UMass Amherst Professor Edward Calabrese Featured in 22-Episode Video Series Examining the History of Cancer Risk Assessment

AMHERST, Mass. – Edward Calabrese, professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is featured in a 22-episode video series commissioned by the Health Physics Society (HPS) exploring “The History of the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) Model.”

Edward Calabrese
UMass Amherst professor Edward Calabrese

The society commissioned the series in light of the International Commission on Radiological Protection’s decision to re-evaluate its 2007 radiation health standards, which specify the effective radiation dose limit for occupational exposure. The series establishes the historical foundations of the current protection philosophy based on the LNT model for cancer risk assessment and calls into question the science behind it.

“In about 10 hours, watching 22 episodes, you will see a story unfold that has not been taught in our academic institutions,” the HPS states on its website. “One that is backed by 40 years of research by Dr. Edward Calabrese with thousands of documents and publications. A journey that involves Nobel Prize winners, ethical and moral challenges, nuclear fallout, scientific biases, the influence of money on scientific organizations, and the development of government policies.”

Calabrese has argued for many years that a reappraisal of cancer risk assessment methods is urgently needed because the LNT model was incorporated into U.S. regulatory policy based on faulty assumptions and manipulation of the scientific literature. His own career-long research on hormesis, which is a non-linear, threshold-based or biphasic approach to dose-response and risk assessment for ionizing radiation and toxic chemicals, provides evidence that low-dose exposure of some chemicals and ionizing radiation are benign or even helpful.

“I have never seen anything like this in my nearly 50 years in the field,” says Calabrese. “The documentary tells a powerful story that exposes numerous critical errors, profound bias for influential scientific leaders and organizations, and scientific misconduct at the highest levels in this country. The entire series is based on 14 hours of interviews with me, and I had to provide documentation for all my statements, many of which are incorporated into the documentary. I hope this documentary will take center stage in this international re-evaluation process and help lead to substantial change in cancer risk assessment.”

Calabrese is the author of over 1,000 papers in scholarly journals, as well as more than 10 books, including Principles of Animal Extrapolation; Nutrition and Environmental Health, Vols. I and II; Ecogenetics; Multiple Chemical Interactions; Air Toxics and Risk Assessment; and Biological Effects of Low Level Exposures to Chemical and Radiation. Along with Mark Mattson (National Institutes of Health) he is a coeditor of the recently published book Hormesis: A Revolution in Biology, Toxicology and Medicine.

Calabrese has served on multiple national research council expert committees such as the Safe Drinking Water Committee, Air Cabin Safety Committee, and Food and Nutrition Committee and on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). He also serves as chairman of the Biological Effects of Low Level Exposures (BELLE) and as director of the Northeast Regional Environmental Public Health Center at the University of Massachusetts. He was awarded the 2009 Marie Curie Prize for his body of work on hormesis. He was the recipient of the International Society for Cell Communication and Signaling-Springer award for 2010 and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from McMaster University in 2013. In 2014, he was awarded the Peter Beckmann Award from Doctors for Disaster Preparedness.