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You have made this point before, and it is correct. One of the problems with this is that there isn't a single measure that captures the risks from radiation exposure.

The health effects of radiation depend on the kind of radiation (alpha, beta, gamma), its energy (kinetic), its intensity (time rate of emission), and the tissue affected. And then different kinds of tissues respond differently.

The way "effective dose" is defined is reminiscent of Drake's formula where, just because you have separated a factor (tissue sensitivity) and given it a multiplicative weight doesn't make the method "scientific". It also doesn't make it "unscientific", may be just cargo cult science.

In any case, the evil IAEA and WHO already incorporate the risk from radiation inside the body in their assessments. Otherwise, nobody would care much about plutonium contamination, since for all intents and purposes the health effects of plutonium come from ingested/inhaled plutonium, not from its contribution to "background radiation". None of this is controversial:

Plutonium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Isotopes and compounds of plutonium are radioactive poisons that accumulate in bone marrow. ...

...

Even though alpha radiation does not penetrate the skin, it does irradiate internal organs if plutonium is inhaled or ingested.[33] The skeleton, where plutonium is absorbed by the bone surface, and the liver, where it collects and becomes concentrated, are at risk. ...

and making it sound like one side or the other of a debate is ignoring such things is less than helpful.

Maybe the "really scientific" way to give the data is to break it down by isotope, but then what does it mean?

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 4th, 2011 at 05:41:57 AM EST
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