Letters to the Editor

Letter: Radiation not the cause of Hanford workers’ cancer deaths

The recent articles in the Tri-City Herald from McClatchy showed a lack of understanding of the health effects of ionizing radiation.

As a professor and teacher of radiation biology who has invested my life in understanding health effects of radiation, I was compelled to publish some facts of life or Radiation Biology 1.

Fact 1: Everyone will die. Most of the more than 40,000 workers at the Hanford site in the early days have died — 25 percent of them died of cancer with or without working in the nuclear industry. Nuclear industry was not the cause.

Fact 2: We live in a sea of radiation and it is easy to detect and control. Workers seldom receive doses above the regulatory limits set to protect against cancer.

Fact 3: We know more about the effects of radiation than any other environmental factor. Radiation is a good cell killer — we use it in radiation therapy — but it is a poor mutagen and carcinogen.

Fact 4: The biggest health hazard from low doses of radiation is the fear generated by articles such as those published by the McClatchy group and the actions taken.

Dr. Antone L. Brooks, Kennewick