Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"This time, we've got it right"

A great write-up at HuffPo of the folly that experts will always protect us. Gayle Green says:
As an all-too-frequent flyer, female, over 65, with a two-decade history of commuting and a cumulative radiation exposure equivalent to some pilots, I'm taking the pat-down, as humiliating and harassing as it is.
Why? She explains:

Since the 1930s, when the International Commission on Radiation Protection began setting guidelines for permissible exposure, it has been lowering the permissible dose -- by a factor of 2 in 1950, then again by a factor of about 3 in 1956. (3) (Permissible dose is set lower as dangers are found to be higher.)
"There is something disturbing about the repeated assurances, 'this time folks, we have got it right,' comments Dr. Morris Greenberg, a senior public official in Britain, "when on each occasion, a previous understatement of hazard is revealed." (4) Meanwhile, each successive report of the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation committee, a committee of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, has acknowledged a greater danger to low-dose radiation. Their most recent report states there is "no evidence of a threshold below which no cellular damage occurs." (5) That is, even the lowest of doses may be dangerous, as Stewart claimed.