May 17, 2012

The Case for a Financial WikiLeaks | Ian Fraser

The Case for a Financial WikiLeaks | Ian Fraser

The Case for a Financial WikiLeaks

May 15th, 2012 (edited May 16th, 2012)
The greatest barriers to financial whistleblowing are social and economic, not legal. Fear of being shunned by colleagues, passed over for promotion, bullied and harrassed, summarily dismissed and even shut out of Wall Street or the City for life plays a big part in dissuading executives who become aware of crimes and misdemeanours inside their organisations from blowing the whistle.
Occasionally, as we saw with Greg Smith and his remarkable New York Times op-ed Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs, an employee’s conscience gets the better of them. But fear of being ostracised for “spoiling the party”, coupled with an attachment to the high pay that a financial career can bring (you might call it ‘moral cowardice’) is sufficient to persuade the vast majority of putative whistleblowers to keep schtoom.
That’s why I believe we need a financial version of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. It would protect employees from management retribution and eliminate the social barriers to speaking out. There are already several leak sites available (check out the Leak site directory).
WikiLeaks has previously been used for financial leaks relating to the banks Julius Baer and Barclays, and in 2011 there was speculation that it was sitting on a treasure trove of incriminating information that might bring down Bank of America (In the end the emails, published at and here, turned out to be something of a damp squib. Dating from November 2010, the emails suggest that employees of  Balboa Insurance Group, a subsidiary of Bank of America, removed documents from loan files relating to a group of insured properties).
WikiLeaks though, has mostly made a name for itself in exposing political controversies. People don’t predominantly think of it as the place to go to find out about corporate wrongdoing, and corporate disclosures on the site run the risk of being drowned out by the drone of government abuse.
One organization that does specialize in corporate disclosure isAnonymous Analytics, whose focus is on ”acquiring information through unconventional means” (a.k.a. hacking and subterfuge) and presenting it in the form of investment analysis reports. The group, whose stated aim is to “provide the public with investigative reports exposing corrupt companies” and whose team includes “analysts, forensic accountants, statisticians, computer experts, and lawyers from various jurisdictions and backgrounds” caused a stir last September when it exposed alleged large-scale fraud at Chaoda Modern Agriculture, a Hong Kong-listed company. Anonymous Analytics claimed that Chaoda was:-
“overstating its cash balance, exaggerating its revenue, and falsifying its financial statements.”
Last week Anonymous Analytics initiated coverage of another Hong Kong-listed company Huaboa International. In a 44-page report entitled “Smoke and Mirrors”, it alleged Huabao overpaid for several companies acquired from its chairwoman, Chu Lam Yiu. The research note also questioned the veracity of Huabao’s financial statement and performance data. The report stated that:-
“We believe management is materially overstating Huabao’s earning power … [Huaboa International] is a pump and dump scheme with the primary objective of enriching its chairwoman.”
While Anonymous Analystics specializes in ‘primary research’, it also briefly offered a dropbox facility for would-be whistleblowers. This was recently closed down. The offshoot of the hacker group claimed this was because it had been unable to handle the volume of tips, comments and emails it had received.
Organisations such Anonymous Analytics are firmly focused on overt cases of corporate fraud and headline-grabbing controversies. Nevertheless, while having channels to expose criminality is important, there are many other equally valid reasons to create a financial leaks site.
WikiLeaks’s release of the US Embassy Cables, which commenced in November 2010, didn’t provide much sensational news, but it did provide a rare window into the normally opaque worlds of diplomacy and espionage and the conflict between the State department and more nefarious arms of the US state. It will be an invaluable resource for academic researchers and journalists for years to come. But there are few, if any, such open windows into the financial sector.
The Safe Deposit Box: A Tool for Transparency
This, coupled with the inadequacy of most financial regulators around the world, is why a specialised financial leak site is so badly needed.
Here’s my back-of-the-envelope sketch for the Safe Deposit Box, a site that would improve transparency in financial institutions (including banks, insurers, funds, brokers) and commodity trading outfits, by providing a channel that would encourage internal leaks. It could be curated by individuals with financial expertise, such that information leaked could be vetted for accuracy and presented correctly (something that non-specialist leak sites would be unable to do). The site could be split into two main divisions with different purposes:
  • A whistleblowing section to allow employees of banks and other financial institutions to expose dubious behaviour, including instances of financial crime, market manipulation, insider trading, ‘creative’ accounting and rogue trading.
  • A transparency initiative focused on shedding light on the inner workings of financial institutions. This section would encourage employees to contribute information such as organisational structures, divisional strategies, risk exposures, compensation, and other information that helps to break the near impenetrable wall of secrecy (omertà) large financial institutions frequently enjoy.
Many people intuitively understand the value of division one, but division two is perhaps harder to justify. What’s the point of transparency for transparency’s sake, some might ask? I would argue that banks and other financial institutions still enjoy huge political clout (and indeed some are owned by the public), yet citizens have virtually no insight into their inner workings and strategies,  including who they are lending to, how they treat distressed assets, or their level of speculation on energy and food prices. (see “Barclays shame award“)
For example, I suspect that the residents of Chicago do not have the faintest idea of how a Morgan Stanley consortium came to own the city’s parking meters. I also suspect the residents of Edinburgh have no idea how a RBS consortium came to own the city’s main hospital, the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
At a systemic level, the very opacity of financial transactions increases systemic risk, which in turn has a massive impact broader society. Providing a channel for financial employees to shed light on their organisations would have: (1) a democratic empowerment benefit and (2) A research and regulation benefit, providing more material for citizens, academics and regulators to understand and monitor the financial sector.
The transparency initiative could be split into specific research domains that are of particular concern (or ought to be) to journalists, researchers, campaigners, regulators, and even some politicians. For example, domains could include:
  • A high-pay transparency programme to gather leaked payrolls, compensation reports and other material to help in monitoring financial incentive systems.
  • A tax haven programme to gather lists of subsidiaries, offshore transactions and other material to help shed light on tax avoidance systems.
  • A loan transparency programme to gather information on loan portfolios of the banks’ corporate banking divisions, thereby helping keep tabs on socially and environmentally irresponsible lending
  • A programme gathering information on banks’ dealings with Polically Exposed Persons (including deposed dictators and their families), authoritarian regimes, and dodgy individuals
  • A systemic risk programme gathering info on prop trading levels, interbank risk exposures, and shadow banking systems
  • A programme collecting information on ‘mis-selling’ and poor customer service (aka. treating clients as muppets)
I don’t want to be flippant. I also accept that actively encouraging breaches of confidentiality might border on being illegal. Yet confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements are often used by banks to bury frauds and other issues of concern, whose victims are often outside the institution that perpetrates them.
For example, in my research into the potentially damaging effects of commodity speculation, I hit a brick wall when seeking to establish how much banks earn from their agricultural commodity trading desks. They simply don’t report it, and stonewall all requests for information.
I recognise that that leak sites are far from perfect mechanisms and that innumerable issues would have to be overcome before a site along the lines I describe could be launched.
These would include how it would be structured and who would be permitted to access the information. Would it be better to use a centralised WikiLeaks structure, or something more decentralised along the lines OpenLeaks (set up by Wikileaks defectors, but yet to launch)? Might it be better to consider something more conciliatory and collaborative, more like Wikipedia, a financial commons that would allow people with financial expertise to freely and anonymously contribute?
What I do know though, is that financial secrecy benefits a very small section of society, but harms a very large section of society, and I’m also sure that there are a great many financial workers who would love the opportunity to spread the love by spreading the knowledge. There again, there’s always the risk that such a site might also attract the attention of the financial blockade.
The original version of this article was headlined The Safe Deposit Box: Creating a Financial Wikileaks. Written by , who operates as a consultant bridging the gap between finance and those involved in socio-environmental justice and international development. He has also written for the Guardian, the Ecologist, New Internationalist and Open Democracy. Brett blogs at and tweets as @Suitpossum. He is a fellow of the WWF/ICAEW Finance Innovation Lab.

April 21, 2012

'Too big to fail' and getting bigger | Bloomberg

'Too big to fail' and getting bigger |

'Too big to fail' and getting bigger

  • Article by: DAVID J. LYNCH , Bloomberg News 
  • Updated: April 16, 2012 - 9:36 PM
BigTwo years after President Obama vowed to eliminate the danger of financial institutions becoming "too big to fail," the nation's largest banks are bigger than they were before the nation's credit markets seized up and required unprecedented bailouts by the government.
Five banks -- J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. -- held $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of 2011, equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy, according to central bankers at the Federal Reserve.
Five years earlier, before the financial crisis, the largest banks' assets amounted to 43 percent of U.S. output. The Big Five today are about twice as large as they were a decade ago relative to the economy, sparking concern that trouble at a major bank would rock the financial system and force the government to step in as it did in 2008 with the Fed-assisted rescue of Bear Stearns Cos. by J.P. Morgan and with Citigroup and Bank of America after the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, the largest in U.S. history.
"Market participants believe that nothing has changed, that too-big-to-fail is fully intact," said Gary Stern, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
Eroding faith
That specter is eroding faith in Obama's pledge that taxpayer-funded bailouts are a thing of the past. It is also exposing him to criticism from Federal Reserve officials, Republicans and Occupy Wall Street supporters, who see the concentration of bank power as a threat to economic stability.
As weaker firms collapsed or were acquired, a handful of financial giants emerged from the crisis. Since then, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo have continued to grow internally and through acquisitions from European banks, reeling from government austerity measures related to the rising cost of public debt in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy.
The industry's evolution defies the president's January 2010 call to "prevent the further consolidation of our financial system."
Simon Johnson, a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, blames a "lack of leadership at Treasury and the White House" for the failure to fulfill that promise. "It'd be safer to break them up," he said.
The Obama administration rejects the criticism, citing new safeguards to head off further turmoil in the banking system. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in remarks on Feb. 2 the U.S. financial system is "significantly stronger than it was before the crisis." He credits new regulations, including tougher capital and liquidity requirements that limit risk-taking by the biggest banks, authority to take over failing big institutions and prohibitions on the largest banks acquiring competitors.
The government's financial system rescue, beginning with the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program, angered millions of taxpayers and helped give rise to the Tea Party movement. Banks and bailouts remain unpopular: By a margin of 52 percent to 39 percent, respondents in a February Pew Research Center poll called the bailouts "wrong" and 68 percent said banks have a mostly negative impact on the country.
Riding out turbulence
The banks say they have increased their capital backstops in response to regulators' demands, making them better able to ride out unexpected turbulence. J.P. Morgan, whose chief executive officer, Jamie Dimon, acknowledged public "hostility" toward bankers in a March 30 letter to shareholders, boasted April 13 of a "fortress balance sheet." Bank of America, which was about 50 percent larger at the end of 2011 than five years earlier, says it has boosted capital and liquidity while increasing to 29 months the amount of time the bank could operate without external funding.
Today's 6,291 commercial banks are less than half the number that existed in 1984, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The trend intensified during the crisis as J.P. Morgan acquired Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo took over Wachovia in deals encouraged by the government.
"One of the bad outcomes, the adverse outcomes of the crisis, was the mergers that were of necessity undertaken when large banks were at risk," said Donald Kohn, vice chairman of the Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2010. "Some of the biggest banks got a lot bigger and the market got more concentrated."
In recent weeks, at least four current Fed presidents --Esther George of Kansas City, Charles Plosser of Philadelphia, Jeffrey Lacker of Richmond and Richard Fisher of Dallas -- have voiced similar worries about the risk of a renewed crisis. Five" banks now hold assets equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy.

April 20, 2012

OpEdNews - Article: Is Fukushima's Doomsday Machine About to Blow?

OpEdNews - Article: Is Fukushima's Doomsday Machine About to Blow?

Mounting troubles at Japan's hobbled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant now pose a real threat to human survival. If the area in which Unit 4 is struck by another 7.0 magnitude earthquake, there's a 70 percent chance that "the entire fuel pool structure will collapse" and massive doses of lethal nuclear radiation will be released into the atmosphere. The disaster would release approximately "134 million curies is Cesium-137 -- roughly 85 times the amount of Cs-137 released at Chernobyl as estimated by the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP)." Experts believe that the amounts are sufficient to "destroy the world environment and our civilization," which makes containment "an issue of human survival." ("The Greatest Single Threat to Humanity: Fuel Pool Number 4," Washington's blog)

The structural integrity of Unit 4's cooling pool was greatly compromised by the earthquake and following tsunami which struck the facility over a year ago. At present, the pools are not adequately protected or reinforced, which means that a sizable tremor could "cause a disaster worse than the three reactor meltdowns." If such a disaster were to occur, "people should get out of Japan, and residents of the West Coast of America and Canada should shut all of their windows and stay inside," says nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen.

While the danger to life and the environment pose the greatest single national security threat the United States has faced since WW2, the Obama administration has provided little aid to the emergency effort. Japan is largely "going it alone" trying to cobble together a plan to safely store the spent fuel and minimize the risks to public safety.

On March 8, 2012, Dr. Hiroaki Koide, Research Associate at the Research Reactor Institute of Kyoto University, gave his bleak assessment of the situation on the Japanese a news program called, "Morning Bird." Koide explained how 1,500 rods are presently located in a "fuel pool" that has been severely damaged. The rods have to be cooled constantly or a "huge amount of radiation contained in the spent fuel will be released outside." If an earthquake hits and undermines the pool, the coolant will exit the pool, the rods will melt and radioactive plumes will rise into the atmosphere. Koide explained that the rods could not be safely removed from the existing pool because "if you hoist them up in the air, huge amounts of radiation will come out from the spent fuel and people nearby will die."

One of the journalists on "Morning Bird" asked Koide what would happen if the Unit was struck by another earthquake?

Koide answered, "That will be the end."

"The end?" the journalist asked, visibly shaken.

"The end," Koide repeated emphatically. ("Fukushima Dai-Ichi No. 4: An earthquake before spent fuel rods are moved to safe storage would be "the end," Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism)

Now, check this out:
"Japan's former Ambassador to Switzerland, Mr. Mitsuhei Murata... strongly stated that if the crippled building of reactor unit 4 -- with 1,535 fuel rods in the spent fuel pool 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground -- collapses, not only will it cause a shutdown of all six reactors but it will also affect the common spent fuel pool containing 6,375 fuel rods, located some 50 meters from reactor 4. In both cases the radioactive rods are not protected by a containment vessel; dangerously, they are open to the air. This would certainly cause a global catastrophe like we have never before experienced. ... Such a catastrophe would affect us all for centuries." ("Fukushima Daiichi Site: Cesium-137 is 85 times greater than at Chernobyl Accident,"
Murata's concerns have been brought to the attention of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, to high-ranking officials in the Obama administration and EU, and to leaders around the world. The reaction has basically been the same everywhere, which is, "It's Japan's problem. Let them deal with it."

There is no way to overstate the media's complicity in concealing critical information about the tragedy that is presently unfolding at Fukushima. If there is another earthquake, the media will certainly be every bit as responsible as the government officials who saw the danger, but chose to do nothing.

March 16, 2012

Police Forcibly Evict Midwest Occupy Conference Participants; 14 Arrested In St. Louis

Where does the Constitution say that freedom of speech ends at 10 pm? I am just SO curious about THAT.

The use of force is INTIMIDATION and I hope that all who were there sue the Department's arse off. That is the ONLY way "they" seem to learn.

News said a police cruiser's window was broken BUT photo, time-stamped evidence disputes this. It is not only the arrests that need to be called into question, but the mis- and dis-information that is fed to the public.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

August 18, 2011

Obama Campaign Staffer Sends Out Email Bashing Paul Krugman And The 'Firebagger Lefty Blogosphere'

Jonathan Swift would be PROUD of Krugman.

Problem is that some lunatic rightists actually think this is TRUE - let's have a holographi­c Christ come down to save us - and get everyone Xianized !!

There is a good and MEANINGFUL reason us teabaggers booed the Obamabot @Netroots Nation - and he better expect MORE protest in the future, too. When they took my heat subsidy away in MN (!!) via fiat Obama, I was furious ! He's into the Chamber of Commerce's pocket(s) and the bank$ter$ for his $1.6 million a day he "needs" to run in 2012. He's no leader in any sense of the word. He just had the staffer floating his balloon for him ..
About Barack Obama
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

August 15, 2011

Why Aren't Americans in the Streets? Where Is the American Autumn?

The Wall in Europe came down due to Latvian and Lithuian women being ENRAGED about Chernobyl and taking over the radio stations. Here in the US - I am MN USuncut organizer - ANGRY WOMEN are never seen on TV, unless they are "mad" like Michele Bachmann.

The left is truly sexist and until they wake up from their slumber, the US is truly f**ked. Hard to say though what will be women's tipping point. The povertizat­ion of women means we have less means to fight back - we are demoralize­d, taunted, looked down upon and often criminaliz­ed because we can't make ends meet. The profession­al poverty industry on the front lines due nothing to ADVOCATE for the homeless and the poor, imho.

Yes, NoBlueDogs you are onto it ..

Great book: Dismantlin­g Tyranny ..
About Afghanistan
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

July 19, 2011

ALEC Exposed: Milton Friedman's Little Shop of Horrors


We could surely use your help calling out ALEC here in MN. We don't even have time to read the bills before they pass the special session and know "how much agenda" has been slipped in There was NO transparen­cy. http://www­.minnpost.­com/storie­s/2011/07/­19/30142/t­odays_spee­dy_special­_session_w­ill_have_s­pecial_rul­es Special rules will apply,

The baggers aren't happy - they want nonfunding of abortion and no stem cell research. So . will it fly? We surely do not know.

But a 72 hour period to read them surely would have been in order ..

ALL ALEC MN Gop members should be recalled.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

April 05, 2011

Republican budget plan envisions sharp cuts

A couple walks the grounds of the U.S. Capitol Building as snow falls in Washington, January 30, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Reed
A couple walks the grounds of the U.S. Capitol Building as snow falls in Washington, January 30, 2010.
Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed
WASHINGTON | Tue Apr 5, 2011 8:50am EDT
WASHINGTON | Tue Apr 5, 2011 8:50am EDT
(Reuters) - Government spending would plummet by nearly $6 trillion over the coming decade under a Republican plan due to be unveiled on Tuesday, in a sharp contrast to President Barack Obama's fiscal plan.
The plan, crafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, envisions a total spending cut of $5.8 trillion over the coming decade, according to an aide.
That's well beyond the $4 trillion in savings envisioned by an Obama task force last year, and roughly six times the savings that Obama's own budget plan would generate.
Ryan's plan, which would take effect when the next fiscal year starts on October 1, is expected to propose sweeping changes to the Medicare and Medicaid health programs, as well as hard caps on government spending and tax cuts.
Though it is likely to win the support of the Republican-controlled House, it is not expected to get much support in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Still, it will probably push a debate over government spending that has dominated Washington this year well into the 2012 election season, when both Obama and many of his Republican adversaries will face voters.
(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; editing by Eric Beech)

March 13, 2011

~ Straight Truth on Nuclear Fallout ~

Please forward as far as possible

Please copy and spread this.

Straight truth on nuclear fallout
Long, unwieldy and not to be missed!!

Yes, this means YOU.  

Have a read for a bit.  It's time for you to see the raw, bold truth - nuclear fallout is hell.  It is war against all the people's of the world.

So I've posted the unvarnished TRUTH.  Hard to take if you are only interested in pleasure or getting relief from an "unkind" world as your points for living.  

But FACTS must be faced.  So here's some information you need to advance the cause of a sane planet to live on.

For a 'scientific' paper, what is below is not hard to follow.

Are you in a comfortable chair, playing at activism? Or just not concerned? 

Or can we persuade you to take this as a call to arms
to end a conspiracy of silence
a web of deceit, lies and misdirections
to keep a system alive that is killing millions.
As I type, 30 million people in Tokyo are facing possible extinction
years of genetic mutation
following illness and suffering for vast numbers of people.

As the planet prepares for nuclear war against Iran, Syria, North Korea sits "on the table" can you show your concern? 

As increasing numbers of people are exposed to depleted uranium and the contaminants spread ever wider onto the planet are you willing to speak up long and HARD?

As the risk of a nuclear "accident" just gains momentum as earth changes are upon us can you see the need to be wary, but VOCAL?

Thinking about the effects this might have on YOU?

Just what effects might this have on offspring born into your families?

You cannot CONTAIN Nuclear fallout.
There is no such thing as a "tiny nuke"!!
Depleted uranium's use is JUST as bad, maybe far far worse.
Hydrofracking the search for methane hydrates releases nuclear fallout.
There are children dieing of uranium poisoning in America, being badly deformed at birth.

And we must all fight together. For much is at stake.  Silence is complicity when it comes to facing insane threats to our health, happiness and well-being, so let's get this straight - WHO NEEDS TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.


Surely not YOUR government!!!

Ever REALLY wondered what happened to the Chernobyl victims and to other radiation victims as well??
Ever wonder how you would REALLY find out about it??
Did the information mysteriously go missing "under the radar?"
Did they fund any studies?
If so, who did them, and DID THEY AGREE?
Were findings and results published?
Are we going to be TOLD what nuclear fallout did to us ALL, seeing as how it cannot be contained?
Why are Russians, Ukrainians and other groups still pouring into Canada and other places at ever faster rates?
Just how are those Chernobyl children and others like them now? - we were warned it wouldn't be "pretty".
Were things in place to help out and how?

and maybe most important of all questions:

Can the planet learn from this lesson??
and stop making horrible bombs

and having horrible "accidents"

Can we put a 'face' on it?

Pretty obvious, if you don't really follow scientific principles, then the lessons are going to come at you incomplete.

And then there is that gnawing, never before possible to answer question:

HOW AM I GOING TO FEEL WHEN I FIND OUT WHAREALLY HAPPENS to the survivors and to their children??

Finally, some answers to assist you as you get to feel your feelings. The events were gut wrenching for the entire world and each time we grew more traumized. Please go and watch the video.  We are being victimized by a conspiracy of SILENCE.

The effects of the radiation that has been covered up, but are made available to you from the Low Level Radiation Campaign.

When you are through digesting this may WE,

fellow earthlings

you pass this on, that maybe
you begin discussing this and
Maybe have a very good cry about it all

But don't fail to get angry at the coverup

Begin to write, email, fax, call
the media and ask them and the politicians

Why is no one telling me this?

When you are through, you may email Richard at his email below
Tell him you are now INVOLVED
in saving this precious, precious planet

Don't fall for the snow job!!

Demand an end to uranium mininng,
To nuclear power plants,
to the proliferation of nuclear weapons
the use of depleted uranium
hydrofracking and the search for methane hydrate

taking place on this issue.

The children of earthlings are counting on you to speak out.

Fukushima explosion
Detailed advice will be issued as more information about possible releases becomes available. Meantime we warn that reassurances from all agencies including IAEA and national offices of nuclear safety are based on the invalid and discredited radiation risk model of the International Commission or Radiological Protection (ICRP), according to which the Chernobyl disaster can not have caused any observable health effects in the general population.
Immediate precautions for populations downwind of Fukushima are to stay indoors. Do not eat local produce; drink bottled water.

And with that note, We ask you to think about the consequences
of the fact that the government of JAPAN
did not listen to warnings or pleas.
They ignored this report.
So here it is is

And please stick with this
International campaign "low-level" radiation

It can be difficult to grasp the sheer scale of the deception that the Commission continues to practise upon the public through its failure to apply scientific method. It amounts to nothing less than a Nelsonian blindness to the health impacts of contaminating the environment with low concentrations of radioactivity, and the theft of mankind's collective opportunity to learn from the post-war nuclear arms race and the Chernobyl disaster.

Here we are not embarking on a rehearsal of all the arguments and all the evidence. It is clear that the Commission is impervious to such submissions. At the same time silence must not give consent. For economy we concentrate on the overarching matter of scientific method.
Scientific method requires countervailing evidence to be addressed. In this respect the Commission fails. Studies of the effects of weapons test fallout and Chernobyl are not cited. In fact the word "Chernobyl" is notably absent from the consultation draft and its key supporting documents, Annexes A and B. The single exception (a study highlighting the difficulty of reconstructing thyroid doses) is cited because of the Commission's obsessive concern with dose. ICRP clings to the outworn dogma that the assessment of radiation doses is fundamental to radiological protection despite robust criticism even from within its own ranks which, characteristically, it ignores. Thus the CERRIE Majority Report is cited in various contexts but not in the context of its attack on the concept of absorbed dose):- 

..... There are important concerns with respect to the
heterogeneity of dose delivery within tissues and cells from
short-range charged particle emissions, the extent to which
current models adequately represent such interactions with
biological targets, and the specification of target cells at risk.
Indeed, the actual concepts of absorbed dose become
questionable, and sometimes meaningless, when considering
interactions at the cellular and molecular levels.
(CERRIE Majority Report Chapter 2.1 paragraph 11).

The work of the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR 2003 [1)) is not cited. Neither is IRSN's recent report on the ECRR (IRSN 2005 [2]) although ICRP shares staff with IRSN and although IRSN states: 

Various questions raised by the ECRR are quite pertinent and
led IRSN to analyze this document with a pluralistic approach.
a. Besides natural and medical exposures, populations are
basically undergoing low dose and low dose rate prolonged
internal exposures. But the possible health consequences under
such exposure conditions are ill-known. Failing statistically
significant observations, the health consequences of low dose
exposures are extrapolated from data concerning exposures
that involve higher dose rates and doses. Also, few
epidemiologic data could be analyzed for assessing inner
exposure effects. The risks were thus assessed from health
consequences observed after external exposure, considering
that effects were identical, whether the exposure source is
located outside or inside the human body. However, the
intensity, or even the type of effects might be different.
b. The pertinence of dosimetric values used for quantifying
doses may be questioned. Indeed, the factors applied for risk
management values are basically relying on the results from
the Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors' monitoring. It is thus
not ensured that the numerical values of these factors translate
the actual risk, regardless of exposure conditions, and
especially after low dose internal exposure.
c. Furthermore, since the preparation of the ICRP 60
publication, improvements in radiobiology and
radiopathology, or even in general biology, might finally
impair the radiation cell and tissue response model applied to
justify radioprotection recommendations. It was thus justified
to contemplate the impact of such recent observations on the
assessment of risk induced by an exposure to ionizing


The phenomena concerning internal contamination by
radionuclides are complex because they involve numerous
physico-chemical, biochemical and physiological mechanisms,
still ill-known and thus difficult to model. Due to this complexity,
the behaviour of radionuclides in the organism is often ill
described and it is difficult to accurately define a relationship
between the dose delivered by radionuclides and the observed
consequences on health. This led the radioprotection specialists
to mostly use the dose/risk relationships derived from the study
of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki survivors, exposed in conditions very
different from those met in the cases of internal contaminations.
This fact raises numerous questions, which should be considered
with caution because a wide part of the public exposure in some
areas of the world is due to chronic internal contaminations and
very few data concern these situations.
[…] the questions raised by the ECRR are fully acceptable, … "


… we do not possess, in the current state of knowledge, the
elements required to improve the existing radioprotection

In the draft Recommendations [3] preceding the present one paragraphs 37, 41, 42, 44, 46, 47, 48 , 49 and 50 gave detailed discussion of the circumstances where heterogeneity of energy distribution compromises absorbed dose. Paragraph 51, immediately following, presented a bizarre and risible contradiction in asserting (or re-asserting) that 

The definition of the protection quantities is based on the mean absorbed dose …

The present consultation draft has reorganised or vanished the material from the paragraphs listed. It does not seem worth making a detailed analysis of the fate of this material since the Commission clings to its original conclusion about the assessment of radiation doses. However, we note one example (selected at random, not according to any ranking). 
Paragraph (44) of the 2004 draft read: 

Absorbed dose is defined based on the expectation value of the
stochastic quantity e, energy imparted, and therefore does not
consider the random fluctuation of the interaction events. It is defined
at any point in matter and, in principle, is a measurable quantity, i.e. it
can be determined experimentally and by computation. The definition
of absorbed dose has the scientific rigour required for a fundamental
quantity. It takes implicitly account of the radiation field as well as of
all of its interactions inside and outside the specified volume. It does
not, however, consider the atomic structure of matter and the
stochastic nature of the interactions.

The final sentence with its inherent caveat about heterogeneity of energy deposition has vanished from the analogous paragraph of the present draft. 

Section of Annex A, Supralinear low dose responses, discusses a number of disputed areas of radiation risk, citing the CERRIE Minority Report but not the Minority Report [4]. This cannot be dismissed as an oversight, in view of the overlapping membership of CERRIE and the ICRP Task Group which wrote the Annex. We see it as an exercise in misrepresenting the status of a scientific dialogue. 

A feature of the technique is that it attacks the work of individuals in a manner that allows them to be identified by the cognoscenti but does not cite them overtly — a propaganda technique rather than science. 
The topics so treated in Section are dismissed in terms of 

The Task Group agree[ing] with the general view expressed by the majority of CERRIE members that none of the proposals on the gross underestimation of risk that were considered have a sound scientific basis and that some are demonstrably flawed. The following points illustrate the views of the Task Group:

a) the interpretation of selected epidemiological datasets.

The Annex glosses this as 

The epidemiological evidence cited did not provide consistent evidence that risk of childhood leukaemia from nuclear test fallout was seriously underestimated by established radiation risk models.
XXXX points should be noted. 1) The principle of Popperian falsification holds that a single genuine counterexample is enough to require a hypothesis to be modified. It is not a question of having to provide consistent evidence of a serious underestimate. 2) Rather than accepting the unsupported statements of the Task Group, readers should refer to detailed discussion of the childhood leukaemia in the CERRIE Minority Report pp.30-2. 3) In fact just as much attention was given to INFANT leukaemia post-Chernobyl. The CERRIE Majority Report handled this in a farcical manner which has been analysed in a number of submissions (e.g LLRC to CoRWM) and published in Radioactive Times Vol 6 no 1 without being rebutted. A version is appended as Appendix 1. 4) CERRIE cannot be represented as a thorough examination of even a substantial proportion of the epidemiological datasets available. It is particularly noteworthy that two Russian Academicians attended the 3-day international workshop convened by CERRIE in 2003. They recommended that there were tens of thousands of papers in Russian which were relevant to the Committee's remit and they asked that the Committee should recommend translation of at least the abstracts to make them more widely accessible. The Majority Report ignored this entire topic, but the Minority Report included translations of about 100 summaries showing supralinear effects, both experimental and epidemiological, tending to falsify ICRP's risk estimates. This work has now been augmented in publication of a far larger volume of work from Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine [5]. A summary is appended as Appendix 2. b) biophysical proposals on the mode of action of certain internal radiations.
The Annex glosses this as 

The so called Second Event Theory cited in support of higher than expected cancer risk from 90Sr and particulate forms of alpha-emitters [which the majority felt] was inadequately formulated and inconsistent with a wellestablished body of biological data.
The manner in which this was treated by CERRIE was highly unsatisfactory. An external reviewer was appointed without reference to the Committee; the criteria he applied were not satisfactory and omitted some key issues. As the Minority Report reveals [6], Committee members failed to understand key aspects of the debate. Crucially, it was never contended that the Second Event Theory has to be valid in order to demonstrate that there is something badly wrong with the ICRP's modelling. The epidemiological data, allied to the caveats uttered by the ICRP itself, take precedence; the Theory stands as a possible explanation of why the epidemiological data fail to conform to simplistic assumptions based on external irradiation and average dose. This it shares with the next category: 

c) the role of induced genomic instability/bystander signalling in cancer development;
Jury out. It is said that if these mechanisms play a role in radiation induced disease they are already subsumed within existing radiation risk factors. This is hard to sustain since they have potential to cause a far larger range of disease than are currently assumed to be radiogenic — cf ECRR 2006.

d) the fitting of bimodal or polymodal dose-responses to epidemiological and experimental data.

The Annex glosses this as 

The data relating to bimodal/polymodal dose responses were generally weak, statistical analyses were inadequate and the phenomena, if real, had no obvious mechanistic basis.

Many of the post-Chernobyl reports in ECRR 2006 and the CERRIE Minority Report show bimodal/polymodal dose responses. The Commission fails to examine these data, just as CERRIE did; CERRIE did not undertake enough analysis to allow the conclusion that statistical analyses were inadequate. One does not know how much analysis ICRP has carried out since it cites no post-Chernobyl evidence. It has been pointed out that some of the data sets cited by ICRP and other conventional agencies (e.g. of nuclear industry workers) show anomalously high effects at low dose, though these points are usually dismissed as outliers. Mechanistic bases for bimodal responses have been proposed, including during CERRIE. An example is to be found on page 58 of the CERRIE Minority Report. We know of no logical rebuttal, as contrasted with the Annex's unscientific opinion mongering.

This section of the ICRP's Annex A concludes: 

Epidemiology takes precedence over theory, and the post-Chernobyl epidemiology falsifies this statement.
The Commission assumes on the basis of the LSS external irradiation studies that effects are limited to a small range of disorders. Post-Chernobyl studies showing a wide range of non-cancer diseases falsify this assumption, as does Whyte's metaanalysis of infant mortality at the time of the weapons test fallout (not cited by ICRP). ICRP itself admits that no specific judgement on low dose risk of non-cancer diseases is possible. [7]


The Commission's approach is fundamentally unscientific. The Commission's obsession with absorbed dose as an average and its refusal to consider any studies where dose cannot at least be inferred conflict with opinions about the limitations of absorbed dose from a range of authorities including the Commission itself.

On the basis of copious epidemiological evidence radioactive contaminants appear to be acting as toxins irrespective of dose considerations, irrespective of whether biological mechanisms are known, and irrespective of assumptions based on the LSS studies about which types of disorder are inducible by radiation. 

Appendix 1 


A sharp increase in infant leukaemia was observed in several countries after the Chernobyl accident in 1986. It was extensively discussed by CERRIE. 

Leukaemia is recognised as an early indicator of radiation damage; more specifically, infant leukaemia (i.e. diagnosed before a baby’s first birthday) signals damage acquired in the womb. Scientific journals have published papers by different research teams showing post-Chernobyl increases of between 20% and 330% in various countries as far apart as Belarus and the USA (Busby 2000; Gibson 1988; Ivanov 1998; Mangano 1997; Michaelis 1997; Petridou 1996 [8]).

This is a crucial challenge to conventional radiation risk estimates because only the Chernobyl fallout can have caused the disease in this very precisely defined subset of the population. The number of sick babies was small but they are in effect miners’ canaries, suggesting that radioactive discharges are contributing to the global epidemic of cancer. 
All the post-Chernobyl studies show between 150 and 800 times more leukaemia than expected. We argued in CERRIE that this was prima facie evidence against the external risk model. Our opponents set out to show it could be ignored. 

They argued that the statistical power of the individual studies was so low that no reliance could be placed on the overall observation. One strand of this argument depends on ignoring studies of Scotland and Wales where excess risks were high and statistically significant. 

The second strand began with using wrong data and ended in nonsense. The first draft of the CERRIE Majority Report said radiation doses in Germany were the same as in Greece. This had the effect of reducing the apparent significance of the German study and CERRIE concluded that 

… the only study to show a large discrepancy with the predictions of
external radiation risk estimates is the Greek … study.

However, we knew from UN monitoring that fallout in Greece was roughly four times higher than in Germany (Savchenko 1995). We told CERRIE’s Chairman that the stated doses were obviously wrong and the Majority Report was changed. As published, it contains the correct doses but, untenably, still concludes that only the Greek study is out of line with expectation. 
The third strand of the CERRIE case is an unsubstantiated slur on the quality of data collection in Greece. This was never discussed in Committee, but the Report’s implication is that the Greek study can therefore be ignored. 
The fourth concerns the study from Belarus, where fallout levels from Chernobyl were more than seven times higher than in Greece ‘though the increase in infant leukaemia was smaller than anywhere else in mainland Europe. The Majority Report says the Greek study (the only one supposed to be an anomaly) is 

... statistically inconsistent with … the study in Belarus where the highest
doses from Chernobyl contamination were received.

Statistically inconsistent with … is code, meaning that the observations challenge the dogma that dose and effect are always linear. We had consistently argued in CERRIE that there are good reasons why disease may not always show linear relationships with dose. Infant leukaemia is just one example. It starts in the womb, so babies carried by pregnant women in high fallout areas will suffer more damage than in low fallout areas. As a result more babies will be miscarried or stillborn or will die before leukaemia is diagnosed. A high fallout area will therefore inevitably have a lower incidence of leukaemia per unit dose than a low dose area and possibly an absolutely lower incidence as well, as in the case of Belarus. Thus we have further evidence of the invalidity of the ICRP linear risk model.
The Majority Report thus used a combination of wrong and selective data, innuendo and dependence on assumptions which CERRIE itself had been set up to test, to find that the increase in each country could have happened by chance, so the overall increase could have happened by chance. This ignores the classic scientific dictum of “instance confirmation”; that is, studies which consistently show a trend increase our confidence that the trend is real. The Chernobyl infants’ studies satisfy Professor Sir Austin Bradford Hill’s famous features of reliable epidemiological studies (Bradford Hill 1965: extracts in italics. This discussion of Bradford Hill was part of the CERRIE process — it was as near as CERRIE would get to discussing the philosophy of science, or How do you know what you know?):-

• “strength” (Is the observed increase in risk large enough, relative to unexposed people, to draw a firm inference about causation?

On this Bradford Hill cautions 

We must not be too ready to dismiss a cause-and-effect hypothesis merely on the grounds that the observed association appears to be slight.)
• “consistency” (Has it been repeatedly observed by different persons, in different places, circumstances and times?)

• “specificity” (Is there a specific association between the disease and the type of exposure?),

• “temporality” (Does the disease follow the exposure?)

• “plausibility” (Is the causation we suspect biologically plausible, bearing in mind that the association we observe may be one new to science or medicine and we must not dismiss it too light-heartedly as just too odd.)

• and “coherence” (Does the cause-and-effect interpretation of our data …. seriously conflict with the generally known facts of the natural history and biology of the disease?)

The Biological gradient criterion is not satisfied, but Bradford Hill envisages circumstances in which a linear dose response would not be seen, and I have already given good reason why infant leukaemia would not display one. As the CERRIE Minority Report’s appendix of studies from the Chernobyl affected territories of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine shows, many disease phenomena show non-linear relationships with dose.

Statistical significance, so crucial to CERRIE’s dismissal of the infant leukaemia, is of minor importance according to Bradford Hill. Nonetheless, we can amalgamate the statistical tests contained in the various studies. The Scottish, Greek and German studies combined, for example, have a p value of 0.00065, meaning that an event on this scale occupying a two year period would not happen by chance in more than two thousand lifetimes. Common sense says that if the events were truly random, at least some of the data points would have been below the dotted line. 


On this key issue the Majority Report shows a bizarre four-way split: 

In the judgement of a large majority of Committee members, it is
likely that radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl accident resulted
in an increased risk of infant leukaemia in the exposed populations.
A substantial fraction of members thinks that this increase is at the
level anticipated from current risk models. However, another
substantial fraction feels that these models may have underestimated
the level of this increased risk. Of this latter group, two members
further believe that the evidence for infant leukaemia suggests that
the current risk estimates are appreciably in error. The remainder of
the Committee believes that there exists relatively little evidence that
lends support to this view. There is a consensus within the
Committee that leukaemia incidence in infants post-Chernobyl
merits further study. [CERRIE Majority Report Chapter 4 para. 26]

The reasoning behind some of the views remains a mystery even to CERRIE members, since the Committee never went through an open process of identifying members’ opinions. One faction - its size is not stated - seems to think Chernobyl had no effect on how many babies got leukaemia. Most members thought it did have an effect, but were split three ways on how big it was; some thought all the data points could be interpreted as being in line with ICRP expectations, others thought the risks might have been higher, but the report doesn’t say how much higher, nor who thought so, nor why. Two members insisted that the various scientific papers unequivocally show radiation is at least 100 times and maybe up to 1000 times more dangerous than conventional estimates. The majority felt there was relatively little evidence of this.

The Committee’s remit required differences of opinion to be explained, but the Majority Report leaves the reader only to guess whether there were any scientific grounds for this wide divergence (as opposed to the obvious political motivations). The implications are huge, for if the risk factors are so grossly in error we have an explanation not only for the Seascale leukaemia cluster but for the global epidemic of cancer which started when the nuclear industry began to spread radioactive pollution around the planet. On this key issue, as on many others, the Majority Report completely fails to produce any reliable advice for policy makers. 

The Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment colluded with the cover-up. Professor Bryn Bridges, Chairman of COMARE, attended every meeting of CERRIE as an observer. Professor Eric Wright was a member of both CERRIE and COMARE and also sat on the COMARE sub-Committee shadowing CERRIE, so despite the opacity of CERRIE’s treatment of the infant leukaemia, COMARE was fully aware of its importance. However, its 9th Report, which advises ministers on CERRIE’s findings, contains not a word about it. Professor Bridges retired as Chair of COMARE at the end of 2004 but he defends his report against this criticism. In an email to LLRC he cites a paragraph which refers to the forthcoming European Childhood Leukaemia/ Lymphoma Incidence Study (ECLIS). This he says

will investigate trends in incidence rates of childhood leukaemia and
lymphoma in 20 European countries, in relation to [...] Chernobyl [...]
Such large studies are much more likely to produce firm results than
those proposed in the CERRIE report.

As ECLIS is unpublished it does not falsify studies published up to 18 years ago. CERRIE’s own study is part of the body of evidence which the Majority Report misrepresents.
Appendix 2

ECRR 2006 contains a vast amount of information on conditions that could be described as generalised ill-health. We summarise some of them here. The discussion commences: 

Since 1986, in the USSR, life expectancy has noticeably decreased.
On average, infant mortality has noticeably increased, as well as
death rates for those of advanced ages. There is no proof of a
direct connection between these parameters and the Chernobyl

The following list of conditions has been taken from Chapter 1 of ECRR 2006. The presence of a condition here indicates that the parameter has worsened since the accident and many of the studies report a dose dependent relationship [9]. 

  • Stillbirths, miscarriages, infant mortality, general mortality, cancer mortality, sudden deaths.
  • Thyroid cancer.
  • The 40 % increase in all malignancies between 1990 and 2000 correlates with radioactive fallout levels. The list of cancer sites includes retinoblastoma, lung, intestines, colon, kidneys, female breast, bladder, respiratory organs, nervous system, pancreas, all cancers in children.
  • Psychological diseases correlate with levels of radioactive pollution. There is a steep and continuing increase in diseases of the nervous system, e.g. congenital convulsive syndrome, brain circulation pathology, general neurological diseases, short-term memory loss, deterioration of attention function in school-children.
  • In adults there is growing evidence of a syndrome marked by deteriorating memory and motor skills, occurrence of convulsions, and pulsing headaches. This is caused by the destruction of brain cells and in the region has been dubbed Chernobyl
  • dementia.
  • In the Chernobyl territories cataracts have become a common disease.
  • Urogenital illnesses correlate with levels of radioactive pollution, and include interruption of pregnancy, gestosis, premature birth, inflammation of female genitals, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroma, menstrual irregularities, kidney infections, kidney stones, stones in urinary passages, infringements of sexual development, complications of pregnancy and births, failures of pregnancy, medical abortions, infertility, pathology of sperm, sclerocystosis, early impotence in men aged 25 - 30, structural changes of testiculus, spermatogenesis disturbances, lactation in 70- year old women, and delayed puberty as well as accelerated sexual development.
  • Diseases of the cardio-vascular system and blood are one of the most common consequences of the Chernobyl radioactive pollution:- anaemia, illnesses of the blood circulation system, arterial hypertensia or hypotensia, disturbances of heart rhythm and digestive systems, macrocitosis of lymphocytes, diseases of the blood and circulatory organs in adults, early atherosclerosis and ischemic heart disease, leucopenia, infringement of the blood supply in legs, changes in abundance and activity of leukocytes.
  • There is much evidence correlating fallout levels with endocrine/hormone diseases, e.g. incidence rate for Type 1 diabetes mellitus in Belarus. Similarly thyroid gland diseases (autoimmune thyroiditis, thyrotoxicosis, diabetes etc.). In 1993 more
  • than 40 % of the surveyed children in the Gomel area of Belarus had an enlarged thyroid gland. Experts think up to 1.5 million people in Belarus are at risk of pathology of the thyroid gland.
  • In some of the Chernobyl-polluted territories immune systems are compromised, with changes to cellular and humoral immunity, decreased maintenance Т- and В- lymphocytes, reduced resistance to infections and other diseases, raised frequency and expressiveness of tonsillitis, lymphadenopathies and lowered resistance to cancer.
  • In the radioactively polluted territories the typical consequence of infringement of the immune system appears as an immuno-deficiency. An increase in frequency and intensity of both acute and chronic diseases is observed everywhere in the Chernobyl polluted territories. Sometimes the weakening of the immune system in these radioactively polluted territories is referred to as Chernobyl AIDS.
  • There is accelerated ageing among the people in radioactively polluted territories in the Ukraine: their biological age exceeds their actual age by 7 - 9 years. In highly polluted territories in Belarus the mean age of men and women who died from heart attacks was 8 years younger than the average across Belarus.
  • The array of diseases commonly considered exclusive to the elderly is now typical for children in all of the heavily polluted territories. The immune system activity of these children is similar to the type of immune system activity experienced in old age. The pathology of the digestive system epithelium in children from the polluted areas of Belarus also shows similarities with elderly people.
  • There are many studies showing a wide range of chromosomal aberrations in the Chernobyl radioactively polluted areas. Examples:- higher frequency of chromosomal aberrations in somatic cells, lowered mitotic index in polluted districts, increased mutation rates in satellite DNA, chromosomal aberrations and satellite DNA mutations increased in children with thyroid cancer, chromosomal mutations de novo higher in polluted territories.
  • In the polluted territories, compared with clean ones, there is increasing morbidity by intestinal toxicosis, gastro-enteritis, dysbacteriosis, sepses, respiratory viruses, herpes infections, trichocephalisis, pneumocistis, cryptosporidosis, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection. Microsporia occur in the radioactively polluted territories of the Bryansk areas (Russia) more frequently and in a more virulent form.
  • There are increases in children’s general morbidity, and increases in rare illnesses in the Chernobyl polluted territories of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia;
  • It is clear that children in heavily radio-polluted territories really do suffer,
  • to a much greater degree, from a variety of diseases.
  • Practically all forms of studied nosology are more prevalent […] [there is] a
  • convincing picture of sharply worsening health in children from the polluted
  • territories.
  • Conditions listed under this heading are:- chronic gastritis, chronic duodenitis, chronic gastro-duodenitis, bilious dyskinesia, vegeto-vascular and cardiac syndrome, astheno-neurotic syndrome, chronic tonsillitis, caries, chronic periodontitis.
  • Total child morbidity in Ukraine increased by 2.9 times between 1986 and 2001, newborn morbidity in Belarus increases year-on-year at a rate of 9.5% with greatest increases in the most polluted Gomel area. The spectrum of children’s noncancer
  • illnesses in the polluted territories includes lowered birthweight in those irradiated in utero in Ukraine, reduced head circumference in newborns in the polluted territories of Ukraine and Belarus, infringements of the rate of physical development in those irradiated in utero, premature birth more common in the polluted territories of Belarus, delayed rate of growth in the radioactively polluted parts of Belarus.
  • Respiratory system diseases occurred everywhere in the polluted territories and tend to correlate with levels of radioactive pollution:- asphyxia was observed in half of the 345 surveyed newborns irradiated in utero in Ukraine 10. Other pathologies
  • were latent bronchospasm, bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic nasopharyngeal pathology, acute respiratory diseases.
  • Cardiovascular system diseases in children occurred more frequently in the polluted territories, including infringements of cardiac rhythm, infringements of vegetative regulation of cardiac activity, arterial hypertension, reduced numbers of В- and Т—lymphocytes, lymphopenia, brachycardia, lymphoid hyperplasia, haematological disease, heart conductivity, and reduced elasticity of arterial vessels even in apparently healthy children.
  • Dental diseases in children are more frequent in the Chernobyl radioactively polluted territories. The frequency of some dental diseases correlates with levels of radioactive pollution.
  • Congenital malformations. Increased rates of teratogenic effects all over Europe, with a dose dependent relationship found in a Bavarian study. It reports that in Europe there were also widespread increases in still birth, premature birth, low birth weight, Down's Syndrome, perinatal and neonatal deaths, and reduced birth rate. In Belarus, according to the Belarus National Genetic Monitoring Registry, there were post-Chernobyl increases in anencephaly, spina bifida, cleft lip, cleft palate, polydactyly, limb reduction, oesophageal atresia, anorectal atresia and multiple malformations. Many of the authors explicitly state that these phenomena are radiogenic. One, a researcher known for her caution, says only a third of congenital deformities of the face and jaw could be attributed to radiation. But it is a third, and those which are so attributed are said to be anomalously severe.
  • The proportion of children with impaired intellectual development is consistently greater in polluted areas. Irradiated children have not kept pace with other children. Disorders of intellectual development in children irradiated in utero in the polluted territories
  1. are described as

the most tragic consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe’s impact on health.

The ECRR 2006 book has an entire chapter on the topic. Its author observes that the official French agency IRSN has recognised that the Central Nervous System is radiosensitive. Children irradiated in utero whose mothers had been evacuated or who lived in a zone contaminated with between 5 and 40 Ci/km2, suffered a greater frequency of neurotic disorders, CNS pathology and delay of mental development, compared with children in the less polluted areas of Belarus. The depression of intellectual development was massively greater in the irradiated group than in the controls; pathologies include neurotic disorders, asthenic syndrome, vegetative dystonia, CNS organic pathology, delayed mental development, EEG pathology, delayed development of speech, lowered psycho-emotional development, low IQ indices, deviations in mental development, memory impairment, immaturity for school, organic pathology of the brain, decreased and delayed psychomotor development, epilepsy and epilepsy-related conditions, and schizophrenia.

Overview of health in Lugyny district

Here are some health statistics for one remote Ukrainian administrative district from the Zhytomir area – Lugyny district, which is not one of the most contaminated regions. Comparison is made between two years just before the accident (1984 – 1985) and 1995 - 1996, ten years after. All the medical information for this study was collected by the same people in the Central Hospital before and after the catastrophe, using the same equipment and the same protocols.

The proportion of detected tuberculoses which were of a very aggressive type doubled. Endocrine pathology in children increased 10-fold. Goitres were not registered before the accident but ten years later were found in 12 or 13 children per 1000. Neonatal morbidity increased between 4 and 13-fold. Total mortality increased from 10.9 per 1000 to 15.5. Life expectancy declined from 75 years to 65.
Life-expectancy remaining to a patient in Lugyny District after being diagnosed with lung or stomach cancer shrank from 38 – 62 months before the accident to 2 – 7 months afterwards. The CERRIE Minority Report (p. 126) observes that this reduction in life expectancy runs counter to the view that increased incidence of cancer since the Chernobyl accident has been an artefact caused by increased vigilance and hence better ascertainment. Better ascertainment ought to mean earlier detection and hence more effective treatment and a better prognosis. In the Lugyny overview we see a dramatically worse prognosis — after a lung or stomach cancer diagnosis the average patient now survives for only 4½ months, instead of between 3 and 5 years before Chernobyl. Only four explanations are readily apparent: 

  • doctors are not looking for cancer as assiduously as before Chernobyl, so they
  • detect it very late in its course;
  • treatment resources are much reduced;
  • cancer patients fear that their cancer was caused by radiation;
  • the post-Chernobyl cancers are of a more aggressive type.
The first of these is contrary to the general pattern. The second is possible and should be investigated. The third is, to put it mildly, contentious. The fourth is consistent with many observations in the region including non-cancer diseases.

Low Level Radiation Campaign,
Richard Bramhall, 

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15th September 2006 

[1] 2003 Recommendations of the ECRR The Health Effects of Ionising Radiation Exposure at Low Doses and Low Dose Rates for Radiation Protection Purposes: Regulators’ Edition Edited by ChrisBusby with Rosalie Bertell, Inge Schmitz-Feuerhake, Molly Scott Cato and Alexei Yablokov. Published on Behalf of the European Committee on Radiation Risk Comité Européen sur le Risque del’Irradiation, Brussels by Green Audit, 2003. ISBN: 1 897761 24 4

[2] DRPH/2005-20: Health consequences of chronic internal contamination by radionuclides. Comments on the ECRR report “The health effects of ionising radiation exposure at low doses for radiation protection purposes” and IRSN recommendations.

[3] 2005 Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection

[4] Minority Report of the UK Department of Health / Department of Environment (DEFRA) Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters (CERRIE); Sosiumi Press Aberystwyth. ISBN 0- 9543081-1-5

[5] ECRR Chernobyl 20 Years On: Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident. European Committee on Radiation Risk Documents of the ECRR 2006 No1 Edited by C.C.Busby and A.V. Yablokov Published on behalf of the European Committee on Radiation Risk Comité Européen sur le Risque de l’Irradiation, Brussels by Green Audit, 2006. ISBN: 1-897761-25-2

[6] CERRIE Minority Report Technical Annex 2

[7] Table 7.1 of Annexe A

[8] For references to this section see Radioactive Times Vol 6 No 1 on

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