Pruitt’s EPA: Public Told “No Harmful Health Effects” From Radiation Exposure

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared that exposure to radiation equal to 5,000 chest x-rays “usually result in no harmful health effects,” says an agency document posted this week by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)!

For many decades, EPA had said that “There is no known safe amount of radiation” and they also have been responsible for implementing laws such as the Safe Drinking Water Act, which bans public radiation exposure at levels that EPA right now decided to call safe.

A document from September 2017 titled “Questions & Answers for Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies,” EPA declared the following:

“How much radiation is safe? How much is considered low risk?

Radiation exposures of 5–10 rem (5,000–10,000 mrem or 50–100 mSv) usually result in no harmful health effects, according to experts because radiation below these levels is a minor contributor to our overall cancer risk…”

EPA did not specify which “radiation safety experts” they are using now.

EPA and the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, have long estimated that 10,000 millirems could be expected to induce excess cancers in every 86th person exposed.

Those health effects are for a one-time exposure, but EPA is pushing a new approach that would allow daily public exposure at highly elevated levels every day for up to a year.

EPA’s longstanding scientific estimate is that 10,000 millirems would produce a risk at least 100 times higher than EPA’s acceptable risk range on radiation exposure to the public.

“I knew that under Scott Pruitt EPA is in climate denial, but now it appears to be in radiation denial, as well,” said PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, showing that EPA’s new advice opposes its own 2007 advice on the same topic about radiation exposure “There is no known safe amount of radiation…the current body of scientific knowledge tells us this. This appears to be another case of the Pruitt EPA proclaiming conclusions exactly opposite the overwhelming weight of scientific research.”

EPA’s new proposition is encapsulated in a policy with the paradoxical title of “Protective Action Guides.” It concedes public exposure to radioactivity following a nuclear release at levels many times the maximum limits of the Safe Drinking Water Act. It was finalized on the last day of the Obama presidency but apparently has been embraced by the Trump team, as this health non-warning was issued just days ago.

“This signals that in the event of a Fukushima-type accident EPA will allow public consumption of radiation-contaminated drinking water for months,” added Ruch, noting that PEER is preparing to legally challenge the new drinking water Protective Action Guides. “Dr. Strangelove is alive and lurking somewhere in the corridors of EPA.”


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