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Ethical Issues in the US 1956 National Academy of Sciences BEAR I Genetics Panel Report to the Public.

Authors
  • Calabrese, Edward J1
  • Giordano, James2
  • 1 Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Morrill I, N344, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003.
  • 2 Departments of Neurology and Biochemistry and Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 2007, or email at [email protected].
Type
Published Article
Journal
Health physics
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2022
Volume
123
Issue
5
Pages
387–391
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1097/HP.0000000000001608
PMID: 35848926
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

This paper presents newly discovered evidence from the personal correspondence of four US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation (BEAR) Genetics Panelists that their 1956 report to the public was written by a third party and was neither reviewed nor approved by the Panel prior to its publication and release to the public. The letters revealed that the 1956 Report contained serious errors and did not represent the views of the Panel. The failure of the US NAS to notify the public that the Report had not been reviewed and approved by the Panel represents a serious breach of ethics. Further ethical issues relate to the failure of the NAS to (1) correct the errors in the Report within an appropriately timely manner and (2) reveal the lack of approval by the Panel even after the Report's release. In light of these discoveries and the profound historical-and continuing-significance of the 1956 Report to all conventional cancer-related risk assessment processes, we opine that this ethical improbity must be acknowledged and that this document must be retracted by the NAS. Copyright © 2022 Health Physics Society.

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