Why Radiation Protection Experts Are Concerned over EPA Proposal

October 19, 2018

Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress

The following is an excerpt of an article published in The Conversation.

The Takata Corporation sold defective air bag inflators that resulted in the death of 16 people in the United States and a massive recall of cars. While it was rare for the air bags to fail, the brutal consequences of this defective device in even minor collisions was easy to recognize. But the effects of low-dose ionizing radiation – high energy waves or particles that can strip electrons from atoms and physically damage cells and the DNA within – on people’s health is much harder to see, and prove.

When the Associated Press reported that the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency solicited the advice a controversial toxicologist, Edward Calabrese, to consider changes to how it regulates radiation, it sent shock waves through the radiation protection community. Calabrese is well known for his unconventional and outlying view that low-dose radiation is not dangerous.

I’m a physicist at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies who focuses on risks of emerging technology. I am keenly aware of the danger of exaggerating the effect of ionizing radiation, which has led to a phobia of radiation and stigma toward those who suffered radiation exposure. However, underestimating these effects can be just as detrimental. And doing so may only be in the interest of certain stakeholders that have the ear of the current administration.

Continue reading at The Conversation.

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