Background for the writings below

Next to religion, little has been discussed with so many preconceptions as radiation hormesis. (The claim of benefits from moderate exposure to radiation)

In most evaluations of danger of exposure to (manmade) radiation, it is taken for granted that the Linear, No Threshold assumption should be used. ( LNT or “No matter how little – it is dangerous”)

However, this assumption is only based upon extrapolation of knowledge related to danger from doses of radiation considerably higher than the usual exposure to radiation, as referred to in the following.

In the meantime too much available evidence points in the other direction.

The following does not include any new findings, but is an attempt to give something like a review of the most important writings found, mainly on the internet.

The validity of the many claims, can somehow be established by noting that even after a prolonged search on the internet and following debates on internet-media, there has not been found any FACTURAL reservations.

If you have any comments, reservations or suggestions: Please write to me on

Hormesis in general

It is well known that: ‘The doze makes the poison’.

But also: In many countries fluorine is added to toothpaste.
However, in some locations, as in East Africa, the quantities make it into a harmful pollution to otherwise clean drinking water.
Similarly, moderate sunbathing is beneficial, but too much will be harmful.

Most Telling Findings

T. D. Luckey

T. D. Luckey, who may be regarded as ‘the grand old man’, has dedicated his research to radiation hormesis. In this paper there are references to an enormous amount of research.
Radon and Cancer Some of the most important findings may be:

  • Negative correlation between cancer and exposure to Radon in USA.
  • Health and reproduction of animals improved markedly by radiation.
  • Therapeutic use of Radon in USSR.
  • Studies of workers in the nuclear industry.

The Taipei incident

Many references have been made to the Taipei incident, where approximately 10,000 people were accidentally exposed to doses of radiation well above what usually is regarded as acceptable.

The findings include:

  • Cancer deaths only 3 % of what could expected, if LNT is used.
  • Congenital malformations (defects present at birth) only 7 % of expected.
  • Initial decrease in cancer rates among the exposed population.

Taipai Cancer Although the age of the exposed population is less than for the control, the initial drop in cancer rate eliminates the immediate objection assuming “The Healthy Workers”.
Wikipedia gives a more restrained picture.
Still I dare to say that:
The natural conclusion will be that these findings can only be dismissed if assuming forgery.


The Rasmar case, as commented on below, originally puzzled the scientific community, and gave name to the term “The Rasmar Paradox”.

Areas with high natural background radiation

Most noted is the area around Rasmar in Pakistan where a relative little population has lived for generations, exposed to very high levels of radiation from radon. However there has not been reported ill health.

Several other locations have similar, but smaller exposure:

  • Guarapari (Brazil)
  • Cumuruxatiba (Brazil)
  • Kerala (India)
  • Karunagappall (India)
  • Arkaroola (South Australia)
  • Yangjiang (China)
  • Black Beach (Brazil – uninhabited)

Here it has been difficult to find conclusions from data available.

Further it can be noted, that People living in Colorado and Wyoming have twice the annual dose of radiation as those in Los Angeles, but have lower cancer rates. However, there may be other reasons.

Nuclear bomb survivors.

Some, slightly conflicting, information is available:
From World Nuclear: (Click for the appendix)

Radiation - Cancer World Nuclear
Among survives exposed to about 20 mSv, 92 people per million developed leukaemia, (ii) compared to the control group, where 273 people per million developed leukaemia. (i)
For those exposed to higher levels of radiation (op to 500 mSv), 398 people per million developed leukaemia.
(iii and iv)
Among those receiving a near fatal dose (about 5000 mSv), more than 5000 people per million developed leukaemia. (v) 

The green line refers to the LNT-hypothesis. This line would have been a straight line if the scale used had not been logarithmic.

The same page gives references to relevant literature and a general overview of existing knowledge related to radiation.

from The Lancet

A very comprehensive survey by John B Cologne and Dale L Preston has been published in The Lancet Volume 356 – June 22, 2000

Here the following is concluded:

  • Indications of radiation hormesis are so insubstantial that conclusions cannot be drawn.
  • Nothing is written about chronic radiation sicknesses or congenital malformations.
  • There are indications for a threshold in such a way, that exposure below 500 mSv has not resulted in damages in form of shorter life expectation. (500 mSv is some 100 times what is usually allowed in the nuclear industry)
  • The relatively few survivors exposed to 3500 mSv, which is about the threshold for death from acute radiation sickness, had a statistical life shortening of 2.6 years.

Nuclear accidents.

Chernobyl (1986)

After the accident there were so many conflicting “findings” that a conclusion could not be drawn.

In 2006 BBC published a paper titled Chernobyl’s ‘nuclear nightmares’. Here experience from Chernobyl and Hiroshima was analyzed and it was showed that the nightmares and the LNT-hypothesis could not be sustained.
However, it was not enough to change the public mis-understandings.

Some “new” findings, and especially the comments, found in The Guardian (2015) give a good picture of the lack of public acceptance.
Even Der Spiegel starts to ask: Is Radiation As Bad As We Thought?

Fukushima (2011)

A very comprehensive paper by John E. Ten Hoevea and Mark Z. Jacobson: Worldwide health effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, has been published by The Royal Society of Chemistry 2012, in the section Energy & Environmental Science
(Cite: DOI: 10.1039/c2ee22019a)

In connection with a general analysis of risks from nuclear accidents, the following conclusion is found:
“The prolonged mandatory evacuation caused more deaths (from fatigue or aggravation of chronic illness), than deaths from radiation, saved by the evacuation.”
It is stressed, that the LNT hypothesis has been used although a more accurate assumption would have yielded much more telling results.
Also here, nothing is written about chronic radiation sickness or congenital malformations.

The Radium Girls

Around year 1910 radium was introduced for self-illuminating paint.

Some 4,000 girls worked with the radium, many became sick and an unknown number died.

The studies described on and show the incredible neglect of human health, but also how lowering the exposure eliminated the risk.

My own conclusions

More research

From several years at different universities, I have learned the following, which I present in a rather negative form.

  • Research, write or die. – Just write something about something, and get promoted.
  • The quality of most papers found, reflects the above.

In relation to radiation hormesis, it has been brought forward, that we should “just wait” for the result of a planned research related to animals living under extremely low levels of radiation.

Short term exposure contra long term exposure

It is well known, that it will be harmful to take your yearly intake of vitamins in one dose.
It is my opinion that, when dealing with radiation hormesis, too little attention has been given to the similar.

Sins from the past

Health of people has often been grossly neglected and important facts have been hidden in search of economic gains. Most notably will probably be:

  • Health risks related to use of tobacco.
  • Risk of lung cancer and other diseases related to use of asbestos.

In this way, it is easy to understand how there is a lot of doubt about the validity of the findings, of which the above are only a minor part.

Almost hopeless discussions

When trying to get a meaningful discussion about the evacuations after the Fukushima accident the following should have been brought forward:

  • It would be irresponsible to send people back to an area, which may be dangerous.
  • It would also be irresponsible to keep people as refugees from their homes, if it is not necessary.
  • It is even much more irresponsible that the scientific community do not make a detailed research in the matter and find the through, even if it would result in some authorities have to swallow the bitter pill and accept unpleasant findings.

Instead of considering something like this, everything tends to end up in a meaningless exchange of undocumented postulation.


What should be done

It is my belief, that we do not need more of the usual research. My opinion is that we need an open and independent evaluation of existing knowledge.

It should be possible to:

  • Find qualified person(s), who can make a sort of bridge between the two different extreme: The almost fundamentality based opinions “for” and “against”.
  • Evaluate existing findings, including at least two books, and almost force the extreme parties to a sort of a consensus.
  • If thereafter approved, agree and arrange for tests using unquestionably informed volunteers participating in a well-documented investigation into the effect of different doses of radiation.

(It should be noted that now, as well as long before radon and radioactivity was known, health seekers are frequenting locations, where they receive “radon-treatment” for all types of illnesses)

Thorkil Søe


If you are interested in more, I have written quite a lot. Mainly about the many falsified pieces of “information” related to imaginated risk in relation to nuclear power and radiation.

On a post from The Energy Collective you can find an interesting discussion titled Radiation and Reason.

  • Radon and more.
    Here the “more” is about the ridiculous claims related to pollution of the ocean after the nuclear accidents at Fukushima.
  • Greenpeace and nuclear.
    Here I show that Greenpeace’s Credibility is a Myth. At least when it comes to “information” about Nuclear Energy.
  • No harm to next generation.
    It came as a surprise to me and it will probably come as a surprise to many that there has not been any kind of genetic damage to the descendants of persons who have been exposed to even very high levels of ionizing radiation.
  • Måske kommer der noget
    Alzheimers disease!

May be we can open our eyes

A long paper from Der Spiegel (April 26, 2016) indicates that several researchers try to investigate seriously.
From Atomic Inssights 2017 Augost