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Underexposed: What If Radiation Is Actually Good for You? Paperback – Oct 31 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Laissez Faire Books (Oct. 31 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0930073355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0930073350
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,809,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9e45fd08) out of 5 stars 20 reviews
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9db4890c) out of 5 stars Sensational And Necessary Nov. 14 2005
By Crosslands - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book concerns the faulty hypothesis that any amount of radiation, no matter how small can be dangerous (the Linear No Threshold or LNT hypothesis). The LNT hypothesis unfortunately is widely regarded as the truth in many places. The author exposes this LNT theory for the fallacy it is. Hiserodt analyzes and refers to mountains of data refuting this theory. He also provides a very good exposition of the science and units of radiation. He demonstrates that the wealth of data indicates that some radiation even increases human health (hormesis). Thus Hiserodt refutes a key pillar of the ecofreak movement that wants to stop all human progress. This book should be read by all Americans.

This unfortunately unique work should have been written much earlier. This book is a must read for anyone thinking about the energy problem.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9db48b58) out of 5 stars Radiation Myths Harming Public Health Feb. 24 2010
By Jay Lehr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was recently invited to lunch by the editors of Newsweek magazine in New York City to discuss with them my views on what should be included in their next special issue on the nation's environmental priorities.

They were quite shocked when I told them that one of my top three, just behind applying DDT to stamp out malaria and improving drinking water supplies for impoverished nations, was reducing the unwarranted fear of low-level radiation that grips most of the world's population.

I was determined to call this issue to Newsweek's attention because I had recently read Ed Hiserodt's new book, Underexposed. I cannot recommend this book too strongly, nor can I praise it articulately enough.

Identifies False Theory

Let us first examine the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) theory, by which we have been held hostage for so long.

To take it to an absurd extreme so you will easily understand it, the theory basically says that if 100 percent of a given population will die from a fall from a 100 foot cliff, and 50 percent would die when falling from a height of 50 feet, then we can expect that one person of a hundred would die when falling from a height of one foot.

Silly as this seems, we use the same theory when studying the effects of chemicals and heavy metal intake by humans. Substances such as mercury, lead, tin, cadmium, oxygen, fluorine, arsenic, and selenium are toxic in large quantities, yet critical to our health in small quantities.

We call the phenomenon of harm at high doses and help at low doses "hormesis," derived from the Greek word "hormo," which means to excite. Thus, a substance that excites a positive bodily response at a low dose and is harmful at high doses is considered hormetic. Vitamins and trace minerals clearly show the difference a dose makes. The same is true of sunlight, noise, and stress.

Radiation Fears Unwarranted

A common measure of nuclear radiation is the millirem, or mrem. The average background radiation in the United States is 300 mrem per year, though higher at altitudes well above sea level, such as Denver.

Low-level radiation is a "green issue." The media tends not to criticize their green friends who oppose any and all forms of radiation. Indeed, if low levels of radiation are realized to be benign, then there goes a central argument of anti-nuclear activists.

There is in fact no scientifically credible evidence that low-level radiation is harmful, yet there is substantial evidence that it actually inoculates the body to resist the negative effects of future high doses. At the same time, low-dose radiation appears to have positive effects in increasing immune system competency.

Hiserodt informs us that if we want to avoid our natural annual background radiation, we would have to move to Antarctica or live underwater in a nuclear submarine. We could also encourage people to move from the high plains of Colorado--where the cancer rates are low--to states where background radiation is low ... but cancer rates are higher.

But of course we are not going to do any of these things, because if an increase in low-level radiation caused any problems at all we would have seen the evidence long ago, in the form of dead bodies. If low-level radiation harmed human health, Deadwood, Colorado (elevation 11,000 feet) would be well known for its citizens' short life spans, but that is not the case. In fact, the opposite is true.

According to Hiserodt, the only people who think there is any real danger from low-level radiation are the regulators, antinuclear activists, environmental zealots, and government scientists who cling to the Linear No-Threshold hypothesis.

Background Radiation Cuts Cancer

Hiserodt recounts how Dr. Bernard Cohen proved conclusively that geographic areas with slightly elevated levels of naturally occurring radon have a reduced incidence of lung cancer. The first of Cohen's studies was published in 1990, and an even more comprehensive study was reported in 1995. The wealth of evidence rocked the scientific community, most of whom had never bothered to question the Linear No-Threshold model.

Hiserodt exhaustively describes the many mice studies showing conclusively that the LNT model is absurd and that mice actually benefit from low-level radiation. He then explains that similar exposure among humans proves the very same thing.

The greatest proof, worth repeating, lies among the citizens of Nagasaki and Hiroshima--who were exposed to low-level radiation and went on to experience longer and healthier life spans than Japanese living elsewhere.

Study after study of nuclear power plant workers further illustrate the enhanced health of those working in an environment of low-level radiation. The most inclusive study, which was intended to show negative impacts on our nuclear workforce, began at Johns Hopkins University in 1980 and was reported 15 years ago. It conclusively showed positive effects of low-level radiation on 72,356 workers.

Perhaps the most telling real-world evidence of the benefits of low-level radiation is how the uneven distribution of background radiation around the world parallels the variations in human cancer rates. The higher the natural radiation background, the lower the local cancer rates.

Hiserodt briefly but clearly describes nuclear reactors, saying, "the new designs are even safer than the old--but how do you get safer than no deaths, no injuries, and no negative effects to the public from several thousand reactor years of operation with thousands of giga watt-hours of life-enhancing electrical energy having been generated?"

Wasting Money, Lives

The question of whether tiny amounts of radiation must be avoided, even at great cost, is neither abstract nor trivial. Hundreds of billions of dollars are targeted to remediate U.S. sites even though there is no scientific basis for claiming any health or other benefit from removing low-level radiation.

Worldwide, Hiserodt tells us, the cost of such remediation has been estimated at more than a trillion dollars. This is in addition to the unquantifiable cost of lives lost by fear and avoidance of mammograms, irradiated food, and other beneficial uses of radiation.

I cannot recommend Hiserodt's book too highly. It addresses a subject few understand, but thanks to this author's comprehensive research and clear writing ability, you are now within a few dollars and a few hours of grasping this important subject.


Jay Lehr, Ph.D. (lehr@heartland.org) is science director for The Heartland Institute.
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9db48d98) out of 5 stars Get the Facts - Read this Book! Jan. 28 2006
By MarkAardvark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When we make policy decisions based on junk science we all lose. This is a must read book if you want the facts on low levels of ionizing radiation and the clear evidence that it is actually beneficial rather than hazardous. After Chernobyl, hundreds of thousands of abortions were performed based on unfounded fear that flies in the face of the facts. How very, very sad that we collectively have been 'educated' to believe what simply isn't true...
16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9db49030) out of 5 stars Important subject, mediocre book May 12 2006
By N.. Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Few important health subjects are as poorly reported or underreported as the beneficial effects of radiation. Few Americans have heard of hormesis -- the beneficial effects of toxins in small doses -- or of the possibility that low-dose radiation may prevent or treat cancer and other diseases.

So, the release of this book was long overdue, and it is disappointing that it is not a better book.

The chatty style does not befit the subject. The documentation is not sufficient. Even the index is poor. Why would there be no author bio for a science book? Don't readers deserve to know more about the person who wrote it? (He is listed on a web site as "aerospace engineer and an electrical control manufacturer's representative.") I don't fault Hiserodt for serving as a reporter (since he isn't a radiation health expert), and he seems to have talked to the right experts, but a bio page is essential.

Among the best books on environmental health in the past 20 years are Edith Efron's "The Apocalytics," and " Bjorn Lomborg's "The Skeptical Environmentalist." "Underexposed" is inferior to those in every respect. It is slapdash and confusing to read. It needed the hand of a strong editor.

Radiation hormesis is a critical topic. If the theory is true -- and excellent evidence points that direction -- increasing radiation exposures could save many lives. At the very least we could all relax about what are now thought by many to be unhealthy exposure levels. The book that provides a comprehensive and clear introduction to the topic for a general audience has yet to be written.

I recommend the book only because so little has been written on the subject, and there isn't anything else available for non-technical readers. It's a modest beginning.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9db49324) out of 5 stars A must for everyone Oct. 16 2014
By Harold Aucoin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is very well written. I have researched much of the material discussed and it appears to be correct. This material does not have any serious challenge by anyone. Radon is not a threat and the “linear no threshold” theory should never be applied to low dose radiation. The LNT is today everywhere, applied in many fields, and there certainly is no justification for it. The author gives us a real good grasp of radiation and how politics are adversely affecting us.

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