Oct 26, 2017

EPA Raises Radiation Limits For Emergency Responders

FORBES - Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set new radiation guidelines that raise the acceptable limits on the radiation dose that can be tolerated by first responders and emergency personnel in the case of a nuclear incident, radspill, terrorist attack like a dirty bomb, or any other radiological emergency.

'According to radiation safety experts, radiation exposures of 5-10 rem (5,000-10,000 mrem or 50-100 mSv) usually result in no harmful health effects, because radiation below these levels is a minor contributor to our overall cancer risk,' EPA said in the document. Present limits are 0.5 rem or less depending on the situation.

....These EPA changes raise the radiation limits that emergency personnel can take, making them less fearful of responding to an event, which will make this weapon less effective, and will make any radiological incident less deadly. The change was included as part of EPA guidance on messaging and communications in the event of a nuclear power plant meltdown or a dirty bomb attack. The September 2017 FAQ document, is part of a broader planning document for nuclear emergencies, but is not a federal standard or a law.

Unless you, the reader, are in a boat out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you're getting a radiation dose between 0.2 and 1 rem/year (0.002 and 0.01 Sv) in the United States, just from background sources such as rock, dirt, potatoes and cosmic rays (EPA Rad Limits). Some places in the world have background doses ten times higher than we do, without any differences in cancer rates.

There have never been any observable health effects from doses less than 10 rem (0.1 Sv). Ever. Anywhere.

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, exposure limits are set at 4 millirem (or mrem) a year, and federal standards for hazardous air pollutants limits radiation exposure to 10 mrem a year. Federal regulations limit exposure for living near a nuclear power plant to 25 mrem a year. These limits are between 10 and 100 times below background radiation levels in the United States, 1000 times below background radiation levels in than many areas of the world.

...Our ultralow limits have cost the United States close to a trillion dollars, and will cost us a lot more in the years to come (Low-Level rad SummitAtomic InsightsReason.com). This latest step by the EPA is also driven by none other than the Government Accounting Office. More and more reports indicate that the forced evacuation in Fukushima was not necessary (Fukushima 2.25). The panicked Japanese authorities were following our American policy (As Low As Reasonably Achievable, or ALARA) that has always been misinterpreted to mean any and all radiation is dangerous no matter what level.

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