A Primer in the Art ofDeception
burns, and a vast array oftrauma injuries. It is estimated that by the end of1945, totalcasualties had climbed to 140,000 people. By 1950, the death toll had reached over200,000. What had once been Hiroshimawas left in radioactive ruin. Radiation contam-inated the soil and the water. This created an environment where internal contaminationbecame possible for all who entered the area for years afterward. In the immediate after-math ofthe bombing, people who had either lived outside the city or who had left the citycenter prior to the detonation reentered the city looking for family and friends. These peo-ple, not exposed to the detonation, subsequently became contaminated by internal emitters.Nevertheless, they were later included in the control group ofthe Life Span Studyrepre-senting people who were not exposed to radiation.This briefportrait provides all the information the reader needs in order to under-stand the overwhelming number oferrors inherent in the atomic bomb survivor study.Never lose sight ofthe fact that, in the hands ofthe ICRP, this study provides the founda-tion for current models ofthe risks to health from radiation exposure, and via extrapola-tion, the hazards oflow-dose exposure to internally emitting radionuclides. At a meeting ofthe European Parliament in February 1998, a number ofattendees expressed criticismofthe ICRPand the Hiroshimadata on radiation effects. These were summarized in thefirst publication ofthe European Committee on Radiation Risk(ECRR).1. Professor Alice Stewartfaulted the Hiroshimaresearch on the grounds that thestudy and control groupswere not representative ofa normal population. Those includedin the study were survivors ofthe stresses ofwar who had endured an overwhelming atroc-ity. Between the end ofthe war and the establishment ofthe Life Span Study, as many as100,000 people succumbed as a result ofblast injuries, irradiation, conventional illnesses,and internal contamination from fallout and tainted food and water. As a consequence,
thestudy omits tens ofthousands ofradiation-induced deaths that took place inthe first seven years after the dropping ofthe bomb
. Thus, any results ofthe LSSwill inevitably underestimate the hazards ofradiation exposure. Due to the multiple stres-sors ofthe bombing and its aftermath, a natural selection process was set in motion where-by unfit people, the physically and psychologically weak, succumbed and were weeded outofthe study population. A “healthy survivor effect” thus biased the study. By the time theLife Span Studygot underway, those studied made up an atypical population that could notadequately represent the delayed effects ofradiation exposure for the entirety ofmankind.2. Several participants at the meeting ofthe European Parliament criticized theICRPfor failing to adequately address the subject ofinternal contamination. The surviv-ing Hiroshimapopulation was modeled on the basis ofeveryone receiving an instantaneousbarrage ofgammaand neutron irradiation at the moment ofdetonation ofthe bomb.