Skip to main content

Why You Can't Trust Joe Mangano and the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League on Radiation and Public Health

More than a few folks have passed along a news clip to us from The Chattanoogan detailing another "study" by Joseph Mangano of the Radiation and Public Health Project and the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) claiming that they've discovered higher mortality rates in populations living near the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant. We don't believe this study is credible.

Mangano and company are making these claims despite the fact that nuclear power plants only account for .1% of the radiation that a typical American is exposed to over the course of a year. Meanwhile, exposures from life saving medical procedures like CT scans and X-Rays account for about 50%.

Putting that aside, a number of third party experts and journalists have regularly taken turns debunking Mangano's research. In 2011, Michael Moyer of Scientific American said the following about one Mangano study that claimed Americans were suffering from severe health effects in the wake of Fukushima:
[A] check reveals that the authors’ statistical claims are critically flawed—if not deliberate mistruths.

[...]

Only by explicitly excluding data from January and February were Sherman and Mangano able to froth up their specious statistical scaremongering.

This is not to say that the radiation from Fukushima is not dangerous, nor that we shouldn’t closely monitor its potential to spread (we should). But picking only the data that suits your analysis isn’t science—it’s politics. Beware those who would confuse the latter with the former.
Here's a statement from Ralph Andersen, NEI's chief health physicist regarding Mangano's track record:
Mr. Mangano's allegations of health effects associated with emissions from nuclear power plants have been reviewed in detail and repeatedly discredited by at least 8 state and 2 county public health departments, as well as the USNRC, as follows:

USNRC; State of Connecticut; State of Florida; State of Illinois; State of New Jersey; State of New York; State of Pennsylvania; State of Minnesota; State of Michigan; Westchester County, NY and Suffolk County, NY.

In fact, we are not aware of any federal, state, or local government public health departments that have reviewed Mr. Mangano's allegations and found them to be credible.
As for BREDL, they have a dubious track record of their own. Back in 2007, our own David Bradish took a closer look at some of BREDL's claims in regards to Plant Vogtle in Georgia and found ample evidence that BREDL manipulated the numbers to "fit their presumptive conclusions."

Comments

Garry said…
Joseph Mangano's data was taken directly from CDC and NIH statistics. These are government statistics. The radiation monitoring program that BREDL/BEST/MATRR is conducting utilizes protocols from Homeland Security, EPA and DOD.

We plainly state in our report that the radiation we have found in the environment may not be from Browns Ferry and we intend on performing further studies and tests to demonstrate the source of the radiation present down wind from Browns Ferry. Because the mortality data points directly toward Browns Ferry since it's start-up we believe further evaluation is necessary.

Furthermore, at last weeks EDRE debrief in Morgan County I asked the NRC and FEMA to think outside of the box when considering downwind contamination possibilities during an emergency situation.

The lessons of Fukushima disclose that it is a fools folly not to think about and plan for contamination during emergency situations greater than the 10-50mile concentric circles.

We welcome any comments from y'all, but please do not make assumptions that the data presented is irrelevant, as it is government data and represents many hours of hard work in data and statistical analysis and community radiation monitoring.

The report was carefully edited and arranged to report accurately data found and represented.

Garry Morgan, U.S. Army Medical Dept., Retired
Project Manager BEST/MATRR Radiation Monitoring Project
I don't trust anything coming from a nuclear industry rep. When I was fifteen I was protesting a planned underground nuclear bomb test in the Nevada desert. According to the government, these tests were perfectly safe and contained underground. They went ahead and exploded that bomb while we were at the gates of the facility. Fast forward 20, after years of suffering from unexplained mental illness and unexplained health ailments, I finally found out I had metastatic papillary thyroid cancer, a hot nodule and Hashimoto's thyroiditis. These guys can spin all they want but there is no other cause for papillary thyroid cancer than I133, the radioactive iodine found in nuclear fallout. Once the cancerous thyroid was removed, all my mental and physical health symptoms resolved. Go figure. I believe Joseph Mangano is on to something and we should not dismiss this vital impactful information.
Lorraine said…
You go Joe. I read all your books, too. You are genuinely AWESOME, and you truly care so much about our families' health and safety.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …