cover image Radiation: What It Is, What You Need to Know

Radiation: What It Is, What You Need to Know

Robert Peter Gale, M.D., and Eric Lax. Knopf, $25.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-307-95969-0

Oncologist and bone marrow transplant specialist Gale (Final Warning: The Legacy of Chernobyl, with Thomas Hauser) has ventured into the world's top "hot spots"%E2%80%94Chernobyl and Fukushima%E2%80%94and emerged to assure us that our worries about radiation are disproportionate to actual risks. With science writer and biographer Lax (Woody Allen: A Biography), Gale tackles the complicated science of radiobiology to quell unfounded fears and help readers weigh the risks and benefits of nuclear technologies. Taking on some of our more common anxieties, Gale shows there's no evidence that microwaves, cell phones, or LED watches increase the risk of cancer, that going through airport scanners is dangerous, or that irradiated food is radioactive. And though he notes that the U.S. must be careful about how it utilizes nuclear energy, Gale notes that coal-fired plants produce three times more radiation than do nuclear power stations. He also insists that despite the real dangers of nuclear terrorism, radiation saves more lives than it harms, citing its use as an important anticancer therapy. Gale's is an invaluable guide for negotiating an increasingly radioactive world%E2%80%94for scientists, patients of radiation-related medical procedures, and environmentalists alike. Agent: Kris Dahl, International Creative Management. (Jan.)