Christopher Busby Sells “Useless” & Overpriced Anti-Radiation Pills
If you’ve been following some of the scariest stories on the internet about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, chances are you’ve come across statements by anti-nuclear activist Christopher Busby. Busby is known for his championing of the (unproven) claim that very low doses of radiation are extremely harmful to human health. He’s been saying that Fukushima could kill over 1.4 million people. Busby has even claimed that the Japanese government is using trucks full of radioactive waste to intentionally contaminate the entire country, giving children cancer in areas of Japan that are far from Fukushima, and thus hiding any spike in cancer rates that will take place near Fukushima.
A recent article in the Guardian has revealed that Busby is profiting from his extremely scary statements about Fukushima. As he spreads fear of radiation, he’s promoting the sale of supplements that he claims will protect people from it:
Dr Christopher Busby, a visiting professor at the University of Ulster, is championing a series of expensive products and services which, he claims, will protect people in Japan from the effects of radiation. Among them are mineral supplements on sale for ￥5,800 (£48) a bottle, urine tests for radioactive contaminants for ￥98,000 (£808) and food tests for ￥108,000 (£891).
The tests are provided by Busby Laboratories and promoted through a body called the Christopher Busby Foundation for the Children of Fukushima (CBFCF). Both the pills and the tests are sold through a website in California called 4u-detox.com, run by a man called James Ryan.
Scientists who were asked to comment on the effectiveness of the supplements said that they were essentially “useless” as protection against radiation. And, to make matters worse, they’re being sold at a price that is ludicrously high:
Busby says that the calcium and magnesium pills will be supplied “at the cost of production”. But the prices being charged by 4u-detox.com are far greater than those of other mineral supplements on sale in Japan. Chemists in Tokyo sell bottles of 200 pills containing similar combinations of ingredients for ￥1,029 (£8.49). James Ryan’s website also charges a minimum shipping cost of ￥2,300 (£19).
George Monbiot asked Busby to comment on the supplements. Here’s what Busby had to say for himself:
When I phoned Busby to ask him some questions about these issues, his responses were less than enlightening. He began as follows: “You can fuck off frankly.”
When I asked him what his involvement was with the Christopher Busby Foundation for the Children of Fukushima, he told me: “I think you can fuck off. I’m not going to answer your questions.” When I asked whether the products being sold in his name are snakeoil, he responded: “Of course it’s not snakeoil you fuckwit”.
Busby answered some of my questions but put the phone down on me before I could ask what I considered to be the key points. These are:
- Are you receiving money from the sale of these products and services?
- Have the pills being sold in your name been subjected to a randomised controlled trial to test their efficacy?
- Are the tests being sold audited by external assessors?
- Do you draw money out of the Green Audit account for your own use?
When I emailed these questions and others to him he sent me, “as my response to your questions” a summary of the proceedings of a conference that took place in 2009. Given that this was held before the Fukushima disaster, and before he started promoting pills and tests to the people of Japan, it was hard to see the relevance of this answer. No other response from him has been forthcoming.
Monbiot also looked in to some of Busby’s research (almost all of which is self-published), finding that scientists who have read it think it’s about as useful as those anti-radiation supplements.