Fred Singer's Commentary ("Cancer Risk Analysis: Major Policy Changes on the Way?" 12[21]:8, Oct. 26, 1998) makes a good point. National and international policies with respect to low-level radiation and chemical exposure, premised on the idea that a single gamma ray or chemical molecule can result in a fatal cancer, are in need of basic change. They conflict with both science and common sense. But using ultrasensitive means to detect DNA damage is the wrong approach. This is like trying to promote public health by assuring that doorknobs and other objects we contact are absolutely germ-free. The public is already obsessed with the idea that tiny, undetectable quantities of toxins in food, water, air, and soil are killing us, despite all evidence to the contrary. Calling on ever-more-sensitive detectors just feeds that paranoia. We survive in a world of germs and other toxins because the body efficiently...

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