Studies of some of the worst radiation incidents show effects on workers and residents aren't nearly as severe as commonly thought, a German newspaper said.
From the dropping of U.S. atomic bombs on Japan in World War II to a 1957 accident at a secret nuclear facility in Siberia to German uranium mines to the nuclear radiation release at Chernobyl in 1987, researchers are finding long-term dangers seem overblown, Der Spiegel reported Friday.
Instead of tens of thousands of deaths from those incidents, documented cancer and other radiation-related deaths have been only in the hundreds, the German newspaper said. Research shows health-related problems, including genetic deformities, also were overstated.
The research includes work done by GSF Research Center for Health and the Environment in Neuherberg, Germany -- Europe's largest radiation protection institute -- for the European Union's Southern Urals Radiation Risk Research project, and by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, as well as a U.S.-Japanese epidemiological study.
"For commendable reasons, many critics have greatly exaggerated the health risks of radioactivity," Albrecht Kellerer, a Munich radiation biologist, told the newspaper. "But contrary to widespread opinion, the number of victims is by no means in the tens of thousands."
Copyright 2007 by United Press International
Explore further: Tipping elements remain a 'hot' issue