Unhygienic views on radiation harm aired at conference

MAPW has again urged that robust science be used in  medical presentations on radiation health issues.

MAPW notes in a media release issued today, that Canadian scientist Dr Doug Boreham is now in Adelaide speaking on radiation health issues at the national conference of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists. MAPW is concerned that this might again mean the promotion of fringe views that are clearly inconsistent with long-standing, expert and mainstream scientific evidence and assessment.

Concerns were raised earlier this year when junior uranium company Toro Energy promoted the fringe scientific view that exposure to low-level radiation is harmless.  Toro had sponsored speaking visits to Australia by Dr Boreham, who argues that low-level radiation is actually beneficial to human health.  45 doctors then signed a statement deploring the use of junk science to lower occupational health and safety standards.

Recent scientific research has heightened concern about exposure to radon, the main source of radiation doses to uranium industry workers. In 2009, the International Commission on Radiological Protection concluded that radon gas delivers almost twice the radiation dose to humans as originally thought, and the Commission is in the process of reassessing permissible levels. Previous dose estimates to miners need to be approximately doubled to accurately reflect the lung cancer hazard.

Toro's proposed Wiluna uranium mine is currently being assessed by the federal Government.