Nukewatch Winter Quarterly 2019-2020
The renowned professor of oncology and medicine Janette Sherman died Nov. 7 at 89 in Alexandria, Virginia. She had a combination of dementia and Addison’s disease, her daughter Connie Bigelow said. A chemist by training, Dr. Sherman took up toxicology and helped pinpoint how hazardous substances, toxic chemicals and nuclear radiation could lead to cancer, birth defects and other diseases. She also studied the continuing health effects of the world’s worst radiation disasters, in 1986 at Chernobyl in Ukraine and in 2011 at the Fukushima-Daiichi site in Japan. Dr. Sherman edited “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment” (Boston: New York Academy of Sciences, 2007), which analyzed thousands of articles in the scientific literature and concluded that the Chernobyl disaster had caused an estimated 985,000 premature deaths…. Dr. Sherman studied the effects of radiation early in her career and later worked with Joseph Mangano, executive director of the nonprofit Radiation and Public Health Project. By analyzing the baby teeth of children who lived near nuclear reactors, they suggested in five peer-reviewed journal articles that even small doses of radiation had caused increases in childhood cancer. [Mr. Mangano emailed on Dec. 1, “Janette was an eminent toxicologist, but focused her energies on nuclear power plant emissions and their health consequences since the mid-1990s. …We all can learn from her example.”] —Excerpted from Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times, Nov. 29, 2019.