Dear Dr. Chan:
For those of us in the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) community that have been working for so many years to awaken the public and politicians to the dangers to health of ionizing radiation, your pronouncement that radiation is always dangerous and there are no safe low levels of radiation is very welcome! We are thankful that the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) under your leadership has come to this understanding.
Internationally renowned epidemiologist and expert on the health effects of ionizing radiation, Dr. Rosalie Bertell, Ph.D., G.N.S.H., was one of the founders of our organization (IICPH) and its first president. Dr. Bertell remains a guiding light. We therefore have been very active in working to educate the public, governments and regulatory bodies on the scientific evidence that there is no safe level of exposure to ionizing radiation.
Governments and the nuclear industries have depended on the pronouncements of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to help maintain the nuclear industry, despite this scientific evidence. But now, we and other environmental NGOs will have your announcement as Director General of the W.H.O. to assist us in our mandate to educate people, governments and other groups on the health effects of even very low levels of radiation.
Millions of lives have already been adversely affected from ionizing radiation. Our descendants are unlikely to escape the effects even if all proliferation of ionizing radiation should cease today. Therefore it is vital to warn, to teach, and to prevent even very low exposures.
As Dr. Bertell has said in her book, No Immediate Danger: Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth, “We know we face extinction if nuclear war ever begins. We face the same extinction even if the bombs never fall. The production alone of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons is initiating the death crisis of our species.”
We value your tremendous wisdom and courage and will certainly do what we can to help the W.H.O. mission to bring about a healthier, safer environment for all.