Linear Non Threshold–Junk Science Exhibit 1

Linear no threshold (LNT) toxicology is junk science. But great for aggressive government nannies.

Toxicologist Ed Calabrese PhD of U Mass, Amherst, is trying to expose the junk toxicology that now is “consensus.”

Not to belabor the point, but Ed is the man when it comes to tox, in my book. He holds to the theory that LNT toxicology ignores the obvious–threshold and he takes it one more step to hormesis, which is the beneficial effect of exposures below threshold for toxicity.

Ed has research that shows that at low, non toxic levels, exposures to supposed toxins have a beneficial effect called “hormesis,” that is nothing more than the beneficial effect of low level exposure. Stress produces beneficial reactions is one way of looking at it. Exposure has a positive impact on the exposed.

Now the National Academy of Science is committed to the theory of no threshold linear toxicology as a controlling principle, no room for thresholds or certainly not hormesis.

In spite of the science that shows thresholds for toxins in all kinds of practical settings, they are in denial.

Don’t ask me what they are smoking.

The debate is presented here between Calabrese, our champion of thresholds and hormesis and the president of NAS, who is committed to the “consensus” that one molecule hit of a “toxin” or “carcinogen” is an intolerable risk and must be prevented, regardless of the cost or collateral consequences.

First is Calabrese’s article in Archives of Toxicology.

Then the president of the National Academy of Science to the editor of Archives complaining.

And in response our warrior scientist Calabrese.

Imagine what the fool’s life is like–do you remember the stories of Howard Hughes, who developed a fetish about catching a disease so he became a sort of bubble man? In psych circles that is one of the indicia of the obsessive compulsive disorder, clean freak behavior.

I know Ed can take care of himself as he demonstrates in his article and correspondence, but I would like to jump in as a human health biologist who knows a little practical toxicology. I assure the reader that thresholds are real and dose makes the poison in the real world. Threshold did not disappear because of the National Academy of Science obsessions and “consensus.”

For example threshold is well established for acetaminophen (Tylenol) which is therapeutic and reduces pain and fever at therapy doses, but becomes toxic to the liver at an acute ingestion of about 150 mg per Kilogram of body weight with a few exceptions, like higher levels in children who have another metabolic pathway to get rid of the toxins, and lower for people with liver disease.

150 mg per kilo ingestion is more than 11 grams in an adult male of above average size. A standard Tylenol tab is 325 mg, extra strength 500 mg, so the liver killer dose is 35 regular Tylenol or 23 extra strength for someone weighing 180 pounds. Pretty simple. At 4 hours after ingestion if your blood level is 140 or more micrograms per ml, ubeintruble because your glutathione protectors are depleted and the toxic byproducts are going eat your liver up.

You can’t make this NAS nonsense up, in labs they cheat on the definition of carcinogen in lethal level exposures of “tumor” prone rodents. Then they propose that any carcinogen is toxic and carcinogenic even down to a molecule of exposure. They have no plausibility research evidence on “one hit” carcinogenicity, certainly not “one hit” toxicology, just projections on a kiss and promise that is juiced by the precautionary principle. The “theory” is that one molecule of a toxin identified with rat and mouse research might damage DNA and create cancer risk.

Here is a public pronouncement of the NAS position on Linear No Threshold and the NAS “consensus.”

Read it and weep.


Hormesis is the beneficial effect of low dose exposures of agents that are toxic at high dose.

Ed Calabrese has, among other things, shown the hormetic benefit of background low level ionizing radiation.
But Ed is not the only one who has shown hormesis in radiation biological effects and in general toxicology.

Calabrese was on in the recent past for exposing Muller’s deceit that produced the rolling problem of one hit radiation toxicology adopted and formally considered controlling by the BEAR (Biological Effects of Ambient Radiation) commmisions but now one hit, no threshold is all the rage in general toxicology.

Out with dose makes the poison–now we are in the twilight zone.

Calabrese wrote convincingly of his investigation into the archives of Muller and associates work and the scandal that Muller pushed on when he knew there was research by a colleague that disproved his theory.

At this point we don’t even know what causes cancer, so is this a cart/horse thing or a chicken/egg thing? Or maybe its a follow the money and power thing and the old aphorism about practical politics by HL Mencken–you know how it goes–the goal of practical politics is to panic the public so they will be clamorous to be led to safety.

Roger Kimble points out in his new book The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia that the culture of the modern state tyranny is to make the populace dependent and infantile. de Tocqueville said it would be a soft tyranny that encourages an infantilization of the citizens. Soft tyranny of dependence and fear or anxiety but it does require that the State foster a level of inadequacy and anxiety–which includes an emphasis on—–ta taaaaa—the precautionary principle.

About these ads

16 responses to “Linear Non Threshold–Junk Science Exhibit 1

  1. The concept of Hormesis is not easily accepted (if at all) by regulators who want to achieve acceptance of zero level toxicology concepts by the public, ignoring the numerous publications that demonstrate the lstimulation of many physiological systems at low levels of exposure. When presenting such results at national meetings the regulators have routinely suggested that even though there is a stimulus of a system, it should be considered a “toxic” response. Sadly, those comments ignore the most basic potential physiological response of “fight or flight” that they should have learned in the 5th grade. But then that would not provide support to their adherence to the Precautionary Principle” that would demand that no chemical of any origin or effects should be allowed in the environment.

  2. It is easy to ban something (almost no thinking required).
    That is why the state of California KNOWS that so many chemicals CAUSE cancer (instead of merely increasing the possibility.)

    • good point. I know that all the businesses in CA have to put up silly signs that they are a cancer threat.


      • The silly thing is that we have all now become immune to the warning. So if a real cancer threat existed and a sign had to be posted, people would just ignore it. The proposition to put all these notices up actually made people less safe.

  3. Here’s one example of generally accepted hormesis: strength training. For example, do 8 max leg presses. Initially, there will be some microtrauma to some of your skeletal muscle fibers. Isn’t that supposed to be bad? Not necessarily.

    Two days later, you’ll be fully recovered — and then some. Your quads will be slightly stronger than they were before. You’ll have slightly more lean muscle mass.

    And that’s a good thing. You’ll be a slightly better cyclist, or uphill hiker, or cross country skier. Walking up a flight of stairs will be slightly less tiring.

    Your basal metabolic rate will be slightly higher than it was before, because muscle fibers burn calories even when they’re at rest. The upshot: You can eat slightly more food, without putting on body fat.

    Frank obesity — as opposed to slight pudginess — is a risk factor for arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. If you allow sufficient time for full recovery between workouts, strength training hormesis can be healthful and useful.

    • very nice, mr. wimpehiker.

      did you know that starvation every other day prolongs the life of meece? Petreus starved every other day on that theory–apparently made up for it with excess lust.

    • It is not just weight training, but all exercise uses hormesis. In his seminal book, “The Science of Swimming”, James E. ‘Doc’ Counsilman wrote about the effects of exercise at the cellular and muscular levels. I cannot recall if he referred to hormeis specifically, but the concepts are the same.

  4. Extreme caloric restriction may work better for mice and dogs than for people. The most famous practitioner, Roy Walford, was shooting for 120, but he died at the age of 79. Towards the end of his life, he came down with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. My understanding is that LGD is mostly genetic. So much for sample sizes of one.

  5. A direct example is herptetologists who take small amounts of snake venom to build tolerance in case of accidental bite. I have known quite a few over the years and this practice has saved many of their lives. Chances are the keepers of the snake exhibits at your local zoo do this.

  6. Doesn’t the no threshold, no safe dose fly in the face of the theory of evolution? That is, we evolved with exposure to toxins and ionizing radiation. Those that couldn’t adapt didn’t remain. Also, don’t the evolutionists theorize that some mutations arise from ionizing radiations? My last and only biology course ended more than 50 years ago, but when I hear some of the no safe dose stuff, it tends to fly in the face of observation.

    • No need to theorise; ionising radiation had been the booster of choice in the develompent of genetically modified crops and animals until recently, when genomics matured enough to favour targeted design over random selection. But until then, it was jolly good to be able to select from a greatly increased variety of things.

      Evolution and even general biology are obviously not part of job description where this toxicology junk is coming from.

    • And there you have it, Ladies and Gentlemen: either the evolution is wrong, or the National Academy of Sciences is.

      Yet another data point which indicates that most of our favorite junk science issues are not about “science,” per se, but rather political power and societal control. If you’re wondering why logic seems to escape most junk science proponents, this would be a rather hugantumous reason why.

      • Hear, hear. A word of caution, though. Junk science does not need politics to perpetuate itself. It is part of base human nature. It is widely practised by those men (and probably to an even greater extent by women) who are indifferent to politics. It does not even require vanity or other character traits that we so often observe to co-occur wth it. It is able to strive on its own.

        We experience a constant urge to explain things, but our sensitivity to the quality of explanations we give or receive varies from person to person and form one situation to another. It can be satisfied by any of the following:

        * intuition
        * somebody else’s word
        * direct observation
        * inference
        * skulduggery
        * random junk
        * brain-squashing maths
        * implausible fantasy
        * you name it

        There is an irreducible quantity of junk science in all of us. Some are aware of it and attempt to keep it under control it; most don’t.

        I am having a hard time with mine.

        • very nice.

          John Dale Dunn MD JD Consultant Emergency Services/Peer Review Civilian Faculty, Emergency Medicine Residency Carl R. Darnall Army Med Center Fort Hood, Texas Medical Officer, Sheriff Bobby Grubbs Brown County, Texas 325 784 6697 (h) 642 5073 (c)

        • Gene, your point is well-taken. Certainly, it is easy enough to fall for a logical fallacy or an apparent (yet incorrect) “truth.” I think it has been said that we should not ascribe to conspirancy that which is equally explained by idiocy or incompetence.

          However, misconception and faulty reasoning should (“should,” I say, rather than “do”) become apparent when enough of the light of history, observation and logic is brought to bear. It is thus most alarming to me that so many in positions of significant influence seem utterly immune to such enlightenment, while the fallability of common mortals such as ourselves seems less frightening on the whole.

          To borrow a common put-down, it doesn’t worry me greatly if my grocer honestly believes the world to be flat. However, if my governor proclaims it to be so publically and announces sweeping legislation based upon the principle, well, that presents a bit more of a problem.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s