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Decontamination exerciseKudarauskas’ confirmation of his quotes and refusal to clarify what he meant do not inspire confidence that he meant anything other than he said. Despite assurances of an approved interview, EPA instead sent EnviroReporter.com an email with no subject line and a hastily composed blow-off. EPA has no time for prying questions, especially ones that pertain to the actual arithmetic of discombobulating complex radiation regulations.

TOXIC REGULATIONS

The EPA’s draft PAG is a hot tale told in cold radionuclide names and numbers. No amount of Byzantine sleights of hand in the draft EPA PAG’s footnotes can obscure the stark reality of the literal heights of the new radiation limits. Or the misery they would cause.

The worst radioactive isotopes prevalent in a radiological disaster, including Cesium-137, Strontium-90 and Plutonium-239, would be allowed at levels so high that in one EPA radiation scenario, exposure would lead to a 100 percent chance of getting a fatal cancer, eight times over. Food radiation limits would be loosened so much that one in fifty people could contract the terminal disease.

Cesium-137 and Strontium-90, two virulent radionuclides that cause blood and bone cancers including leukemia, reaches new limits literally. Cs-137 is now considered safe at 270 times its previous cutoff level. Sr-90 comes in at 676 times what is the maximum level considered safe to drink.

The report creates different “alternatives” or environmental situations such as early, mid and late nuclear disaster scenarios. This results in different new rad limits on isotopes. In EPA PAG Alternative II for Strontium-90 in drinking water, the 246 Becquerels per liter (Bq/l) new limit is 7,022 times EPA’s PRG. At 50 Bq/l Plutonium-239 is now over 3,447 times its own PRG as determined by the agency that made both.

According to environmental and public health advocates, the NRCP, which created the guidelines that EPA will adopt, is “an organization dominated by industry and government interests” and so doesn’t seem to mind sending folks back to their farms, homes and offices to work and live in a radiologically contaminated environment with concentrations of deadly isotopes skyrocketing as high as tens of millions of times the PRGs.

This would happen without cleanup undertaken. Who needs to clean up when it’s still within the new PAG benchmarks that dictate no cleanup necessary if the public is dosed with less than 1 rem per year? That small sounding number could seem reasonable until one realizes that it is the equivalent of each individual exposed getting 15,000 chest X-rays over a thirty year period.

In fact, the DHS PAG which the EPA version incorporates doesn’t require cleanup until 10 rem a year is reached which is 150,000 chest X-rays in the same period of time. The EPA’s own calculation of how many cancers would be caused by this radiation is one in every 1.7 people. Females, however, run an even higher risk than males from the same high level of exposure.

Instead of blowing radiation limits sky high in all instances, the PAGs just get rid of some of the most important ones. The 1992 EPA PAGs required relocation of people if skin and thyroid doses reached a certain limit. No more. In order to “avoid confusion,” says EPA draft guidelines, the limits have simply been removed.

Disaster Medical Assistance Team deploymentThe skin and the thyroid are most sensitive to radiation exposure. Now there will be no guidance at all on this which seems blatantly dangerous to both people exposed and to the maintenance of some semblance of order should a nuclear accident, terrorism or detonation occur. This is an especially dangerous rewrite of the safety rules for first responders and others charged with maintaining order in the case of a nuclear emergency.

If there has to be a cleanup, however, the PAG provides astonishing new guidance: take radioactive debris and waste and dump it in unregulated municipal garbage dumps. In Guidance for the Late Phase in Chapter 4 of the PAGs, it is suggested that nuclear waste be allowed into these facilities without any attention paid to the fact that these dumps could leak the radioactive material, which could also migrate through surface and groundwater.

The EPA’s reliance on DHS PAGs will gut radiation protections by using these emergency levels to not only apply to nuclear detonations or “dirty bombs” but even minor nuclear events like a radiopharmaceutical spill or fire. This makes the guide practically useless for emergency responders and puts them in the front line of the hot zone without the adequate protection they deserve based on sound science that will keep them safe.

Compounding the effect of the draconian new radiation limits is the EPA PAGs’ adherence to outdated Food and Drug Administration guidelines on what’s allowed in American food and drink. FDA guidance for just food alone allows 500 millirem exposure per year which is the equivalent of a chest X-ray daily in radiation dose equivalent.

These old FDA rules are astonishing on the face of them. FDA allows up to 4,700 picocuries (pCi/l) of Iodine-131 in a liter of milk while the EPA allows 3 pCi/l in drinking water. For Cesium-137, which also has the 3 pCi/l EPA threshold, the FDA allows up to 33,000 pCi/l. Yet even with these huge discrepancies, EPA has chosen to abandon their own limits in favor of the FDA ones that were created decades ago.

Slashing radiation safety measures are an across the board enterprise that EPA has embraced wholly. It is the kind of historic policy shift that radically rewrites radiation policy. The losers are first responders, police, military and the public.

THE THREAT FROM WITHIN

The EPA PAG is ingenious as it is dangerous. Should any of America’s aging 103 nuclear reactors have an accident or meltdown, the EPA can declare contaminated air, water, food and soil safe. Should terrorists attack and destroy a lightly defended nuclear reactor spent fuel pool, which would release far more radiation than a meltdown, the new PAG ought to handle it even if first responders get nuked in the process. If a cargo of radioactive material is released into the environment from a simple accident, the agency can simply point to the “protective” levels to say it’s safe.

There is no better way to hurt an enemy than to have the enemy hurt itself. It’s a plan that Osama bin Laden would have loved. Get American officials to give Americans assurance that the EPA says that radioactive contamination unleashed in a terrorist attack isn’t so bad after all.

Fukushima population monitoringIt’s the ‘Fukushima Fakeout’ where the lesson learned from the Japanese meltdowns is to blow the numbers out so high that even lethal levels of radiation are rated tolerable. It makes as much sense as having police officers remove their bulletproof vests in a gunfight or unlocking seatbelts in a vehicular crash.

The Japanese government is perfecting the art of justifying high radiation exposure to the unwitting population still close to Fukushima Dai-ichi. An investigation by Japan’s leading daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun May 25 revealed that the “government avoided setting stringent radiation reference levels for the return of Fukushima evacuees for fear of triggering a population drain and being hit by ballooning costs for compensation.”

The government initially sought a 5-millisievert per year (mSv/y) cutoff line where above it would be deemed too hot to return for earthquake and multi-meltdowns refugees of the March 11, 2011 multiple disasters. Previously, the target had been 1 mSv/y. All of this was rejected in favor of 20 mSv/y because the “prefectural government could not function with population drain under the 5-millisievert scenario,” said a state minister quoted by Asahi Shimbun. “In addition, there were concerns that more compensation money will be needed, with an increase in the number of evacuees.”

Instead of the numbers of evacuees increasing, the 20 mSv/y will increase excess cancers in one in every six Japanese exposed, based on the most current radiation risk estimates from the National Academy of Sciences and EPA. This mind-bogglingly lax standard is exactly the one proposed by the NCRP which will make its way into the draft EPA PAG long after commenting is over and the dangerous levels become law.

“In the place of longstanding health-based cleanup standards, NCRP now proposes setting cleanup levels for many radiological releases in the 1 to 20 mSv/y range, with such doses to be permitted to extend for one’s entire life,” says Hirsch in his comments on the PAG. “These are extraordinary doses. 20 mSv/y is the equivalent of approximately one thousand chest X-rays annually, or three chest X-rays every day of your life, from the moment of birth to the moment of death. Of course, there would be no informed consent or medical benefit from such exposure, only medical detriment.”

Giving false safety information about radiation to Americans in times of crisis is ludicrous. High radiation limits may help keep people calmer in crisis, theoretically, but that only helps in the short term and is harmful in the mid and long term. Inflated radiation limits will induce our most needed civil servants in a radiation crisis to needlessly expose themselves and others.

ATOMIC ADMINISTRATOR

The final steps before formal acceptance of the PAG comes as its creator, Obama’s nominee for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, is closer to assuming office than when the PAG controversy first erupted in earnest in March.

McCarthy supervised the draft EPA PAG radiation limits as she has been in charge of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation since 2009. She oversaw a revised version of the EPA PAG which would allow Americans to consume water at thousands of times in excess of EPA “Maximum Contaminant Levels” (MCLs) for radiation.

Her nomination had been stalled by Republicans in the Senate but Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana), the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said July 9 that he no longer opposed bringing McCarthy’s nomination to the floor of the Senate without filibuster. That leaves one holdout Republican, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) who wants answers from the EPA, Army Corps of Engineers and US Fish and Wildlife Service for a floodway project in southeast Missouri along the Mississippi River levee system.

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31 Comments

  1. In regard to last comment by Michael Collins, it is very odd that people get political over “sound science.”
    Trump has named Robert Kennedy Jr. to bring sound science to the CDC about vaccines. He is naming people who understand the man made global warming hoax. https://lipstick-and-war-crimes.org/global-warming-the-unsettled-science-or-the-big-sell-a-study-guide/ We have to get beyond political parties and get down on political correctness. The new administration will not be politically correct because we live in a matrix of fraud. The EPA is a great example.

  2. Missing Obama already? One of his parting gifts was the implementation of this “midnight mischief,” i.e. last minute regulations stuffed into law just before a President leaves office. The new PAG Manual: Protective Action Guides and Planning Guidance for Radiological Incidents became law January 11, 2017 and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it other than bone up on radiation protection using, for one thing, our information in Eat Me! Combined with nuking our ability to monitor beta radiation through EPA’s RadNet, Obama really gave America the short end of the Geiger counter with these dangerous shenanigans. Now, we can look forward to an Administration even more hostile to sound science so don’t expect any rollback of these drastic increases in allowable radiation in the water.

  3. Check out NBC Bay Area’s follow-up with EPA’s Gina McCarthy floating factual inaccuracies. This is shameful balderdash. From the excellent segment:

    The EPA’s chief stressed that this should not affect the water we drink every day. “I don’t want anyone to think that we are changing our standards for drinking water, that is not the case,” McCarthy said. She referred to an apocalyptic scenario following a nuclear disaster, saying “What we are trying to do is figure out how to actually start transitioning from a case where everybody is in their house and hunkered down, and can’t drink drinking water to being able to understand what exposures – in a temporary way – would allow life to continue.”

    Hogwash. That is exactly what they’re doing. Watch the segment here.

  4. From the NBC Bay Area article:
    “In light of all the controversy, why won’t the EPA sit down with the Investigative Unit and explain what the agency is doing and why?”

    Daniel Hirsch has his own explanation.
    “It’s expensive for industry to control these releases, it’s expensive to clean them up when there are releases, it’s expensive for the Department of Energy or the Navy or other Department of Defense facilities that have been contaminated to clean up. So it’s easier to lean on your friends within the EPA and say you don’t have to control these releases, you don’t have to clean them up, and so what that means is the agency or industry saves some money, but members of the public end up with cancers, leukemia and genetic effects.”
    – Published at 11:05 PM PST on Nov 14, 2016

    Re the video:
    Why do some of the people get a ‘puzzled look’ on their face when asking themselves why this would be happening?

    IMO – Of course it’s Fukushima factor and the future Fukushima-like catastrophes that are yet to come.

  5. We first reported this shocking news three years ago but according to this excellent NBC Bay Area piece called Environmental Protection Agency’s New Emergency Plan for Drinking Water Concerns Many, this outrage is about to go down. In the event of a radiological emergency, the likelihood of which may have increased exponentially with the election of Trump, the EPA is going to allow hundreds to thousands of times more of the most virulent radionuclides in drinking water. Gulp.

  6. @All: We just got this petition from the folks at Beyond Nuclear. Of course we signed it because it is the same weakening of radiation standards that EPA enacted after Fukushima as explained in our above exposé, this time by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. One telling, and depressing note about the petition, it seeks only 1,000 signatories, here in a country of 319 million. The apathy and ignorance that lets government agencies like the NRC and EPA get away with this will not be remedied with a thousand signatures. But it’s a start and it starts with you. Sign this petition.

    Beyond Nuclear press release:

    ACT NOW!
    Protect the most vulnerable from radiation exposure
    The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering rewriting its radiation exposure regulations, which currently do not protect developing children or pregnancy. These life stages are known to be uniquely vulnerable to radiation, and protecting them will protect everyone. Tell NRC to protect the most vulnerable from radiation exposure. Deadline is Monday, June 22, 2015.

    Read and sign the letter here

  7. What good does it do if every time there is a problem that is picked up by sensors or monitoring equipment, the government covers up the truth which harms all of us. I mean, why have any government if they just lie.

  8. After reading all of this content, the EPA is saying they are no longer needed. EPA stands for Environmental PROTECTION Agency with the emphasis on “protection”. We can now save gov’t money by firing the entire agency and send everyone home. I thought the part about the dirty bombs was funny. So, today there were 400 thousand people in New York marching to bring awareness to a cleaner environment. If someone had told me this I would have laughed. But as insane as it sounds, it is true. The world is going mad.

  9. You are more than welcome to copy the links that direct people to the information you want to highlight. Yes, we copy block the site and for good reason as we explained earlier this year in Fukushima – The Perfect Crime?

  10. are you preventing people from copying material from your sight? It seems as though we can not use the usual procedures to copy portions of the posted article. Please advise.

  11. like the FDA and FTC they are nothing but enablers for the industries they regulate. crony corruption with a revolving door bettween regulators and regulated. government=evil

  12. If the EPA was on the Public’s side to “watchdog” the Public’s health, these “Radiation Rules” would not even be what they presently are today. ZERO exposure is the ONLY acceptable level. Once again…Z-E-R-O is the only rating for guaranteed safety.

    To believe that there is actually some magic number possible that ALL PEOPLE can be exposed to, is a fool’s game and highlights the mass ignorance about the deadly nature of Nuclear Power. The EPA only exists to protect the companies and their profits. Maintaining a healthy Public has NEVER their goal. Determining at what point the Public’s Health is “damaged and/or ruined” is their mission. So the EPA is a “damage control” organization that protects the PUBLIC IMAGE of companies that generate toxic products.

    The only saving grace here is, the same clowns that are raising the levels of “acceptable” exposure to radiation, are also inhaling, drinking, and eating the same toxic materials along with their children and families. So they are directly responsible for the destruction of their OWN FAMILIES, too!

    (It’s a “Karma thing” they will realize that has come back around to bite them….)

  13. @Henry: You’ve come to the right place – just have a good look around. Our Radiation Food Lab is the most comprehensive collection of such data anywhere on the Internet. Of course there is air radiation monitoring – including in your area – at US EPA Rad Net Air Monitoring and at any of our Radiation Stations.

  14. Where can I get information on whether any monitoring of Strontium-90 in milk sold in California is being done?
    I read recently that there is no monitoring of the air we breathe for radionucleides. An air monitoring station in Santa Monica doesn’t help me here in Northern California.

  15. Mark of the Wild West...

    It’s nature of radiation, is there is no cleaning it up, when it’s every where. The EPA may as well say anything at this point.

  16. Fukushima is an extinction level event. And no amount of spin doctoring by the EPA or anyone else will make it any less so.

  17. More than 100 Groups Call on EPA to Withdraw Dramatically Weakened Radiation Guides.

    Over 100 environmental organizations today called on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to withdraw EPA’s controversial new Protective Action Guides (PAGs), which would allow exposure to very high doses from radiation releases before government would take action to protect the public.

    The PAGs are intended to guide the response to nuclear power reactor accidents (like Fukushima in Japan, Chernobyl in Ukraine and Three Mile Island in the U.S.), “dirty bomb” explosions, radioactive releases from nuclear fuel and weapons facilities, nuclear transportation accidents, and other radioactive releases.

    Although official estimates of health risks from radiation have gone up substantially (even higher for women) since promulgation of the old PAGs, the new EPA guidance contemplates radically increased “allowable” exposures in the intermediate and long-term periods after radiation releases.

    The new PAGs

    · propose five options for drinking water which would dramatically increase the permitted concentrations of radioactivity in drinking water, by as much as 27,000 times, compared to EPA’s current Safe Drinking Water Act limits;

    · suggest markedly relaxing long-term cleanup standards;

    · incorporate very high and outdated allowable food contamination levels;

    · eliminate requirements to evacuate people threatened with high projected radiation doses to the thyroid and skin;

    · eliminate limits on lifetime whole body doses; and

    · recommend dumping radioactive waste in municipal garbage dumps not designed for such waste.

    “Rather than requiring protective actions to limit public radiation exposures, EPA is now saying it would allow the public to be exposed to doses far higher than ever before considered acceptable,” said Daniel Hirsch, president of Committee to Bridge the Gap.

    “Even though EPA now admits radiation is more harmful than previously thought, it is weakening rather than tightening radiation protections,” said Diane D’Arrigo of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service.

    The full letter is at http://committeetobridgethegap.org/GroupPAGltr9-16-13.pdf

  18. Not much use for an “EPA”, since their limits won’t protect anything or anyone anymore anyway.

  19. In Dec 2012, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published an unusual notification in the Federal Register accepting a petition to amend the Code of Federal Rule (CFR) 50 for installing renewable energy sources that do not require human presence to run the safety related pumps at all nuclear stations to avert Fukushima type meltdowns. The petitioner, Thomas Popik, had averred that a severe space weather event can cause grid failure lasting for two years or more and eventual break down of the supply chain and desertion of the nuclear campuses.

    EPA’s PAGs was published in the FR, hundred days later. Dirty bombs and accidents may affect smaller areas. In the case of space-weather-grid-failure, about 80 nuclear plants are likely to be affected.

    I wonder why nuclear related civil society in USA is not discussing this problem.

  20. Solon: You’re only giving the Homer Simpson version of Ramsar. Let me help you out, here:

    The most likely source for your study that concludes ‘no health effects’ was probably an amusingly self-referencing one published in Health Physics in 2002. UNSCEAR uses it all the time – go figure. The actual Ramsar measurements they cite – also from a 2002 source (teleportation??) – don’t seem to exist. Nobody can seem to find or figure out what was measured or how to earn Ramsar their title.

    The terrestrial background *gamma* in Ramsar is elevated, but nothing remarkably high for uranium and thorium mineralized areas. The properly-measured high annual effective dose figures are mostly because of radon. The extremely-high indoor maximum they always seem to toss in is a house extended over a natural hot spring. One house (mansion, spa, whatever) with an indoor radon-spewing pool is hardly something to consider in a scientific study. Everyone tosses it in:

    http://www.mendeley.com/research/new-public-dose-assessment-internal-external-exposures-low-elevatedlevel-natural-radiation-areas-ram/

    But back to the original paper’s flawed conclusion. The paper’s second sentence explains their conclusion: families that have lived in those same farms/homes *for generations* don’t seem to be suffering any obvious radiation-induced ill effects. Darwin wouldn’t be too impressed with that conclusion. The ‘researchers’ failed to include *all* the representative subjects – they just studied the survivors.

    If they relocated the ‘normal’ cohort population to the Talesh Mahalleh neighborhood radiation hothouse for a few generations, I think their results would be markedly different. That neighborhood has the new airport and a lot of new residential construction. Let’s see how the newest batch of test subjects thrives.

  21. This is completely appalling! But, if nothing else, these PAG’s will probably end all of the disagreements about the needed level of cleanup of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. Isn’t that nice? Boeing and and the Governmental agencies can simply declare that the Field Lab needs no remediation of the toxic chemicals and radionuclides whatsoever, and they can now invite builders to buy the land for home building. Why would they even need to give the land away for a Park, when they can sell it instead and make money? Everyone wins…except, of course, the present and future cancer victims!

    I have been posting articles on the ongoing Fukushima crisis in Face Book for quite some time now, and I am of the impression that no one even cares, as judged by the total lack of either likes or comments. This week, for the first time, two people finally did comment and one person clicked on “like”, and I almost fell off my chair in shock!

    Based on my Face Book experience, I can only conclude that the EPA should have no trouble whatsoever, in imposing the “new normal” on everyone. Cancer? “Oh how silly…it won’t happen to me.” Omnipotence and denial seem to be miles thick. And so, apparently are our heads!

  22. @Alex Pavlak: According to the EPA’s own current risk estimates per unit dose in its most recent “Blue Book” derived from the National Academy of Sciences’ Report on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR VII), 1 rem per year over the first thirty years of life would result is an excess cancer in every 17th person exposed: 1 rem/year x 30 years x 2 x 10-3 cancers per rem during the first 30 years = 6 x 10-2 cancers = 1 cancer per 17 people exposed. At 10 rem/year, EPA’s own estimate is that one in every 1.7 people exposed would get a cancer from the radiation. Remember, Dr. Pavlak, that these are gender-averaged risk figures. Females are at even greater risk than males from the same levels of exposure meaning their risks are even higher than these estimates.

    Not only are these numbers many orders of magnitude higher than anything EPA has ever allowed before, they are on the face of it – to use Dr. Pavlak’s own excellent descriptor – loony.

  23. Mr Collins claims that a EPA standard threshold of 10 rem/y will result in 1 cancer incidence in 1.7 people (58%).

    Actually an acute dose of 10 rem will increase cancer rates by 1%. 10 rems/year for 50 years will get to 58%. But most of the isotopes have half lives of less than 50 years. The EPA standard is not as loony as Mr. Collins would have you believe.

  24. Since I first stumbled onto this site in the spring of 2011 we have discussed radiation acceptance levels.

    EPA vs FDA etc…

    We have known that sooner or later increases in LOC/DIL would be FORCED upon us.

    The fact that ‘they’ have the ability/power, without voting, without true discussion, to adjust these numbers is an admission of the horrendous scope of the failure of the Nuclear Industry and the government puppet agencies that support them.

    First Responders should be organizing and screaming out loud about this. I doubt most are even aware of what’s occurring. That’s a sad statement in itself. 🙁

  25. Let ’em eat radioactive isotopes!

  26. Howard T. Lewis III

    The mass majority of Americans walk around like everything is safe and under control so they attract each other and each other only. Most people do not understand the unavoidable lethality and irreversible genetic damage from being exposed to radiation releases. Nor do they understand the gravity of the huge releases from Fukushima, preferring to believe the damned liars on the CFRtv and Rothschild’s Associated Press and the false security present in being grouped into radiation victim populations instead of taking a few simple precautions.

  27. I watched some youtube vids about Galen Winsor, then checked that this man was who he said he was, he checks out. Then I read a study on natural background radiation levels in Ramsar, Iran, which are up to 250 times the present allowable exposure, but no negative health effects are reported. Who’s telling the truth about radiation effects and it’s dangers?

  28. > The PAG … was developed during the Bush Administration.

    Well, that’s a problem right there. Another good idea from the folks who brought you Iraq, the Prescription Drug Boondoggle, and tax cuts for the hyper-rich — what’s not to like?

  29. The price is too high, close the nuclear plants. There is no safe storage for spent fuel, this is a time bomb all by itself. There is nowhere to put it and the containment would need to last millions of years.

  30. The insane running us! As many sleep. To be or not to be radiated. No choice now. Thanks EPA. If they were human they wouldn’t have done this.

  31. All of this is purly intentional. Chernobyl was at least covered within a couple of weeks but for what ever reason Tepco and Japan incluuding the world are ignoring this event. Thanks a lot!

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