FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Radiation and Everyday Life

Recently, a senior scientist with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made this comment to the news media about radioactive fallout being detected in milk in the United States from the nuclear catastrophe in Japan:

“Radiation is all around us in our daily lives, and these findings are a miniscule amount compared Fukushima-Daiichi to what people experience every day. For example, a person would be exposed to low levels of radiation on a round trip cross country flight, watching television, and even from construction materials.”

No matter how small the dose might be, it is disingenuous to compare an exposure to a specific radioisotope that is released by a major nuclear accident, with radiation exposures in every-day life. The FDA spokesperson should have informed the public that radioactive iodine provides a unique form of exposure in that it concentrates rapidly in dairy products and in the human thyroid. The dose received, based on official measurements, may be quite small, and pose an equally small risk. However, making a conclusion on the basis of one measurement is fragmentary at best and unscientific at worst. As the accident in Fukushima continues to unfold, the public should be provided with all measurements made of radioactive fallout from the Fukushima reactors to allow for independent analyses.

Moreover, the FDA has been asleep at the switch when it comes to protecting public health from medical radiation exposures. According to the National Council on Radiation Protection, radiation exposures to the American public from medical devices, which the FDA regulates, have soared by nearly 600 percent since 1982. In 2002, the NCRP estimated that the public received an extra 53 millirem (0.53 mSv) per person per year from medical radiation sources. In 2006, the NCRP estimates that this dose has jumped to 300 millirem (3mSv)–nearly three times the annual dose allowed by the U.S. EPA from nuclear facilities.

The single largest contributor responsible for half of this dose to the American public is from Computed Tomography or CT Scans, whose use has skyrocketed over the past several years. According to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, as many as 29,000 future cancers could be related to CT scans performed in 2007 alone.

According to several articles in the New York Times, an alarming number of people have been severely overexposed to CT scans. FDA has yet to comment on how this may be affecting the health of the Americans in every-day life.

ROBERT ALVAREZ, an Institute for Policy Studies senior scholar, served as senior policy adviser to the Energy Department’s secretary from 1993 to 1999. www.ips-dc.org

 

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
We Are Winning
Graham Peebles
Climate Change, Extreme Weather, Destructive Lifestyles
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Mel Gurtov
Saving Democracy
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Negin Owliaei
Toys R Us May be Gone, But Its Workers’ Struggle Continues
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail