Thursday, December 01, 2005

On the Trail of the "Tooth Fairy"

Tuesday's edition of the Brattleboro Reformer carried a story that Joseph Mangano, head of the Radiation and Public Health Project, better known as the "Tooth Fairy" project, has parachuted into Vermont with his shaky science in order to shake things up around Vermont Yankee.

For those who aren't familiar with his schtick, Mangano is determined to demonstrate a link between Strontium 90 (Sr-90), nuclear plants and childhood cancer by analyzing the levels of Sr-90 found in baby teeth.

What the Brattleboro reporter neglects to mention, is that Mangano has been taking his public health snake oil show on the road for some time now. And whenever real scientists debunk his research findings, Mangano just goes to another city or town hoping that nobody follows his trail.

Earlier this year when CNN did a feature on Mangano, we had this to say:

Consistently, the NRC has found no appreciable changes from background radiation near nuclear plants. In all, eight state departments of health have investigated Mangano's claims, and all eight states (Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Michigan) refused to validate them.
Just as damaging was this determination published by the New Jersey Commission on Radiation Protection in February 2004:
The Commission is of the opinion that "Radioactive Strontium-90 in Baby Teeth of New Jersey Children and the Link with Cancer: A Special Report," is a flawed report, with substantial errors in methodology and invalid statistics. As a result, any information gathered through this project would not stand up to the scrutiny of the scientific community. There is also no evidence to support the allegation that the State of New Jersey has a problem with the release of Sr-90 into the environment from nuclear generating plants: more than 30 years of environmental monitoring data refute this.
All this information is relatively easy to find, including our earlier entry on Mangano, which shows up in the first ten Goggle search results when you search on his name and "tooth fairy".

For me, this issue is a whole lot like the accusations that Helen Caldicott makes against the nuclear industry. And the response always has to be the same: To counter the hysteria with sound science whenever it gets repeated.

For more on the "Tooth Fairy" issue from the NEI archives, click here and here.

UPDATE: In other news, Entergy Nuclear, the owner of Vermont Yankee, has applied to NRC for renewal of the plant's license, as well as the license for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.

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1 comment:

Stewart Peterson said...

Well, the Tooth Fairy Project is a subset of RPHP, but I nitpick.

My September 30 Anti-Nuclear Quote of the Day covered it. An interesting comment from an anti-nuclear activist can be found near the end.