In the 1950s, Alice Stewart found that exposing pregnant mothers to X-ray doubled the risk of cancer in their children. Ever since, the physician and epidemiologist has argued that low doses of radiation might be harmful. It’s a view that has put her at odds with governments, the military and the nuclear industry.
Alice Stewart says that her research “shows that cancer was not the only effect of the A-bomb radiation. People died from immune system damage as well. Our paper also shows that the A-bomb survivors were not a normal, homogenous population. They were the best athletes—the top 10 percent—and did not include the young and the old. This means that we cannot base standards of radiation safety on such an elite cohort.