The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Cindy Folkers, Radiation and Health Hazard Specialist, Beyond Nuclear, 240-354-4314

Trump's EPA Set to Harm Women and Children by Allowing More Radiation Exposure


Research continues to show that radiation at low doses casues harm. Women, children and pregnancy are particularly at risk. This increased risk also shows up in nuclear workers, even at low doses.

For decades, federal agencies, including the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have advocated a damage model that recognizes, as does the vast majority of independent science, that all doses of radiation carry a health risk. Now the EPA is trying to reverse its previous position.

The EPA is appearing today before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management and Regulatory Oversight. This is the first committee hearing on EPA's proposed rule on transparency, issued in May 2018, which received extensive public comment. The agency will ask for the current "acceptable" radiation exposure standards to be weakened.

"Trump's EPA is attempting to convince the committee that allowing more radiation will not be harmful by presenting long-rejected theories as mainstream," said Cindy Folkers, Radiation and Health Hazard Specialist at Beyond Nuclear. "The agency is ignoring scientific evidence by instead claiming a little radiation is good for you. This is clearly an attempt to save industry money at the expense of women and children's health," Folkers said.
Radiation exposure harms women and children disproportionately compared to men. Adult women suffer 50% more harm, and female children suffer nearly 10 times more harm when exposed to radioactivity than the adult males on which US protection standards are based.
"Current standards are already not protective enough of women and children, nor is their susceptibility accounted for in the public health costs," Folkers continued. "If the EPA allows even greater exposure, the costs to society could be very high. Some radiation impacts, like impaired neural development, are subtle, sub-clinical, but detrimental none-the-less." Folkers said.
Research also shows that radiation negatively impacts estrogenic pathways in the body and that children living in areas of Europe contaminated by Chernobyl cesium suffered elevated rates of childhood cancers and impaired neural development. The radiation levels these children experienced were well below the levels industry claims is safe. These studies examined actual health data from children.
"A large proportion of the studies used to claim that low doses of radiation are good for you are based on plant and bacteria studies," said Folkers. "But children are not bacteria, so studies based on child data should certainly take precedence. This is why Beyond Nuclear submitted extensive and exhaustively researched comments to the EPA on this Transparency Rulemaking."

Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic.

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