How to Support Our Troops, pt. 8

Here’s an excerpt  from Sister Rosalie Bertell’s book  No Immediate Danger: Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth, pages 173-174.  (Dr. Bertell has advanced degrees in math, physics, chemistry, biology and biochemistry, and led the International Medical Commission (IMC) investigations into Chernobyl and Union Carbides Bhopal disaster.)  

“Membership of the ICRP is highly selective  and controlled.  Prospective members must be recommended either by current ICRP members or by members of the International Congress of Radiology and then approved by the ICRP International Executive Committee.  Through this structure, participation in [radiation exposure] standard setting has been dominated by colleagues from the military, the civilian nuclear establishment and the medical radiological societies who nominate one another.  Participation of physicians in the ICRP is limited to medical radiologists. People in all these categories have a vested interest in the use of radiation and depreciation of the risks in its use. There is an added problem of military secrecy in many countries, including the USA, about radiation health effects, since these are the results of a nuclear bomb.  This again limits the pool of ‘experts’ available to ICRP. There is no independent body, even the World Health Organization, which can place a person on the ICRP. It is, in every sense of the term, a closed club and not a body of independent scientific experts.  

“ICRP would have benefitted from broader medical and scientific disciplinary representation (paediatricians, internists, cell biologists, and so on) and by including within its structure those physicians and scientists whose research and statements have challenged their philosophy and/or recommendations. Epidemiologists, biostatisticians and public health specialists, i.e. those who could provide an audit of ICRP predictions, are excluded from membership.  The ICRP should be comprised of people elected from various other related organizations, rather than being as it now is [Bertell’s book was published in 1985], a self-perpetuating group of users of radiation. 

“In its functioning since 1950, the ICRP has never taken a public position in favour of protecting public health in any of the controversial radiation-related problems encountered: it has not taken a stand against above-ground nuclear weapon testing; it has not condemned radiation experiments on humans (prisoners, military personnel and terminally ill patients); it has not called for a reduction of exposure of uranium miners to radon gas by increasing mine ventilation; it has not called for a reduction of medical uses of radiation for diagnostic purposes; it has not called for a reduction of exposure levels for nuclear workers as experience and research showed that their danger had been underestimated; it has not taken a position against the nuclear industry practice of allowing transient workers in the high-risk radiation exposure category to move from job to job without adequate control of cumulative exposures.

“The hydrogen bomb which exploded on 1 March 1954 on Bikini Atoll escalated the nuclear weapon race and marked a definitive commitment in the Western world to ‘peace’ through military strength, regardless of the cost in personal suffering and destruction of the life-support system. . . .  ICRP became part of the elaborate structure built to support the nuclear arms race, even if some of its members failed to realize this.” 

These are the scientists who tell WHO what to believe about Depleted Uranium.

About Deanne E. Gwinn

Writer: screenplays, fiction, poetry
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