Background to "Wings of Death"
Dr. Busby began to think about the relationship between internal and external radiation when in the mid 1980s he read of an experiment aimed at discovering whether there was any link between radioactivity from Windscale/Sellafield and the disappearance of seagulls from nearby Ravenglass.
A student at Imperial College in London was irradiating gulls' eggs with a Cobalt 60 source (i.e. very energetic gamma irradiation, externally delivered ) to see what dose would stop the eggs hatching. It seemed obvious that if radioactivity was having an effect on the eggs, it was likely to be caused by pollutants inside the egg coming from the contaminated Irish sea via the parent birds' diet, rather than external radiation.
Busby realised that when sequential emitters like Strontium-90 are immobilised in body tissue they have a far greater likelihood of overcoming cell repair processes than random hits from natural background radiation. With his daughter Araceli he worked out the mathematical probabilities of the "second event". They submitted a paper to the International Journal of Radiation Biology in May 1992. It was rejected.
The conventional route for a scientist whose work had been rejected would be to answer the referees and to resubmit, or to submit to another peer-reviewed Journal.
But having seen the reviewers' contradictory and frankly wrong reasons for rejecting his paper, Busby felt that he could not waste time -- life was too short, and the issue too urgent.
Better to go straight to the public, and tell the story with enough clarity and enough fire to persuade those with ears that there is something very wrong with the conventional model of radiation biology.
It is an approach that has succeeded, as you can see from ....
Early reviews from around the world
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This page was last updated May 2001