The Journal of History     Winter 2008    TABLE OF CONTENTS


Coop Radio: Is nuclear energy dead?
"Panel Affirms Radiation Link to Cancer

When: Monday July 4, 2005 at Noon - 1 PM Pacific Time

Where: Coop Radio: CFRO 102.7 FM Vancouver, B.C.


Host: Alfred Lambremont Webre, JD, MEd

GUESTS: Leuren Moret, Expert Witness at the International Criminal Tribunal For Afghanistan

Dr. Ernest J. Sternglass, Physicist

ARTICLE: Panel Affirms Radiation Link to Cancer

By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press WriterWed Jun 29, 7:57 PM ET

Even very low doses of radiation pose a risk of cancer over a person's lifetime, a National Academy of Sciences panel concluded Wednesday. It rejected some scientists' arguments that tiny doses are harmless or may in fact be beneficial.

The findings could influence the maximum radiation levels that are allowed at abandoned reactors and other nuclear sites. The conclusions also raise warnings about excessive exposure to radiation for medical purposes such as repeated whole-body CT scans.

"It is unlikely that there is a threshold (of radiation exposure) below which cancers are not induced," scientists said in the report.

While at low doses "the number of radiation-induced cancers will be small ... as the overall lifetime exposure increases, so does the risk," the experts said.

Scientists for years have debated how extremely low doses of radiation affect human health.

Pro-nuclear advocates, as well as some independent scientists, have maintained that the current risk models for low-level radiation has produced more stringent requirements than is necessary to protect public health.

It is an issue in determining decontamination requirements at abandoned reactors and at federal weapons sites.

The academy's panel stood by the "linear, no threshold" model that generally is the acceptable approach to radiation risk assessment. This approach assumes that the health risks from radiation exposure decline as the dose levels drop, but that each unit of radiation -- no matter how small -- is assumed to cause cancer.

"The scientific research base shows that there is no threshold of exposure below which low levels of ionized radiation can be demonstrated to be harmless or beneficial," said Richard R. Monson, the panel's chairman. He is a professor of epidemiology at Harvard's School of Public Health.

The panel said new and more extensive data developed over the past 15 years only strengthen the conclusions of the panel's last report, in 1990, on low-level radiation risks.

The scientists estimated that one out of 100 people exposed to 100 millisievert of radiation over a lifetime probably would develop solid cancer or leukemia, and that half of those cases would be fatal.

It also said that 42 additional cancers can be expected in the same group from other than low-level radiation sources.

A millisievert is a measurement of radiation energy deposited in a living tissue. People absorb about 3 millisievent of radiation annually from natural sources and 0.1 millisivert every time they get a chest X-ray.

The report noted that exposure from a whole body CT scan is about 10 millisievert, much higher than a normal X-ray. That raised concerns about the frequency of such medical diagnostics.

The report should not scare people away from nuclear medicine, said Dr. Henry Royal, a professor of radiology at Washington University in St. Louis. He said most often the benefits of such tests and treatments outweigh the risks.

But Royal also said that procedures such as CT scans should be used to deal with a specific medical problems and not part of annual medical screenings. "You should not be exposed to radiation for superficial reasons," Royal said in a telephone interview.

Some anti-nuclear advocates said the study reaffirms that stringent regulations are needed when cleaning up abandoned nuclear sites or considering health risks near nuclear power plants.

"The NAS panel puts to rest once and for all claims that low doses of radiation aren't dangerous ... nuclear advocates have been making this claim for years" said Daniel Hirsch, president of Committee to Bridge the Gap, a Los Angeles-based nuclear watchdog group.

Mitchell Singer, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry's lobbying arm, said the report "is a positive finding. It shows there is very little risk of exposure from low levels of radiation."

The academy is a private organization chartered by Congress to advise the government of scientific matters.

___ On the Net:

National Academy of Science:

GUEST: Leuren Moret was an Expert Witness at the International Criminal Tribunal For Afghanistan At Tokyo. She is an independent scientist and international expert on radiation and public health issues. She is on the organizing committee of the World Committee on Radiation Risk, an organization of independent radiation specialists, including members of the Radiation Committee in the EU parliament, the European Committee on Radiation Risk. She is an environmental commissioner for the City of Berkeley. Ms. Moret earned her BS in geology at U.C. Davis in 1968 and her MA in Near Eastern studies from U.C. Berkeley in 1978. She has completed all but her dissertation for a Ph.D. in the geosciences at U.C. Davis. She has traveled and conducted scientific research in 42 countries. She wrote a scientific report on depleted uranium for the United Nations sub commission investigating the illegality of depleted uranium munitions. Marian Falk, a former Manhattan Project scientist and retired insider at the Livermore Laboratory, who is an expert on radioactive fallout and rainout, has trained her on radiation issues.

Leuren Moret has conducted research concerning the impact on the health of the environment and global public health from atmospheric testing, nuclear power plants, and depleted uranium. She has helped collect and measure radiation in 6000 baby teeth from children living around nuclear power plants, and helped The State of Louisiana (USA) pass the first state depleted uranium bill for mandatory testing of soldiers.

Articles she wrote on DU were translated into 14 Indian languages and put depleted uranium on the Indian 2004 election platform for all parties. Her article "Depleted Uranium: The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War" in the June 2004 WORLD AFFAIRS JOURNAL changed Indian foreign policy, and was translated at the request of the Kremlin for distribution throughout the Russian government. The LONE STAR ICONOCLAST, hometown newspaper of President Bush, interviewed her for a series of interviews, "What is depleted uranium?" which are now attached to US Congressman McDermott's 2005 depleted uranium bill HR 2410 in the US Congress. Her City of Berkeley 2003 resolution banning weapons in space was followed by a Space Preservation Treaty Resolution adopted by seven sister cities in British Columbia, Canada, contributing to Prime Minister Paul Martin decision in February 2005 to abandon his secret agreement with President Bush to allow NMD in Canada.

Her research on divestment of pension funds from US weapons manufacturers was discussed on a Vancouver radio station in April 2005. The interview helped to make divestment, of $4.6 billion (in 251 US weapons manufacturers) in British Columbia (BC) pension funds, an issue for the May 2005 election platform in BC.

Leuren Moret is a Livermore nuclear weapons laboratory whistleblower, an Environmental Commissioner in the City of Berkeley, and testifies as a depleted uranium expert in the new documentary film BEYOND TREASON.

Leuren Moret Testimony:

DEPLETED URANIUM - Research Resources Recommended by Leuren Moret

Best Photos:

LIFE photoessay:

The Tiny Victims of Desert Storm

Iraq: babies, children, adults exposed to depleted

uranium, and Sandstorm April 26, 2005:

Best book:

Discounted Casualties: The Human Cost of Depleted


Best film:


Best DU Conference:

World Depleted Uranium Weapons Conference Hamburg,

October 2003

Best articles:


"What is depleted uranium?"


"Depleted uranium: Dirty bombs, dirty missiles, dirty bullets: A death sentence here and abroad"


"Washington's secret nuclear war"

WORLD AFFAIRS - The Journal of International Issues

"Depleted Uranium: The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War"

GUEST: Ernest J. Sternglass, Physicist

"Back in 1947 they knew. The data had been gathered at Argonne National Laboratory.[1] They knew that the newborn puppies, whose mothers had been fed small amounts of radioactive strontium-90, were dying of underdevelopment and serious birth defects. The government knew, and decided to keep it secret. The government set up the study. The government knew the results. And the government kept those results from the American people. Why?"

We are at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School in the office of the director of the Department of Radiological Physics, Dr. Ernest Sternglass. He is sitting in a swivel chair in his tiny, cramped office. He is a man in his late fifties, balding, with glasses. He came to the United States from Nazi Germany when he was fourteen, in 1938. He leans forward, gesturing with his hands. "I know how a government can be totally destructive of its own people, how people in the highest level of government can use lies to achieve their political purposes."

Dr. Sternglass has been working for almost twenty years to publicize the dangers of low-level radiation. His article on the increased incidence of leukemia from fallout was published in Science in the spring of 1963. The Atomic Energy Commission "pooh-poohed the whole thing." They said his statistics "weren't good enough." His findings threatened the nuclear establishment. The government and the nuclear industry tried to discredit his evidence by making Dr. Sternglass out to be a "kook." It took courage to continue to speak out.

"I was giving a paper at a health physics meeting here in Pittsburgh. I figured, at least here there would be some newspaper reporters. Someone told me, go, talk to one of the reporters in the newsroom. So I did. I gave him a rundown of the significance of my findings. He took notes and said he'd do a story. That story never got out on the wires. Some time later I told someone at the AP office in Pittsburgh about my findings. `Dr. Sternglass, how come you didn't give us this story before?' I said, `I did give it to you. There was a stringer.' And I gave him his name. He said, `I'll look it up.' And he called me up and said, `There is no such individual working for Associated Press.' Who had I spoken to? I never found out."

After World War II the U.S. military was intent upon building up its weapons arsenal. But Americans were sick of war. The military figured that the way to get their weapons program funded was to make the bomb look "peaceful and happy," to take away the spectre of war and transform atomic energy into a "promise for peace." The "peaceful atom" was a cover for the continued proliferation of weapons development. It was an elaborate lie. Dr. Sternglass gradually realized how far-reaching the lie had been. "The military was behind everything."


[1] The study referred to here was performed under the auspices of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1945 and 1946. Reports were printed by the AEC in 1947 (USAEC Report CH-3843, Argonne National Laboratory, 1947) and 1948 (USAEC Report ANL-4227, pp. 71-82, Argonne National Laboratory, 1948) but the complete results were not made public until 1969. See Miriam P. Finkel and Birute O Biskis, "Pathologic Consequences of Radiostrontium Administered to Fetal and Infant Dogs" in Radiation Biology of the Fetal and Juvenile Mammal, Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Hanford Biology Symposium at Richland, Washington, 5-8 May 1969, ed. Melvin R. Sikov and D. Dennis Mahlum, CONF-69050 (Springfield, Virginia: Clearing House for Federal Scientific and Technical Information, 1969), pp. 543-564.


Growing Up: Germany, X-rays, and War

Ernest Sternglass was born in 1923 in Berlin, Germany. Both his parents were physicians. His mother, a pediatrician and obstetrician, had an office in their home. His father's dermatology office was in another part of Berlin, and for some reason he had a number of fetuses in bottles high on a shelf, fetuses at every stage of development. He also had X-ray equipment and ultraviolet machines which he used in treating skin cancers and other conditions. Sternglass's parents frequently discussed their cases at the dinner table. "I remember them talking about patients who had been given excessive amounts of radiation for acne or ringworm of the scalp, patients who then came to my father for treatment."[2]

When Hitler came to power, the Sternglass family knew they would have to leave Germany eventually. Sternglass was ten years old, old enough to understand the growing danger. "We had a little house in the country, and there were days, sometimes nights when people came to throw rocks, trying to break our windows. I lived in fear of my father being arrested at any time." The Sternglass family finally left Germany in 1938, when Ernest was fourteen, and by the time they came to the United States, Sternglass was "very appreciative of what this country meant."

The family was in difficult financial straits when they arrived in New York City. While Sternglass's father learned English and struggled to pass his Licensing Board Examinations, his mother supported the family by giving health massages and working as a doctor in summer camps. Sternglass did household chores to help out.

When Sternglass completed high school at the age of sixteen, war had broken out in Europe, and while he did not know what would happen, he decided he would go to college. Although his heart was in physics, in basic research, his mother persuaded him in another direction.

"You aren't going to have a job to support yourself and your family if you are only a physicist," she warned her son. "You need something like engineering--something practical to keep you going. Later on, if you want, you can always turn to physics."

So when Sternglass entered Cornell, he registered for an engineering program. His family was still deep in financial trouble, and he had to leave school for a year to help support the family. When he returned to Cornell, the United States had already entered the war, and Sternglass learned that people were wanted in radar and electronics. Since he had had some engineering training and had studied electronics, he volunteered for the navy.

"I was about to be shipped out with the invasion fleet to Japan, when the atomic bomb was detonated over Hiroshima. When the announcement came about this bomb that had suddenly ended the whole war, I was very relieved. I didn't have to be shipped out. Only later did I understand what had happened, what the bomb meant."

After the war, Sternglass married and moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as a civilian employee at the Naval Ordinance Laboratory, which researched military weapons such as mines, torpedoes, and guiding systems for underwater missiles. Sternglass began investigating imaging devices that would enable a soldier to see the enemy at night. He found the work fascinating. "I wanted to understand the interaction of electrons with matter, the penetration of electrons into solids, and the scattering of radiation by solids." Sternglass's work involved radiation, an interest dating back to his childhood. He began to explore a theory of electron emission from solids, related to the photoelectric effect, for which Einstein had won the Nobel Prize.

The year 1947 was a turning point for Sternglass. Not only did his wife give birth to their first son, but Sternglass had the opportunity to meet Einstein in person.


[2] In the 1920s and 1930s it was common practice to treat skin disorders, such as acne and ringworm of the scalp, with X-ray treatments.



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