As a physician, I contend that nuclear technology threatens life on our planet with extinction if the present trends continue; the food we eat, the water we drink will soon be contaminated enough with radioactive pollutants to pose a health hazard far greater than any plauge humanity has ever experienced.

Helen Caldicott, Nuclear Madness(1994)

Really, Helen? Really??? I wonder what the World Health Organisation has to say about that...


AIDS Deaths in 2009 Total 1.8 million
  Adults 1.6 million
  Children (<15 years) 260,000

 Source: WHO Global Summary of the AIDS epidemic 2009

 WHO on Tobacco

Tobacco use continues to be the leading preventable cause of death, killing more than 5 million people per year. Unless urgent action is taken to control the tobacco epidemic, the annual death toll could rise to 8 million by 2030, the report states. More than 80% of those premature deaths would occur in low- and middle-income countries – in other words, precisely where it is hardest to deflect and to bear such tremendous losses

Source: WHO press release for the WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2009.

WHO on Air Pollution

  • Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health and is estimated to cause approximately 2 million premature deaths worldwide per year.
  • More than half of the burden from air pollution on human health is borne by people in developing countries. In many cities, the average annual levels of particulate matter (the main source of which is the burning of fossil fuels) exceed 70 micrograms per cubic metre. The guidelines say that, to prevent ill health, those levels should be lower than 20 micrograms per cubic metre.


Source: WHO Key Facts Air Quality and Health,

WHO on … IONIZING RADIATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ionizing radiation has always been a part of the human environment. Along with natural radioactive sources present in the Earth’s crust and cosmic radiation, man-made sources also contribute to our continuous exposure to ionizing radiation.

Environmental radioactive pollution has resulted from past nuclear weapons testing, nuclear waste disposal, accidents at nuclear power plants, as well as from transportation, storage, loss, and misuse of radioactive sources. While there are risks associated with exposure to radiation, benefits of nuclear applications in medicine industry and science are well established. WHO’s radiation programme aims to assure that the benefits of radiation technology far exceeds any known risks.

WHO’s Ionizing Radiation Programme

The aim of the Radiation and Environmental Health Programme is to look for solutions to protect human health from ionizing radiation hazards by raising people’s awareness of the potential health risks associated with ionizing radiation, and the importance of its safe and rational management…we hope to enable national and local public health authorities to deal with radiation exposure issues effectively, facilitating key research programmes and providing sound advice

Source: WHO web page on Ionizing Radiation

I can’t seem to find a suitably interesting image to represent “safe and rational management” or “facilitating key research programs and providing sound advice”.

You may have noticed I’m blowing off a bit of steam today by preaching to the probably converted. You’ll find out why in an upcoming post, but for now, forgive me. But maybe this would be useful food for thought for someone you know? If so, please pass it on.

Have a great weekend! Back to the Friday Funny next week, I promise 🙂




    1. Oh yeah… then there’s TB, malnutrition, malaria… not that glam, just happen to kill heaps of mostly poor people. I wonder how many lives she would save directing her energy to one of those causes.

  1. Ben! I’m shocked! Haven’t you heard? “Doctors can’t lie”! Well, that’s about as far as Helen Caldicott’s evidence based approach goes. Meanwhile, according to Helen, even the most respected, independent, scientific organisations in the world cannot be trusted to gather and report the “truth” about radiation. She believes the World Health Organisation (and the UN for that matter) are actually conspiring to cover up their “true” findings on the consequences of radiation exposure.

    Monbiot finds her position a bit of a stretch. I have to agree.

    1. Oh good God… ok, me first. Dr Harold Shipman, Britain’s worst serial killer: “You’re in safe hands”.

      I nearly leave Caldicott alone on the grounds that she is so far off the deep end she is an easy target. But whenI remember that she is highly influential and her views are putting us all at risk, most especially the poor who die in large numbers from all these other things, as well as a lack of access to energy, and will be first and hardest hit by climate change, I get over it.

      1. Good on ya Ben. I’ve posted this on my facebook page. Now all ten of my friends will know what a loony she is.

  2. Not speaking as physician (though an epidemiologist would be far more relevant, anyway), the seven worst plagues in history are listed on this website.

    1. Smallpox (430 BC? – 1979): Killed more than 300 million people worldwide in the 20th century alone, and most of the native inhabitants of the Americas.
    2. Spanish Flu (1918 – 1919): Killed 50 to 100 million people worldwide in less than 2 years
    3. Black Death (1340 – 1771): Killed 75 million people worldwide
    4. Malaria (1600 – today): Kills about 2 million people per year
    5. AIDS (1981 – today): Killed 25 million people worldwide
    6. Cholera (1817 – today): 8 pandemics; hundreds of thousands killed worldwide
    7. Typhus (430 BC? – today): Killed 3 million people between 1918 and 1922 alone, and most of Napoleon’s soldiers on Russia

    I think nuclear radiation has a bit of a way to go…

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