back to radiation | rat haus | Index | Search | tree


The Health Costs of Low-Level Ionizing Radiation



  1. The Committee for Nuclear Responsibility

    The non-profit, public interest association founded in 1971 by Dr. John Gofman M.D., Ph.D., who has a great deal to share about the biological effects of low-level ionizing radiation:

    . . . ionizing radiation is not like a poison out of a bottle where you can dilute it and dilute it. The lowest dose of ionizing radiation is one nuclear track through one cell. You can't have a fraction of a dose of that sort. Either a track goes through the nucleus and affects it, or it doesn't. So I said "What evidence do we have concerning one, or two or three or four or six or 10 tracks?" And I came up with nine studies of cancer being produced where we're dealing with up to maybe eight or 10 tracks per cell. Four involved breast cancer. With those studies, as far as I'm concerned, it's not a question of "We don't know." The DOE has never refuted this evidence. They just ignore it, because it's inconvenient. We can now say, there cannot be a safe dose of radiation. There is no safe threshold. If this truth is known, then any permitted radiation is a permit to commit murder.
    -- synapse, 1/94, "Gofman on the health effects of radiation: `There is no safe threshold'"
    It is factually wrong to believe or to claim that no harm has ever been proven from very low-dose radiation. On the contrary. Existing human evidence shows cancer-induction by radiation at and near the lowest possible dose and dose-rate with respect to cell-nuclei. By any reasonable standard of scientific proof, such evidence demonstrates that there is no safe dose or dose-rate below which dangers disappear. No threshold-dose. Serious, lethal effects from minimal radiation doses are not "hypothetical," "just theoretical," or "imaginary." They are real.+
      from, "An ``Open Letter'' to Editors of Major Journals and Newspapers, to Science Reporters and Physicians," by Dr. John Gofman, showing, "in abbreviated fashion, the factual basis for rejecting the claim that no harm has yet been proven from low-dose radiation . . . Assertions in this communication are supported in detail, and with very specific sourcing, in Gofman 1990 (Chapters 18, 19, 20, 21, 32, 33). . . . We have found no refutation of our proof. On the contrary, our method is extensively confirmed in the 1993 report of the United Nations (UNSCEAR 1993, esp. pp.627-636, p.681, p.696 Table 17)." [emphasis added]

    Works currently included:
    BOOKS : 2002 : 2001 : 2000 : 1999 : 1998 : 1997 : 1996 : 1995 : 1994 : 1993 : 1992 : 1991 : 1990 : 1989 : 1988 : 1981 : 1972 : SELECTED INTERVIEWS :


  2. Nuclear Radiation and its Biological Effects

    This essential lay-person's primer provides a wealth of details about radiation and its effects on living systems. From No Immediate Danger, Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth, 1985, by Dr. Rosalie Bertell, "Part One, The Problem", pp. 15-63. This section is reprinted here in its entirety with permission of the publisher: The Book Publishing Company -- Summertown, Tennessee, 38483.

    Entry point to multiple formats/versions of this document.

    Sections discussed:


  3. Chernobyl: Understanding Some of the True Costs of Nuclear Technology

    Contains a collection of works articulating some of the actual costs of Nuclear Technology which have begun to manifest from the worst industrial catastrophe ever created by man. The legacy of poisonous contamination of our Earth will remain present and ongoing for thousands of generations of human existence and will continue to negatively impact the health of all life for millenia. Is there anything that can possibly justify paying such a terrible price?

    Some of the titles included:


  4. Poison Fire, Sacred Earth,
    Testimonies, Lectures, Conclusions, World Uranium Hearing, Salzburg, 1992, excerpts

    Approximately half of this book is included here, providing a wealth of information and powerful story-telling by those who are painfully familiar with the costs of nuclear technology from their first-hand experience of the mining, processing, and dumping of uranium and its "offspring". To the ratitor time feels like living inside an Invasion Of The Body-Snatchers script where many of people one talks with say, "but there's nothing wrong," "we don't know for sure if radiation is the cause of these cancers," "you're out of your element," "you just don't know what you're talking about". But this isn't fiction, and it isn't "O.K." The challenge is nothing less than "growing up" as a species and seeing the response-ability each one of us has to participate in ending this man-made nuclear chamber of horrors.

    A collection of quotations with links to their respective sections of the book.

    7 Lectures are included --

    -- as well a 55 people's testimonies of the impact of uranium mining and processing on their lives.

    See Also:
    Nuclear-Free Future Award, a Project in the Spirit of the World Uranium Hearing


  5. Radiotoxic and Chemotoxic Properties of Depleted Uranium (DU)

    A collection of documents on the health effects of Depleted Uranium as well as links to other sources. Permission by the Laka Foundation and Vladimir S. Zajic to mirror their works is gratefully acknowledged and appreciated. (Please send us your recommendations for other words to include here.)


  6. Comments On Nuclear Power, 1998

    This is the complete Second Edition of Stan Thompson's monograph on his career in nuclear power and goes into great detail for why "in 1963, because of safety and economic concerns about nuclear power, I quit the development of nuclear power. Now, in 1997, after over fifty years of observation, I am convinced that human beings lack the capacity to protect life on our planet from the perils of man-made nuclear devices. My common sense feelings, supported by my engineering analyses, recommend that no more reactors be built and that presently operating reactors be terminated as soon as possible."


    On The Responsible Care of Radioactive Materials

    This was a newspaper created by the Nuclear Guardianship Project. A selection of 39 articles are included from three issues published in the Spring of 1992, 1993, and 1994. The ground-breaking exploration of the practice of nuclear guardianship was richly articulated in these pages to make a space for discussion of the complex moral as well political and technical issues raised by the presense of manufactured nuclear materials.
    The Nuclear Guardianship Forum is a quintessential example of what "grassroots" organizing and citizen's empowerment can be. The issues raised and offered for consideration are paramount to all of us now living on Mother Earth to confront--whether we are right, left, up, down, top, bottom, in, out. For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breath the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal., -- President Kennedy, Commencement Address at American University in Washington, June 10, 1963

    The American government has become
    a machine for the conversion of
    public assets into private profits,
    and a big machine for
    the conversion of private liabilities
    into public liabilities.

    Arjun Makhijan, president of the Institute For Energy and Environmental Research
    interviewed in U.S. Nuclear Waste Program in Crisis,
    NUCLEAR GUARDIANSHIP FORUM, Issue# 3, Spring 1994, pp. 1, 6.


  8. Killing Our Own,
    Chronicling the Disaster of America's Experience with Atomic Radiation, 1945-1982

    Contained herein is HTML, ASCII, and Postscript formated copy of the complete book by Harvey Wasserman & Norman Solomon with Robert Alvarez & Eleanor Walters. This book provides a great deal of information about how U.S. federal authorities consistently conducted all fundamental deliberations about the development of nuclear technology in secret, allowing no public debate or education about the costs to human health, as well as denying what the facts of what people personally experienced in terms of their own health being compromised, ruined, and in many cases, life cut short. The authors compiled a great deal of documentation from interviews with people, both military and civilian, who suffered from effects of exposure to ionizing radiation created by bomb blasts and tests, with workers who handled radioactive isotopes and materials as part of their jobs, with people who had the misfortune of living downwind of nuclear bomb test sites, reactors, uranium mining, milling, enrichment plants and nuclear waste sites. They also obtained documents of government hearings and minutes from meetings behind closed doors held by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), and, when it was scandalized out of existence in 1974, by it's successors--the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Energy Research and Development Agency (ERDA) later to be transformed into the Department of Energy (DOE)--which continue to employ the same game of denial and unaccountability for the adverse health effects caused by the government's pursuit of nuclear technology development.

    All of this has long since convinced me that we cannot trust these people [US officials] and, more important still, that nuclear power is too dangerous to have around. But it is clear that our government is so deeply committed to nuclear weapons and nuclear power that it will ignore damning evidence, deny the truth, mislead our people, jeopardize health and even life itself, and try to blacken the reputation of scientists who disagree with its policies. . . .

    I earnestly believe that as soon as there is a definite suspicion of harm from any source as malignant as radiation, it is time to make every effort to eliminate it. I feel particularly strongly about radiation because children are much more vulnerable than adults--not only in regard to the likelihood of developing leukemia and cancer, but also of being born with physical or mental defects. And once mutations have been produced in genes, they will be passed down forever.


  9. Secret Fallout, Low-Level Radiation from Hiroshima to Three Mile Island, 1982

    Contained herein is HTML, ASCII, and Postscript formated copy of the complete book by Dr. Ernest Sternglass. There is a great deal discussed and examined in this book to substantiate the author's conclusion reached by Dr. Sternglass that low-level ionizing radiation created by the fallout from nuclear bomb testing and from nuclear power plants--both publicly acknowledged accidents like Three Mile Island as well as the routine, legal radioactive emissions in liquid and gaseous form--has exacted a very high toll on the quality of public health in the United States and around the world. With a great deal of supporting evidence and numerous examples, Sternglass presents the case that toxicity of low-level radioactive fallout is responsible for distinct and consistent increases in mortality rates as well as in cancers, leukemia, birth defects, rises in chronic diseases.

    It was not our physics and technology that had been inadequate, but our knowledge of biological systems and their enormous ability to concentrate toxic agents. Just as in the case of DDT, it was not the amount distributed throughout the environment that was so serious. It was the selective concentration in the food chain and then in the newly forming organs of the rapidly developing young embryo. Since all higher animals, including man, must pass through this critically sensitive phase, it was clear that, unless the problem was widely recognized and acted upon, man could extinguish himself and all other animals, not through the effect of radiation on the adult, but through the effect on the weakest link in the chain of life--the unborn and the very young.

    [In Harrisburg, the day after the Three Mile Island accident began:]
    When someone asked Dr. [George] Wald [Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine] whether the public should believe me or the spokesmen for the utility who had just reassured them that there was no danger, he answered that under such circumstances, one should always ask oneself who has the greater financial interest, the industry or the concerned scientist trying to warn the public. Under the present circumstances, he personally would tend not to accept the reassurances of the industry spokesmen and would tend to believe that there was indeed reason for deep concern, as I had indicated. There was no safe level of radiation, and the unborn and the young are clearly more vulnerable than adults.


  10. Nuclear Technology: The Inappropriate Exercise of Human Intelligence
      -- and Given This, What Is Appropriate?

    For over half a century the false assumptions about nuclear technology have been as deceitfully treacherous as they are lethal to all life exploring itself on Earth. In order to exercise our own best innate powers of response ability, we must see through these pernicious fallacies and acknowledge the true nature of nuclear technology. By so doing, we can then deal with its poisonous legacy created over the past fifty-plus years which will now be with us for millenia to come. This crisis has been created by humans and can be successfully addressed if we are willing to see the facts and respond with our infinitely creative abilities.

    An essay the ratitor has wanted to write for a long time, this essay is a publication of rat haus reality press. It is a living document that will change with time. Ideas and suggestions are welcome. Version 1.0, June 16, 1996
    Entry point to multiple formats/versions of this document.


  11. Health Costs of Nuclear Technology series posted to the internet in 1992-93

    A collection of complete out-of-print books, select chapters from others, articles, speech transcripts, and oral testimony, by physicians, health-care professionals, physicists, and statisticians. Includes:


  12. Upcoming Events / Resistance is Life Affirming

  13. further recommended reading:   articles local and web-based

  14. information-rich jumpdoors / addresses

Order the November 1 999 issue of The Ecologist,
"Rethinking Basic Assumptions..."

The Madness of Nuclear Energy, 11/99


For five decades, humanity has been hoodwinked by the most poisonous confidence trick in history. Now, as we begin a new millennium, it is time to end the nuclear nightmare - for good.


  • Ending The Nuclear Century by the Editors
  • Nuclear Power: Time to End the Experiment by Peter Bunyard and Pete Roche
  • The Final Boltholes by Anthony Froggatt
  • Poisoning in the Name of Progress by Chris Busby
  • Nuclear Power - A Dead Loss by Peter Bunyard
  • Nuclear Skullduggery by Chris Busby
  • Richard Doll Falls into Plutonium Trap by Richard Bramhall
  • Victims of the Nuclear Age by Rosalie Bertell
Nov Ecologist - The Madness of Nuclear Energy

back to radiation | rat haus | Index | Search | tree