Christopher Busby (born 1 September 1945) is a British scientist known for his controversial theories about the negative health effects of very low-dose ionising radiation. Busby is the director of Green Audit, an environmental consultancy agency, and scientific advisor to the Low Level Radiation Campaign (LLRC) which he set up in 1995. Busby is a visiting professor at the University of Ulster. Busby was the National Speaker on Science and Technology for the Green Party of England and Wales.
Busby obtained a BSc in Chemistry with First Class Honours from the University of London, and then did research for the Wellcome Foundation (applying spectroscopic and analytical methods to chemical pharmacology and molecular drug interactions). He became and elected member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He later gained a PhD in Chemical Physics at the University of Kent, researching Raman spectro-electrochemistry.
In 1999 Busby stood as an Election Candidate for the European Parliamentary elections.
Busby was a member of the British government sponsored Committee Examining Radiation Risks from Internal Emitters (CERRIE), which operated from 2001 to 2004.
In 2001 he was appointed to the UK Ministry of Defence Oversight Committee on Depleted Uranium (DUOB).
In 2004 he was named Leader of Science Policy for (EU) Policy Information Network for Child Health and Environment PINCHE based in Arnhem, The Netherlands.
Busby is a visiting professor at the School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster researching the toxicity of heavy metals to the human body. In 2008 he was a visiting researcher at the German Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Julius Kuhn Institute.
According to his CERRIE biography:
- As member of the International Society for Environment Epidemiology, he was invited to Iraq and Kosovo to investigate the health effects of depleted uranium in weapons used by allied forces on populations. He has also given presentations on depleted uranium to the Royal Society and to the European Parliament. He was a member of the UK Ministry of Defence Oversight Board on Depleted Uranium."
Busby was the scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risks, an informal committee based in Brussels, which produced a report for CERRIE.
Second Event Theory and Photoelectric Effect Controversy
From 1987 onwards Busby has worked in particular on the health effects of ionizing radiation, developing the 'Second Event Theory' and 'Photoelectric Effect Theory' which distinguishes between hazards from external radiation and internal irradiation from ingested radioisotopes, upon which he claims the widely accepted linear no-threshold (LNT) model substantially underestimates the risk of low level radiation (the LNT model is largely constructed from the 1958 to 2001 'Life Span Study' of the 120,321 Japanese Atomic Bomb Survivors (hibakusha (被爆者)) who were exposed to a powerful external burst of neutron and gamma radiation). Busby claims that in the low dose regime, radiation moderately above background causes more cancer than much higher levels of radiation i.e. a biphasic (bimodal) curve; a claim based on the work of Elena Burlakova.
Busby initially proposed the Second Event Theory (SET) in 1995, in his self-published book 'Wings of Death: Nuclear Pollution and Human Health', in which isotopes that decay sequentially i.e. emit two or more particles in a short decay chain, have far greater genotoxic effects than predicted by the LNT model. In particular, Busby's SET predicts that the 90Sr-90Y decay chain might be some ~30 times more carcinogenic than predicted by LNT; because according to Busby primary exposure to a beta particle alters a cells to the G2 Phase, which he claims are highly radio-sensitive, and a second particle "hit" within a few hours then causes carcinogenesis.
SET was criticized by Cox & Edwards (2000) who pointed out that if Busby's "biologically implausible" theory was correct and all irradiated cells undergo transformation to the G2 Phase, it would cause an increased risk factor of just 1.3 times and predict, on the contrary, substantial risk reduction at low doses for single emitting radioisotopes. Furthermore, it was established in 1906 (The Law of Bergonié and Tribondeau) that cells in the G2 Phase are more resistant to radiation than cells in the M Phase (Radiosensitivity and Cell cycle). The Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters (CERRIE) report, on which Busby was one of twelve members, exhaustively examined the biological plausibility of SET and commissioned an independent consultant to conduct a literature review. In 2004 CERRIE rejected the SET by a 10 to 2 majority consensus (Bramhall and Busby dissented). The rejection was made for following reasons:
- The lack of biological plausibility for the basic preconditions of the SET
- The paucity of supporting evidence in the proponents’ reviews of the SET
- The weakness of studies cited in support of the SET
- The absence of supporting evidence found by the independent review commissioned by the Committee
Busby responded by publishing a 3 person minority report on his website, which claims internal low-level radiation is 300 times more dangerous than predicted, the currently accepted LNT model is meaningless, and in Sweden and Belarus cancer rates have risen by 40% since Chernobyl.
Later work by Busby focused on the health effects of ingested Depleted Uranium particles. In particular he proposes that ingested Uranium particles cause photoelectric enhancement that increases the genotoxic effect of natural background gamma radiation by 500 to 1000 times (he claims natural gamma rays strike Uranium and generate via the photoelectric effect secondary electrons that damage cells). Recent work by Busby (2008) focusing on the photoelectric enhancement as a mechanism of cells damaged by ingested Uranium particles has been covered by New Scientist magazine, with most of the scientists quoted in response expressing interest but also some skepticism that the effect could be as large as claimed. Additionally, according to Busby, photoelectric enhancement is not limited to radioactive isotopes but involves all heavy atoms (high-Z) e.g. stable platinum particles from catalytic converters are similarly theoretically capable of enhancing the effects of natural gamma radiation if ingested.
However, subsequent computer simulations by Pattison, Hugtenburg & Green (2010) indicate a radiation enhancement factor of only 1 to 10 fold for uranium particles, considerably lower than Busby's preliminary estimate. Indeed, a large body of research has accumulated into the efficacy of gold nanoparticle-aided radiation therapy (GNRT), where the effects of radiotherapeutic intense gamma ray and x-ray sources are modestly enhanced via the photoelectric effect by 0.3 to 1.16 fold, a lower range than estimated for uranium particles.
Conflicts with other Low-Dose Radiation researchers
Busby is the author of two self-published books on cancer incidence in Wales, Wings of Death and Wolves of Water; the latter was lauded in a review published by a group that "aims to provide a safe forum for the critical and open minded discussion of ideas that go beyond conventional paradigms in science, medicine and philosophy [and to] challenge the adequacy of "scientific materialism" as an exclusive basis for knowledge and values." According to the reviewer, described as a former research immunologist, "Busby dissects the workings of the government advisory establishment, the biased science and institutional cover-ups of the causes of cancer and other illnesses".
The books were criticised in the Journal of Radiological Protection as "erroneous in consequence of various mistakes". According to Richard Wakeford, the editor-in-chief of the journal, a fellow CERRIE committee member representing the nuclear industry, and a specialist in the health effects of low-dose radiation (formerly with British Nuclear Fuels)
- ... much of Chris Busby's work is self-published and difficult to access; he seems mainly to avoid publication in the recognised scientific literature, which presents difficulties for a proper review of the evidence underlying his conclusions.".
Busby served on the UK Government's Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters (CERRIE), which operated between 2001 and 2004, and included medical professionals, scientists, delegates from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, and Richard Wakeford representing the nuclear industry. Busby ultimately disagreed with the committee's conclusions and published a "minority report" with another committee member from LLRC On the LLRC website page selling the minority report, it's claimed (without citation) that north Sweden cancer rates have increased by 40% since Chernobyl. A doctoral dissertation from 2007 was reported as saying that the area "has shown a small but statistically significant increase in the incidence of cancer."
Busby has criticized other researchers studying health effects from low-dose radiation, for being "stupid" and "ignorant", and in particular Prof. Wade Allison (emeritus) of Oxford who had quoted a UN report saying that only 28 people have died as of 2005 from radiation releases at Chernobyl and who has said there is an "over-reaction" to low-dose radiation. In particular, he seems to have taken exception to Allison on philosophical grounds:
- I have chosen to pitch into him since he epitomises and crystallises for us the arguments of the stupid physicist. In this he has done us a favour, since he is really easy to shoot down. All the arguments are in one place. Stupid physicists? Make no mistake, physicists are stupid. They make themselves stupid by a kind of religious belief in mathematical modelling. The old Bertie Russell logical positivist trap.
Busby went on to say, claiming support from a New York Academy of Sciences publication, that "more than a million people have died between 1986 and 2004 as a direct result of Chernobyl." In actuality, the NYAS report was a translation (not put under peer review by NYAS) of a Russian book that, contrary to the UN report cited by Allison, claims several hundred thousand deaths and projects the number to go higher, with some support from mathematical modeling. He can be equivocal about modelling—in earlier comments on BBC, he'd claimed "significant" plutonium releases from Fukushima detected far north of the reactor complex, supposedly established in part through the use of "a very advanced, sophisticated, computer air-flow model."
Televised comments on Fukushima I nuclear accidents
In a March 14 broadcast on BBC, Busby was interviewed along with Ian Fells, and characterized the accident as "exactly the same scenario" as Chernobyl. While admitting that the containment structure for Fukushima Dai-ichi was more much advanced than that at Chernobyl, he claimed there could be "nuclear explosion" rather than (as reported) a hydrogen explosion, if fuel elements had melted down and collected at the bottom of the vessel. He also asserted that a brief spike in radiation levels at a reactor north of Fukushima Dai-ichi indicated "up to 100 kilometers away, we are getting concentrations of plutonium, cesium and iodine" (sic - presumably radionuclides thereof) released from Fukushima Dai-ichi, making the releases comparable in his opinion to Chernobyl, in terms of human health impact. In response to Fells' characterization of the worst immediate effects being loss of power to an advanced industrial society, Busby said "this is a radiological catastrophe already", asserting in particular that plutonium releases were the major cause of concern.
On 30 March 2011 Busby first appeared on Russia Today stating that the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster was worse than being reported. During the follow up interview on April 13, 2011, Busby stated that Fukushima radiation pollution could cause up to 400,000 added cancer cases among those living within 200 km of the reactor, with " reports of significant radiation ... even south of Tokyo".
On April 25 Busby stated on Russia Today that he believed one of the explosions at the Fukushima I nuclear reactors was a "nuclear" one, rather than a hydrogen explosion as reported. In the same Russia Today broadcast, he referred to calculations made with his colleagues estimating that Chernobyl had killed 1,400,000 people, and that Fukushima's death toll would be in the same range, if not worse.
- Royal Society of Chemistry
- Royal Society of Medicine
- International Society for Environmental Epidemiology
- Ukraine Committee: Physicians of Chernobyl
- (Department of Health and DEFRA) CERRIE Committee Examining Radiation Risk from Internal Emitters 2001-2004 www.cerrie.org
- Ministry of Defence DUOB Depleted Uranium Oversight Board 2002-2007 www.duob.org
- Scientific Secretary: European Committee on Radiation Risk www.euradcom.org
- Science Policy group Leader: Policy Information Network on Child Health and Environment PINCHE www.pinche.org
- Busby, Chris; Hamdan, Malak; Ariabi, Entesar. (2010) Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 7, no. 7: 2828-2837.
- Busby C.C. (2009) Very Low Dose Fetal Exposure to Chernobyl Contamination Resulted in Increases in Infant Leukemia in Europe and Raises Questions about Current Radiation Risk Models. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.; 6(12):3105-3114. http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/6/12/3105
- Busby Chris (2009) Depleted Uranium, Why all the fuss? Disarmament Forum 3 25-33 Geneva: United Nations
- Busby Chris, Lengfelder Edmund, Pflugbeil Sebastian, Schmitz Feuerhake, Inge (2009) The evidence of radiation effects in embryos and fetuses exposed by Chernobyl fallout and the question of dose response. Medicine, Conflict, Survival 25(1) 18-39
- Busby Chris (2008) Is there a sea coast effect on childhood leukaemia in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, 1975-2002 ? Occupational and Environmental Medicine 65, 4, 286-287
- Busby Chris and Schnug Ewald (2008) Advanced biochemical and biophysical aspects of uranium contamination. In: (Eds) De Kok, L.J. and Schnug, E. Loads and Fate of Fertilizer Derived Uranium. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands, ISBN/EAN 978-90-5782-193-6.
- Busby C C and Howard CV (2006) ‘Fundamental errors in official epidemiological studies of environmental pollution in Wales’ Journal of Public Health March 22, 2006
- Busby C and Fucic A (2006) Ionizing Radiation and children’s health: PINCHE conclusions Acta Paediatrica S 453 81-86
- Van den Hazel P, Zuurbier M, Bistrup M L, Busby C, Fucic A, Koppe JG et al. (2006) Policy and science in children’s health and environment: Recommendations from the PINCHE project. Acta Paediatrica S 453 114-119
- Koppe JG, Bartonova A, Bolte G, Bistrup ML, Busby C, Butter M et al. (2006) Exposure to multiple environmental agents and their effects. Acta Paediatrica S 453 106-114
- Van den Hazel P, Zuurbier M, Babisch W, Bartonova A, Bistrup M-L, Bolte G, Busby C et al., (2006) ‘Today’s epidemics in children: possible relations to environmental pollution’ Acta Paediatrica S 453 18-26
- Elsaesser A, Busby C, McKerr G and Howard CV (2007) Nanoparticles and radiation. EMBO Conference: Nanoparticles. October 2007 Madrid
- C.V.Howard,A.Elsaesser&C.Busby (2009) Thebiologicalimplicationsofradiation induced photoelectron production, as a function of particle size and composition. International Conference; Royal Society for Chemistry
- NanoParticles 2009 www.soci.org/News/~/media/Files/.../Oral_18_32.ashx
- Busby CC (2005) Does uranium contamination amplify natural background radiation dose to the DNA? European J. Biology and Bioelectromagnetics. 1 (2) 120-131
- Busby CC (2005) Depleted Uranium Weapons, metal particles and radiation dose. European J. Biology and Bioelectromagnetics. 1(1) 82-93
- Busby CC and Coghill R (2005) Are there enhanced radioactivity levels near high voltage powerlines? European J. Biology and Bioelectromagnetics. 1(2) Ch 7.
- Busby Chris and Bramhall Richard (2005) Is there an excess of childhood cancer in North Wales on the Menai Strait, Gwynedd? Concerns about the accuracy of analyses carried out by the Wales Cancer Intelligence Unit and those using its data. European J. Biology and Bioelectromagnetics. 1(3) 504-526
- Busby Chris and Morgan Saoirse (2005) Routine monitoring of air filters at the Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston, UK show increases in Uranium from Gulf War 2 operations. European J. Biology and Bioelectromagnetics 1(4) 650-668
- Busby C.C (2002). ‘High Risks at low doses.’ Proceedings of 4th International Conference on the Health Effects of Low-level Radiation: Oxford Sept 24 2002. (London: British Nuclear Energy Society).
- Busby, C. C. and Cato, M. S. (2000), ‘Increases in leukemia in infants in Wales and Scotland following Chernobyl: evidence for errors in risk estimates’ Energy and Environment 11(2) 127-139
- Busby C.,(2000), ‘Response to Commentary on the Second Event Theory by Busby’ International Journal of Radiation Biology 76 (1) 123-125
- Busby C.C. and Cato M.S. (2001) ‘Increases in leukemia in infants in Wales and Scotland following Chernobyl: Evidence for errors in statutory risk estimates and dose response assumptions’. International Journal of Radiation Medicine 3 (1) 23
- Busby Chris and Cato, Molly Scott (1998), ‘Cancer in the offspring of radiation workers: exposure to internal radioisotopes may be responsible.’ British Medical Journal 316 1672
- Busby C, and M. Scott Cato, (1997)`Death Rates from Leukemia are Higher than Expected in Areas around Nuclear Sites in Berkshire and Oxfordshire’, British Medical Journal, 315 (1997): 309.
- Busby, C. (1994), `Increase in Cancer in Wales Unexplained', British Medical Journal, 308: 268.
- Busby C and Creighton JA (1982)' Factors influencing the enhancement of Raman spectral intensity from a roughened silver surface'. J.Electroanal. Chem. 133 183-193
- Busby CC and Creighton JA (1982)' Efficient silver and gold electrodes for surface enhanced Raman spectral studies' J. Electroanal Chem 140 379-390 Busby CC (1984) J.Electroanal Chem 162 251-262
- Busby CC (1984) 'Voltage Induced intensity changes in surface Raman bands from silver electrodes and their variation with excitation frequency'. Surface Science 140 294-306
- Busby, C. C. (1992), Low level radiation from the nuclear industry: the biological consequences. (Aberystwyth: Green Audit)
- Busby C.C (1992) Peledriad isaf o'er diwydiant niwcliar: yr canleniadau biolegol. (Aberystwyth: Green Audit)
- Busby, C. C. (1994), Radiation and Cancer in Wales (Aberystwyth: Green Audit).
- Busby, C. C. (1995), Wings of Death: Nuclear Pollution and Human Health (Aberystwyth: Green Audit) ISBN 1-897761-03-1
- Busby C.C (2003) ed with Bertell R, Yablokov A, Schmitz Feuerhake I and Scott Cato M. ECRR2003: 2003 recommendations of the European Committee on Radiation Risk- The health effects of ionizing radiation at low dose—Regulator's edition. (Brussels: ECRR-2003) 2004 Translations of the above into French Japanese Russian and Spanish (see www.euradcom.org for details)
- Busby CC, with Bramhall R and Scott Cato MS (2000) I don’t know Much about Science: political decision making in scientific and technical areas. Aberystwyth: Green Audit (this book influenced the structure and formation of the CERRIE committee and advocates an oppositional structure to science advisory committees in order to allow for cultural bias in science advice. It has now been carried forward by PINCHE in Europe.).
- Busby CC, Bramhall R and Dorfman P (2004) CERRIE Minority Report 2004: Minority Report of the UK Department of Health/ Department of Environment (DEFRA) Committee Examining Radiation Risk from Internal Emitters (CERRIE) Aberystwyth: Sosiumi Press
- Busby CC and others (2004) Report of the Committee Examining Radiation Risk from Internal Emitters (CERRIE) Chilton, UK: National Radiological Protection Board
- Busby C and Yablokov AV (2006) ECRR 2006. Chernobyl 20 year On. The Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident. Brussels: ECRR/ Aberystwyth: Green Audit
- Busby Chris (2006) Wolves of Water. A Study Constructed from Atomic Radiation, Morality, Epidemiology, Science, Bias, Philosophy and Death. Aberystwyth: Green Audit ISBN 1-897761-26-0
- Busby Christo (2009) Our Mother who art in Everything. Poems 2004-8 Llandrinddod Wells, Wales: Sosiumi Press
- Busby C and Yablokov AV (2009) ECRR 2006. Chernobyl 20 year On. The Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident. 2nd Edition Brussels: ECRR/ Aberystwyth: Green Audit ISBN 1-897761-15-5
- Busby C, Yablolov AV, Schmitz Feuerhake I, Bertell R and Scott Cato M (2010) ECRR2010 The 2010 Recommendations of the European Committee on Radiation Risk. The Health Effects of Ionizing Radiation at Low Doses and Low Dose Rates. Brussels: ECRR; Aberystwyth Green Audit
- Busby C (2010) The health effects of exposure to uranium and uranium weapons. Documents of the ECRR 2010 No 2. Brussels: ECRR download free from www.euradcom.org
- Also: Busby C (2004) Nuclear Cover-Ups Video DVD Aberystwyth: Green Audit Films Busby Christo (2009) Songs from a Cold Climate (CD) Aberystwyth: Green Audit See also www.myspace.com/christobusby
- Busby, C. C. (1996a), ‘ in Bramhall, R. (ed.), The Health Effects of Low Level Radiation: Proceedings of a Symposium held at the House of Commons, 24 April 1996 (Aberystwyth: Green Audit).
- Busby, C. C. (1998), ‘Enhanced mutagenicity from internal sequentially decaying beta emitters from second event effects.’ In ‘Die Wirkung niedriger Strahlendosen- im kindes-und Jugendalter, in der Medizin, Umwelt ind technik, am Arbeitsplatz’. Proceedings of International Congress of the German Society for Radiation Protection. Eds: Koehnlein W and Nussbaum R. Muenster, 28 March 1998 (Bremen: Gesellschaft fur Strahlenschutz)
- Busby C.C and Scott Cato M (1999) 'A Planetary Impact index' in Molly Scott Cato and Miriam Kennett eds. Green Economics- beyond supply and demand to meeting peoples needs. Aberystwyth: Green Audit
- Busby C (2004) Depleted Science: the health consequences and mechanisms of exposure to fallout from Depleted Uranium weapons. In The Trojan Horses of Nuclear War Kuepker M and Kraft D eds. Hamburg: GAAA
- Busby Chris (2007) New nuclear risk models, real health effects and court cases. pp 35–46 in- Updating International Nuclear Law Eds—Stockinger H, van Dyke JM et al. Vienna: Neuer Wissenschaftlicher Verlag
- Busby C (2008) Depleted Uranium. Why all the fuss? United Nations Disarmament Forum Journal UNIDIR, Nov 2008
- Radiation hormesis
- Arnold Gundersen
- ^ Green Audit
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- ^ "Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for the Environment and the People, The New York Academy Of Sciences Volume 1181, Written by Alexey V. Yablokov (Center for Russian Environmental Policy, Moscow, Russia), Vassily B. Nesterenko, and Alexey V. Nesterenko (Institute of Radiation Safety, Minsk, Belarus). Consulting Editor Janette D. Sherman-Nevinger (Environmental Institute, Western Michigan niversity, Kalamazoo, Michigan). Volume 1181, December 2009 335 Pages". http://www.nyas.org/Publications/Annals/Detail.aspx?cid=f3f3bd16-51ba-4d7b-a086-753f44b3bfc1.
- ^ a b "Professor Busby gives his assessment of radiation from Fukushima nuclear reactor". BBC News. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xhlgks_radiation-risk-from-nuclear-power-station-in-japan_news. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
- ^ Brooks, Antone. "Dr". Nuclear Street. http://nuclearstreet.com/nuclear_power_industry_news/b/nuclear_power_news/archive/2010/01/14/an-exclusive-nuclear-street-interview-with-low-dose-radiation-health-effects-expert-dr-antone-l-brooks-01142.aspx. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
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- ^ "Busby: 'Can't seal Fukushima like Chernobyl - it all goes into sea'". Russia Today. 2011-04-25. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-3Kf4JakWI. (“I don’t think the end of Fukushima accident is in sight”)
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