The Sky Is Not Falling

Chicken Little ran around scaring everyone with his cry about the sky falling and sometimes we do the same.
With access to media and viral emails we often extrapolate more fear than is necessary and the radiation fall out from Japan is one such topic.

In today’s New York Times, an article discusses the amounts of radio active material from the reactors in Japan versus the amounts after Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the effects on people.

“Dr. Douple emphasized that at very low doses, the risk was also very low. But he also said that there was no indication of a threshold, or a level below which acute radiation exposure would have no effect, or a smaller effect than would be predicted based on higher exposures,” according to the article, read more here.

The article goes on to point out that,

“Outof 120,000 survivors in one study group, 219 with radiation exposure had died of leukemia from 1950 through 2002, the latest year with published data. But only 98 of those cases, or 45 percent, were excess deaths attributed to radiation.”

Granted to the relatives of those patients and the patients themselves this is little consolation and as a cancer survivor I truly do understand. But as a scientist and journalist the point is, in the big picture it is not “the sky falling.”

So the next time a disaster strikes or fear sets in, take a few moments to read solid information. Seek out smart, educated, scholarly and well documented research before you let your imagination run away with you, your heart, lungs and all your cells will thank you for it.

 

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