Physics:Radiation and Public Health Project

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Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP) is a nonprofit educational and scientific organization founded in 1985 by Jay M. Gould, a statistician and epidemiologist,[1][2] Benjamin A. Goldman, and Ernest Sternglass.[3] The "shoestring organization" with "offices mainly on [Joseph J. Mangano's] kitchen table"[2] was established to examine the relationships between low-level nuclear radiation and public health and question the safety of nuclear power.[2]

According to a 2003 article in The New York Times , the group's work has been controversial, and had little credibility with the scientific establishment.[2] Similarly the work of the RPHP has been criticized by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission:[4] "Numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies do not support the RPHP's claims. NRC finds there is little or no credibility in the RHP's studies". In an April 2014 article in Popular Science, Sarah Epstein referred to the group's work as "junk science" and disputed the group's peer-reviewed publications as being insufficiently evaluated.[5]

Baby teeth

A set of 85,000 teeth that had been collected by Dr. Louise Reiss and her colleagues as part of the Baby Tooth Survey were uncovered in 2001 and given to the Radiation and Public Health Project. By tracking the individuals who had participated in the tooth-collection project, the RPHP published results in a 2010 issue of the International Journal of Health Service that claimed that those children who later died of cancer before the age of 50 had levels of strontium-90 (90Sr) in their stored baby teeth that was twice the level of those who were still alive at 50.[6][7] This paper was criticized by Stephen Musolino, a health physicist and specialist in radiation protection at Brookhaven National Laboratory, as it "confuses correlation with causation" and in their opinion the authors of the paper are "ice-cream epidemiologists".[8]

The National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Nuclear Regulatory Commission and nuclear industry groups responded with statements that the study was flawed.[9] The groups stated that the study suffered from small sample sizes; no control populations; no other cancer risk factors considered; no environmental sampling and analysis; cherry picking of data to fit the conclusion; and an incorrect half-life used for strontium-90. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not changed its opinion that there is no excess cancer risk from living near nuclear facilities.[4]

Leukemia study

This study was published in a 2008 issue of the European Journal of Cancer Care.[10] It disputes a large scale analysis conducted by the National Cancer Institute in the late 1980s.[11] Mangano and Sherman's study found that leukemia death rates in U.S. children near nuclear reactors rose sharply (vs. the national trend) in the past two decades. The greatest mortality increases occurred near the oldest nuclear plants, while declines were observed near plants that closed permanently in the 1980s and 1990s.[11]

Other studies in the US and UK have shown decreases in cancer incidence in the vicinity of nuclear power plants after they have started operating.[12][13]


After the Fukushima disaster, Mangano and Sherman published several articles claiming detrimental health effects in America caused by fallout from Japan:

In a June 2011 article in CounterPunch, they claimed a 35% increase in infant mortality on the West coast of the United States in the 10 weeks after the disaster, vs the 4 weeks prior. Michael Moyer of Scientific American stated that their claims are "critically flawed—if not deliberate mistruths", pointing out that this increase only appears when choosing these specific time periods, and there is no trend in the overall numbers for the year.[14]

In January 2012, they claimed that fallout from Fukushima resulted in 13,983 excess deaths in the United States in the 14 weeks following the disaster.[15] This study was criticized for including different numbers of cities in the "before" and "after" categories,[16] for cities with more fallout being reported as having fewer deaths,[17] and for there being no plausible mechanism by which very small amounts of radiation could result in immediate death.[18][19]

In a March 2013 article, published in the Open Journal of Pedriatrics, they claimed a 16% increase in cases of congenital hypothyroidism (CH) in 5 US states in the 10 months following the disaster. This study was criticized for again creating a "trend" out of random statistical variation[20][21] and using incorrect definitions of CH based only on TSH scores.[22] The publisher of the journal the paper appeared in, Scientific Research Publishing, has been accused of being a predatory open access publisher.[23]

Jannet Sherman died in 2019 of combination of dementia and Addison’s disease.[24]

See also


  1. O'Connor, Anahad (2005-09-19). "Jay M. Gould Dies at 90; Warned of A-Plant Risks" (in en-US). The New York Times. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Newman, Andy (2003-11-11). "In Baby Teeth, a Test of Fallout; A Long-Shot Search for Nuclear Peril in Molars and Cuspids". The New York Times. 
  3. "About RPHP". RPHP. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Backgrounder on Radiation Protection and the "Tooth Fairy" Issue". U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 2010-02-17. 
  5. Sarah Epstein (2014-04-08). "What Can We Do About Junk Science". Popular Science. 
  6. Hevesi, Dennis. "Dr. Louise Reiss, Who Helped Ban Atomic Testing, Dies at 90", The New York Times , January 10, 2011. Accessed January 10, 2011.
  7. Wald, Matthew L. "Study of Baby Teeth Sees Radiation Effects", The New York Times , December 13, 2010. Accessed January 10, 2011.
  8. Decades later, Baby Tooth Survey legacy lives on By JEFFREY TOMICH Aug 1, 2013. St.Louis Post-Dispatch
  9. "Peer-Reviewed Science on Radiation Health Effects Dispels 'Tooth Fairy Project'". Nuclear Energy Institute. July 2006. 
  10. Mangano, Joseph; Sherman, Janette D. (July 2008). "Childhood leukaemia near nuclear installations". European Journal of Cancer Care 17 (4): 416–418. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2354.2008.00948.x. PMID 18503565. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Child Leukemia Rates Increase Near U.S. Nuclear Power Plants". The Salem News. May 18, 2009. 
  12. Forman, David; Cook-Mozaffari, Paula; Darby, Sarah; Davey, Gwyneth; Stratton, Irene; Doll, Richard; Pike, Malcolm (1987-10-08). "Cancer near nuclear installations" (in en). Nature 329 (6139): 499–505. doi:10.1038/329499a0. PMID 3657974. Bibcode1987Natur.329..499F. "On the contrary, the mortality from cancer has tended to be lower in the LAAs in the vicinity of nuclear installations than in control LAAs selected for their presumed comparability with the former.". 
  13. Jablon S; Hrubec Z; Boice JD; Jr (1991-03-20). "Cancer in populations living near nuclear facilities: A survey of mortality nationwide and incidence in two states". JAMA 265 (11): 1403–1408. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460110069026. ISSN 0098-7484. PMID 1999880. "In the combined data for all facilities, the RR of mortality from childhood leukaemia after plant start-up was 1.03, while before start-up it was larger, 1.08. For leukemia mortality at all ages, the RRs were 0.98 after start-up and 1.02 before.". 
  14. Moyer, Michael. "Are Babies Dying in the Pacific Northwest Due to Fukushima? A Look at the Numbers". "While it certainly is true that there were fewer deaths in the four weeks leading up to Fukushima (in green) than there have been in the 10 weeks following (in red), the entire year has seen no overall trend. ... Only by explicitly excluding data from January and February were Sherman and Mangano able to froth up their specious statistical scaremongering." 
  15. Mangano, Joseph J.; Sherman, Janette D. (2012-01-01). "An unexpected mortality increase in the United States follows arrival of the radioactive plume from Fukushima: is there a correlation?". International Journal of Health Services: Planning, Administration, Evaluation 42 (1): 47–64. doi:10.2190/hs.42.1.f. ISSN 0020-7314. PMID 22403909. 
  16. Körblein, Alfred (2012-01-01). "Response to "An unexpected mortality increase in the United States follows arrival of the radioactive plume from Fukushima: is there a correlation"?". International Journal of Health Services: Planning, Administration, Evaluation 42 (3): 553–555; discussion 561–570. doi:10.2190/HS.42.3.k. ISSN 0020-7314. PMID 22993969. "The reason for the observed increase is that the data before and after Fukushima differ. ... A trend analysis of weekly infant deaths using official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data ... yields no significant increase of infant deaths". 
  17. Wolf, Alex (2012-01-01). "Response to "An unexpected mortality increase in the United States follows arrival of the radioactive plume from Fukushima: is there a correlation"?". International Journal of Health Services: Planning, Administration, Evaluation 42 (3): 549–551; discussion 561–570. doi:10.2190/hs.42.3.j. ISSN 0020-7314. PMID 22993968. "This suggests that cities with larger fallout exposures were better off and runs completely contradictory to the suggested conclusion of this paper.". 
  18. Gale, Robert Peter (2012-01-01). "Response to "An unexpected mortality increase in the United States follows arrival of the radioactive plume from Fukushima: is there a correlation"?". International Journal of Health Services: Planning, Administration, Evaluation 42 (3): 557–559; discussion 561–570. doi:10.2190/hs.42.3.l. ISSN 0020-7314. PMID 22993970. "There is no known mechanism by which exposure to the extremely low doses of ionizing radiations received by Americans from Fukushima and Chernobyl can cause immediate deaths. ... At Fukushima, there have been no radiation-related deaths in emergency or recovery personnel exposed to doses thousands of times higher.". 
  19. Moyer, Michael. "Researchers Trumpet Another Flawed Fukushima Death Study". "The analysis assumes that the plume arrived on U.S. shores, spread everywhere, instantly, and started killing people immediately. It assumes that the "excess" deaths after March 20 are a real signal, not just a statistical aberration, and that every one of them is due to Fukushima radiation." 
  20. Hiranuma, D.O., Yuri (2014-04-16). "A letter to the editor of Open Journal of Pediatrics". "the study by Mangano, Sherman and Busby has critical flaws: ... claiming that the CH increase in 2011 was statistically significant, whereas the plotting of the number of actual clinically confirmed cases from 2009 to 2012 clearly shows no significant increase." 
  21. ""Universe is Like Space Ship" and the problem with "predatory" science journals" (in en-US). 2015-05-17. "What the paper doesn’t tell is that 2011 was a pretty normal year, statistically speaking. In fact, 2010 was unusual because it had so few births with thyroid problems, and 2011 was much like the years before Fukushima." 
  22. Goddard, Ian (2014-04-24), Fukushima Health Effects in North America?,, retrieved 2016-05-18 
  23. Beall, Jeffrey (April 2012). "Five Scholarly Open Access Publishers". The Charleston Advisor 13 (4): 5–10. doi:10.5260/chara.13.4.5. 
  24. Seelye, Katharine Q. (29 November 2019). "Dr. Janette Sherman, 89, Early Force in Environmental Science, Dies". The New York Times.