]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]      THE CLEVELAND QUACKS      [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ 
     "Dr Jason Chao, a family physician in Cleveland," reports the 
CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER of 06/01/83, "testified that the [nuclear 
Perry] plant should not be allowed to go on line because scientists 
were re-evaluating dangers of low-level radiation to people and the 
environment. The NRC safety standards, Choa said, permit low-level 
radiation of up to 170 millirems. He said 170 millirems would equal 
the amount of radiation humans absorb from natural sources, such as 
solar and cosmic rays and medical X-rays. 
     "Chao said the standard was unacceptable because it was derived 
from data that scientists say paints a different picture....
     "'It's more of a leap into the dark than something over which we 
have control,' said Dr James Gitlin, an allergist from Rocky River who 
opposes licensing of Perry...
     "[Federal Atomic Safety and] Licensing Board chairman Peter R. 
Bloch said... construction could only be halted if opponents found 
something wrong that couldn't be fixed."
     OK. Now in a moment I will ask you to look at this item with the 
eyes of a journalist with only a layman's knowledge of radiology and 
health physics.
     Just like you (if you are a layman), he does not have to know 
that these alleged doctors are spewing garbage: They most likely mean 
170 millirems PER YEAR, but even so, the NRC allows only 10 mrem/year 
in theory, and 5 mrem/year in practice -- on the BOUNDARY LINE of a 
plant, for a person standing on the gate naked 24 hours a day, 365 
days a year. What the other Americans get on an average from all the 
plants in the country is 0.03 mrems/year, and what the BEIR Committee 
of the National Academy of Sciences recommends is not more than 500 
mrem/year. The average annual dose to US residents is indeed close to 
170 mrem, of which normally more than half comes from Mother Nature, 
and most of the rest is accounted for by the medical profession. The 
contribution of nuclear plant emissions is well under 1%.
     All right, they don't have to know all that, but how come they 
take a family physician's and an allergist's word for it? Would they 
listen if a physicist counseled against removal of an appendix on the 
grounds that heart surgery should not be attempted in patients older 
than 3 miles?
     But the sins of the newspapermen go deeper. If low-level radio-
activity might really be dangerous, what about the fossil-fired plants 
which deliver up to 50 times higher radioactive doses? What about the 
Houses of Congress (granite!) which could never be licensed as reac-
tors because they are too radioactive? What about the blood circu-
lating in the alleged doctors Chao and Gitlin's veins? It delivers an 
internal dose (potassium 40!) 5 times as high as the NRC allows on the 
boundary of a nuclear plant. We are now not talking physics, but plain 
down-to-earth consistency. They didn't know? Maybe not; but a compe-
tent journalist would have asked. 
     And their sins go deper still. The biggest radioactive hazard in 
the environment (not necessarily dangerous, but still the biggest) 
comes from radon in energy-efficient (and usually poorly ventilated) 
homes. If they print stories about 5 or 170 mrem, how come they men-
tion nothing about the 5,000 rems and more in Maine homes? They do not 
need a physics Ph.D.; but there ARE journalists who read other news-
papers than their own. Some of them have been known to read maga-zines 
and even books. [Try "The Radiation Bogey," $2 from Golem Press, Box 
1342, Boulder, CO 80306.]
    And the final sin: If a physicist's testimony confuses heart and 
appendix in patients 3 miles old, to whom does a reporter go for a 
counteropinion, to a physician or a bureaucrat? But when a doctor 
talks about "natural sources of radioactivity such as solar and cosmic 
rays and medical X-rays," these "journalists" go to a bureaucrat, and 
print his tiresome legalistic technicalities. 
     So much for the journalists. As for the alleged doctors Chao and 
Gitlin, I would not trust them with a sick chicken, let alone a sick 
child. 
                              *  *  *


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