Blog Archive

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Children are uniquely vulnerable to even small amounts of ionising radiation

Protect children from radiation exposure! TELL NRC: A little radiation is BAD for you. It can give you cancer and other diseases. Children are uniquely vulnerable.

Studies show that even natural background doses of radiation—doses we are normally, and inescapably, exposed to– can give children cancer. Now people who deny the danger of radiation are wanting NRC to allow the public to be exposed to 50 to 100 times this amount in the form of artificial radioactivity, as from nuclear power industry releases. They want to allow this exposure even for “pregnant women, embryos and fetuses, and children under 18 years of age.”
Women are more vulnerable to radiation than men. Childhood and in utero life stages are the most vulnerable.
The NRC already allows nuclear power facilities to release enough radiation to double this dose each year, risking our and our children’s health. NRC should NOT adopt a “little radiation is good for you” model. Instead, they should fully protect the most vulnerable which they are failing to do now.

Spycher et al (2015). Background ionizing radiation and the risk of childhood cancer: a census-based nationwide cohort study, Environ Health Perspect, DOI:10.1289/ehp.1408548.
Supplemental material

Kendall et al (2013). A record-based case-control study of natural background radiation and the incidence of childhood leukaemia and other cancers in Great Britain during 1980–2006. Leukemia. 27(1): 3–9. And as a 130-page report, free online:

Two slide presentations by a co-author of Kendall (2013) that give a good sense of the context of research in which Kendall (2013) occurs and its unique features: (1) (2)

@ 6:24 Table E11 in Kendall (2013):

@ 6:28 Table S3 in Spycher (2015):

@ 7:29 Chernobyl exclusion zones, dose-rate criteria for:

@ 7:29 The dose range in Spycher et al is given on page 11: as 55-383 nSv/h, converting nano- to micro-sieverts is 0.055 - 0.383 µSv/h (as @ ), and rounding is 0.06 - 0.4 µSv/h as @ 7:29.

Previously I critiqued two examples of advocacy against exclusion-zone policy, first by the nuclear-energy advocate Jim Al Khalili : And also by a team of professors from MIT who designed a lab experiment that, based on what prior research had shown, guaranteed the results they wanted, which they then used to try to persuade the public that evacuation zones are unnecessary : Be sure to also the see the video description for links. It's a not-uncommon sentiment that the Fukushima evacuations have caused more suffering than they will prevent, hence evacuations ought not take place. This is noted since some unfamiliar with post-Fukushima nuclear advocacy are astonished as they should be to hear anyone suggesting people should just be left to live in the next nuclear-disaster zone.

Review of previous background-radiation research: And in greater depth from page 88:


No comments: