No health effects from Fukushima: Japan researcher

Feb 15, 2013 by Kyoko Hasegawa

A Japanese government-backed researcher said Friday no health effects from radiation released by the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant have been seen in people living nearby.

The pronouncement by Kazuo Sakai of Japan's National Institute of Radiological Sciences is the latest by authorities seeking to quell fears over the long-term effects of the disaster.

But it was dismissed by campaign group Greenpeace who said the government should not seek to play down health worries.

"Since the accident in Fukushima, no health effects from radiation have been observed, although we have heard reports some people fell ill due to stress from living as evacuees and due to worries and fears about radiation," Sakai said.

"We know from epidemiological surveys among atomic-bomb victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that if exposure to radiation surpasses 100 millisieverts, the risk of cancer will gradually rise.

"To put it the other way round, we can't say risk of cancer will rise if you are exposed to radiation lower than 100 millisieverts," he said, adding that most people measured had of 20 millisieverts or less.

Sakai said radiation is not at "the level we have to worry about its health effect," for people in Fukushima, taking into account exposure from the atmosphere and ingestion from food.

His comments came as the Fukushima prefectural government panel said this week three people who were 18 or younger when the nuclear crisis erupted in March 2011 have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

released in tends to accumulate in thyroid glands, particularly in young people. In the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, a noticeable increase in thyroid cancer cases was detected among children in the affected area.

Referring to the thyroid cancers reported in Fukushima, Sakai said "there is no clear link between the cancers and exposure to radiation, as empirical knowledge says it takes several years before thyroid cancer is detected after exposure to radiation."

"It is important, however, to monitor these cases," he added, noting that comparison with the pre-accident situation and other regions was necessary.

Kazue Suzuki, nuclear campaigner at Greenpeace, who is not a scientist, said Japan should not try to play down the potential dangers.

"Japan should pour more energy into prevention of diseases including than talking down the risk of low-level radiation."

"Even if there is no comparative epidemiological data, the government should err on the side of caution and carry out more frequent health checks among residents not only in but in other prefectures," she said.

A massive undersea earthquake in March 2011 sent a huge tsunami crashing into Japan's northeast, crushing whole communities and sending nuclear reactors on the coast into meltdown.

Around 19,000 people were killed by the natural disaster, but no one is officially recorded as having died as a direct result of the that spewed from the crippled units in the following months.

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User comments : 8

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AWaB
3 / 5 (2) Feb 15, 2013
Just to add a little perspective...

20 mS = 2 Rem. Nuclear workers in the US are allowed up to 5 Rem per year.
praos
1 / 5 (13) Feb 15, 2013
To put it bluntly: nukes killed no one. Antinuclear Talibans killed hundreds by spreading panic, leading to unecessary evacuations with resulting stress. It's high time to start some antiantinuclear movement to stop these well-meaning innocents in their mindless bleeding-heart killing spree.
cantdrive85
1.4 / 5 (14) Feb 15, 2013
Referring to the thyroid cancers reported in Fukushima, Sakai said "there is no clear link between the cancers and exposure to radiation, as empirical knowledge says it takes several years before thyroid cancer is detected after exposure to radiation.

Not only does he contradict himself in this statement, but the "empirical knowledge" is highly flawed in respect to Chernobyl and is controversial in regards the cancer causing radiation.

cantdrive85
1.5 / 5 (15) Feb 15, 2013
This from an article on a different site;

Suzuki says, "It took at least four to five years for thyroid cancer to be detected after the Chernobyl meltdown."

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health Anand Grover, who spent 11 days in Japan during November 2012, may not agree:

"Chernobyl is not a good example, whose study in the first three years was a blackout. So we don't have data." (Source- http://www.huffin...omepage)

"There was a clamp down of information that made it impossible linking them up in the first years after Chernobyl." (Source- http://enenews.co...n-audio)

Sadly, official misinformation will continue for their own duplicitous reasons. Scum, one and all!
TheHealthPhysicist
1 / 5 (10) Feb 16, 2013
There is always a cancer risk from radiation, because it damages DNA. But the increased risk may not be epidemiologically detectable at low doses.
SteveK9
1 / 5 (1) Feb 17, 2013
@TheHealthPhysicist The well-known Linear No Threshold model, which is certainly incorrect. There are DNA repair mechanisms and recent work at Berkeley and MIT is increasing the understanding of the precise mechanisms. Only beyond a threshold that overwhelms these mechanisms are there effects. Which is in agreement with chemical toxins. This theory never made any sense. Consider that there is no increase in cancer among residents of Rhamsar Iran (300X normal background and far beyond anything at Fukushima).
kochevnik
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 17, 2013
The radiation toll from last year's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident could eventually result in anywhere from 15 to 1,300 deaths, according to a study by Stanford University scientists. The researchers also calculate that about 24 to 2,500 cases of cancer illnesses could someday be attributed to the accident. Plant workers who were exposed to radiation on-site may account for another two to 12 cancer cases." http://blogs.wsj....effects/
kochevnik
1.6 / 5 (7) Feb 18, 2013
Almost half of Fukushima kids have thyroid abnormalities: http://english.ru...alities/
Whereas nuke-loving MrMajestic only has a mental abnormality. Lucky man

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