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Continued use of nuclear energy brings pollution, cancers and birth defects

the continued use of nuclear energy that has forced us into this Faustian bargain in the name of mitigating climate change, is both unnecessary and downright harmful.
A Grim Reality.   https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2021/02/15/a-grim-reality/, Living longterm in radioactively contaminated areas damages our health, By Cindy Folkers, 15 Feb 21,

A growing body of evidence supports a grim reality: that living in radioactively contaminated areas over multiple years results in harmful health impacts, particularly during pregnancy.

This is borne out in a recent study by Anton V. Korsakov, Emilia V. Geger, Dmitry G. Lagerev, Leonid I. Pugach and Timothy A. Mousseau, that shows a higher frequency of birth defects amongst people living in Chernobyl-contaminated areas (as opposed to those living in areas considered uncontaminated) in the Bryansk region of Russia.

Because the industry and governments are pushing to spend more money on new nuclear reactors — or to keep the old ones running longer — they have been forced to come up with a deadly workaround to surmount the strongest argument against nuclear power: its potential for catastrophic accidents.

Even the nuclear industry and the governments willing to do its bidding understand that you cannot really clean up after a nuclear catastrophe. For example, in Japan, where the March 2011 nuclear disaster has left lands radioactively contaminated potentially indefinitely, there is an attempt to mandate that people return to live in these areas by claiming there are no “discernible” health impacts from doing so.

Bodies that are supposed to protect health and regulate the nuclear industry, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the International Commission on Radiological Protection and Nuclear Regulatory Commission are raising recommended public exposure limits, considering halting evacuations from radiation releases, and encouraging people to live on, and eat from, contaminated land. 

The public justification for continued nuclear energy use is, ostensibly, to address the  climate crisis. The reality is more likely a desperate last-ditch effort by the nuclear industry to remain relevant, while in some countries the nuclear energy agenda remains inextricably linked to nuclear weapon programs.

Forcing people to live on and consume produce grown from radioactively contaminated land is contrary to scientific evidence indicating that these practices harm humans and all animals, especially over the long-term. By the time these health impacts are unearthed, decades later, the false narratives of “harmless low radiation doses” and “no discernible impact” have solidified, covering up the painful reality that should be a touchstone informing our debate over nuclear power.

The recent joint study, whose implementation, says Korsakov, would not have happened without the support and efforts of co-author Mousseau, found that birth defects like polydactyly (having more than five fingers or toes), and multiple congenital malformations (including those that are appearing for the first time — called de novo), were “significantly higher… in newborns in regions with elevated radioactive, chemical and combined contamination.”

Uniquely, Korsakov also examines areas contaminated by both Chernobyl radioactivity and industrial chemicals. Multiple congenital malformations (MCM) were much higher in areas of combined contamination, indicating an additive and potentially synergistic effect between pollutants for these birth defects.

Congenital malformations (CM) are thought to originate in the first trimester of pregnancy and represent a main cause of global disease burden. They are considered “indicators of adverse factors in the environment,” including radioactive pollution, and can afflict numerous organs (heart, brain, lungs, bones, intestines) with physical abnormalities and metabolic disorders. Counted among these are clubfoot, hernias, heart and neural tube defects, cleft palate and lip, and Down syndrome.

CMs are the leading cause of infant mortality in many developed nations, accounting for 20% of U.S. infant deaths. For those living past infancy, the effects can be lifelong. While a number of CMs are obvious early in life, some may not be identified until later, even into adulthood. Countries of low- and middle-income are affected disproportionately.

In the Bryansk region of Russia, birth defects were examined over the 18-year period from 2000-2017. For areas contaminated with radiation alone, dose estimations from Chernobyl radiation (released from the 1986 nuclear catastrophe) ranged from 0.6 mSv to 2.1 mSv per year, while in areas contaminated with radiation and chemicals, dose ranges were 1.2 to 2.0 mSv per year.

As the Bryansk study authors point out, “[n]early all types of hereditary defects can be found at doses as low a [sic] 1–10 mSv indicating that current radiation risk models are inadequate for low dose environments.”

In comparison, Japan and the U.S. maintain that there is little risk to resettling or inhabiting areas contaminated by nuclear catastrophe where estimated doses would range from 5-20 mSv/year. Yet harm was found among Bryansk populations exposed to doses far lower than the much higher ones proclaimed “livable” by nuclear proponents.

One explanation for the disconnect between the expected and actual health effects is an underestimate of the impact of ingesting or inhaling manmade radioactive isotopes, particularly beta emitters, a large source of exposure following radiation releases from nuclear power catastrophes.

A number of these isotopes mimic nutrients that our bodies need such as calcium (radiostrontium) and potassium (radiocesium), so our body doesn’t know to avoid them. Of course, nuclear proponents recognize that economic recovery of polluted places will be difficult without being able to grow, sell and consume food that might be contaminated with isotopes that give off this radiation,.

Korsakov et al. point to yet another explanation for the disconnect — the assumption that dose reconstruction models properly fit all realistic exposures. When experts estimate doses they often do so without adequate knowledge of local culture and habits. Therefore, they fail to capture variations in exposure pathways, creating enormous errors in dose reconstruction. As a starting point, radiation science would be better served by directly measuring contamination levels where people actually live, play, breathe and eat.

But it seems dose models also fail to adequately represent the damage done to fetuses and neonates, not least because damage can be random (stochastic) making it difficult to predict. Stochastic health impacts include cancer and other genetic damage, and may be severe even at low doses.  During pregnancy, one hit from radiation could damage or destroy cells meant to form entire organs, making accounting for stochastic impacts during fetal development extremely important — especially as fetal tissue collects some radionuclides in greater amounts than maternal tissue.

Health impacts in the Bryansk region could be a result both of direct radiation exposure during pregnancy and of cumulative impact over a “series of generations (genetic load)” raising the specter of heritability of genetic damage. Past studies have indicated that radiation damage can be heritable — passing from parents to offspring; that living in environments of elevated natural background radiation will increase mutations and disease; that the ability to withstand radiation doses appears to diminish as continually-exposed generations progress; and that doses from catastrophic releases should be accounted for across generations, not just in the generation initially exposed.

These currently sparse, yet growing data, support long-held conclusions that humans do not differ significantly from every other animal and plant — they, too, suffer heritable damage from radiation.

The Korsakov study projects that overall, multiple congenital malformations will increase in the next few years in the contaminated regions. Increases in birth defects are occurring despite access to free in-depth medical exams for pregnant women residing in areas of higher contamination and, if warranted, pregnancy termination. Such access has apparently greatly decreased the number of stilbirths in the region, as did a similar program at the end of the 1990s in Belarus, the country which bore the brunt of radioactive Chernobyl contamination. But even with such programs, overall birth defects have increased in the contaminated areas in Russia.

So not only is it unhealthy to live in radiologically-contaminated areas, attempts at mitigating the effects, particularly those on pregnancy, have limited impact. Encouraging, or worse yet, forcing people to live in contaminated areas and eat contaminated food, is foolishly cruel (particularly to people of reproductive age who may face wrenching decisions about wanted pregnancies) and not in the interest of public health.

Meanwhile, the continued use of nuclear energy that has forced us into this Faustian bargain in the name of mitigating climate change, is both unnecessary and downright harmful.

February 15, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children, Reference, women | Leave a comment

At last, UK government will investigate birth defects amongst children of nuclear test veterans

Mirror 3rd Feb 2021, Thousands of sick children and adults have finally been offered government research into whether their DNA was damaged by Cold War nuclear bomb tests.

An estimated 155,000 descendants of National Servicemen who took part in atomic weapons tests in the 1950s now report 10 times the normal rate birth defects, and are five times more likely to die as infants. Now Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer has promised to consider thorough research into whether they suffer a genetic legacy from Britain’s radiation
experiments.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/thousands-offered-research-dna-damage-23436272

February 5, 2021 Posted by | children, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Thyroid cancer at ages 0 and 2 at the time of the nuclear accident-Health survey in Fukushima Prefecture January 2021

Thyroid cancer at ages 0 and 2 at the time of the nuclear accident-Health survey in Fukushima Prefecture Posted by: ourplanet Posted on: Thu, 01/14/2021 –00:46 http://ourplanet-tv.org/?q=node/2537 (Japanese only)

(Translated from Google) The “Prefectural Health Survey” Review Committee was held in Fukushima City on the 15th to discuss the health survey of Fukushima citizens following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. For the first time, it was discovered that two infants, a 0-year-old girl and a 2-year-old girl at the time of the accident, were diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

Material https://www.pref.fukushima.lg.jp/site/portal/kenkocyosa-kentoiinkai-40.html

This time, the result of the fourth round of thyroid examination until June last year was newly announced. The number of children diagnosed with suspected thyroid cancer by fine needle cytology increased by 6 from the previous time to 27, and the number of children who underwent thyroidectomy increased by 3 from the previous time to 16 children. Up to now, 252 patients have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer or suspected thyroid cancer from prior examination, of which 203 have undergone thyroid surgery. 202 people, excluding one, were confirmed to have thyroid cancer.

In the fourth round of examination, it was found for the first time that a girl who was 0 years old and a girl who was 2 years old at the time of the accident were diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Since the age of the examination is not the actual age but the grade, the ages at the time of the examination are 9 years old (3rd grade of elementary school) and 11 years old (5th grade of elementary school), respectively. According to the previous test results of 27 patients, 5 patients had “A1 judgement” without nodules or tumors, and 16 people had “A2 judgement” with nodules of 5 mm or less or cysts of 2 cm or less, 5 mm or more. 5 people had a “B-judgement” with nodules or cysts of 2 cm or more, and 1 had not been examined. He had the smallest tumor size of 6.1 mm and the largest tumor was 29.4 mm.

What stands out in the results of the fourth round of examination is the high dose of radiation for people diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Of the 27 patients diagnosed as suspected of being malignant by fine needle cytology, 11 patients (40.7%) who submitted the basic survey questionnaire had an exposure dose of less than 1 mSv in 2 patients (18.1%) 4 months after the accident. The number of children exposed to 2mSv or more was the highest, with 4 (36.3%) from 1mSv to 2mSv and 5 (45.5%) from 2mSv to 5mSv. In particular, the two boys who were five years old at the time of the accident were both over 2mSv.

According to the results of the basic survey of all Fukushima residents, 62.2% are less than 1mSv, 31.6% are from 1mSv to 2mSv, and 5.5% are from 2mSv to 3mSv. Very different.

To review the mass examination at school At this review committee, a major shift was made to reviewing simultaneous examinations at schools. The test, which has found more than 200 people with thyroid cancer, raises the theory of “overdiagnosis” among experts who deny the effects of radiation exposure, saying that they are finding thyroid cancer that they do not have to find. There is a growing opinion that the mass examination at school should be reviewed.

Based on these opinions, the review committee decided to conduct an interview survey at schools in the prefecture on August 31st last time. This time, there was a report on the results of a survey conducted by the prefecture at 26 elementary and junior high schools and high schools in the prefecture.

At many schools, thyroid examinations were performed during class hours, criticized by Shoichiro Tsugane, a member of the National Cancer Center, saying, “You can’t take this without a strong will.” “The benefits of the test are not except that you can be reassured when you get negative. The discovery of thyroid cancer has little benefit in avoiding death or poor quality of life, especially when you are diagnosed with thyroid cancer. “I think it will be a huge disadvantage for those who do,” he said. “Thyroid examination in a group of asymptomatic healthy people is not desirable. I asked him to stop the mass examination at school. ..

In addition, Professor Toshiya Inaba of Hiroshima University also cut out at the school examination that “they are left behind” and said, “Parents are not worried. The school rents the venue. The prefectural medical college has an inspection. I understand each position well, but in the end, it is the people who are left unattended. ” He emphasized that the prefectures and medical colleges that are the subjects of the survey should explain more to children and students the significance of the test and the fact that it can be rejected.

Screenshot of Zoom chat from the meeting 2021

In response, Professor Satoshi Tomita of Fukushima University argued head-on. He criticized that “many Fukushima residents have anxiety about their health” and that members of the Prefectural Health Investigation Committee, especially members outside Fukushima Prefecture, are calling for the cancellation or reduction of examinations. He said that thyroid examination is a way to relieve the anxiety of Fukushima residents, “the anxiety of Fukushima residents, especially those with children, is left behind.” “It is dangerous to go in the direction of reduction easily.” “Thinking” was pointed out.

Ikuko Abe, chairman of the Fukushima Clinical Psychologists Association, who also lives in Fukushima Prefecture and has a close relationship with schools, agrees with this, saying, “I agree with Professor Tomita’s opinion.” “Given the anxiety about radiation that Fukushima residents have, thyroid examinations are very reassuring,” she said. “Reducing or eliminating the examinations still takes the opposite position. I want you to do it. “

What caught my eye in the discussion was the presence of Katsushi Tahara, director of the Ministry of the Environment’s Health and Welfare Department. The members of the review committee from the Ministry of the Environment have not said much, but have played a role in important aspects of policy change. This time too, Mr. Tahara considers the fact that the school is cooperating with the implementation of the examination, such as encouraging households whose delivery to Fukushima Medical University is delayed to submit again when the deadline has passed. About 30% of the children undergoing medical examinations at school were asked intensively about this point, such as confirming that the school side took over the collection of consent forms.

To conduct hearings with the person to be inspected Following a survey of the school, the prefecture proposed to have a place to hear directly from the children and students who had been inspected. Questions were raised about the representativeness of the interviewees, and there was an opinion requesting a quantitative survey such as a questionnaire, but the prefecture’s proposal was approved because the survey took too long.

Regarding this “interview survey,” there was a harsh debate over the neutrality of the content, such as the opinion that a pilot study was unavoidable and that the voices of patients diagnosed with thyroid cancer should also be heard. With the strong push back of the constellation chairman, it was decided that the selection of the target audience and the holding method would be left to the chairperson and the prefecture. The results will be reported at the next meeting.

In response to the further shift to reviewing mass screening at school in this “interview,” Chiba parent and child of the “thyroid cancer support group Hydrangea Association” that supports families with thyroid cancer said, “Accident Among the 0-year-old and 2-year-old children at that time, a child with thyroid cancer appeared and my chest hurts. Thyroid cancer also has recurrence and metastasis, and early detection and early treatment are beneficial for the child. Given that the cancer was found in a school test, there can be no argument to eliminate the school test. ” The group has made offers to the prefecture three times in the past and opposes the reduction of inspections.

January 16, 2021 Posted by | children, Fukushima continuing, Reference | 2 Comments

Congenital abnormalities. Thorium and uranium, in infants and children living near an active U.S. military base in Iraq

October 1, 2020 Posted by | children, Iraq | Leave a comment

Central Asia’s toxic nuclear legacy

 

According to Kyrgyz official data, the gamma radiation on tailings pit surfaces are within 17-60 mR/hr; however, in the damaged areas, radiation levels reach 400-500 mR/hr. An exposure to 100 mSv a year (a millisievert, mSv, is equal to 100 milliroentgens, mR) or 10,000 mR is the point where an increase in cancer is clearly evident. At 400-500 mR/hr this would be achieved in 20-25 hours, or just one day. Radionuclides and heavy metals from these tailing pits and dumps are seeping into the surface and groundwater, polluting water and farmland and increasing the risk of cancer for local people.

Birth anomalies are an additional indicator of environmental radioactive contamination. A study by the Institute of Medical Problems showed that the incidence of birth defects in Mailuu-Suu was three times higher than in the country’s second largest city of Osh. Studies have correlated birth defects to the distance of the parents’ residences from radioactive waste sites. Polluted water is the major factor causing the development of congenital malformations, according to research by the Institute of Medical Problems.

Mailuu-Suu: Cleaning up Central Asia’s toxic uranium legacy https://www.thethirdpole.net/2020/09/02/mailuu-suu-cleaning-up-central-asias-toxic-uranium-legacy/

Countries must set aside territorial disputes and work together to clean up radioactive waste seeping into rivers and farmland in the Ferghana Valley – causing an environmental and health catastrophe for people living in the region   Janyl Madykova, September 2, 2020   Political tensions between countries in Central Asia have intensified since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Along with border conflicts and water disputes, problems have arisen from residual radioactive waste located in the Kyrgyz town of Mailuu-Suu in the Ferghana Valley, which has caused widespread pollution of river and farmland, and led to major impacts on the health and economy of people in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Industrial-scale uranium mining began in Mailuu-Suu during the Soviet era in 1946 and lasted until 1968. Uranium ore from Europe and China was also processed in Mailuu-Suu during this time.

As a result, the small town of 24,000 people is now surrounded by about 3 million cubic metres of uranium waste left in 23 tailings pits and 13 dumps. These sites have contaminated the Mailuu-Suu river, a major tributary of the Syr Darya which flows through Kyrgyzstan and into Uzbekistan, carrying radioactive waste into the densely populated Ferghana Valley.

The biggest problem is that earthquakes, landslides and heavy rainfall events have intensified in recent years, destroying uranium tailing storage sites along the river and mountain slopes, contaminating surrounding areas. A number of international organisations have worked to prevent further disasters in Mailuu-Suu. The World Bank has allocated more than USD 11 million to clean up uranium tailings. The European Commission launched an initiative in 2015 to remediate the most dangerous sites in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

However, the pollution remains, and Central Asian countries must cooperate to prevent further environmental disasters in the Ferghana Valley, as well as mitigate economic damage and resolve political issues.

A town built on radioactive waste

According to the state surveys there are 92 radioactive and toxic storage facilities across Kyrgyzstan today. The most dangerous of these are the Mailuu-Suu uranium sites, because of numerous hazards threatening the tailing pits. Were these tailing pits destabilised, they would have potentially catastrophic environmental consequences for Kyrgyzstan and the neighbouring countries of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, with the radioactive waste contaminating the river as well as the soil and irrigated farmland surrounding it.

Uranium was first discovered in the region in 1933, and within 20 years 10,000 tonnes of uranium oxide was extracted in Mailuu-Suu. Residual radioactive waste in southern Kyrgyzstan currently poses a major environmental threat to the densely populated parts of the Ferghana Valley, home to about 14 million people.

Landslides are the major risk. There are more than 200 landslide-prone locations around Mailuu-Suu. There was little such threat in the 1940s, but landslide activity has intensified since 1954 due to increased rainfall. Landslides in Mailuu-Suu occurred several times in 1988, 1992 and 2002, damaging infrastructure and altering water flow. The most dangerous landslide is Koi-Tash, which happened in 2017 and could block the riverbed and spread radioactive contamination down the river.

The 1950s saw one of the most salient examples of the danger posed by vulnerable waste dumps. In April 1958, as a result of rainfall and high seismic activity, an alluvial dam collapsed into tailings pit #7 in Mailuu-Suu, pushing more than 400,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste into the Mailuu-Suu river, which then spread 30-40 km downstream in irrigated farmland in Uzbekistan. The effects of this disaster have lasted to this day, with the radioactive contamination of the river and surrounding soil and vegetation causing major health problems and fatalitiesSuch disasters also heighten tensions between the regional states. Continue reading

September 7, 2020 Posted by | ASIA, children, environment, history, Reference, women | Leave a comment

Nuclear emissions cause cancer

Irvine Community News 30th May 2020, While we agonize over the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps it is also appropriate to consider another medical enigma which kills far more. Cancer is the number one killer in California. This year, cancer deaths are expected to
exceed 60,000 in California and 600,000 nationwide.

Radioactive discharges from nuclear power plants are viewed by many as a contributing factor. Over 100 million Americans live within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant. Our
very own San Onofre has been regularly releasing low-level radiation into
the ocean and atmosphere for more than a half-century.

Although it is listed as “low-level,” the destructive biological effects of radiation
are cumulative. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, even small
doses of ionizing radiation increase risks to humans.

Air ejectors blast dozens of radionuclides into the prevailing winds which generally blow over
the populated cities of Orange County. Giant pipes that are 18 feet in
diameter discharge liquid releases into the ocean, up to a million gallons
per minute. Radionuclides are mixed with sea water in discharges that can
go on for more than a day. The theory is simple: The solution to pollution
is dilution.

Do these emissions increase cancer risk? The shocking answer
is that no one knows for sure, mainly because of lack of research. The
public would like to know more but nuclear industry wants to know less. The
Nuclear Regulatory Commission likes to cite a heavily flawed study from 30
years ago which failed to find an answer. It studied only where people
died, not where they lived or worked. It also failed to study cancer in
children, the most vulnerable group.

More recently, scientific studies in Europe have reported an increase in cancer risks, especially in children.

https://irvinecommunitynewsandviews.org/guest-article-do-emissions-from-nuclear-power-plants-cause-cancer/

June 1, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children | Leave a comment

The danger to children of low level nuclear radiation has been underestimated

May 25, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children | 2 Comments

All the world is betraying the world’s children, the World Health Organisation has found

February 22, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate change afflicting the health of the world’s children

Warning: Climate change will bring major new health risks for kids   https://thebulletin.org/2020/01/warning-climate-change-will-bring-major-new-health-risks-for-kids/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=MondayNewsletter01202020&utm_content=ClimateChange_HealthRisks_01172020#

By Kathleen E. Bachynski, January 17, 2020  As we enter a new decade, headlines from across the world make all too clear that the effects of climate change are not just looming. They’re here, they’re now, and they’re devastating communities on every continent. For example, in Australia, unprecedented fires have emitted roughly 400 million tons of carbon, killed at least 25 people, and destroyed 2,000 homes. In Indonesia, terrible flooding has killed at least 67 people and caused 400,000 to abandon their homes. The loss of sea ice in the Arctic is shrinking access to food resources that numerous indigenous communities have depended on for generations.

But the health effects of climate change go beyond even the most immediate and obvious consequences of fires, floods, and melting ice. In November 2019, the medical journal The Lancet published a detailed report examining the effects that climate change will have on human health under two scenarios: one in which the world reins in emissions according to commitments laid out in the Paris agreement, and one in which the world does not. In both cases, children will be most vulnerable to the numerous health harms resulting from decisions made by their parents and grandparents. Children are particularly likely to suffer the effects of climate change for numerous reasons: Their immune and organ systems are still developing, they drink relatively more water and breathe in more air than do adults relative to their body weight, and they tend to spend more time outdoors. Understanding the full scope of the public health consequences of a changing climate, then, involves examining how the risks will affect the bodies of the youngest people.

According to the Lancet report, air pollution—specifically, exposure to fine particulate matter known as PM 2.5—represents the largest environmental risk factor for premature deaths across the globe. When people think of the public health effects of air pollution, they often imagine the worst-case scenarios. For example, the smoke from the fires in Australia is currently so severe that a day spent inhaling the air in east Sydney represents the equivalent of smoking 19 cigarettes.

But air pollution need not reach such extreme levels to cause serious harm. Far more commonly, people are unaware of the daily pollution that they are breathing in due to the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and gas. In fact, more than 90 percent of children are exposed to concentrations of PM 2.5 higher than the World Health Organization’s guidelines on outdoor air pollution. Over a lifetime, unhealthy air damages lungs and increases risks for a host of diseases, from asthma to pneumonia. And due to their small body size and the factors cited above, children absorb more of this pollution than do adults.

Similarly, The Lancet report notes that children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of heat. Specifically, young children are at greater risk for experiencing electrolyte imbalance, fever, respiratory disease, and kidney disease during periods of extreme heat. Rates of heat-related deaths are four times higher among children younger than one year old as compared to people aged 1-to-44.   Changing temperature and precipitation patterns are also influencing the transmission of disease from insects to humans. In particular, malaria and dengue are spread by mosquitoes, and climate suitability for transmission of these diseases is increasing in numerous parts of the world. Because children tend to spend more time outdoors, they are more likely to contract these diseases. In 2017, children accounted for 61 percent of all malaria deaths worldwide, and climate change is putting more children at even greater risk.

Changing climate patterns, droughts, and fires also threaten to reduce crop yields and increase food insecurity. Moreover, rising carbon dioxide appears to diminish the nutrient quality of crucial staple foods such as wheat and rice. Combined, these trends are likely to exacerbate the already serious global health problem of malnutrition, which currently accounts for nearly one-fifth of premature deaths and poor health globally.   The consequences of malnutrition are particularly severe among children. In 2018, 22 percent of children under five years of age were stunted, meaning they experienced impaired growth and development. Stunting is largely irreversible and includes serious consequences, from poorer cognition to increased risk of nutrition-related chronic diseases later in life.

Finally, The Lancet report observes that climate change has other health implications that are more challenging to quantify but crucial to address, such as mental health effects. Researchers have found that children are at high risk of mental health problems following the types of natural disasters that are likely to increase due to climate change. For example, one study found that 31 percent of a group of children who were evacuated during Hurricane Katrina reported clinically significant symptoms associated with depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control, children are at particular risk for stress after a disaster because they often understand less about what is occurring, feel less able to control events, and have less experience coping with difficult situations.

Protecting children from air pollution, heat-related deaths, infectious diseases, malnutrition, and mental health effects associated with climate change will involve the mobilization of all sectors of society to drastically reduce emissions and invest in health systems and infrastructure. The Lancet report notes a few promising signs, such as increased public and political engagement, and increasing health adaptation spending to improve communities’ resilience to a changing climate. Unfortunately, however, current efforts are falling far short of what is needed to meaningfully reduce carbon emissions on the scale needed to address the threat posed to human health. According to a 2019 United Nations report, greenhouse gas emissions must begin falling by 7.6 percent this year in order to meet the most ambitious goals laid out in the 2015 Paris climate accord. But the world is nowhere near this goal, and many countries are heading in the opposite direction. Notably, in 2018, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose by 2.7 percent in the United States. The United Nations has warned that every year of delay “brings a need for faster cuts, which become increasingly expensive, unlikely, and impractical.”

Waiting until action becomes more difficult, or perhaps even impossible, has appalling moral consequences. The longer we fail to act to address the risks of climate change, the more human lives we place on the line. And the majority of those lives will belong to the most vulnerable among us. It is no wonder, then, that children across the world have taken the lead in advocating for urgent, necessary action. The public health stakes for them—and for all people—grow higher with each passing year. Our health is fundamentally tied to our planet’s health. We must all consider, then, what actions we need to take to protect our planet—and thereby our communities, our children, and our selves.

 

January 21, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

New report on Iraqi babies, deformed due to thorium and uranium from U.S. military actions and bases

IRAQI CHILDREN BORN NEAR U.S. MILITARY BASE SHOW ELEVATED RATES OF “SERIOUS CONGENITAL DEFORMITIES,” STUDY FINDS   https://theintercept.com/2019/11/25/iraq-children-birth-defects-military/  Murtaza Hussain, November 26 2019,  MORE THAN A decade and a half after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, a new study found that babies are being born today with gruesome birth defects connected to the ongoing American military presence there. The report, issued by a team of independent medical researchers and published in the journal Environmental Pollution, examined congenital anomalies recorded in Iraqi babies born near Tallil Air Base, a base operated by the U.S.-led foreign military coalition. According to the study, babies showing severe birth defects — including neurological problems, congenital heart disease, and paralyzed or missing limbs — also had corresponding elevated levels of a radioactive compound known as thorium in their bodies.

“We collected hair samples, deciduous (baby) teeth, and bone marrow from subjects living in proximity to the base,” said Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the study’s lead researchers. “In all three tissues we see the same trend: higher levels of thorium.” Savabieasfahani, who has authored studies on the radioactive footprint of the U.S. military presence in Iraq for years, says that the new findings contribute to a growing body of evidence about the serious long-term health impact of U.S. military operations on Iraqi civilians. “The closer that you live to a U.S. military base in Iraq,” she said, “the higher the thorium in your body and the more likely you are to suffer serious congenital deformities and birth defects.”
The new study piles onto a growing wealth of knowledge about severe ill effects of the U.S. military on the environments in which it operates. All industrialized military activity is bad for ecological systems, but the U.S., with its enormous military engaged in activities spanning the globe has a particular large environmental footprint. Not only does the U.S. military lead the world in carbon output, but its prodigious presence around the globe leaves a toxic trail of chemicals that local communities have to deal with, from so-called burn pits on bases releasing poisonous smoke to the radiation of depleted uranium rounds mutating the DNA of nearby populations.

The suffering of Iraqis has been particularly acute. The results of the new study added to a laundry list of negative impacts of the U.S.’s long war there to the long-term health of the country’s population. Previous studies, including some contributed by a team led by Savabieasfahani, have pointed to elevated rates of cancer, miscarriages, and radiological poisoning in places like Fallujah, where the U.S. military carried out major assaults during its occupation of the country.

The study published in Environmental Pollution was conducted by a team of independent Iraqi and American researchers in Iraq during the summer and fall of 2016. They analyzed 19 babies born with serious birth defects at a maternity hospital in the vicinity of Tallil Air Base, compared with a control group of 10 healthy newborns.
“Doctors are regularly encountering anomalies in babies that are so gruesome they cannot even find precedents for them,” said Savabieasfahani. “The war has spread so much radiation here that, unless it is cleaned up, generations of Iraqis will continue to be affected.”

SOME OF THESE negative health effects of the American war in Iraq can be put down to U.S. forces’ frequent use of munitions containing depleted uranium. Depleted uranium, a byproduct of the enriched uranium used to power nuclear reactors, makes bullets and shells more effective in destroying armored vehicles, owing to its extreme density. But it has been acknowledged to be hazardous to the environment and the long-term health of people living in places where the munitions are used.

“Uranium and thorium were the main focus of this study,” the authors note. “Epidemiological evidence is consistent with an increased risk of congenital anomalies in the offspring of persons exposed to uranium and its depleted forms.” In other words: The researchers found that the more you were around these American weapons, the more likely you were to bear children with deformities and other health problems.

In response to an outcry over its effects, the U.S. military pledged to not use depleted uranium rounds in its bombing campaigns against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, but, despite this pledge, a 2017 investigation by the independent research group AirWars and Foreign Policy magazine found that the military had continued to regularly use rounds containing the toxic compound.

These depleted-uranium munitions are among the causes of hazards not only to the civilians in the foreign lands where the U.S. fights its wars, but also to American service members who took part in these conflicts. The chronic illnesses suffered by U.S. soldiers during the 1991 war in Iraq — often from exposure to uranium munitions and other toxic chemicals — have already been categorized as a condition known as “Gulf War syndrome.” The U.S. government has been less interested into the effects of the American military’s chemical footprint on Iraqis. The use of “burn pits” — toxic open-air fires used to dispose military waste — along with other contaminants has had a lasting impact on the health of current and future Iraqi generations.

Researchers conducting the latest study said that a broader study is needed to get definitive results about these health impacts. The images of babies born with defects at the hospital where the study was conducted, Bint Al-Huda Maternity Hospital, about 10 kilometers from Tallil Air Base, are gruesome and harrowing. Savabieasfahani, the lead researcher, said that without an effort by the U.S. military to clean up its radioactive footprint, babies will continue to be born with deformities that her study and others have documented.

“The radioactive footprint of the military could be cleaned up if we had officials who wanted to do so,” said Savabieasfahani. “Unfortunately, even research into the problem of Iraqi birth defects has to be done by independent toxicologists, because the U.S. military and other institutions are not even interested in this issue.”

November 26, 2019 Posted by | children, Iraq, Reference, thorium, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Deadline looms for nuclear veterans and descendants study

A Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group is encouraging veterans and their families to come forward to take part in a study before the deadline closes.  In August, the group put out newspaper advertisements, wanting all veterans who were deployed to Mururoa Atoll in 1973 and their families, to be part of a study which closes at midnight today.

The study lead by University of Otago associate professor David McBride will look into the connection between nuclear veterans and their children, who may have been affected by their parents’ exposure to radiation.

So far only 166 people had signed up, according to Mururoa Nuclear Veterans president Gavin Smith.

Mr Smith implored more to join, saying about 500 people went to the Christmas Island and were exposed to nuclear tests in the 1950s and about 500 went to Mururoa during the 1970s.

“Everyone who has a veteran father or grandfather that served there and has maybe deceased or may be living but mentioned nothing of it, I urge them to contact the University of Otago,” he said.

He said the study was crucial because veteran’s children may have been affected by their parents’ exposure to radiation, which could make their offspring more susceptible to conditions like leukaemia and auto-immune diseases.

“Our study is open to all nuclear veterans. If we don’t do it in our generation, it’s going to be an even bigger battle for the next generation.”

The group, which was established in 2013 to press the government to help families with nuclear related illnesses, had 135 members who served at the protest.

Of those, 56 had children or grandchildren with unexplained medical conditions.

Testing would begin next week at the University of Otago, with a timeframe and details on the study yet to be confirmed.

November 7, 2019 Posted by | children, New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

High levels of uranium in some Navajo women and infants near old uranium mining sites

US official: Research finds uranium in Navajo  women, babieshttps://apnews.com/334124280ace4b36beb6b8d58c328ae3?fbclid=IwAR2UqarRiUTIPwnRCA_DGkjKuahfFO4T_l9iFrXxb1P8qL5AnmrTc1m61W8By MARY HUDETZ, October 8, 2019, ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — About a quarter of Navajo women and some infants who were part of a federally funded study on uranium exposure had high levels of the radioactive metal in their systems, decades after mining for Cold War weaponry ended on their reservation, a U.S. health official Monday.

The early findings from the University of New Mexico study were shared during a congressional field hearing in Albuquerque. Dr. Loretta Christensen — the chief medical officer on the Navajo Nation for Indian Health Service, a partner in the research — said 781 women were screened during an initial phase of the study that ended last year.

Among them, 26% had concentrations of uranium that exceeded levels found in the highest 5% of the U.S. population, and newborns with equally high concentrations continued to be exposed to uranium during their first year, she said.

The research is continuing as authorities work to clear uranium mining sites across the Navajo Nation.

“It forces us to own up to the known detriments associated with a nuclear-forward society,” said U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, who is an enrolled member of Laguna Pueblo, a tribe whose jurisdiction lies west of Albuquerque.

The hearing held in Albuquerque by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, Haaland and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, all Democrats from New Mexico, sought to underscore the atomic age’s impact on Native American communities.

The three are pushing for legislation that would expand radiation compensation to residents in their state, including post-1971 uranium workers and residents who lived downwind from the Trinity Test site in southern New Mexico.

The state’s history has long been intertwined with the development of the nation’s nuclear arsenal, from uranium mining and the first atomic blast to the Manhattan project conducted through work in the once-secret city of Los Alamos. The federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, however, only covers parts of Nevada, Arizona and Utah that are downwind from a different nuclear test site.

During the hearing, Haaland said one of her own family members had lost his hearing because of radiation exposure. At Laguna Pueblo, home to her tribe, the Jackpile-Paguate Mine was once among the world’s largest open-pit uranium mines. It closed several decades ago, but cleanup has yet to be completed.

“They need funds,” Haaland said. “They job was not completed.”

David Gray, a deputy regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said the mine illustrates uranium mining and milling’s lingering effects on Indian Country.

On the Navajo Nation, he said, the EPA has identified more than 200 abandoned uranium mines where it wants to complete investigation and clean up under an upcoming five-year plan, using settlements and other agreements to pay for the work that has taken decades.

Udall, who chaired the hearing, acknowledged federal officials had shown progress but that the pace of cleanup has proven frustrating for some community members.

“They feel an urgency,” Udall said. “They feel that things need to happen today.”

In her testimony, Christensen described how Navajo residents in the past had used milling waste in home construction, resulting in contaminated walls and floors.

From the end of World War II to the mid-1980s, millions of tons of uranium ore were extracted from the Navajo Nation, leaving gray streaks across the desert landscape, as well as a legacy of disease and death.

While no large-scale studies have connected cancer to radiation exposure from uranium waste, many have been blamed it for cancer and other illnesses.

By the late 1970s, when the mines began closing around the reservation, miners were dying of lung cancer, emphysema or other radiation-related ailments.

“The government is so unjust with us,” said Leslie Begay, a former uranium miner who lives in Window Rock, an Arizona town that sits near the New Mexico border and serves as the Navajo Nation capital. “The government doesn’t recognize that we built their freedom.”

Begay, who said he has lung problems, attended the hearing with an oxygen tank in tow. The hearing held in the Southwest was especially meaningful for him after traveling in the past to Washington to advocate for himself and others, he said.

Associated Press reporter Felicia Fonseca in Flagstaff, Arizona, contributed to this report.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | children, Uranium, USA, women | 1 Comment

Iraqi children with congenital disabilities caused by depleted uranium

September 20, 2019 Posted by | children, depleted uranium, Iraq, Reference | Leave a comment

Spanish group gives summer holidays to kids from Chernobyl’s polluted region

Chernobyl nuclear disaster: Meet the NGO giving children a summer from the still present pollution,   Euro News 1 Sept 19, TV hit series Chernobyl may have revived interest in the 1986 nuclear disaster, but for one Spanish NGO, it’s never gone away.

Vallès Obert has helped organise summer holidays in Spain for around 2,000 children from the Chernobyl region since 1995.

It does this by finding families willing to host them.

The time away from the area helps their bodies recover from exposure to the toxic radioactive materials still present in the atmosphere around the diaster site…….

There are many people who have health problems”, explains Natasha, 14, who was born two decades after the incident.

She is being hosted by a family in La Roca del Vallès, near Barcelona, but will soon return to her hometown, Stanyshivka, about 60km from Chernobyl.

“After radiation, some people born cannot speak,” she told Euronews…….

Vallès Obert estimates two months a year outside the polluted environment helps their defences regenerate significantly.

Manuel, president of the association, explains that “there is an age range between 40 and 50 years old in which cancer problems begin to appear: larynx or stomach cancer, leukaemia… everything related to cancer”…….. https://www.euronews.com/2019/08/31/chernobyl-nuclear-disaster-meet-the-ngo-giving-children-a-summer-from-the-still-present-po

September 1, 2019 Posted by | children, Religion and ethics, Spain, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Belarus’ forgotten children – victims of Chernobyl’s nuclear radiation

Kevin Barry in Chernobyl: ‘Misha is an example of what happens when a country is on its knees’  Irish Examiner, August 05, 2019 

In 2000 the Irish Examiner sent Kevin Barry, now longlisted for the Booker Prize for his novel Night Boat to Tangier, to Chernobyl. Here we reproduce what he reported

Misha photographed by Eugene Kolzov at the No 1 orphanage in Minsk.Misha, aged seven, is the victim of not one but many sicknesses. His physical disorders, as can be plainly seen, are many and various.

But Misha is the victim of another ailment too, a kind of compassion deficiency.

Chernobyl isn’t fashionable these days, it’s been around so long now. April 26, 1986 seems a long time in the way-distant past. After the initial blurt of paranoia and charitable outreach, the fickle gaze of public interest quickly flicked from the incident at Reactor No 4 to fresher horrors.

Misha, then, has been shuffled way back in the compassion pack. He has fallen behind the other ravaged children who sombrely people the planet’s trouble spots, in places like Mozambique and Ethiopia.

He’s competing with Rwanda and Chechnya. And it’s beginning to tell Misha’s illness is a direct consequence of the Chernobyl explosion.

The radioactive danger in Belarus is not so much in the air now as in the food chain. Professor Yuri Bandashevsky, a dissident scientist, told the Irish Examiner this week that the mutations caused by radiation in children like Misha have by now entered the gene pool and thus the effects of the ‘86 explosion can stretch to infinity.

After criticising the state’s alleged misspending of research money for Chernobyl, Professor Bandashevsky recently found himself banged up in jail for five months, bound at the feet.

Which isn’t the sort of thing that bodes well for the likes of Misha. Some aid continues to filter through. This week, a convoy run by the Chernobyl Children’s Project has been on a drive through Belarus, dispensing almost £2 million in food and medicines.

One of the institutions the orphanage supports is Novinki, a children’s asylum on the outskirts of Minsk. Such is its Dickensian squalor, its actual existence was long denied by the state. This is where you’ll find little Misha.

Project leader Adi Roche says she has known the child since he was a baby, but has been stunned at his deterioration since she last visited in December.

After finding him emaciated and dying this week, the project has placed a Dublin nurse and a local Chernobyl nurse on 24-hour care alert with Misha, an attempt to make whatever is left of his life as painless as possible

“We don’t know how long Misha will live, or if he will live, but we are morally obliged to do everything in our power to attempt saving his life,” said Ms Roche last night.

“‘He is not the only child in Belarus suffering as horrifically as this. he’s just one of many.” she added. “‘These children are the victims of 14 years of neglect by the international community.”’

Many children in Belarus consigned to mental asylums have no mentaI handicap. “All orphaned children with any kind of disability are put into mental asylums if they live beyond the age of four,” she said.

Meanwhile, staffed by1,000 workers, the Chernobyl plant continues operate a couple of kilometres inside the Ukraine border.

The authorities say it will close this year. The concrete sarcophagus built to contain contamination from the reactor has 200 holes and counting.

Orphans of the nuclear age

Kevin Barry, in Chernobyl, finds a land and its people scarred by a disaster from which they may never recover.

Chernobyl at this time of year is beautiful, the borderlands of the Ukraine and Belarus a pastoral and idyllic place. Vast swardes of rich woodland are full of babbling brooks and twittering songbirds, every way you turn, there’s a postcard vista to please even the most jaded eyes.

The locals, however, are edgy. The President of Belarus, Alaksandr Lukashenko — aka ‘Batska’ (‘The Father’) — has decreed that the farmlands here–abouts are now safe to plant and he’s threatening to fly overhead and make sure the workers are toiling.

If not, he says, there will be trouble. Big trouble.

The notion of Batska in an airplane is enough to prompt sleepless nights for those who remain in the Purple Zone, the area most contaminated by the accident in 1986 at Smelter No 4 of the nuclear plant that lies inside the Ukranian border.

In a tragedy of happenstance, because there was a stiff northerly gusting that day, Belarus took the brunt of the damage and because radioactivity is most lethal when it attacks developing human systems, children have borne most of the pain.

But for these children, the most serious ailment is not the thyroid cancer or the leukaemia or the heart trouble or the kidney failure or the various disorders of colon and spleen prompted by Chernobyl.

The greatest danger is the compassion-fatigue. 1986 seems a long time ago now and the incident at Smelter No 4 is no longer swaddled in the necessary event-glamour or crisis-chatter.

When the evening news is an atrocity exhibition, when daily there are hellish dispatches from Mozambique, Ethiopia and Chechnya, the Belarussians fall ever further back in the line.

The foreign correspondents have long since moved on elsewhere. The story of a child developing thyroid cancer over a period of years doesn’t conform neatly with the sound-byte culture.

By this stage, the Belarussians have had enough. A condition of mass denial exists in the country and a native of the village Solchechy in the Purple Zone says that up to around 1993, everybody fretted and freaked out but then they decided, well, to hell with it.

“The mess got to be too much,” she says.

We don’t think about it now. Life is life and we try to get on with it.

This is easier said than done in Belarus. The country’s economy is shot — agriculture was its mainstay and since Chernobyl, the income from farming has been negligible. Almost 30% of the country’s annual turnover goes to the clean-up operation.

Belarus remains the most Soviet of states. There are thickly-piled layers bureaucracy and this tangle of demented protocol regulations and petty restrictions is amorphic, constantly shape-shifting.

The natives have had to develop a stoic acceptance of a hard frustrating life…….. https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/views/analysis/kevin-barry-in-chernobyl-misha-is-an-example-of-what-happens-when-a-country-is-on-its-knees-941735.html

August 6, 2019 Posted by | Belarus, children, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference | Leave a comment