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Key studies used to support cancer risk assessment questioned

Authors

  • Edward J. Calabrese

    Corresponding author
    1. Environmental Health Sciences Division, Department of Public Health, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts
    • Environmental Health Sciences Division Department of Public Health, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
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  • The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute for governmental purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation thereon. The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsement, either expressed or implied, of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research or the U.S. Government.

Abstract

This paper reassessed studies conducted under the leadership of Drosophila geneticist Curt Stern which played a pivotal role in the acceptance of the linear dose-response model by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation (BEAR) I Committee and the subsequent generalization of their recommendations on the linearity dose-response paradigm for ionizing radiation and chemically induced cancer. The analysis finds serious concerns and flaws in important aspects of these experiments, their assessment, and interpretation. Of particular concern was the failure of Stern's group to provide the necessary and promised experimental documentation to support the findings of three critical summarized experiments published as a brief technical note in Science. While this analysis questions the validity of the reported findings and their interpretations, it raises an even more serious concern about the process by which leaders in the radiation genetics community accepted such findings without requiring the necessary documentation and then used this information to support the acceptance of the linear dose-response in public policy matters as affected by risk assessment practices that have continued to the present. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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