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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Should We Be Concerned About Low Levels Of Radiation?"

This talk by Ian Fairlee appears to have been given last year in the U.K. in front of an environmental group.

Fairlee tends to engage in very nuanced fear mongering, though he is technically correct on many issues.

For example, he mentions the non-targeted radiation effects and wonders whether our risk estimates may be too high.  But he doesn't mention that we see those effects throughout all the dose ranges, so they don't pose a differential risk effect.  In other words, the risks we estimate from epidemiology have those effects incorporated throughout the all the dose ranges.

He then cherry picks some recent studies, which everyone does who wants to make their own political point instead of discussing the latest meta-analyses.  For example, he mentions the Wakeford study, but doesn't mention that they state "although the uncertainties in this value are considerable".

He mentions the childhood leukemia studies around nuclear power plants in several countries.  But he fails to mention, for example in the German Kikk study, that "Based on the available information about radiation emissions from German nuclear power plants, a direct relation to radiation seems implausible".  In other words, the doses are so low, that if the cause was nuclear power plant emissions, we would expect to find leukemia in pediatric dental patients.  Like every kid!

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