RSH Index Page
RSH > Documents > RSH Data Docs > 1.9 > Alvarez 1996

"Low Level
Radiation Health Effects: Compiling  the Data"

Revision 1
March 19, 1998
by Radiation, Science, and Health, Inc.
Edited by J. Muckerheide



Drs. Joe Alvarez and Fritz Seiler state (1996) that:

"In this investigation it has been shown that there are a number of serious problems with the linear no-threshold model of radiation carcinogenesis. Each problem either casts doubts on the validity of the model or contradicts it outright. According to one of the most basic requirements of the scientific method, a hypothesis needs to be modified or abandoned, once it has been refuted conclusively (Popper 1968, Kuhn 1970, Seiler 1994, Bunge 1979, Friedlander 1995).

"The first problem of the of the linear no-threshold model originates from the use of the relative risk concept which assumes that the relative risk at zero dose is equal to one. The data for both solid tumors and leukemia contradicted that assumption, and the use of the relative risk model cannot be justified. It has, therefore, been abandoned in this paper. Above all, however, this somewhat unexpected result invalidates the linear models of BEIR V and ICRP 60 on which our calculations are based.

"A related problem arises at all doses below about 0.3 Sv, where the four data points, either on a point-by-point basis or as an ensemble, repudiate the predictions of the linear no-threshold model. This result is confirmed by other refutations of the linear model (Jaworowski 1995, Kondo 1993, Davis 1990, Seiler 1987, Cohen 1995, Bogen 1996, Matanoski 1991), making it untenable at low doses.

"The question arises whether to retain the current model because a better alternative is not yet available. In view of the use of the current paradigm in cost-benefit-risk analyses, where overestimates of risk can lead to dramatically wrong decisions, it is not advisable to maintain the current high-dose-rate paradigm and wait for new data. What is needed is a re-analysis of all the data available at present in a useful time frame, using a clearly defined methodology, based on the scientific method.

"Meanwhile, the association of professionals engaged in radiation protection, the Health Physics Society, has issued a statement on the radiation risks at low doses, which may serve as an interim guide."


RSH > Documents > RSH Data Docs > 1.9 > Alvarez 1996

For more information please contact the RSH President Jim Muckerheide

For website problems please contact the Webmaster

Google Scholar