Both the great Truths and the great Falsehoods of the twentieth century lie hidden in the arcane, widely inaccessible, and seemingly mundane domain of the radiation sciences

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Trial of the Cult of Nuclearists: EXHIBIT F continued

What follows is the continuation, in serial form, of a central chapter from my book A Primer in the Art of Deception: The Cult of Nuclearists, Uranium Weapons and Fraudulent Science.

EXHIBIT F continued:

To complete this indictment, we must return to the subject of depleted uranium weaponry. Research, to be discussed in later chapters, has confirmed that veterans suffering symptoms of what is called Gulf War Illness test positive for the presence of depleted uranium in their bodies. These findings must be taken seriously. But those who defend depleted uranium munitions as radiologically benign don’t sponsor credible research to confirm their claims. Instead, they rely on two arguments to bolster their position. First, the dose of radiation delivered by internalized uranium is too low to produce injury; second, a review of published studies on internal exposure to uranium provides no evidence that DU, in concentrations likely to be encountered on the battlefield, could be radiologically hazardous. Setting aside the second argument for a later chapter, the first argument can now be easily refuted. The concept of dose falls apart when applied to low levels of internal contamination with radioactive particles. It is a meaningless and scientifically fraudulent idea when transported from the phenomenon of external exposure at high doses of x-rays and gamma rays and then forced to fit the altogether different phenomenon of localized damage to cell clusters vastly smaller than whole organs. The rationale of this translation is that both phenomena share the common characteristic of transferring energy from the radioactive source to tissue. However, dose requires averaging energy over masses of tissue, and it is scientifically absurd to take localized emissions from embedded radioactive particles and average that energy over the mass of an entire organ. All this does is make the biological damage disappear behind some mathematical hocus-pocus, which then produces the impression that the contamination and the cellular chaos it causes are irrelevant. Radioactive particles decaying within the human body cause biomolecular alterations and cellular damage. The important scientific question is whether this damage is repaired or if it induces altered function and disease. “Dose” provides no relevant information on this fundamental issue. It is just a mathematical abstraction that is adequate for quantifying whole-body exposure or whole-organ exposure to either x-rays/gamma rays or a uniform distribution of a radionuclide throughout an organ, but it is meaningless when applied to nonuniform distribution of radioactive particles. Further, the Hiroshima study and other studies of external exposure provide no relevant information regarding low levels of exposure to internally embedded hot-particles. Again, the notion that it is scientifically justifiable to extrapolate from high levels of external exposure to low levels of internal exposure is grounded on the erroneous idea that biological effect is proportional to the quantity of energy absorbed. However, as has been shown, the alteration of essential macromolecules within cells has nothing to do with the quantity of energy absorbed. It is voodoo science to discount the hazard of embedded uranium particles, or any other radioisotopes, solely on the basis of dosage. The only responsible way to proceed for determining whether or not contamination by depleted uranium is hazardous is to examine the outcome of epidemiological studies of instances of uranium exposure and determine the health consequences. The question to be addressed later is whether or not any previous studies have any relevance to the inhalation on the battlefield of insoluble, micron-sized particles of alloys of uranium metal laced with other contaminants such as plutonium, americium, neptunium, and technetium-99.