Chemist Drops Bomb on Radiation Theories
Radio Free America
Certain so-called "environmentalists" haven’t been telling you the truth about everything from radiation from nuclear power plants and nuclear waste to the pesticide DDT. The other side of the story (based on scientific research) is a point of view seldom heard. A veteran scientist and scholar, Dr. Arthur B. Robinson, discussed these topics (among others) on the March 31 broadcast of Radio Free America, the weekly call-in talk forum sponsored by American Free Press with host Tom Valentine.
Robinson, a professor of chemistry and the founder of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, is a former faculty member at the University of California-San Diego and formerly served as president and research director of the Linus Pauling Institute. (Robinson’s newsletter, Access to Energy, is available at $35 for 12 monthly issues from: PO Box 1250, Cave Junction, Oregon 97523.) What follows is an abbreviated portion of the interview. Questions by Valentine are in boldface text. Robinson’s responses are in regular text.
You take a position regarding nuclear energy (and nuclear waste) that would surprise many people. You contend that scientific evidence refutes the popular perception that radiation is harmul. Please explain.
People are afraid of low-level radiation, thinking it is harmful, but actually the reverse is true.
During the debate over nuclear weapons in the 1960s, those who were trying to disarm the United States argued that the radiation from bomb tests was causing vast amounts of cancer and damaging people all over the world.
The way they did this was to make a graph showing that radiation at very high levels was very dangerous. And, of course, no radiation would be expected to have no effect. They drew a straight line between the points. So there was some damage no matter how low you went. And so "no radiation" was safe. They could do this because there were no experiments at low levels. It was difficult to do those types of experiments.
But now we have experimental evidence in many different ways. What we know is that low-level radiation is actually beneficial to health, extends the life span, decreases the rate of cancer and so forth.
Professor Cohen at the University of Pittsburgh has shown that there is a strong correlation between low-level radiation and lung cancer. The problem is that it is the opposite way from cigarette smoking. Those who get low-level radiation get less lung cancer.
This is true with all sorts of cancer and also aging in general. It’s called "hormesis".
Increases in background radiation are good for you. People in Colorado live longer and have less cancer than those who live on the seashore because they have higher altitudes and there is a higher level of radiation in the Rocky Mountains around them.
Most of the nuclear waste that people are concerned about is low-level radiation. And strange as it may seem, the best thing for the American people would be to take this
Nuclear waste and mix it. It would increase the background radiation level and they would find that they would have less disease.
How does that square with the scare over Radon?
The fact is, Dr. Cohen’s work grew out of the Radon scare.
The government commissioned him to find out how much emission there was in low-level radon. He studied over 300,000 American homes in all the states and found that the more radon in the homes, the less lung cancer. If you start at zero, the lung cancer ratio dropped. It reaches a minimum and then starts up. If you have huge amounts of radiation, you have more lung cancer. But most of those that have radon-produced radiation in their homes have lower lung cancer rates.
Dr. Linus Paling demonized Dr. Edward Teller because he was killing thousands of children around the world with the residual radiation from the nuclear weapons tests that Teller was conducting to defend his country. The truth is actually the opposite. Teller actually extended the life span of the people a little bit by putting a small amount of radiation in the atmosphere.
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D r. Pauling championed vitamin C, but you have pointed out that higher-level doses of vitamin C are toxic.
Pauling and I worked together. I’ve done thousands of experiments on both humans and animals. If you feed humans or animals enough vitamin C, it will kill them. But also, it’s required for life. If you don’t get any, you’ll die too.
It has a hormatic effect. At low levels, vitamin C is good for you. However, if you go high enough, the cure reverses and it becomes just like radiation.
My point is that if Pauling’s linear hypothesis that he debated Teller with (demonizing radiation) were applied to vitamin C, it would be illegal to produce the stuff because it kills people at very high doses and therefore it’s dangerous at any dose.
That’s the argument that’s been used against radiation and it’s been very damaging because it’s destroyed American progress in nuclear power and frightened American people in all sorts of ways.
It’s been extended to chemicals as well. Very high levels of a chemical will hurt you, so people become convinced that any level of a chemical is dangerous, whereas, in fact, chemicals show hermetic effects, too.
You’ve had some things to say about DDT.12 seconds
This is a very serious matter. The man who invented DDT received the Nobel Prize because the National Academy of the United States estimated that his work had saved 500 million lives and that it was the greatest health advance in the history of man because it prevented malaria, which is a devastating disease in the Third World.
Today, for the last 20 years since DDT was banned, a child in the Third World dies every twelve seconds from DDT-preventable malaria. Between 50 and 60 million children have been killed by the ban on DDT. Even the Environmental Protection Agency’s own review board concluded that DDT was a very useful substance, was not harmful and did not need to be banned.
However, the American people do not know this be cause they were subjected to a large, false propaganda campaign against the substance. Everybody thinks he "knows" that DDT is dangerous but it saved 500 million lives and another 60 million have been lost because of the environmental radicals.
Rachel Carson, whose book The Silent Spring popularized the effort to ban DDT, actually only found that DDT somehow destroyed the eggs of some birds.
In fact, that turned out not to be true. Gordon Edwards at San Jose State University has graphs, prepared by the Audubon Society, of the birds supposedly affected. It turns out that the population of those birds was climbing. It peaked at the time they banned DDT and then started down. It was just the opposite of what you’d expect. After they banned DDT, the populations of the birds decreased.
This may, in fact, be by chance or it may be because the birds were being affected by parasites that were being destroyed by DDT. So it’s quite possible, contrary to C
Actually, her book is full of errors. Now let me tell you about Rachel Carson.
She dedicated her book book to famed Dr. Aierra Silbert Schweitzer, who helped the people of Black Africa.
She quotes Schweitzer as saying that modern-day technology would destroy the human race, etc. She used this quote as though it had something to do with DDT. The truth is that the Schweitzer quote was referring to nuclear war.
But about DDT, Schweitzer said: "This malaria is a terrible scourge. Now we have hope because of DDT."
However, Carson quoted his remarks about nuclear war out of context, pretended they were about DDT and put them in her book, which she dedicated to him. She used his name to demonize DDT. This woman was a liar.
What about the motivation for these lies against DDT?
There were several. Some of these people were actually population control advocates, so they wanted Black Africans to die from malaria that would spread without the use of DDT.
Then there is the general anti-technology movement.
There are also growing industries surrounding the environmental movement, with groups such as the Sierra Club, that raise tremendous amounts of money-hundreds of millions of dollars, around issues. It’s a good business. The Sierra Club is really a business.
Then there are some businessmen who are unprincipled. If they think that their product will benefit from environmental laws, they will support legislation of this type.
For example, major companies (including the now-infamous Enron) were spending big money in favor of the so-called Global Warming treaty. They knew that the science didn’t support what they were saying, but they deliberately changed their product mix to position their company to profit if the United States was forced to ration energy. Then they used their political clout to push for the rationing of energy.
Let’s get back to the process of hormesis. It’s a bodily function for preparing damage.
It’s not totally understood. The best hypothesis are that small amounts of challenges-such as small amounts of chemicals and radiation-actually stimulate the body’s repair mechanism.
The cell is a very dynamic thing. The chemical environment in which life exists is a very brutal one.
The hypothesis is that hormesis may result from a stimulation of the repair mechanism, by giving it a little practice," so to speak. Also, it may stimulate the immune system.
In any event, we don’t need to understand it, to know that it’s true. The experiments are all consistent. It’s overwhelming. Survivors of the bomb blast in Japan have lived a little longer. Nuclear power plant workers’ life span and their health correlate: the longer they worked and the more radiation they received, the healthier they were and the longer they lived.
This, of course, is at low levels. Make no mistake: If you get too much radiation you will die, just as if you get too much vitamin C.
We are talking about these low levels that people have been taught to fear. They should not be feared, however. They are helpful.
Could it be comparable to the common cold? Many people believe that frequent colds usually stimulate the immune system.
That’s a very good example. It’s very possible that having common colds keeps your immune system stimulated so that you don’t get more dread diseases.