Comments: Science to the Rescue

In a previous post, you mentioned that low doses of radioactivity may actually be better than higher doses to a certain point because the cells are more likely to be wounded just enough not to die and to mutate into cancer.

I have a potentially really dumb question, with exposures to small doses of radiation, do you think it is possible that getting radiated with a chemotherapy type of blast could decrease your chances of developing cancer? Obviously, that would be awful to go through, but I wonder if these are the kinds of questions that follow from what you are saying.

Posted by Justin at April 5, 2011 09:33 PM

Bechtel Leakers=peroidic releases=burping the kettel.

Posted by Mike Meyer at April 5, 2011 10:14 PM


Very interesting, and I continue to be impressed by how much I don't understand while still being able to more or less follow along (which shows good writing), but I hope you haven't forgotten about the ozone.

Posted by N E at April 6, 2011 09:39 AM

Justin - the point I made in the earlier post (which got sufficient attention that I think the whole point of what I wrote was obscured) relates to biological action at the level of a single cell. The human organism is TREMENDOUSLY complicated. Not only don't I know the answer to your question, I don't think the answer can be known.

This was settled out in the comments in the last post but, to be clear, the point I was making is that the underlined sentence in the BEIR report is wrong. There IS reason to suspect that the biological outcomes for individual cells are not linear in the manner described. Chapter II of the BEIR report actually mentions a few of them in passing, in addition to the thought about triggers for apoptosis which I described.

Therefore I believe that we should really examine the effects that low, sustained doses have at the level of entire organisms. The confident pronouncements we hear make it seem as though this science has been done and is a settled matter. It has never been conducted and is not.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at April 6, 2011 11:16 AM

This blog has become unreadable in the last few months. I'm done.

Posted by DS at April 6, 2011 01:24 PM

So there, I guess.

Posted by N E at April 6, 2011 01:47 PM


Posted by cruel world at April 6, 2011 01:51 PM

Actually, I spent five hours Monday night reading charts of mortality statistics from the National Vital Statistics Survey. Lately, that's the sort of thing I do for FUN! I think I'm with DS on this one.....

Posted by Aaron Datesman at April 6, 2011 02:26 PM


It gets worse.

Posted by N E at April 6, 2011 02:53 PM


They're measuring levels, but are they actually saying that the "routine releases" are responsible for certain measured changes?

Posted by Earwig at April 6, 2011 03:58 PM

About two seconds after I posted the comment, it occurred to me I should have read the other comment thread first. Thanks for answering.

I have to STRONGLY disagree with DS. JS's sense of humor is invaluable, but the discussion you are leading here about the dangerous quantity that is nuclear power is very important. Look at your posts about 3 Mile Island, what you are pulling at is a benign cover that has hidden the dangers of nuclear power.

The explanations you are coming with are also pretty great information, such as the cold air hot air klines and how they occur.

Posted by Justin at April 6, 2011 04:44 PM

No, no! Please, more.

Posted by Amandasaurus at April 6, 2011 11:21 PM

I was wondering if you were planning on blogging about yellow rain during this Japan issue. I've seen some stuff about it from people, and these two articles:

Reading your post on blue light, I thought you might be able to explain this phenomenon.

Posted by Nathanael Bassett at April 7, 2011 09:50 AM

Earwig, if you mean the routine releases, all the EPA scientists (the authors of the Science paper were with EPA) said is that - if TMI did release radioactive I and Kr - it had to be below the background level in Albany. They made no statement relating to health effects, although there was a clear statement in the article that nuclear reactor emissions contributed to the measured levels.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at April 7, 2011 01:36 PM

Oh! Edit: the authors were with the NY State Dept. of Health. Oops.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at April 7, 2011 06:03 PM

Thanks for that clarification, Aaron.

Posted by Earwig at April 11, 2011 07:38 PM