EPA updates standards. Cancer rates to soar

A report on 4/14/13 in the NYT stated that EPA has revised the standards in light of what they have learned at  Fukushima

By reducing the projections for how much radiation exposure is likely in the years after such an episode, the proposal could also reduce the amount of contaminated land that would have to be abandoned…the report prepared for the Department of Homeland Security would allow a sharp increase in the amount of radioactive contamination allowed in food and water, and the allowable doses from irradiation by radioactive particles that would be deposited in an accident.

Some of the changes are not in the documents but are in other reports that are mentioned in footnotes, said Daniel Hirsch, president of the Committee to Bridge the Gap, a California group. The E.P.A., he said, was “trying to bury the bad stuff in footnote references to a whole series of other documents.”

One clear change in the protective action guidelines, which are being updated for the first time since 1991, was to change the assumption of how much radiation people might be exposed to over time in an affected area. That is because after Fukushima, Mr. Edwards said, it became clear that the initial radiation level could be reduced significantly by cleanup.

In soil, the PAGs allow long-term public exposure to radiation in amounts as high as 2,000 millirems. This would, in effect, increase a longstanding 1 in 10,000 person cancer rate to a rate of 1 in 23 persons exposed over a 30-year period;

  • In water, the PAGs punt on an exact new standard and EPA “continues to seek input on this.” But the thrust of the PAGs is to give on-site authorities much greater “flexibility” in setting aside established limits; and
  • Resolves an internal fight inside EPA between nuclear versus public health specialists in favor of the former. The PAGs are the product of Gina McCarthy, the assistant administrator for air and radiation whose nomination to serve as EPA Administrator is taken up this week by the Senate.
  • Despite the years-long internal fight, this is the first public official display of these guides. This takes place as Japan grapples with these same issues in the two years following its Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“This is a public health policy only Dr. Strangelove could embrace. If this typifies the environmental leadership we can expect from Ms. McCarthy, then EPA is in for a long, dirty slog,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that the EPA package lacks a cogent rationale, is largely impenetrable and hinges on a series of euphemistic “weasel words.”

“No compelling justification is offered for increasing the cancer deaths of Americans innocently exposed to corporate miscalculations several hundred-fold.”

Alice in Wonderland.    In light of the success of the cleanup of Fukushima, disasters can be mitigated.   Don’t they know that the disaster is not yet over?

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2 thoughts on “EPA updates standards. Cancer rates to soar

  1. Pingback: NRC coming to town April 30 | Vernon Radiation Safety

  2. Pingback: More Radiation found in well at Vernon | Vernon Radiation Safety

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