Current News

14 February 2018
NCRP Seeking Candidates for President

The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) is seeking candidates for the position of president to replace Dr. John D. Boice, Jr., who will be stepping down as president effective 31 December 2018 to assume a new role as NCRP director of science. Dr. Boice will continue to direct NCRP research activities related to the Million Person Study of Low-Dose Health Effects.

This position is open until filled. More information is available on the NCRP website.

14 February 2018
Radiation Epidemiology—The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Environmental Health/Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice, Emergency Management, Radiation and Chemical Branch presents "Radiation Epidemiology—The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" on Wednesday, 28 February 2018, 1–2 p.m., ET. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements President Dr. John Boice will discuss what distinguishes a well-designed study ("the good") from a flawed study ("the bad") and how the results of epidemiologic studies are misused or misrepresented ("the ugly"). For more information, click here.

14 February 2018
In Memoriam: Gary S. Kephart

Health Physics Society (HPS) member Gary Kephart passed away on 14 January 2018. His obituary can be found on the HPS website In Memoriam page.

14 February 2018
February 2018 Short Course Listings

A new list of short course offerings has been posted on the Short Courses page of the HPS website. Information on the following courses is available:

Advanced Detection of Concealed Radiological Threats—Videnus, LLC.

Certification Review Course Part I; Self Study Course Part I; Background Materials Review; Part I Question & Answer CD and Site License; Part I Additional Question & Answer Volume; NRRPT Question & Answer CD and Site License—Bevelacqua Resources 

Certification Review Course Part II; Self Study Course Part II; Background Materials Review; NRRPT Question & Answer CD and Site License—Bevelacqua Resources

Radiation Safety Officer Training Class—Radiation Safety & Control Services

2018 Occupational Internal Dosimetry—MJW

Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) School and Refresher Class—RSO Services

13 February 2018
HPS 63rd Annual Meeting

Start preparing for the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Health Physics Society (HPS), which will be held 15–19 July 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland. See the 63rd Annual Meeting page of the HPS website for information on the corresponding professional development school, hotel reservations, what to do in Cleveland, and more.

13 February 2018
NTP Releases Reports on Cell-Phone/Rodent Studies

The National Toxicology Program (NTP), a federal, interagency program whose goal is to safeguard the public by identifying substances in the environment that may affect human health, released two technical reports on Friday, 2 February 2018, on high-exposure radiofrequency (RF) radiation (cell phones) in rodents.

Bottom line: At most, the results suggest that RF energy is a weak carcinogen. The studies did not address human health risks, but the present results suggest that they would be quite low at realistic exposure levels. These levels were much higher than levels of cell-phone emissions allowed for humans. Given the evidence reported, current cell-phone limits adequately protect the public.

There was a significant amount of data generated and it will take time for the various health agencies to review and come to any conclusions. For the most part, results showed that higher exposure does not cause additional gliomas (tumors in the brain and spinal cord), yet showed an increase in tumors in tissues surrounding nerves in the hearts of male rats (but not female rats). Additionally, there were no health effects in the mice studied. Researchers mentioned at the briefing that the male rats in the high-exposure group lived longer than the other rats. They said more research is needed to determine why and how that may be relevant to the study results.

At the briefing, the investigators also emphasized the equivocal nature of the findings, meaning it was unclear if any of these tumor increases were related to RF radiation. The study showed no clear dose-response relationship, which suggests that the exposure did not directly cause the increase in tumors.

The relevance of the findings to humans is unclear. The exposure levels used in the study (1.5-6 W/kg) were well above whole-body exposure limits for humans (0.08 and 0.4 W/kg). The exposure levels to the rats were thermally significant, capable of inducing thermoregulatory changes in the animals. At this time, the researchers said it is not known how to assess the relevance to humans of the findings in the rats.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies RF radiation from cell phones as a "possible" human carcinogen, meaning that the evidence supports some level of suspicion but is not strong enough to say the RF exposure "probably" or "actually" causes cancer.

The results of the NTP study need to be assessed by health agencies in the context of many other studies that have already been published. The study results may increase the level of suspicion that RF energy causes cancer, but it is not clear at present how large of an effect they will have on health-agency conclusions about the matter.

To view the press release, click here.

Links to other stories on this topic:
Statement from Jeffrey Shuren, MD, JD, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health
Los Angeles Times: "Radiation From Cellphones Is Not Hazardous to Your Health, Government Scientists Say"
Fast Company: "Government Research Shows Link Between Cell Phone Radiation and Tumors in Rats"
Wall Street Journal (may require login): "Why the Largest Study Ever on Cellphones and Cancer Won't Settle the Debate"
The Washington Times: "High Cell-Phone Radiation Causes Tumors in Rats, but Humans Should Be Safe: Researchers"
Reuters: "High Levels of Cellphone Radiation Linked to Tumors in Male Rats: U.S. Study"
The Week: "Scientists Finally Agree That Your Phone Won't Give You Cancer"
 

5 February 2018
NCRP Meeting Agenda Online

The agenda for the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) 2018 annual meeting—"Radiation Protection Responsibility in Medicine"—is now available on the NCRP website. The meeting will be held 5–6 March in Bethesda, Maryland. 

5 February 2018
Licensure and Health Physics

Health Physics Society (HPS) President Eric Abelquist formed the Health Physics Title Protection Task Force to recommend how we might strengthen and protect the "health physicist" title. The task force will review Nuclear Regulatory Commission and state regulations that address requirements for course curriculum and credit hours to support requirements for radiation safety officer positions—and consider same as basis of petition to more rigorously define federal health physics job requirements (e.g., in the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's health physics job series 1306). Also, this task force has been asked to make a recommendation on whether the HPS should pursue licensure and regulation of the health physics profession, and if so, if there are particular states with which we should start the process. A recent Wall Street Journal article by Alexander Acosta and Dennis Daugaard—"Make It Easier to Work Without a License" (at the bottom of the linked page)—reveals relevant congressional action that could significantly influence licensure initiatives.

5 February 2018
DHS RDD Planning Document Available

"Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) Response Guidance Planning for the First 100 Minutes" is available on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website. The DHS states, "This document provides actionable guidance, sample text for an RDD response protocol, and annexed tools that can be used for local planning of an effective response to an RDD to protect first responders and the general public, and establish interagency coordination and integration of state and federal assets."

5 February 2018
IRPA Bulletin 16 Available

IRPA Bulletin 16, published by the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA), is now available. This issue contains information on the 5th Asian and Oceanic IRPA Regional Congress on Radiation Protection, the Australasian Radiation Protection Society, IRPA Consultation, the International Symposium on Radiological Protection in Medicine, the Task Group on Public Understanding, the IRPA14 Congress Proceedings, and the 5th European IRPA Congress.

5 February 2018
February CHP Corner

The February issue of the CHP Corner is now available on the American Academy of Health Physics website.

5 February 2018
From the Archives

One of the traditions of the Health Physics Society (HPS) is the annual breakfast for recipients of the Elda E. Anderson Award. At this breakfast, the previous winners gather for a photograph to commemorate the new recipient. In this picture from the 2003 HPS Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, Eric Abelquist is the newest honoree. How many of those present can you recognize and identify?

The History Committee has collected thousands of photographs from the annual and midyear meetings and posted many on the HPS website. A special collection of the Elda Anderson breakfast photos is located here. Stop by and take a look.

5 February 2018
2018 HPS PDS

The 2018 Health Physics Society Professional Development School—"Hands-On Medical Health Physics Emerging Technologies and Challenges"—will be held 18–20 July in Cleveland, Ohio. More information is available on the PDS web page.

5 February 2018
Chapter Visits by President-Elect Hertel

Health Physics Society (HPS) President-elect Nolan Hertel is coordinating his chapter visits by geographic regions, and chapters need to contact him soon if they want to be included in the schedule.

The HPS Rules break down the distribution of costs for the chapter visit in the following statement: "When arranging for visits with the Chapters, the President-elect shall inform each Chapter that it is customary for the Chapter to pay the cost of local transportation, lodging, and meals during the visit of the President-elect."

Contact President-elect Hertel in the next couple of weeks if you want to schedule a chapter visit. His current schedule is on Members Only under the Operations icon.

Chapters have the option of selecting one of the following talks: 

  • "Radiation Protection: What We Know, Don't Know, and Need to Know" – This is a review of the workshop that HPS president Eric Abelquist and Hertel held at Oak Ridge Associated Universities during the summer on research needs for radiation protection.
  • "Doses to Members of the Public From I-131 Patient Release" – This is a more technical talk, which discusses recent dose modeling that Oak Ridge National Laboratory did for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. To date it has been requested by two chapters.
5 February 2018
Call for Student Fellowships, Travel Grants, and Scholarships

The deadline for applying for Health Physics Society fellowships, travel grants, and scholarships is earlier this year, so apply now! The online links are now available for the 2018–2019 Health Physics Society Fellowships, 2018 Health Physics Society Travel Grants, 2018 Dade Moeller Scholarship Awards, and 2018 Environmental Radon Section Scholarship Awards. The deadline for submittal for all is 28 February 2018. Notification will take place by 28 April 2018.

5 February 2018
Newly Elected Officers and Board Members

Congratulations to the officers and Board of Directors members who will take office at the 2018 Health Physics Society (HPS) Annual Meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, in July:

President-elect Eric Goldin
Secretary-elect Sander Perle
Director Jan Braun
Director Kendall Berry
Director Thomas Johnston

 

5 February 2018
Vote on Bylaws Change Regarding Sections

The Health Physics Society (HPS) vote on bylaws changes to allow formation of nontechnical sections passed in the December election. The HPS Rules Committee will prepare revisions to the Rules which, in turn, will be sent to the Board for approval. After the Rules revisions are approved by the Board, those preparing to form a new section will do so in accordance with applicable Society procedures.

5 February 2018
HPS Respectful Behavior Policy

Essential to the Health Physics Society (HPS) mission is the open exchange of ideas, freedom of thought and expression, and productive scientific debate, which require an open, diverse environment, free of bias and intimidation, built on dignity and mutual respect for all participants. HPS is dedicated to providing a safe, welcoming, and productive experience for everyone participating in Society events and other Society activities, regardless of age, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, marital status, military service status, national origin, parental status, physical appearance, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or any other status or condition.

To further these goals, the HPS Board of Directors has approved the HPS "Respectful Behavior Policy," which can be found on the "About the Health Physics Society" page of the HPS website.

2 February 2018
Update: NTP Releases Reports on Cell-Phone/Rodent Studies

The National Toxicology Program (NTP), a federal, interagency program whose goal is to safeguard the public by identifying substances in the environment that may affect human health, released two technical reports on Friday, 2 February 2018 on high-exposure radiofrequency (RF) radiation (cell phones) in rodents.

Bottom line: At most, the results suggest that RF energy is a weak carcinogen. The studies did not address human health risks, but the present results suggest that they would be quite low at realistic exposure levels. These levels were much higher than levels of cell-phone emissions allowed for humans. Given the evidence reported, current cell-phone limits adequately protect the public.

There was a significant amount of data generated and it will take time for the various health agencies to review and come to any conclusions. For the most part, results showed that higher exposure does not cause additional gliomas (tumors in the brain and spinal cord), yet showed an increase in tumors in tissues surrounding nerves in the hearts of male rats (but not female rats). Additionally, there were no health effects in the mice studied. Researchers mentioned at the briefing that the male rats in the high-exposure group lived longer than the other rats. They said more research is needed to determine why and how that may be relevant to the study results.

At the briefing, the investigators also emphasized the equivocal nature of the findings, meaning it was unclear if any of these tumor increases were related to RF radiation. The study showed no clear dose-response relationship, which suggests that the exposure did not directly cause the increase in tumors.

The relevance of the findings to humans is unclear. The exposure levels used in the study (1.5-6 W/kg) were well above whole-body exposure limits for humans (0.08 and 0.4 W/kg). The exposure levels to the rats were thermally significant, capable of inducing thermoregulatory changes in the animals. At this time, the researchers said it is not known how to assess the relevance to humans of the findings in the rats.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies RF radiation from cell phones as a "possible" human carcinogen, meaning that the evidence supports some level of suspicion but is not strong enough to say the RF exposure "probably" or "actually" causes cancer.

The results of the NTP study need to be assessed by health agencies in the context of many other studies that have already been published. The study results may increase the level of suspicion that RF energy causes cancer, but it is not clear at present how large of an effect they will have on health agency conclusions about the matter.

To view the press release, click here.

Links to other stories on this topic:

Statement from Jeffrey Shuren, MD, JD, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health

Los Angeles Times: "Radiation From Cellphones Is Not Hazardous to Your Health, Government Scientists Say"

Fast Company: "Government Research Shows Link Between Cell Phone Radiation and Tumors in Rats"

Wall Street Journal (may require login): "Why the Largest Study Ever on Cellphones and Cancer Won't Settle the Debate"

The Washington Times: "High Cell-Phone Radiation Causes Tumors in Rats, but Humans Should Be Safe: Researchers"

Reuters: "High Levels of Cellphone Radiation Linked to Tumors in Male Rats: U.S. Study"

The Week: "Scientists Finally Agree That Your Phone Won't Give You Cancer"

29 January 2018
March Health Physics Journal Editor's Pick

Read "The Enemy Within" by Health Physics Journal Editor in Chief Brant Ulsh—his Editor's Pick for the March issue of the Journal.

22 December 2017
Updated Position Statement on Low-Level Waste

The Health Physics Society (HPS) position statement "Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management" and its supporting document "Background Information on 'Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management'" are now available on the HPS website. This is the latest revision of the HPS position statement initially issued in October 1993. The background document should be considered an adjunct to the position statement and is not a stand-alone document.

22 December 2017
DOE Early Career Research Program
The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science has announced the request for applications for the fiscal year 2018 Early Career Research Program. The funding opportunity for researchers in universities and DOE national laboratories supports the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers and stimulates research careers in the disciplines supported by the DOE Office of Science.

Opportunities exist in the following program areas: Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR), Biological and Environmental Research (BER), Basic Energy Sciences (BES), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES), High-Energy Physics (HEP), and Nuclear Physics (NP).
  • Preapplication Due Date: 25 January 2018 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time (required)
  • Encourage/Discourage Date: 27 February 2018 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time
  • Application Due Date: 4 April 2018 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time
Website for Early Career Research Program: https://science.energy.gov/early-career/
Financial Assistance Funding Opportunity Announcement: https://science.energy.gov/~/media/grants/pdf/foas/2017/SC_FOA_0001761.pdf
7 December 2017
Medical Consequences of a Nuclear Strike

Dealing with the medical consequences of a nuclear strike is a topic in the forefront of the news as tensions between the United States and North Korea have grown because of North Korea's recent nuclear tests. Two recently published articles may be of interest to Health Physics Society (HPS) members:

5 December 2017
Apply Now for Student Fellowships, Travel Grants, and Scholarships

Attention Students! The online links are now available for the 2018–2019 Health Physics Society Fellowships, 2018 travel grants, 2018 Dade Moeller Scholarships, and 2018 Environmental Radon Section Scholarship. The deadline for submittal for all is 28 February 2018 (no exceptions!). Notification will take place by 28 April 2018.

Students submit directly for fellowships and travel grants. To apply for these, go to the links below, read the text to see if you are eligible, and then use the forms linked at the bottom of the text to submit your application. You will receive an email at the end of the process confirming your submission.

Nominations for Dade Moeller Scholarships and the Environmental Radon Section Scholarship follow slightly different rules—see the information below, apply online, and send information accordingly.

26 September 2017
New NCRP Reports Benefit

Beginning this fall, Health Physics Society (HPS) members will enjoy free access to many National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) documents (reports and commentaries) as part of their membership. For those publications that are not freely available, HPS members will receive a 60% discount from the list price for electronic versions of NCRP documents purchased through the HPS Members Only website. Members will soon be able to log in to the Members Only site and download a free document or purchase one at 40% of list price! 

Burk and Associates, in consultation with HPS leadership, negotiated this agreement with NCRP. This five-year contract is solely for electronically available NCRP reports and commentaries, with special provisions as follows:

  1. The current benefit of 20% off hard-copy purchases for HPS members will remain.
  2. NCRP will provide access and download of electronically available PDFs of older NCRP reports and commentaries at no charge.
  3. NCRP will provide hard copies of older NCRP reports and commentaries on occasion for distribution at HPS meetings (which began at the Raleigh meeting in 2017).

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