Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 87, Issue 12, pp 2063–2081

How the US National Academy of Sciences misled the world community on cancer risk assessment: new findings challenge historical foundations of the linear dose response

Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00204-013-1105-6

Cite this article as:
Calabrese, E.J. Arch Toxicol (2013) 87: 2063. doi:10.1007/s00204-013-1105-6


This paper extends several recent publications indicating that Hermann J. Muller: (1) Made deceptive statements during his Noble Prize Lecture on December 12, 1946, that were intended to promote the acceptance of the linear dose-response model for risk assessment for ionizing radiation and (2) that such actions of Muller were masked by a series of decisions by Muller’s long-time colleague and esteemed radiation geneticist Curt Stern, affecting key publications in the mutation literature. Such actions further enhanced acceptance of the linearity dose-response model while preventing Muller’s deceptions from being discovered. This paper provides documentation that Muller reinforced such practices within the scientific literature in the early 1950s, by supporting scientifically questionable actions of Stern. Detailed documentation is provided that demonstrates how these actions affected national and international risk assessment policy for ionizing radiation and chemical carcinogens via the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation committee in 1956, to adopt the linear dose-response model.


Mutation Linearity Dose response Risk assessment History of science Muller 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public Health, Environmental Health SciencesUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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