The Environmental Protection Agency has recruited controversial scientists to argue that just a little bit of radiation may actually be good for public health, in an attempt to relax standards on radiation levels that the administration considers burdensome.
The Associated Press reports that at a congressional hearing Wednesday to discuss the proposed rollback of standards, the EPA’s lead witness will be University of Massachusetts toxicologist Edward Calabrese, who believes that increased exposure to small amounts of radiation “would have a positive effect on human health as well as save billions and billions and billions of dollars.” Calabrese argues that radiation can act as a stressor, which will activate the body’s repair mechanisms. But other scientists have refuted the EPA’s argument, noting that Calabrese’s reasoning has been “generally dismissed by the great bulk of scientists.” The proposal has also concerned advocates for worker safety, who fear that relaxing standards will jeopardize the health of nuclear-plant workers, X-ray technicians, and anyone else unlucky enough to come into contact with radiation. “There’s no reason not to protect people as much as possible,” said the wife of a man who works at a nuclear-weapons plant. Read more.