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Environmental Ruin in Modern Iraq – largely due to depleted uranium.

In particular, she points to depleted uranium, or DU, used by the U.S. and U.K. in the manufacture of tank armor, ammunition, and other military purposes during the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The United Nations Environment Program estimates that some 2,000 tons of depleted uranium may have been used in Iraq, and much of it has yet to be cleaned up.

‘Everything Living Is Dying’: Environmental Ruin in Modern Iraq, Decades of war, poverty, and fossil fuel extraction have devastated the country’s environment and its people. Undark, BY LYNZY BILLING, 12.22.2021 All photos by LYNZY BILLING for UNDARK  ”’,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,   Miscarriages, of course, are common everywhere, and while pollution writ large is known to be deadly in the aggregate, linking specific health outcomes to local ambient pollution is a notoriously difficult task. Even so, few places on earth beg such questions as desperately as modern Iraq, a country devastated from the northern refineries of Kurdistan to the Mesopotamian marshes of the south — and nearly everywhere in between — by decades of war, poverty, and fossil fuel extraction.

As far back as 2005, the United Nations had estimated that Iraq was already littered with several thousand contaminated sites. Five years later, an investigation by The Times, a London-based newspaper, suggested that the U.S. military had generated some 11 million pounds of toxic waste and abandoned it in Iraq. Today, it is easy to find soil and water polluted by depleted uranium, dioxin and other hazardous materials, and extractive industries like the KAR oil refinery often operate with minimal transparency. On top of all of this, Iraq is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change, which has already contributed to grinding water shortages and prolonged drought. In short, Iraq presents a uniquely dystopian tableau — one where human activity contaminates virtually every ecosystem, and where terms like “ecocide” have special currency.

According to Iraqi physicians, the many overlapping environmental insults could account for the country’s high rates of cancer, birth defects, and other diseases. Preliminary research by local scientists supports these claims, but the country lacks the money and technology needed to investigate on its own. To get a better handle on the scale and severity of the contamination, as well as any health impacts, they say, international teams will need to assist in comprehensive investigations. With the recent close of the ISIS caliphate, experts say, a window has opened.

While the Iraqi government has publicly recognized widespread pollution stemming from conflict and other sources, and implemented some remediation programs, few critics believe these measures will be adequate to address a variegated environmental and public health problem that is both geographically expansive and attributable to generations of decision-makers — both foreign and domestic — who have never truly been held to account. The Iraqi Ministry of Health and the Kurdistan Ministry of Health did not respond to repeated requests for comment on these issues……………………….

experts who study Iraq’s complex mosaic of pollution and health challenges say. Despite overwhelming evidence of pollution and contamination from a variety of sources, it remains exceedingly difficult for Iraqi doctors and scientists to pinpoint the precise cause of any given person’s — or even any community’s — illness; depleted uranium, gas flaring, contaminated crops all might play a role in triggering disease……………………………

This is Eman’s sixth year at the hospital, and her 25th as a physician. Over that time span, she says, she has seen an array of congenital anomalies, most commonly cleft palates, but also spinal deformities, hydrocephaly, and tumors. At the same time, miscarriages and premature births have spiked among Iraqi women, she says, particularly in areas where heavy U.S. military operations occurred as part of the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 to 2011 Iraq War. 

Research supports many of these clinical observations. According to a 2010 paper published in the American Journal of Public Health, leukemia cases in children under 15 doubled from 1993 to 1999 at one hospital in southern Iraq, a region of the country that was particularly hard hit by war. According to other research, birth defects also surged there, from 37 in 1990 to 254 in 2001.

But few studies have been conducted lately, and now, more than 20 years on, it’s difficult to know precisely which factors are contributing to Iraq’s ongoing medical problems. Eman says she suspects contaminated water, lack of proper nutrition, and poverty are all factors, but war also has a role. In particular, she points to depleted uranium, or DU, used by the U.S. and U.K. in the manufacture of tank armor, ammunition, and other military purposes during the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The United Nations Environment Program estimates that some 2,000 tons of depleted uranium may have been used in Iraq, and much of it has yet to be cleaned up. The remnants of DU ammunition are spread across 1,100 locations — “and that’s just from the 2003 invasion,” says Zwijnenburg, the Dutch war-and-environment analyst. “We are still missing all the information from the 1991 Gulf War that the U.S. said was not recorded and could not be shared.”

Souad Naji Al-Azzawi, an environmental engineer and a retired University of Baghdad professor, knows this problem well. In 1991, she was asked to review plans to reconstruct some of Baghdad’s water treatment plants, which had been destroyed at the start of the Gulf War, she says. A few years later, she led a team to measure the impact of radiation on soldiers and Iraqi civilians in the south of the country.

Around that same time, epidemiological studies found that from 1990 to 1997, cases of childhood leukemia increased 60 percent in the southern Iraqi town of Basra, which had been a focal point of the fighting. Over the same time span, the number of children born with severe birth defects tripled. Al-Azzawi’s work suggests that the illnesses are linked to depleted uranium. Other work supports this finding and suggests that depleted uranium is contributing to elevated rates of cancer and other health problems in adults, too.

Today, remnants of tanks and weapons line the main highway from Baghdad to Basra, where contaminated debris remains a part of residents’ everyday lives. In one family in Basra, Zwijnenburg noted, all members had some form of cancer, from leukemia to bone cancers.

To Al-Azzawi, the reasons for such anomalies seem plain. Much of the land in this area is contaminated with depleted uranium oxides and particles, she said. It is in the water, in the soil, in the vegetation. “The population of west Basra showed between 100 and 200 times the natural background radiation levels,” Al-Azzawi says.

Some remediation efforts have taken place. For example, says Al-Azzawi, two so-called tank graveyards in Basra were partially remediated in 2013 and 2014. But while hundreds of vehicles and pieces of artillery were removed, these graveyards remain a source of contamination. The depleted uranium has leached into the water and surrounding soils. And with each sandstorm —  a common event — the radioactive particles are swept into neighborhoods and cities.

Cancers in Iraq catapulted from 40 cases among 100,000 people in 1991 to at least 1,600 by 2005.

In Fallujah, a central Iraqi city that has experienced heavy warfare, doctors have also reported a sharp rise in birth defects among the city’s children. According to a 2012 article in Al Jazeera, Samira Alani, a pediatrician at Fallujah General Hospital, estimated that 14 percent of babies born in the city had birth defects — more than twice the global average.

Alani says that while her research clearly shows a connection between contamination and congenital anomalies, she still faces challenges to painting a full picture of the affected areas, in part because data was lacking from Iraq’s birth registry. It’s a common refrain among doctors and researchers in Iraq, many of whom say they simply don’t have the resources and capacity to properly quantify the compounding impacts of war and unchecked industry on Iraq’s environment and its people. “So far, there are no studies. Not on a national scale,” says Eman, who has also struggled to conduct studies because there is no nationwide record of birth defects or cancers. “There are only personal and individual efforts.”…………………..

After the Gulf War, many veterans suffered from a condition now known as Gulf War syndrome. Though the causes of the illness are to this day still subject to widespread speculation, possible causes include exposure to depleted uranium, chemical weapons, and smoke from burning oil wells. More than 200,000 veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the Middle East have reported major health issues to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which they believe are connected to burn pit exposure. Last month, the White House announced new actions to make it easier for such veterans to access care.

Numerous studies have shown that the pollution stemming from these burn pits has caused severe health complications for American veterans. Active duty personnel have reported respiratory difficulties, headaches, and rare cancers allegedly derived from the burn pits in Iraq and locals living nearby also claim similar health ailments, which they believe stem from pollutants emitted by the burn pits.

Keith Baverstock, head of the Radiation Protection Program at the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe from 1991 to 2003, says the health of Iraqi residents is likely also at risk from proximity to the burn pits. “If surplus DU has been burned in open pits, there is a clear health risk” to people living within a couple of miles, he says.

Abdul Wahab Hamed lives near the former U.S. Falcon base in Baghdad. His nephew, he says, was born with severe birth defects. The boy cannot walk or talk, and he is smaller than other children his age. Hamed says his family took the boy to two separate hospitals and after extensive work-ups, both facilities blamed the same culprit: the burn pits. Residents living near Camp Taji, just north of Baghdad also report children born with spinal disfigurements and other congenital anomalies, but they say that their requests for investigation have yielded no results.  ……………………………………… https://undark.org/2021/12/22/ecocide-iraq/

December 27, 2021 Posted by | children, environment, Iraq, secrets,lies and civil liberties, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

“Blown to Hell: America’s Deadly Betrayal of the Marshall Islanders” 

Biggest US nuclear bomb test destroyed an island—and this man’s life,  https://nypost.com/2021/11/20/biggest-us-nuclear-bomb-test-destroyed-an-island-and-lives/ By Eric Spitznagel   The US bomb tested near John Anjain’s (right) home in the Marshall Islands in 1954 was 1,000 times stronger than at Hiroshima, and left his wife and kids with debilitating and deadly health problems, as detailed in a new book. November 20, 2021

Just before dawn on March 1, 1954, John Anjain was enjoying coffee on the beach in the South Pacific when he heard a thunderous blast, and saw something in the sky that he said “looked like a second sun was rising in the west.”

Later that day, “something began falling upon our island,” said Anjain, who at the time was 32 and chief magistrate of the Rongelap atoll, part of the Marshall Islands. “It looked like ash from a fire. It fell on me, it fell on my wife, it fell on our infant son.”

It wasn’t a paranormal experience. Anjain and his five young sons, along with the 82 other inhabitants of Rongelap, were collateral damage from a “deadly radioactive fallout from a hydrogen bomb test… detonated by American scientists and military personnel,” writes Walter Pincus in his new book, “Blown to Hell: America’s Deadly Betrayal of the Marshall Islanders” (Diversion Books), out now.

In 1946, the US started testing atomic weapons began in Bikini Atoll, 125 miles west of Rongelap. Known as Operation Crossroads, the tests were moved to the islands from the US because officials feared “radioactive fallout could not be safely contained at
any site in the United States,” writes Pincus.

During those early tests, the Rongelapians were relocated to another island a safe distance away.

But the 1954 test was different. Not only were there no evacuations, but “Castle
Bravo,” as it was dubbed, was also the largest of the thermonuclear devices detonated during the military’s 67 tests, “a thousand times as large as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima,” writes Pincus.

It took just hours for fallout to reach the shores of Rongelap, where it blanketed the island with radioactive material, covering houses and coconut palm trees. On some parts of the isle, the white radioactive ash was “an inch and a half deep on the ground,” writes Pincus.

The natives, who often went barefoot and shirtless, were covered in the toxic debris. It stuck to their hair and bodies and even between their toes.

“Some people put it in their mouths and tasted it,” Anjain recalled at a Washington DC hearing run by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to investigate the incident in 1977. “One man rubbed it into his eye to see if it would cure an old ailment. People walked in it, and children played with it.”

Rain followed, which dissolved the ash and carried it “down drains and into the barrels that provided water for each household,” writes Pincus.

It took three days before American officials finally evacuated the island, taking the natives to nearby Kwajalein for medical tests. Many Rongelapians were already suffering health effects, like vomiting, hair loss, and all-over body burns and blisters. Tests showed their white blood cell counts plummeting, and high levels of radioactive strontium in their systems. No one died, at least not immediately. That would come later.

After three years, the Rongelapians were allowed to return home, assured by officials that conditions were safe. But by 1957, the rate of miscarriages and stillbirths on the island doubled, and by 1963 the first residents began to develop thyroid tumors.

Though they continued to conduct annual medical tests, the US military admitted no culpability, other than awarding each islander $10,800 in 1964 as compensation for the inconvenience.

In fact, some — including the islanders — have speculated that the US government had used the Rongelapians as “convenient guinea pigs” to study the effects of high-level radiation.

For Anjain and his family, the effects were devastating. His wife and four of his children developed cancer. A sixth child, born after the fallout, developed poliomyelitis and had to use a crutch after one of his legs became paralyzed.

But the biggest tragedy befell his fifth child Lekoj, who was just one year old when Castle Bravo covered their island in nuclear dust. As a child, he was mostly healthy, other than the occasional mysterious bruise. Soon after his 18th birthday, Lekoj was flown to an American hospital, where doctors discovered he had acute myelogenous leukemia.

Anjain stayed at his son’s bedside for weeks as he underwent chemo, holding his dying son’s hand and watching him disappear.

He recounted Lekoj’s final days in a letter to the Friends of Micronesia newsletter in 1973. “Bleeding started in his ears, mouth and nose and he seemed to be losing his mind,” Anjain wrote of his son. “When I would ask him questions he gave me no
answer except ‘Bad Luck.’”

Lekoj passed away on November 15, 1972, at just 19. Newsweek called him “the first, and so far only leukemia victim of an H-bomb,” and said his death was proof that nuclear fallout “could be even more lethal to human life than the great fireball itself.”

After burying his son at a spot overlooking Rongelap Lagoon, Anjain continued to battle for financial restitution for his family and other Rongelapian survivors. In 2004, just months before his death (of undisclosed causes) at 81, he marched with 2,000 people in Japan to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1954 hydrogen bomb test that slowly killed his son.

In 2007, a Nuclear Claims Tribunal awarded Rongelap more than $1 billion in damages, but not a penny of it has yet been paid. And according to a 2019 Columbia University study, radiation levels on Rongelap are still higher than Chernobyl or Fukushima.

For Anjain, it was never really about the money. “I know that money cannot bring back my son,” he once said. “It cannot give me back 23 years of my life. It cannot take the poison from the coconut crabs. It cannot make us stop being afraid.” 

November 22, 2021 Posted by | children, environment, OCEANIA, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

The Children Who Suffered When a U.S. Nuclear Test Went Wrong

The Children Who SufferedWhen a U.S. Nuclear Test Went Wrong  https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-children-who-suffered-when-a-us-nuclear-test-went-wrong

YEARS OF SUFFERING

In 1954 the U.S. executed its largest nuclear detonation. The people of the Marshall Islands would endure the effects of fallout for years.Walter Pincus Nov. 07, 2021. During the 1954 Castle Bravo test over Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, America executed its largest nuclear detonation, a thousand times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Nuclear fallout rained down on inhabitants of atolls more than 100 miles away, including Rongelap.

What follows is an excerpt of Blown to Hell: America’s Deadly Betrayal of the Marshall Islanders, where Dr. Robert A. Conard, a former Navy doctor who was among those who first examined the Marshall Island natives after Bravo, discovers a new impact of the radioactive fallout on children. Beginning in 1956, as an employee of the Atomic Energy Commission’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, Conard led annual medical examinations of the Rongelapese.

Over the years, Dr. Robert A. Conard and pediatricians he brought with him to Rongelap carefully watched the slow development of several children who had been exposed to the 1954 fallout. In the survey done in March 1963, the doctors’ attention was initially focused on two boys who had been one-year-olds at the time of the fallout.

Both showed early signs of cretinism, a condition of stunted physical and mental growth owing to a deficiency of a thyroid hormone often related to iodine deficiency.

Also of particular interest was the development of a palpable nodule in the thyroid gland of 13-year-old Disi Tima, a fisherman’s daughter, who had been exposed to the Bravo fallout when she was four years old.

November 9, 2021 Posted by | children, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

COVID Restrictions Deny Southern Belarus Children Rare Escape From Chernobyl Radiation

COVID Restrictions Deny Southern Belarus Children Rare Escape From Chernobyl Radiation   https://www.voanews.com/a/covid-restrictions-deny-southern-belarus-children-rare-escape-from-chernobyl-radiation/6278627.html

October 20, 2021 Ricardo Marquina. In Belarus, just across the border from Ukraine, many children have been living with chronic radiation sickness since a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded in 1986. They have returned to school after being unable to escape contamination for yet another summer due to COVID-19 pandemic border restrictions. For VOA, Ricardo Marquina has more from the Gomel region of southern Belarus in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.

October 21, 2021 Posted by | children, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Birth defects in the Chernobyl region

What about studying consequences rather than causes?  Studying birth abnormalities in places where they occur more often than is normal? The Omni-Net Ukraine Birth Defects Prevention Program, came up with this different approach, reported in July 2012.  http://ibis-birthdefects.org/start/pdf/BaltimoreAbstr.pdf 

Measuring radiation is difficult, and can produce ambiguous results.  But measuring babies with malformations is a concrete matter. Facts are facts here As Dr Vladimir Wertelecki says “ a baby that has no head is a baby that has no head.”

THE PROGRAM

The program started in 2000, conducting a 10 year study on 5 provinces of the Ukraine – measuring and monitoring all newborn babies. The study, led by Dr  Wertelecki, was done in co-operation with Ukraine health authorities.  This was a descriptive epidemiological study. It could prove only a difference between geographical areas. It cannot  prove the cause of difference.

Within 2-3 years it was obvious that the rates of spina bifida and other defects of the nervous system, were many times greater than expected, particularly in one province.  A few years later an excess of conjoined twins (“Siamese twins”) was found. They found other nervous system problems, mainly microcephaly (tiny head) ..  After 10 years of study they published a report showing an excess of frequency of anomalies of nervous system and of these conjoined twins.

This was found especially in the northern half of the province – an area that is a unique ecology niche – mainly wetlands. And this area also has a unique population, an ethnic group living there since recorded history. They live in small villages, very isolated, and they rely completely on local foods.

These foods are all radioactive. The soil there is such that plants absorb many times more radioactivity. People there are absorbing much higher levels of radiation. – 20 times more than there would be in soil 50 km. away.

Dr Wertelecki reminds us that there are many causes of birth abnormalities. One well recognised cause is foetal alcohol syndrome, due to alcoholism in the mother.   However, the program did in fact research this question.  6 universities joined it in a  very well funded and thorough study of pregnant women. It showed that in this Northern area, alcohol use among pregnant women is statistically less than in the Ukraine in general. . Alcohol does not explain the birth abnormalities. Radiation is the obvious major cause.

ABNORMALITIES IN THE DEVELOPING FOETUS- TERATOGENESIS

Little research has been done on the causes of this in humans. Studies on non human species show that foetuses in first three months are about 1000 times more vulnerable to environmental effects.

Dr Wertelecki’s team focused on teratogenesis – changes caused by environmental interference to a developing foetus, a foetus with with normal genes.  This must be distinguished from gene mutations, inherited from parents and the two processes have different effects.  The genetic, inherited defects are most likely to cause mental disability. But with the teratogenic abnormalities, the baby, if it survives, most often is of normal intelligence.

This process can begin very early, before the ovum has been implanted in the wall of the womb –  before the woman knows that she is pregnant. That very early “line” of the embryo can split. In this case – the result is – twins.  This split can be incomplete – resulting in conjoined twins, (“Siamese twins”).  A  fetiform teratoma is a sort of failed Siamese twin,  a monster like mass, containing a mixture of tissues.

Abnormalities that are started at a little later stage of pregnancy include spina bifida, ( opening in lower back  body wall), opening in front body wall with  heart on the exterior,  anencephaly (absence of head or of most of the skull and brain)

Later effects  –  anophthalmia , (missing eyeball) , microphthalmia (tiny eye)

Full article at http://noelwauchope.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/a-baby-that-has-no-head-is-a-baby-that-has-no-head/

October 9, 2021 Posted by | children, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Thyroid cancer in Fukushima children increased 20-fold — Beyond Nuclear International

In addition to thyroid cancer, other types of malignancies and other diseases triggered or adversely affected by ionized radiation are expected to increase. The FMU thyroid studies represent the only scientific study that can provide any relevant information at all about the health consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. And they are currently in danger of being undermined by the proponents of nuclear energy such as IAEA, which has entered a cooperation with FMU and by the Japanese government, which is trying to dispel any concerns about the meltdowns and nuclear energy as a whole. 

Increases are real and can’t be attributed to “screening effect”

Thyroid cancer in Fukushima children increased 20-fold — Beyond Nuclear International

Latest results of the Fukushima thyroid screenings confirm worrying trend   https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3354864780 By Dr. Alex Rosen, 23 May 21,

In 2011, people in Japan were exposed to radioactive fallout. Some still live in contaminated regions where they are exposed to elevated levels of radiation on a daily basis: radioactive hot-spots on the side of the road, in rice paddies or in sandboxes, contaminated mushrooms or algae, contaminated groundwater, and recontamination from forest fires or flooding. 

One of the most dreaded effects of radioactive exposure is the development of cancer through mutation of the DNA. Thyroid cancer in children is certainly not the most dangerous form of radiation-induced cancer, but it is probably the easiest to detect. For one thing, the latency periods before a cancer develops are relatively short, while at the same time, thyroid cancer in children is an extremely rare disease, so that even a slight absolute increase can be statistically detected.

Accordingly, in 2011, there was great pressure on Japanese authorities to investigate the development of thyroid cancer in children and adolescents in Fukushima by conducting long-term screening examinations. 

For almost 10 years now, Fukushima Medical University has been regularly examining the thyroid glands of people who lived in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the meltdowns and were under 18 years of age. Initially, this group consisted of about 368,000 individuals. Of these, 300,000 (about 82%) were successfully screened in the first few years. After the initial screening (2011-2014), follow-up examinations of these children took place every two years. The second examination has already been completed, the third examination is in its final stage, the fourth series of examinations has been running since 2018, and the fifth since 2020.

In the initial investigation in Fukushima, 116 abnormal biopsies were found. Amongst these, 101 cases of cancers were found that were so aggressive that they required surgery. The patients with abnormal biopsies were 6 to 18 years old (average of 14.9 years) at the time of the nuclear disaster. This unexpectedly high number was explained by Fukushima Medical University as a screening effect, the phenomenon of identifying more cases of disease in large-scale screening than would be expected. While the exact magnitude of this screening effect in the first round is unknown, it can be ruled out that the increased cancer rates in subsequent screenings are consequences of a screening effect, because all of these children had already been examined and found to be cancer-free in previous screenings. They must therefore have developed the cancer between the screening examinations. 

In the 2nd screening round, 54 cancer cases were found in 71 abnormal biopsies (age at the time of the nuclear disaster 5-18, average of 12.6 years), in the 3rd screening round, another 27 cases were found in 31 abnormal biopsies (age at the time of the nuclear disaster 5-16, average of 9.6 years), and in the current 4th round, 16 new diagnoses have been made in 27 abnormal biopsies (age at the time of the nuclear disaster 0-12, average of 8.0 years). A total of 46 children with suspicious fine-needle biopsies are still under observation and have not yet undergone surgery. The steadily decreasing average age in the screenings is striking: with time, more and more cancer cases are becoming apparent in patients who were still very young at the time of the nuclear disaster, even under 5 years of age. 

Incidentally, adolescents in the study cohort who turn 25 are excluded from the main study and transferred to a newly created cohort, the “Age 25 Milestone” group. In this group, 4 additional cases of thyroid cancer have been registered, with 7 conspicuous biopsies so far. The number of unreported cases is likely to be much higher: the participation rate in this study is just 8%. The creation of a new study cohort is generally seen as a measure by FMU to further reduce the number of diagnosed cancer cases.

In addition, there are 11 thyroid cancer cases diagnosed in children from the study cohort, but not during the official screenings. These patients were seen and diagnosed at Fukushima University Hospital. These 11 cases are not reported in the official results, although they show identical tumor entities and occurred in patients who are in the actual study cohort. The 11 cases came to light in June 2017. How many more cases have been diagnosed but not reported since then is unknown. In addition, data from other hospitals in Japan are not available, and patients from contaminated areas outside Fukushima Prefecture are not examined at all, so the unreported number of thyroid cancer cases among patients who were children in the contaminated areas at the time of the meltdowns is likely to be much higher. Nevertheless, the total number of thyroid cancer cases in Fukushima currently stands at 213 (198 official cases from the serial examinations, 4 cases from the Age 25 Milestone cohort and 11 cases from the Fukushima University Hospital).

It is interesting to compare these figures with the overall Japanese incidence rate. The official incidence rate of thyroid cancer in children under 25 in Japan is about 0.59 per 100,000 per year, which means that in the cohort of about 218,000 children, about 1.3 new thyroid cancer cases per year would be expected. Today, 10 years after the beginning of the nuclear disaster, just under 13 thyroid cancer cases would thus have been expected in the study population.

However, the actual number of thyroid cancer cases in Fukushima of 213 is higher by a factor of 16. If we consider only the 112 cases diagnosed after the initial screening and thus not suspected to be caused by a screening effect of any kind, the number of confirmed cases is 20 times higher than the number of expected thyroid cancer cases (5.5 new cases after the end of the initial 1st screening in 2014)

In the following graph,  [on original] the officially confirmed thyroid cancer cases (in blue) are compared to the cases expected mathematically in the screening cohort (in orange). It can be seen that the number of cases increased steadily over the course of the initial screening, and continue to increase beyond that, in the years 2014-2020 – an effect that cannot be explained by any kind of screening effect.    [Graph on original explains this]

In addition, the geographic distribution of thyroid cancer rates corresponds to the level of radioactive contamination. A significantly higher incidence of thyroid cancer in children was recorded in the 13 most severely contaminated municipalities in eastern Fukushima than in the less contaminated areas in the north, south and central parts of the prefecture. The incidence was lowest in the western part of the prefecture, where the radioactive fallout was also least pronounced.

In the following graph, [on original] the officially confirmed thyroid cancer cases (in blue) are compared to the cases expected mathematically in the screening cohort (in orange). It can be seen that the number of cases increased steadily over the course of the initial screening, and continue to increase beyond that, in the years 2014-2020 – an effect that cannot be explained by any kind of screening effect.

There seems to be a system behind this trend: Fukushima Medical University, which is in charge of the study, has been sending staff to schools in the prefecture for years to educate children about their “right not to participate” and the “right not to know”. On the study forms, there is now a prominent “opt-out” option for people who wish to be removed from the screening. FMU seems to encourage people to opt out of the study. The drop in participation can also be explained by the removal of people over 25 years from the main study. Are FMU staff concerned that the disturbing trend of increasing numbers of thyroid cancer cases will continue? Are they uncomfortable with data that contradicts the thesis, propagated since the beginning of the nuclear disaster, that the multiple meltdowns would not lead to additional cancers? 

In addition to thyroid cancer, other types of malignancies and other diseases triggered or adversely affected by ionized radiation are expected to increase. The FMU thyroid studies represent the only scientific study that can provide any relevant information at all about the health consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. And they are currently in danger of being undermined by the proponents of nuclear energy such as IAEA, which has entered a cooperation with FMU and by the Japanese government, which is trying to dispel any concerns about the meltdowns and nuclear energy as a whole. 

The people of Japan have an inalienable right to health and to life in a healthy environment. The examination of children’s thyroid glands benefits not only the patients themselves, whose cancers can be detected and treated at an early stage, but also the entire population, which is affected by irradiation from radioactive fallout. 

 The correct continuation and scientific monitoring of thyroid examinations are therefore in the public interest and must not be thwarted by political or economic motives. It is important to continue to critically accompany these developments from the outside.

Dr. Alex Rosen is a pediatrician and Co-Chair of the German affiliate of IPPNW

Note: this article was first published in IPPNW Germany’s member magazine ippnw forum in 03/21

Headline photo showing thyroid cancer by National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) from Bethesda, MD, USA/Wikimedia Commons

May 24, 2021 Posted by | children, Japan, Reference | Leave a comment

The dark legacy of a nuclear meltdown – The Santa Susana Field Laboratory.

Newsletter: The dark legacy of a nuclear meltdown, and what it means for climate change L.A. Times, By SAMMY ROTH. STAFF WRITER MAY 20, 2021

”………………The Santa Susana Field Laboratory.

Despite growing up in Los Angeles, until recently I knew next to nothing about Santa Susana, which is nestled in the Simi Hills west of the San Fernando Valley. As my L.A. Times colleagues have chronicled, it was a nuclear reactor and rocket engine test facility for decades, and the site of a partial nuclear meltdown in 1959. Today more than 700,000 people live within 10 miles.

Santa Susana is an incredibly toxic site.

 And the parties responsible for the long legacy of radioactive waste and other contaminants — namely Boeing, NASA and the federal Department of Energy — have done hardly anything to clean it up.

“That work was supposed to be completed by 2017. Yet much of it has not even started,” columnist Michael Hiltzik wrote last year.

Santa Susana is also the subject of a new documentary, “In the Dark of the Valley,” which is making the rounds on the film festival circuit. It’s a gut-wrenching story about children living near the field lab who have been diagnosed with cancer, and whose mothers have banded together to demand a full cleanup, in hopes that other families won’t suffer like theirs have.

The film focuses on Melissa Bumstead, whose daughter Grace Ellen was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia at age 4. Bumstead started a Change.org petition that has garnered more than 700,000 signatures, calling on politicians including Gov. Gavin Newsom to compel Boeing and the federal agencies to live up to their long-unfulfilled promises.

“I’m not going to stop. So we’ll just have to find out who has more endurance, me or them,” she says in the film’s closing moments. “The thing that’s heartbreaking is that it’s just going to continue. But it’s the kids who have to suffer, and it’s the parents who have to bury them.”

….  there’s been research suggesting that Santa Susana may pose a serious health risk to people nearby.

In 1997, UCLA scientists reported that field lab workers exposed to higher doses of radiation from 1950 through 1993 were more likely to die of cancer. A decade later, University of Michigan researchers found that people living within two miles of the site had been diagnosed with thyroid, bladder and other cancers at a 60% higher rate than people living more than five miles away.

The scope of the contamination far exceeds a single meltdown more than 60 years ago.

Daniel Hirsch — a retired UCLA and UC Santa Cruz lecturer whose students originally uncovered the meltdown, which was hidden from public view for two decades — says there were several accidents at the field lab, worsened by a lack of containment domes for the nuclear reactors. There were shockingly unsafe waste disposal practices too. For years, workers used rifles to shoot barrels of toxic chemicals to make them ignite or explode. Radioactive waste was also routinely burned in open-air pits, Hirsch said.

This was completely illegal. They weren’t supposed to be doing it,” he said

Hirsch runs the anti-nuclear group Committee to Bridge the Gap, and he’s been trying to get Santa Susana cleaned up for more than 40 years. His concerns include the continued presence of cancer-causing chemicals that can seep into groundwater, or be flushed down into the San Fernando and Simi valleys during rainstorms — or become airborne during a wind-driven wildfire.

That was a major worry during the 2018 Woolsey fire, which was ignited by a Southern California Edison electrical line at the field lab. State officials said the wildfire smoke wasn’t any more dangerous to breathe than usual, but Hirsch had a hard time believing that.

“They set up the air monitor two days after the fire,” he said.

……….. Hirsch and many local residents say Boeing and the federal government have repeatedly tried to weasel out of their commitments. And the Department of Toxic Substances Control hasn’t put up much of a fight, critics say. In January, for instance, the agency agreed to confidential talks with Boeing to resolve a dispute over the extent of the cleanup.

Another wrinkle is NASA’s recent decision to nominate the entire field lab for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, citing its Native American cave drawings and archaeological relics. Critics fear the historic designation is a thinly veiled attempt by NASA to shirk some of its cleanup obligations, a charge the space agency denies, as my colleague Louis Sahagún reported.

…… I was definitely jarred by Hirsch’s response when I told him I had hiked in the Simi Hills, within a few miles of the Santa Susana Field Lab, and asked whether he would feel safe doing the same. He didn’t hedge. He told me he would not.

“Every area around the site has been found to have contamination,” he said. https://www.latimes.com/environment/newsletter/2021-05-20/long-legacy-nuclear-meltdown-climate-change-boiling-point

May 22, 2021 Posted by | children, environment, incidents, USA | Leave a comment

New study on children, wives and widows of UK nuclear test veterans

Kent Online 18th May 2021, The children, wives and widows of nuclear test veterans in Kent are being
urged to sign up for a ground-breaking study. During the 1950s and 1960s,
around 22,000 British Servicemen – many of them called up for National
Service – witnessed nuclear tests on mainland Australia, the Montebello
Islands off Western Australia and Christmas Island in the South Pacific.

https://www.kentonline.co.uk/maidstone/news/how-did-nuclear-fallout-affect-our-soldiers-families-247475/

May 20, 2021 Posted by | children, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Thyroid cancer increased 20-fold in Fukushima children

IPPNW 26th April 2021, Dr Alex Rosen: Thyroid cancer increased 20-fold in Fukushima children. In 2011, people in Japan were exposed to radioactive fallout in many places. Some still live in irradiated regions where they are confronted with increased amounts of radiation every day: radioactive hot spots on the roadside, in rice fields or in sandboxes, contaminated fungi or algae, irradiated groundwater and recontamination from forest fires or floods.

One of the most dreaded long-term effects of radioactive exposure is the development of cancers through mutation of the DNA. Thyroid cancer in children is certainly not the most dangerous, but it is the easiest to detect form of radiation-related cancer. On the one hand, the latency periods until the development of a cancerous ulcer are relatively short,only a few years; on the other hand, thyroid cancer in children is anextremely rare disease, so that even a slight increase can be statistically significant. In 2011, the pressure on the Japanese authorities to investigate the development of thyroid cancer in children and adolescents in Fukushima was correspondingly great.

https://www.ippnw.de/atomenergie/gesundheit/artikel/de/schilddruesenkrebs-bei-fukushima-kind.html

April 27, 2021 Posted by | children, Japan | Leave a comment

Need for more research into causes of increased incidence of childhood lukaemia near nuclear site

National Library of Medicine 15th March 2021,  A previous investigation of the occurrence of childhood acute leukemia around the Belgian nuclear sites has shown positive associations around one nuclear site (Mol-Dessel). In the following years, the Belgian Cancer Registry has made data available at the smallest administrative unit for
which demographic information exists in Belgium, i.e. the statistical sector. This offers the advantage to reduce the potential misclassification due to large geographical scales.

Results confirm an increased incidence of acute childhood leukemia around Mol-Dessel, but the number of cases remains very small. Random variation cannot be excluded and the ecological design does not allow concluding on causality. These findings emphasize the need for more in-depth research into the risk factors of childhood leukemia, for a better understanding of the etiology of this disease.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33735659/

March 22, 2021 Posted by | children, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Report alleges elevated cancer deaths in Monroe may be result of nuclear plant

Report alleges elevated cancer deaths in Monroe may be result of nuclear plant, Tyler Eagle-The Monroe News, 16 Mar 21, 

A new report has found that Monroe County’s cancer mortality rate is significantly higher than that of the national average.

And the scientist behind it contends the driving force behind that statistic is DTE Energy’s Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Plant in Newport.

Epidemiologist and executive director of the Radiation and Health Project Joseph Mangano unveiled a report titled “Fermi 2 Nuclear Reactor and Rising Cancer Rates” Thursday afternoon during a virtual press conference.

Using mortality data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mangano’s analysis found that cancer-related deaths in Monroe County were 14.3% higher than the national average.

“We have raised red flags — these are matters of concern,” Mangano said. “There are no other obvious reasons for such an unexpected change. …

“You wouldn’t think Monroe County is a (center) for cancer. It’s a suburban county.”

More:DTE Energy decries advocacy group’s report

The national average for cancer-related deaths nationally was about 150 deaths per 100,000, according to Mangano’s report. Monroe County’s most recent metric — which is from 2019 — was 170 per 100,000.

Prior to Fermi 2’s activation in 1985, Monroe County’s cancer death rate was 3% less the national average, according to Mangano. He said the elevated trend has continued to increase in the last ten years, resulting in the most recent and highest metric.

Mangano said elevated risk and mortality of cancer was present in all population groups, including those classified by gender, race and age.

His report shows that in Monroe County, 10 of the 11 most common cancers in the U.S. occurred at a significantly higher rate, including leukemia, brain and central nervous system and bronchus and lung cancers.

The report also indicates that cancer-related mortality among younger populations is also much higher than the national average.

According to the report, cancer-related deaths among those ages 0-24 occurred 40.2% more than the national average.

Among those ages 25-49, the rate was 49.2% above the U.S. average.

Mangano is calling for more research into the matter, saying the federal and state government have not done enough to examine nuclear plants’ impact on those who live near such sites.

“You don’t have to wait for a meltdown for nuclear reactor to harm people,” Mangano said. “Every single day, reactors release a mix of 100 or more (harmful) chemicals into the environment. It gets into people’s bodies through the food chain.”……….

Mangano also discussed a new initiative to collect donated baby teeth from Monroe County residents in an effort to investigate whether there are increased instances of in-body radioactive contamination.

Mangano said the Tooth Fairy Project will analyze collected specimens for Strontium-90, a harmful substance that is a byproduct of nuclear reaction.

The project will seek to collect 25-50 local specimens, he said……….    https://www.monroenews.com/story/news/2021/03/11/study-elevated-cancer-deaths-monroe-may-result-nuclear-plant/4649665001/

March 17, 2021 Posted by | children, USA | Leave a comment

Report: Cancer death rates rising near Fermi nuclear plant 

Report: Cancer death rates rising near Fermi nuclear plant   https://www.13abc.com/2021/03/11/report-cancer-death-rates-rising-near-fermi-nuclear-plant/

A new study is looking to test baby teeth from children living near the plant.  NEWPORT, Mich. (WTVG) – A new report from the Radiation and Public Health Project claims that the cancer death rate in Monroe County, Michigan is on the rise and it’s tying that growth to the Fermi 2 nuclear plant in Newport.

According to the report, which uses public health data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of death due to cancer in Monroe County was roughly equal to that of the rest of the United States. Since 1988, that rate has risen steadily, reaching 11.3% higher than the national average in the most recent 10 years (2009-2018). From 2014-2018, that rate was 14.3% higher than the national average, amounting to 1,794 deaths. In the period between 1969 and 1978, outlines the report, that rate was 4.5% lower than the national average.

The Fermi 2 nuclear power plant went online in June of 1985, and while the report has no concrete evidence that the plant is the definitive cause of the rise in cancer deaths in the county, it does provide a correlative pattern. 13abc has reached out to DTE Energy, owners of the Fermi 2 plant, for comment.

“The trends in Monroe County cancer rates since the mid-1980s cannot overlook the startup of the Fermi reactor, and the potential role of radioactive emissions on health,” says Joseph Mangano MPH MBA, Executive Director of RPHP and study author.

“The report needs to be taken seriously, and follow-up measures are urgently needed,” adds Christie Brinkley, a long-time activist on nuclear issues, Board member of RPHP, and a native of Monroe County. “In particular our children must be protected, as they are most vulnerable.”

In an effort to further understand the role the reactor may have had in the rise in cancer rates in the area, the RPHP is conducting a “Tooth Fairy” study. They’re collecting baby teeth from children living near the power plant to test for levels of Strontium-90, a chemical created by nuclear reactors. They’re hoping to test up to 50 teeth and will compare the results to Sr-90 levels in Detroit-area residents from a 1950s-era study of atomic bomb test fallout. Information about the study, including how to participate, can be found at their website.

March 13, 2021 Posted by | children, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Isolated and alone — Beyond Nuclear International

Suguru’s story reveals bullying, ostracization and government whitewash

Isolated and alone — Beyond Nuclear International
A teenager’s account of the Fukushima ordeal  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3219596582 By Linda Pentz Gunter, 7 Mar 21, 

Ten years after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, how has the Japanese government responded and what is it like for the people affected, still struggling to return their lives to some semblance of normality? Here is how things look:

  • Manuals are being distributed in schools explaining that radioactivity exists in nature and is therefore not something to be afraid of.
  • The government is considering getting rid of radiation monitoring posts as these send the wrong message at a time of “reconstruction”.
  • The Oversight Committee for Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey is discussing the possibility of stopping thyroid inspections at schools because they stress children out and overburden teachers and staff.

    • Depression and suicide rates among young people from Fukushima are likely to be triggered by being called “germs” and by being seen as “contaminated”.
    • Those who speak out about radiation are more stigmatized today than they were 10 years ago.
    • Those who “voluntarily” evacuated, recognizing that the so-called protection standards were not adequate for their region, are often ostracized from their new communities. They are seen as selfish for abandoning their homeland, friends and families “just to save themselves” and are bullied as parasites living on compensation funds, even though the “auto-evacuees” as they are known, received none.
      • Those forced to evacuate are also bullied if they do not now return, accused of not trusting the government and its assertions that it is safe to do so.
      • The taboo against speaking out for proper radiation protection and for compensation has grown worse as the rescheduled Olympics loom for this summer and Japan is determined to prove to the world it has fixed the radiation problem and beaten Covid-19.
      • On March 1, 2021, it took three judges all of 30 seconds to dismiss a case brought by 160 parents and children who lived in Fukushima prefecture at the time of the nuclear accident, and known as the Children’s Trial Against Radiation Exposure. The class action suit sought 100,000 yen per person in damages from the government and the prefecture, due to the psychological stress brought on by the lack of measures to avoid radiation exposure after the accident.
      • These are some of the realities uncovered by France-based Japanese activist, Kurumi Sugita, as she interviewed those affected and began to compile a graphic short story about her findings, entitled Fukushima 3.11 and illustrated by French artist, Damien Vidal. The booklet is produced by the French NGO, Nos Voisins Lontains 3.11 (Our Distant Neighbors 3.11).

        Fukushima 3.11, a long-form cartoon strip, is told in the first person by the youngest of Sugita’s interview subjects, Fukushima evacuee, Suguru Yokota, who was 13 at the time of the nuclear disaster.

        Suguru was also one of the plaintiffs in the Children’s Trial, and noted after the devastating dismissal, just days before the Fukushima disaster’s 10th anniversary, that “we cannot give up” and that “the court hasn’t issued a legitimate verdict.”

      • In 2012, Sugita had traveled to Japan with a research project she helped create, financed by the French National Centre for Scientific Research where she worked, to set up an investigation into Japan’s nuclear victims. A list of 70 interview candidates was put together.

        “I met Suguru in 2013 in Sapporo where he was living alone after he moved there from Fukushima,” said Sugita. “I also interviewed his mother and they were interviewed once a year over six years.”

        A schoolboy at the time of the accident, the book follows Suguru’s account of his experiences. He encounters the refusal by his uncle to believe the dangers in the early days of the accident, “a typical denial case,” says Sugita, and he is ostracized at school where he is the only pupil to wear a mask.

        Suguru’s only respite comes when his mother, who is equally alert to the radiation risks, sends him on a “radiation vacation” to Hokkaido, the first time he encounters peers who share his concerns.

      • Back at school and feeling isolated and alone, Suguru studies at home instead, eventually leaving the region for a different high school and then college.

      • The book weaves in essential information about radiation risks, and the clampdowns by the Japanese government, which withdrew support for auto-evacuees claiming, as Suguru relates it, that “these families are not victims. They are responsible for their fate.”

        The book was first published in the magazine, TOPO, whose audience is predominantly teenagers and which reports on topics of current interest. 

        “It appealed to us to address an audience interested in world events, but not exclusively the nuclear issue,” said illustrator Vidal.  “We thought our comic strip could be read by all those — and not necessarily just teenagers — who want to understand what the consequences of the nuclear accident were, and how it affected the inhabitants of Fukushima Prefecture.”

      • The book vividly brings home the psychological and emotional pain suffered by those who chose to recognize the true dangers posed by the Fukushima disaster, as well as the financial hardships and fracturing of families. And it exposes the depths of deliberate denial by authorities, more interested in heightened normalization of radiation exposure in the name of commerce and reputation.

      • Even as early as October 2011, an announcement is made that “rice produced in Fukushima Prefecture will supply school canteens again.” We see Suguru and his mother watching this news on their television, then the name-calling Suguru faces in school for bringing his own lunch. He is shown in the strip being called a “hikokumin”, which, explains Suguru, “is a really insulting word, used during the Second World War. It refers to people who are not worthy of being Japanese citizens.”

        But that stigma has only become worse with time, Sugita says. 

        These days people are name-called “hoshano”. “Hoshano”(放射能) means radioactivity, but with a different Chinese character(放射脳) it  means “radioactive brain – or brain contaminated by the fear of radioactivity”, she explains. And that is the slur in common circulation now.

        Nevertheless, the book ends on a hopeful note. “Today,” concludes Suguru on the closing page, “I know I’m not alone. I hope other voices will be heard in Japan and around the world.”

        It’s easy to say “never again.” But in order to ensure it, we must all continue to raise our voices, joining Suguru’s and others yearning to be heard.

        Read the English language version of Fukushima 3.11 on line for free. A version is also available in French. Hard copies (in French only), may be ordered from Nos Voisins Lontains 3.11 for 8€ plus shipping costs.

 

 

March 8, 2021 Posted by | children, Fukushima continuing, media, psychology - mental health, social effects | Leave a comment

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