, 23 tweets, 84 min read Read on Twitter
This past Friday marked 33 years since the #Chernobyl disaster. The podcast Today in Focus with @GuardianAnushka from @guardian chose to mark the occasion by uncritically reporting on the extraordinary claims of @katebrownumbc about the health impacts of the disaster. Thread 👇
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc 1. It is said that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" but @guardian now joins @sciencemagazine, @nature, @TheEconomist, @thesundaytimes and others in providing a platform for Brown's radical claims with a remarkable lack of critique.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes 2. Historian @katebrownumbc alleges that several intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations such as @UN, @WHO, @IAEA, @iaeaorg, @RedCrossEU and the UNSCEAR have conspired to cover up tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of casualties resulting from the accident.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU 3. Through her historical review, @katebrownumbc presents findings and statements that would invalidate our present scientific understanding of health impacts of radiation, overthrowing the current recommendations of the @ICRP.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP 4. As a basis for these extra-ordinary claims, Brown cherry-picks a few studies that have not been peer-reviewed and often several (non-peer-reviewed) studies from the same author while omitting to mention any of the hundreds or thousands of articles to the contrary.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP 5. Surprisingly, neither @guardian, @sciencemagazine, @nature, @TheEconomist and @thesundaytimes have sought to consult any expert on radiation epidemiology or molecular pathology. In fact, no outside perspective has been sought by any of the publications.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP 6. Unsurprisingly, the claims have been criticised by leading radiation scientists. One of them is Dr. Geraldine "Gerry" Thomas, professor of molecular pathology at @imperialcollege and director of both the Chernobyl Tissue Bank and the Imperial College Healthcare Tissue Bank.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP @imperialcollege 7. Brown claims that scientists bury the real effects of radiation for personal gain but, as Gerry Thomas tells @ShellenbergerMD in an interview, this basic premise is flawed as researchers receive more money the more serious the health consequences are.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP @imperialcollege @ShellenbergerMD @Forbes 8. Another scientist who has criticised the claims by @katebrownumbc is Jim Smith, Professor of Environmental Science at @portsmouthuni. Smith was interviewed for the book but says that his statements were grossly misrepresented.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP @imperialcollege @ShellenbergerMD @Forbes @portsmouthuni 9. In the book, Smith is described as a physicist that didn't feel it necessary to visit Chernobyl to confirm his pre-existing opinion, despite the fact that Smith has studied the health impacts of Chernobyl internationally for 3 decades and visited Chernobyl around 40 times.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP @imperialcollege @ShellenbergerMD @Forbes @portsmouthuni 10. In an effort to correct the record, Dr. Smith has written a 12 page, fully referenced review of the claims made by Brown in her book.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP @imperialcollege @ShellenbergerMD @Forbes @portsmouthuni 11. @katebrownumbc then tries to dismiss the methodology of dose reconstruction by falsely describing how doses are calculated and claims that estimations are made from very few data points when in fact dose calculations use "1 million measurements"
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP @imperialcollege @ShellenbergerMD @Forbes @portsmouthuni 12. Since the credibility of epidemiological studies on health impacts is highly dependent on the methods of dose estimation, this is an area of wide, ongoing research efforts. One example from the @IARCWHO:
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP @imperialcollege @ShellenbergerMD @Forbes @portsmouthuni @IARCWHO 13. Dr. Smith's review goes on to demonstrate the (either willing or unwilling) lack of knowledge of radiation physics and radiation epidemiology presented in Brown's book.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP @imperialcollege @ShellenbergerMD @Forbes @portsmouthuni @IARCWHO 14. The book by @katebrownumbc makes wild claims that are poorly supported in existing scientific literature and fails to provide a sound scientific basis for these extraordinary claims.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP @imperialcollege @ShellenbergerMD @Forbes @portsmouthuni @IARCWHO 15. While this may be seen by some as "innocent" or "an alternative perspective from mainstream science" it risks having very real consequences for real people if it skews relief efforts away from those that need them.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP @imperialcollege @ShellenbergerMD @Forbes @portsmouthuni @IARCWHO 16. In the report "Chernobyl: the true scale of the accident" the @WHO recommends that assistance should be guided by the important scientific findings to help those genuinely in need.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP @imperialcollege @ShellenbergerMD @Forbes @portsmouthuni @IARCWHO 17. Unfounded claims regarding health impacts of radiation also risks leading to unnecessary evacuations in the case of the release of radioactive materials, causing unnecessary suffering.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP @imperialcollege @ShellenbergerMD @Forbes @portsmouthuni @IARCWHO 18. Furthermore, if such unfounded claims increase peoples fear of radiation and leads to less use of #nuclear energy and continued burning of #fossil fuels, people _will_ die.

Breathing polluted air kills between 7 and 9 million people every year.
@GuardianAnushka @guardian @katebrownumbc @sciencemagazine @nature @TheEconomist @thesundaytimes @UN @WHO @IAEA @iaeaorg @RedCrossEU @ICRP @imperialcollege @ShellenbergerMD @Forbes @portsmouthuni @IARCWHO @NicoleMJackson @rachel_hump @MythiliRao @Joshuapkelly11 @Victorsebby @Virus_Parasite 20. With existing scientific consensus and the background of this thread, I ask that you issue a correction to, at the very least, make it clear to readers/listeners that these claims are unsubstantiated and lack support in existing scientific theory.
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