UNRESTRICTED | ILLIMITÉ
Thanks Jerry. Certainly an astonishing article from Solomon.
Interesting to read some of the on-line replies (one person wrote "it does serve your [Solomon's] environmental/political ends. You will stop at nothing, will stoop to anything, to promote oil consumption. You have clearly debased yourself.") Evidently Solomon touched a nerve.
At the same time, Solomon is a particularly slippery fish, along with Energy Probe in general. Driven by small "c" conservatism and market-forces-can-solve-anything-and-are-self-regulating, I am wary of EP (though I sometimes agree with them on certain issues). Tom Adams (formerly with EP, now a private energy consultant) used to deride coal (along with nuclear) in favour of nat gas, and then switched to being in favour of coal (but is still anti-nuclear) because of economics. Economics drives EP far more than environmental concerns.
Still, it is very interesting that such a hard-line anti-nuclear person as Solomon could even mention that low doses of radiation may have a positive hormetic effect.
Views expressed are those of the author alone.
] On Behalf Of Jerry Cuttler
Sent: June 5, 2010 9:42 PM
To: Canadian Nuclear Discussion List
Subject: [cdn-nucl-l] National Post: Energy Probe: Lauding low doses
Can you imagine? Energy Probe is saying: "Take radiation, a known killer at
very high doses. The more you reduce the dose of radiation to which people
are exposed, the fewer the number of deaths that will result. But at a
certain point of exposure, the relationship changes, hormesis proponents
state. At low doses - what you might get at your dentist's office, for
example - radiation becomes therapeutic, promoting health rather than
I just ordered this new book: "Hormesis: A Revolution in Biology, Toxicology
The next issue of the Dose-Response Journal (coming in mid-June) will have
approximately 20 excellent articles on radiation hormesis.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Edward Calabrese" <firstname.lastname@example.org
To: "Jerry Cuttler" <email@example.com
Sent: Saturday, June 05, 2010 3:51 PM
Subject: Re: National Post: Lauding low doses
> This is an amazing article.....thanks for sending it.
> Quoting Jerry Cuttler <firstname.lastname@example.org
>> Interesting article from executive director of Energy Probe (a Canadian
>> anti-nuclear organization)
>> Lauding low doses
>> A revolutionary field called hormesis shows that dangerous substances
>> can be beneficial at low levels
>> To the greatest extent possible, remove all carcinogens from our air,
>> food, and drinking water. Because there is no safe dose of radiation,
>> avoid medical X-rays and CT scans whenever you have a practical
>> alternative. Cut back on energy consumption where practical to reduce
>> harmful emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes.
>> These simple strictures for leading a good and responsible life in a
>> good and responsible society are too obvious to mention. Except that
>> they are wrong - even dangerously so - according to a fast-growing
>> branch of science called hormesis. The conventional wisdom on health and
>> the environment is not only ruinously expensive, hormesis exponents say,
>> it is also killing us.
>> Hormesis, a term coined only 70 years ago, refers to the different
>> properties that chemicals and other substances have at high and low
>> doses. Take radiation, a known killer at very high doses. The more you
>> reduce the dose of radiation to which people are exposed, the fewer the
>> number of deaths that will result. But at a certain point of exposure,
>> the relationship changes, hormesis proponents state. At low doses - what
>> you might get at your dentist's office, for example - radiation becomes
>> therapeutic, promoting health rather than risking it.
>> Likewise with DDT, a pesticide that research shows to be a known
>> carcinogen in rodents. The higher the dose, the more liver cancers that
>> DDT inflicts on rats, leading authorities such as the Environmental
>> Protection Agency to ban its use. But at low doses, the same research
>> shows that DDT protects rats from liver cancer.
>> Hormesis: A Revolution in Biology, Toxicology and Medicine, a new book
>> edited by two leading exponents of hormesis, turns conventional science
>> on its head with these and other examples that will doubtless rile the
>> environmental and medical establishments. But the editors, who also
>> authored several of the scholarly papers in this book, cannot be easily
>> Mark Mattson is chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National
>> Institute on Aging and a professor in the Department of Neuroscience at
>> Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. With 450-plus original
>> research articles, numerous review articles, and 10 books to his credit,
>> he is the most highly cited neuroscientist in the world. Co-editor
>> Edward Calabrese is a professor and program director of Environmental
>> Health Science at the University of Massachusetts, the author of
>> 300-plus papers and 24 books in the field of toxicology and
>> environmental pollution, and the winner of the prestigious Marie Curie
>> Prize. Other hormesis proponents have equally impressive credentials.
>> If you haven't heard of hormesis, you aren't alone. Hormesis, a subject
>> I've been tracking over the last year, is almost never mentioned in the
>> mainstream media. Nor are laymen alone in their ignorance of this field.
>> Many medical practitioners and environmental professionals, working in
>> their own professional silos, remain unaware of hormesis, despite an
>> exponential growth in the number of peer-reviewed papers that refer to
>> hormesis in recent years and despite the acceptability of books like
>> Hormesis to prestigious academic publishers. A search of Google Scholar
>> shows 4,000 references to hormesis in the last five years, twice as many
>> as in the previous five years, and four times as many as in the
>> five-year period before that.
>> In many ways, the principle of hormesis may seem much more radical today
>> than it would have in the past. "All things are poison and nothing is
>> without poison, only the dose permits something not to be poisonous,"
>> stated Paracelsus, the 16th-century Swiss physician and father of
>> pharmacology and toxicology. Paracelsus recognized that the dose
>> determined whether a chemical was therapeutic or toxic and for hundreds
>> of years his outlook held sway, and understandably so. Hormetic
>> relationships, in fact, have always been ubiquitous, even if they
>> weren't named as such. We have long known that iron is toxic at high
>> doses, but needed in low doses for the proper functioning of the body.
>> Likewise many other minerals and vitamins, and radiation as well, were
>> seen as desirable at the right doses.
>> Then about 100 years ago, the notion that what harms us in large doses
>> could help us in small doses got sidetracked, largely because the
>> science in the area became politicized in a war between competing
>> medical camps. The hormesis relationship effectively became outlawed
>> from the scientific literature, to be replaced by a simple linear model
>> that shows a substance that is toxic at a high dose remains toxic, only
>> less so, at low doses. Over the years, as technology has gotten better
>> and better at removing substances from the environment, regulation has
>> followed. In some cases, the permitted emissions are measured in parts
>> per billion, at great financial cost to society and, says the hormesis
>> school, often at great cost to public health.
>> Ironically, the technological improvements that allow us to remove trace
>> minerals from the environment haven't been matched by advances in
>> science that can demonstrate any benefit from doing so. As the hormesis
>> authors explain, much of the establishment's toxicity science is based
>> on faith and necessarily so, because there is often no statistically
>> valid way to determine harm from low doses of substances that are
>> harmful at high levels.
>> What exactly is at stake in the science over hormesis, aside from the
>> financial costs of needless regulation? Hormesis is not some side issue
>> but a fundamental biological process, a consequence of evolution that
>> applies to all organisms on Earth. Without understanding this basic
>> science, we are barking up the wrong tree in attempts to cure or treat
>> cancers, Alzheimer's and other age-related ailments, and diseases of all
>> manner. At the same time, we are mis-prescribing drugs of all kinds, not
>> realizing that at low doses drugs can act in the opposite way intended.
>> Lastly, because environmental agencies demand that the environment be
>> cleansed of certain substances without understanding the broad harm of
>> their policies to the general public health, people are needlessly being
>> sickened and killed.
>> Financial Post
>> Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and its hormesis
>> library, and the author of The Deniers. This is the first in a series.
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