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The book concerns the faulty hypothesis that any amount of radiation, no matter how small can be dangerous (the Linear No Threshold or LNT hypothesis). The LNT hypothesis unfortunately is widely regarded as the truth in many places. The author exposes this LNT theory for the fallacy it is. Hiserodt analyzes and refers to mountains of data refuting this theory. He also provides a very good exposition of the science and units of radiation. He demonstrates that the wealth of data indicates that some radiation even increases human health (hormesis). Thus Hiserodt refutes a key pillar of the ecofreak movement that wants to stop all human progress. This book should be read by all Americans.
This unfortunately unique work should have been written much earlier. This book is a must read for anyone thinking about the energy problem.
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I was recently invited to lunch by the editors of Newsweek magazine in New York City to discuss with them my views on what should be included in their next special issue on the nation's environmental priorities.
They were quite shocked when I told them that one of my top three, just behind applying DDT to stamp out malaria and improving drinking water supplies for impoverished nations, was reducing the unwarranted fear of low-level radiation that grips most of the world's population.
I was determined to call this issue to Newsweek's attention because I had recently read Ed Hiserodt's new book, Underexposed. I cannot recommend this book too strongly, nor can I praise it articulately enough.
Identifies False Theory
Let us first examine the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) theory, by which we have been held hostage for so long.
To take it to an absurd extreme so you will easily understand it, the theory basically says that if 100 percent of a given population will die from a fall from a 100 foot cliff, and 50 percent would die when falling from a height of 50 feet, then we can expect that one person of a hundred would die when falling from a height of one foot.
Silly as this seems, we use the same theory when studying the effects of chemicals and heavy metal intake by humans. Substances such as mercury, lead, tin, cadmium, oxygen, fluorine, arsenic, and selenium are toxic in large quantities, yet critical to our health in small quantities.
We call the phenomenon of harm at high doses and help at low doses "hormesis," derived from the Greek word "hormo," which means to excite. Thus, a substance that excites a positive bodily response at a low dose and is harmful at high doses is considered hormetic.Read more ›
Few important health subjects are as poorly reported or underreported as the beneficial effects of radiation. Few Americans have heard of hormesis -- the beneficial effects of toxins in small doses -- or of the possibility that low-dose radiation may prevent or treat cancer and other diseases.
So, the release of this book was long overdue, and it is disappointing that it is not a better book.
The chatty style does not befit the subject. The documentation is not sufficient. Even the index is poor. Why would there be no author bio for a science book? Don't readers deserve to know more about the person who wrote it? (He is listed on a web site as "aerospace engineer and an electrical control manufacturer's representative.") I don't fault Hiserodt for serving as a reporter (since he isn't a radiation health expert), and he seems to have talked to the right experts, but a bio page is essential.
Among the best books on environmental health in the past 20 years are Edith Efron's "The Apocalytics," and " Bjorn Lomborg's "The Skeptical Environmentalist." "Underexposed" is inferior to those in every respect. It is slapdash and confusing to read. It needed the hand of a strong editor.
Radiation hormesis is a critical topic. If the theory is true -- and excellent evidence points that direction -- increasing radiation exposures could save many lives. At the very least we could all relax about what are now thought by many to be unhealthy exposure levels. The book that provides a comprehensive and clear introduction to the topic for a general audience has yet to be written.
I recommend the book only because so little has been written on the subject, and there isn't anything else available for non-technical readers. It's a modest beginning.
When we make policy decisions based on junk science we all lose. This is a must read book if you want the facts on low levels of ionizing radiation and the clear evidence that it is actually beneficial rather than hazardous. After Chernobyl, hundreds of thousands of abortions were performed based on unfounded fear that flies in the face of the facts. How very, very sad that we collectively have been 'educated' to believe what simply isn't true...
Man, have we been fed a load of crap. After reading this book, you understand that Mankind has "grown up" in a mildly radioactive environment and we actually thrive with a base line exposure to radiation. He also proves with factual historical data that it is not cumulative.
I am a skeptic of most lemming science, so this was an interesting adventure in learning. Highly recommended.
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