Saturday, July 05, 2008

Radiation May Be Good For You? in their article Radiation For Health explains how this works:
"Evidence suggests that low dose exposure increases the number and activity of the immune system's white blood cells, boosts cytocrine and enzyme activity, and increases antibody production and so reduces the incidence of infection, assists in wound healing, and protects us from exposure to high doses of radiation."
This is going to take some convincing for me. I'd love to be convinced, though, especially since I live fairly close to a nuclear power plant. Nuclear power plants emit low-level radiation.

To the right is a snippet from a brochure that Exelon, the owner of that nuclear power plant, distributed this year. You'll have to click it to read it. Even then, that footnote sourcing their data is tiny. Isn't there any info more recent than 1987?

The amounts in Exelon's chart are given in millirems (mrem). For comparison:
  • 100 mrem = 1 mSv

  • CT scan head = 2 mSv 1
  • Barium enema = 7 mSv 1
  • CT scan abdomen = 10 mSv 1
  • EPA nuclear accident emergency action level = 10–50 mSv 2
Humans rely upon UV radiation from the sun to make vitamin D in skin cells. That mechanism is our primary source for that nutrient. I'm not sure but I think those UV wavelengths are non-ionizing. Nonetheless, it's evident we evolved in an environment that contains low levels of radiation and can capitalize on at least some of it. But is it possible that radiation deficiency states exist? At what level of exposure does radiation cease to support health?

The following articles appeared in their respective journals over the past few years:

Abundant Health From Radioactive Waste, International Journal of Low Radiation, 2008
"A radiation deficiency is seen in a variety of species, including rats and mice; the evidence for a radiation deficiency in humans is compelling."
Nuclear Law Stands On Thin Ice, International Journal of Nuclear Law, 2008
"Eight independent epidemiological studies, involving almost 12 million person-years, consistently showed that increased exposure to ionising radiation was associated with decreased cancer mortality rates."
Radiation Prevents Much Cancer, International Journal of Low Radiation, 2007
"Evidence reviewed here supports the concept that chronic exposure to ionising radiation can dramatically decrease cancer incidence and mortality. This evidence includes an inverse relationship between radiation levels and cancer induction and/or mortality in: over 200 million people in the USA; 200 million people in India; 10,000 residents of Taipei who live in cobalt-60 contaminated homes; high radiation areas of Ramsar, Iran; 12 million person-years of exposed and carefully selected control nuclear workers; almost 300,000 homes with radon in the USA; non-smokers in high radon areas of Saxony, Germany."
Documented Optimum And Threshold For Ionizing Radiation, International Journal of Nuclear Law, 2007
"Ambient levels of ionising radiation (about 2 mSv/y without medical and cosmic radiation) are adequate for life but insufficient for abundant health. We live with a partial deficiency of ionising radiation. Thousands of people have lived for generations with 2–20 times the ambient levels of radiation without showing ill health."
Improved Health From Chernobyl, International Journal of Low Radiation, 2006
"High and low dose irradiation elicit opposite results. Irrefutable evidence from three arenas provides ample evidence that low-dose irradiation improves health."

The above articles were authored by T. D. Luckey, PhD. Here's an excerpt from his bio:
"In 1968, I lectured to the sixth group of NASA astronauts on the subject of intestinal microecology. As a result, I became a nutrition consultant with NASA for Apollo 11 through 17 missions. For a brief time I consulted for the Boeing Co., St. Louis, MO, about the sterilization of the outer surface of Moon rockets following launch (since “we” were not to contaminate the moon, everything was to be sterile). During a sabbatical leave, 1968–69, I was visiting scientist at the GE Manned Space Center in Valley Forge, PA."
Before his work with NASA, Luckey was a professor at the University of Notre Dame (1946 - 1954), and professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry at the Medical School of the University of Missouri (1954 - 1968). He's authored two books on the topic of ionizing radiation and hormesis (stimulation by use of a low concentration of toxin).

An admirable background. It makes it difficult to tell if he's coming from left field.
1 FDA: Radiation Risks from CT
2 Wikipedia: Ionizing Radiation

No comments: