Monday, August 18, 2008

The health benefits of low-level radiation

From: Benefits of Low-Level Radiation and Toxins

"...The truth will surprise many:

  a.. Some people went into Hiroshima the first day after dropping of the
A-bomb when much but not all of the radiation contaminants had dissipated
through wind currents. These persons suffered less cancer, had better
lifetime immunity, and enjoyed longer lives than people who visited
Hiroshima two or more days after the mushroom cloud, when radiation
particles had even further dissipated.4
  b.. Early in 2000, US government agencies admitted what close observers
had already known. Some individuals who long worked at the Hanford Nuclear
Reservation in Washington (state) and at 13 other sites scattered around the
country were seriously over-exposed, developed cancer, and died as a
result.5 They handled materials in great bulk and with limited understanding
of the risks.6
  c.. Workers at Los Alamos who worked in factories generating radioactive
substances, who followed appropriate safe-handling practices received, on
average, a three-fold higher exposure to plutonium than the maximum
recommended by the National Council on Radiation Protection. People who
worked at Los Alamos in factories generating radioactive substances have had
less cancer and better immunity, and lived extended lives.7
  d.. The proportion of the total number of such exposed workers who have
died has been 57% lower than in the general population, and 43% lower than
among Los Alamos workers who were not exposed.8
  e.. All this contradicts the "solidly established concept" in
environmental health that the effects of toxic agents climb on a continuum
of biological change from undetectable effects at the lowest levels of
exposure to severe health damage at very high doses. That concept is based
on assumption of a straight line from low risk at very low dose radiation to
extreme risk at very high doses. But no test that has ever been conducted
confirmed its predictions around the lower end.9

This linear-no threshold (LNT) theory is a logical consequence of the widely
accepted but never confirmed view that:
A single particle of radiation interacting with a single cell nucleus can
initiate a cancer;
The number of initiating events is then proportional to the number of
particles of radiation, and hence to the dose.

However, that line of reasoning ignores the role of biological defense
mechanisms that prevent the billions of potential initiating events we all
experience from developing into a fatal cancer. "And a substantial body of
evidence now indicates that low level radiation stimulates such biological
defense mechanisms. The natural intrinsic mutation rate is so high that we
need extensive biochemical machinery to cope with it. That machinery works
better in the presence of low-level damage from extrinsic factors, and that
damage improves our health."10

Among those who choose to be aware of the past half-century's research, this
concept is revolutionizing health physics.11,12

1. "Fruit flies exposed to high levels of radiation experience many
mutations. But if first exposed to low-level radiation, fruit flies
experience far fewer mutations when later hit by high radiation."13

2. "Human lymphocyte cells previously exposed to low level radiation suffer
fewer chromatid breaks when later exposed to large radiation doses. And this
effect has been traced to production of repair enzymes stimulated by the low
level radiation."14

3. Dr. Bernard Cohen provides many further examples that demonstrate the
strong healing response stimulated by low-dose radiation.15

4. Researchers were surprised to find an inverse correlation of lung cancer
to second-hand smoking, inhaling smoke of others. More smoke, less lung
cancer.16 The nearest I have seen to confirmation of this politically
incorrect discovery: A study in BMJ by epidemiologist James Enstrom and
Geoffrey C. Kabat of SUNY reported no significant increase among nonsmokers
who lived for decades with smoking spouses, in coronary heart disease, lung
cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Other studies have
disagreed.17

5. Some animal data indicate that pre-exposure to low fluorine
concentrations may provide some resistance to the lethal effects of fluorine
in fluoridated drinking water.18

6. Giving Beagle dogs ten parts per million of DDT in their diet improved
their health.19-21

7. On April 26, 1986, the No. 4 reactor at the Chernobyl power station
exploded. About 4,400 people in Ukraine "succumbed to radiation-related
diseases contracted after taking part in the cleanup effort." High levels of
radiation constantly spewed out of the disintegrating plant, exposing all
who worked outdoors nearby.22 What happened at Chernobyl was not at all a
contradiction of hormesis. Remember Hanford. Hormesis proceeds from low
radiation exposure, not high...."

From: Low Doses of Radiation Might Actually be Good for You

"...Significant findings that challenge earlier beliefs on the dangers caused
by radiation:

  a.. A study of people living in Ramsar, Iran, who are exposed to natural
radiation levels of 79,000 mrem per year, have not shown increased cases of
cancer. Since the radiation levels exceed the EPA’s radiation safety
standard allotment by 5,266 mrem, this study contradicts the "linear
hypothesis."

  b.. Experts found that radiation in small doses has had protective effects
on cellular function by stimulating the immune system defenses, which
prevents oxidative DNA damage and suppresses cancer.

  c.. Another study revealed that the survivors in Nagasaki, who received
1,000 to 19,000 mrem of radiation, had lower cases of cancer and are living
longer than the non-irradiated population.

  d.. The radiation hormesis model explained why residents living in
high-radon-level areas such as Japan, Germany and central Europe have shown
decreased cases of cancer..."

Uncle Sam's torture trade

[Lest we forget there is nothing new under the sun...]
 
First published in Workers Solidarity No.47 Winter 95/96

From September 1991-December 1993, the U.S. Commerce Department approved over 350 export licenses, worth more than $27 million, for torture and police equipment under commodity category 0A82C. According to the Export Administration Regulations, this broad-ranging category includes: saps, thumbcuffs, thumbscrews, leg irons, shackles, and handcuffs; specially designed implements of torture; strait jackets, plastic handcuffs, police helmets and shields; and parts and accessories.

Another export category, 0A84C, combines electric shock batons and cattle prods with shotguns and shells. Over 2,000 licenses were granted for these items. This information was obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request for data on gun exports.

By lumping controversial items (like thumbscrews) together with non-controversial ones (like helmets) into broad general categories, the U.S. authorities hope to hide their squalid little deals with torturers. This makes many suspect the worst, especially when these commodities are licensed for export to governments with well-documented records of human rights abuse. For example, Commerce approved $10.5 million to Saudi Arabia, where government officials continued to torture and otherwise abuse detainees, including citizens and foreigners, according to the State Department's latest human rights report.

Source: Federation of American Scientists Fund

~ Struggle ~

 

25 years since the Carnation Revolution

The Carnation Revolution (Portuguese: Revolução dos Cravos) was an almost bloodless, leftist, military-led coup d'état, started on April 25, 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal, that effectively changed the Portuguese regime from an authoritarian dictatorship to a democracy after two years of a transitional period known as PREC (Processo Revolucionário Em Curso, or On-Going Revolutionary Process), characterized by social turmoil and power dispute between left and right wing political forces.

Inspired by the revolutionaries they had been fighting in the Portuguese empire a group of officers, organised in the Armed Forces Movement rose to destroy the fascist/authoritarian regime that had ruled Portugal since the 1920s.
Although the regime's political police, PIDE, killed four people before surrendering, the revolution was unusual in that the revolutionaries did not use direct violence to achieve their goals. The population, holding red carnations (cravos in Portuguese), convinced the regime soldiers not to resist. The soldiers readily swapped their bullets for flowers. It was the end of the Estado Novo, the longest authoritarian regime in Western Europe.
 
 

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