because of heat prostration or trip over the bit of rebar you didn't see you may end up with a bunch of x-rays anyway. Being an adrenaline junkie has it's dangers.

        It would, however, be nice to see if there was some sort of substantive evidence for this.

        • by The Grim Reefer ( 1162755 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @03:59PM (#55379469)

          Putting this in some perspective, it's something less than 20 CT scans

          I really hate when CT scans are used as an example. The range of exposure is so wide and varies a lot depending on the type of scanner it is. A cardiac function CT scan on a 10 year old scanner could be 30 mSv or higher. Yet the same scan on a 2 year old scanner would be under 5 mSv. And with a newer sequence from the last 6 months could be as low as 1 mSv. An angiogram from a few years ago could be 16 mSv, but are well under 1 mSv on a modern scanner. There are many scans that are done these days that are at .2 mSv.

          It also depends on what body part is being scanned. The exposure in the extremities are different than the head or thorax. The age of a patient is also a big factor. hitting an 85 year old with 10 mSv is a hell of a lot different than a 6 month old.

        • by mrclevesque ( 1413593 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @04:02PM (#55379485)

          "Putting this in some perspective, it's something less than 20 CT scans. While that seems high, it's well within the range of what some (sick) people get. Not a great idea, but a 'tolerable' level of radiation."

          In other words, it's tolerable for a sick person who might die if they don't get the scans, but it's not ok or 'tolerable' for a healthy person.

          • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @08:00PM (#55380655)

            In other words, it's tolerable for a sick person who might die if they don't get the scans, but it's not ok or 'tolerable' for a healthy person.

            That's really the problem. We don't know if it's "tolerable" or not for a healthy person.

            The assumption so far has been to err on the side of caution and assume any elevated radiation exposure is harmful. Unfortunately that turns science upside down by setting an unfalsifiable hypothesis as the null hypothesis. You cannot prove that radiation exposure is safe. You can expose 1000 people to the equivalent of 20 CT scans, and if their long-term cancer rate is the same as unexposed people, the nay-sayers can always argue "no you're wrong, it was just luck that none of them got cancer" or "those people weren't a random sample" or a myriad of other possible explanations why your data is wrong.

            For science to work properly, the null hypothesis has to be falsifiable. The assumption has to be that increased radiation exposure is safe. And only when you find experimental evidence that a certain level of radiation exposure is dangerous, do you reject that hypothesis at that radiation level.

        • While that seems high, it's well within the range of what some (sick) people get. Not a great idea, but a 'tolerable' level of radiation.

          And if you compare it to radiation therapy, it's downright less!!

      • Why wait? Since it's safe, surely they'll have no problem submitting to thousands of chest x-rays right now.

        We don't need to do that, we have plenty of evidence already.

        But the public has much to learn. Take for example the Mexican Cobalt 60 theft, where the thieves got exposures much much greater than the limits we are talking about. You remember, there were tons of articles about how they were doomed. ("dead men", "doomed", "will soon die", etc) But if you listened to me at the time, I said that was a tremendous over-reaction. The thieves were caught and release with no charges because they were kids and had

    • The policy makers must be the 1st to respond to such a disaster.

      Nuclear meltdowns don't happen very often, so I think it's feasible to require the head of the EPA to accompany any first responders as they make their initial foray into the site.

      • Just put the appropriate amount of nuclear waste in their meeting room and tell them about it a month later. I highly doubt that their reactions would be that it's perfectly fine since it's within the range of the first responder limit and should pose no harmful health effect.

    • What if the policy makers are playing golf that day, and can't respond until the optics are better?

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @02:45PM (#55378975)
    If you voted for the party of less regulation. Yes, there's a lot of silly laws on the books, but the really silly ones are ignored by everyone. When it comes time to cut regulations these are the ones that get cut.
    • > Yes, there's a lot of silly laws on the books

      The real problem with "silly laws" is that, in the past at least, they weren't.

      For instance, I know there was a law in the Roman Empire that made it illegal to use someone else's plough. You had to have your own. That lasted into the middle ages in England.

      I have no idea why that law exists, but I suspect it's not just "someone wanted to pork". I don't know the reason, so it seems silly. Is it really? I doubt it.

      • For instance, I know there was a law in the Roman Empire that made it illegal to use someone else's plough

        But... then how did ploughshares work?

        You can take my neighbour's plough out of my cold dead hands!

    • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @03:16PM (#55379185) Homepage Journal

      If you voted for the party of less regulation. Yes, there's a lot of silly laws on the books, but the really silly ones are ignored by everyone. When it comes time to cut regulations these are the ones that get cut.

      This discussion came up about airport X-ray machines years ago, and sparked a debate about exposure safety.

      There appears to be a linear relation between amount of exposure and number of cancers(*), but only for rather excessive levels of radiation. The debate centers on whether there is a "cutoff", where any exposure less than some amount is negligible.

      It's hard to get quantitative information about this because the exposure levels are small, and the results won't be known for decades. IIRC, my calculations at the time indicated that 10 or 20 new cases of cancer *might* be caused by 9 billion airline flights. (Those 10-20 new cancers is not nothing, I'm just pointing out that finding the correlation in all that noise is all but impossible. Attention paid to more likely health threats would be a better way to spend effort and resources**.)

      The prevailing opinion is that the body deals with and repairs all sorts of damage in it's day-to-day operation, so that damage smaller than a set level will get swept up along with all the other repairs.

      Strangely, there is actually no menace in this recent decision, and the "party of less regulation" is doing what appears to be the right thing.

      (*) I once wrote an article about airport X-ray systems, which required a bunch of research.

      (**) Interestingly, that was then and this is now. Since everyone has to register to take a plane flight, we now have about 15 years of data that could be mined here. Take a cohort of plane travellers and divide them into 2 groups: people who take many flights per year, versus people who take few flights per year, and compare their rates of cancer later in life, against a similar cohort taken from the general population.

    • That's what TFS implies too: "...recommended under President Barack Obama. It could lead to the administration of President Donald Trump...". But how much of all of this is really the result of Trump's administration? I'm not saying it isn't, but there have been a few other cases in the past, where the press has blamed the Trump administration for seemingly poor decisions, which turned out to be simply stuff already in the pipeline since Obama.
  • by cunina ( 986893 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @02:49PM (#55379009)
    There is no more EPA. It's gone. This article has no meaning and should be filtered out as noise.
    • You speak the truth. unfortunately...

    • You're still paying for the EPA, and they are still spending money on important things [washingtonpost.com] which I'm sure must be in the interests of the country. We know those things are important, because they're so sensitive.
      • You're still paying for the EPA, and they are still spending money on important things [washingtonpost.com] which I'm sure must be in the interests of the country. We know those things are important, because they're so sensitive.

        The morons look like they are trying to recreate a mem from episodes of Get Smart [wouldyoubelieve.com]. When you are professional shill like Pruitt and you are appointed as a hatchet man you better not let your conversations be made public or the shit will hit the fan real quick. The actions and dealings of public servants in institutions like the EPA, the TSA, NASA, the CDC and the like should not be secrets they should be public record by law! We are moving towards a dictatorship and this is one of the first major steps in th

  • by Taskmage ( 191493 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @02:56PM (#55379057)

    Maybe i'm just paranoid (most likely) but...does this look like preparing the public for a planned nuclear war?

    • Nah, just the South Koreans. Not to worry.

    • Maybe i'm just paranoid (most likely) but...does this look like preparing the public for a planned nuclear war?

      More likely Sec Energy Perry's attempt to get subsidies for nuke and coal plants. But I also wonder about the WIPP [latimes.com] The WIPP is a DOE project. Maybe Perry wants to change the standards to make underground storage less dangerous. [csmonitor.com]

    • Just eat lots of bananas to up your resistance.
  • Hmmm. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Colin Castro ( 2881349 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @03:00PM (#55379069)
    This is the kind of thing you put out so people aren't afraid to enter dangerous areas when they will die and have shorter life spans later.
    • Re:Hmmm. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @05:18PM (#55379937)

      It may also be the sort of thing you put out to keep people from being unreasonably afraid.

      I work at an accelerator lab where we have dangerous radiation levels when the accelerator is on, but quite low levels when it is off. I was talking with some emergency response guys and they said "I'm not walking past all those radiation signs". These are the same guys who will walk into burning refineries to save people. The problem is that they had not been given accurate information on the relative risks of radiation and other risks.

      10rem is not "safe" in that the general public should not be exposed to that level of radiation. It is also not so dangerous that people should take higher risks to avoid being exposed to that level of radiation.

      The issue is giving people accurate information so that they can balance risks.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @03:01PM (#55379075) Journal

    n the event of a dirty bomb or a nuclear meltdown, emergency responders can safely tolerate radiation levels equivalent to thousands of chest X-rays, the Environmental Protection Agency said in new guidelines that ease off on established safety levels. The EPA's determination sets a level ten times the drinking water standard for radiation recommended under President Barack Obama.

    Let's not bullshit here. This is about Trump's effort to get rid of every single thing Obama ever did.

    Trump is your racist, senile uncle. With nuclear codes.

    • by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @03:33PM (#55379297) Journal

      Let's not bullshit here. This is about Trump's effort to get rid of every single thing Obama ever did.

      This.

      Trump is irked by anything that has Obama's name on it. It's like he gets up every morning and has to walk past a golden multi-storey edifice named "Obama Tower." His insecurity really does run that deep.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      How does it feel to be wrong so much? [whitehouse.gov]

      If Obama didn't want "his legacy" undone he should have worked with congress instead of acting like a king with a pen and phone.

      • You have it backwards. Obama did try to work with Congress. It was Republican-controlled Congress who wouldn't work with him. They vowed to make him a one-term President, no matter what it took. They burned up countless days on the legislative calendar, trying dozens and dozens of times to repeal Obamacare. They shut the government down over a pointless spending-limit dispute that cost the country billions of dollars.

        As for Obama being a "king with a pen" --- try again. The number of executive orders he sig

        • Obama did try to work with Congress. It was Republican-controlled Congress who wouldn't work with him.

          It doesn't matter. The president does not write laws and if congress wants a quacking president then they do not have to work with him. That is the point of separate bodies of government. Clinton in the 90's was able to compromise with a GOP congress, why coudln't Obama? Stop making excuses because congress is independent.

          he number of executive orders he signed

          The number doesn't matter. It's what they did that matters.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

            Clinton in the 90's was able to compromise with a GOP congress, why coudln't Obama?

            Here is a picture of President Clinton:

            https://upload.wikimedia.org/w... [wikimedia.org]

            And here is a picture of President Obama:

            https://upload.wikimedia.org/w... [wikimedia.org]

            If you look very closely, you will see the reason why the GOP congress would work with President Clinton but not President Obama. Take your time. It'll jump out at you.

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      You mean a 15 year old, racist, senile uncle...accuracy matters.

  • Hyperbole (Score:5, Informative)

    by XXongo ( 3986865 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @03:03PM (#55379087) Homepage
    The headline is rather stretching. They are not "establishing new guidelines".

    The discussion is about a few statements buried deep inside the pamphlet, "Protective Action Questions & Answers for Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies", which is not a "guideline" or any kind of regulation setting radiation standards: https://www.epa.gov/sites/prod... [epa.gov]

    The statement is on page 18, in the section "55. What are millirem (mrem) and millisieverts (mSv)?"
    "According to radiation safety experts, radiation exposures of 5–10 rem (5,000–10,000 mrem or 50–100 mSv) usually result in no harmful health effects, because radiation below these levels is a minor contributor to our overall cancer risk."

    .. followed by repeating the same statement in the same words on the next page, in section 57. Will people who have been exposed to the radiation get cancer?
    "There is clear evidence that high doses of radiation can raise your risk of cancer. Although cancer has been associated with high doses of radiation received over short periods of time, the cancers usually do not appear for many years, even decades.
    According to radiation safety experts, radiation exposures of 5–10 rem (5,000–10,000 mrem or 50–100 mSv) usually result in no harmful health effects, because radiation below these levels is a minor contributor to our overall cancer risk.

    And then repeating it in exactly the same words in the next page over again: 60. Are people at risk for radiation poisoning or sickness?
    Radiation sickness is an illness from short-term exposure to a large amount of radiation. In the United States, dose is measured in units called millirem (mrem). The international unit is the millisievert (mSv). According to radiation safety experts, radiation exposures of 5–10 rem (5,000–10,000 mrem or 50–100 mSv) usually result in no harmful health effects, because radiation below these levels is a minor contributor to our overall cancer risk.
    Safety recommendations are designed to keep your dose as low as possible.
    It takes a large dose of radiation—more than 75 rem (75,000 mrem or 750 mSv)—in a short amount of time (usually minutes to hours) to cause immediate health effects, such as acute radiation sickness.

    But these are not guidelines, and not even proposed guidelines. The numbers seem to be consistent with health effects stated in other sources, e.g., http://www.radiationanswers.or... [radiationanswers.org] or http://www.radiationanswers.or... [radiationanswers.org] :
    * 10 rem received in a short period or over a long period is safe—we don’t expect immediate observable health effects, although your chances of getting cancer might be very slightly increased.
    * 100 rem received in a short time can cause observable health effects from which your body will likely recover, and 100 rem received in a short time or over many years will increase your chances of getting cancer.

    • by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @03:13PM (#55379177)

      But these are not guidelines, and not even proposed guidelines. The numbers seem to be consistent with health effects stated in other sources, e.g., http://www.radiationanswers.or... [radiationanswers.org] or http://www.radiationanswers.or... [radiationanswers.org] :

      Dang it, there you go being all rational and stuff. We're trying to be outraged here!

  • The existing limits are pretty low in a lot of ways, because they're calibrated for maximum safety. There's also thresholds that seem to move from 'Long term small risk, body seems to handle pretty well' to 'short term damage, long term massive risk' to 'short term massive damage' pretty sharply - you can be pretty normal for a while, then have a large shift in risk.
    As such, I'm not sure this itself is a bad thing - emergency responders almost certainly can handle elevated levels over normal with minimal
  • by Lucas123 ( 935744 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @03:23PM (#55379241) Homepage

    Isn't that the same organization that in 2005 was found to have suppressed a study it commissioned by Harvard University which contradicted its position on mercury controls, which were later exposed as not following the Clean Air Act?

    And, in 2007, California sued for its refusal to allow it and 16 other states to raise fuel economy standards for new cars.

    And, in 2008, the Union of Concerned Scientists said that more than half of the nearly 1,600 EPA staff scientists who responded online to a detailed questionnaire reported they had experienced incidents of political interference in their work.

    Not saying the EPA is corrupt, but their word isn't gospel either.

  • by Orgasmatron ( 8103 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @03:36PM (#55379329)

    You lefties are pro science, right? [wikipedia.org]

    From the PDF:

    According to radiation safety experts, radiation exposures of 5 - 10 rem (5,000 - 10,000 mrem or 50 - 100 mSv) usually result in no harmful health effects, because radiation below these levels is a minor contributor to our overall cancer risk.

    Safety recommendations are designed to keep your dose as low as possible.

    It takes a large dose of radiation - more than 75 rem (75,000 mrem or 750 mSv) - in a short amount of time (usually minutes to hours) to cause immediate health effects, such as acute radiation sickness.

    What does a physics lab have to say on the topic?

    http://sbhepnt.physics.sunysb.edu/~rijssenbeek/RadiationSafety.html [sunysb.edu]

    The first detectable effect is a minor change in the blood count. As the cumulative dose increases in magnitude, the effects become more observable. Examples of expected effects versus radiation dose include:

    25 Rad: Onset of minor observable blood changes

    100 Rad: May observe radiation sickness symptoms (nausea, diarrhea)

    250 Rad: Possible hair loss

    450 Rad: Established lethal dose LD50/30 - (Without medical aid: 50% mortality within 30 days)

    tl; dr version:

    ZOMG! The EPA is saying there is no reason to panic over radiation doses less than half the dose that causes effects in your body that medical science is able to detect!

    • by nasch ( 598556 )

      You're talking about short term radiation poisoning right? What about long term effects?

      • Not measureable. There are lots of places that, due to their geology, have higher than average background radiation levels. They don't have higher cancer rates.

    • From the article you linked: "Reports by the United States National Research Council and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) argue[15] that there is no evidence for hormesis in humans and in the case of the National Research Council hormesis is outright rejected as a possibility.[16]"

  • I would think that there would be a treasure trove of actual data related to those 2 events.
    • IIRC, here in Finland there are highly populated areas where the natural background radiation is higher than some of the Fukushima evacuation zones. I don't have any sources at hand, though. I have a background (pun intended) in physics and I used to wear a film badge at one job for a few months, so I generally take any radiation hysteria with a healthy dose of uranium salts.
  • I don't believe half of what my government tells me.
  • Trump will start the nukes!

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
    No harmful health effects at all. None. I mean, you will eventually get cancer but LOOK AT THE FUNNY MONKEY!
  • Think about it. It is inevitable that some city gets a dirty bomb event. The financial consequences could destroy the national economy. From the federal government's point of view importance attaches to keeping the city, the insurance companies and the banks solvent. It matters little that the people die off early from all kinds of wretched diseases so they simply lie to keep the people functioning as they were before the event knowing that the deaths and losses will occur over decades and be less of a

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