Friday, April 1, 2011

EPA plans to boost radioactivity safety limits up to 100,000-fold increase

Protective Action Guides, or PAGs as they are called by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are used to enforce the law following any incident involving the release of radioactive material. If there were a dirty bomb attack in America or nuclear meltdown, how would the EPA interpret the Clean Water Act? How would it interpret a whole suite of laws that impact upon our food, water and soil? As with the incredibly toxic pollution which has claimed many lives of 9-11 responders, the sole decision about what is safe is an administrative EPA process shielded from public scrutiny.

In 1992, the EPA produced a PAGs manual that answers many of these questions. But now an update to the 1992 manual is being planned, and if the “Dr. Strangelove” wing of the EPA has its way, here is what it means (brace yourself for these ludicrous increases):

  • A nearly 1000-fold increase for exposure to strontium-90;
  • A 3000 to 100,000-fold hike for exposure to iodine-131; and
  • An almost 25,000 rise for exposure to radioactive nickel-63.i

The new radiation guidelines would also allow long-term cleanup thresholds thousands of times more lax than anything EPA has ever judged safe in the past. Under long-established EPA policy, in conformity with long-accepted international standards on “acceptable” amounts of radiation these proposed changes would increase the permissible amounts of radiation to levels where 25% of those exposed to these “new acceptable levels” would develop cancer based on the EPA’s own numbers.ii (read more)