In Japan, a Long-Term Study
on Radiation Leaks Effects
Fukushima Power Plant
EMF Protection Devices
Magnetic Field Detector
October 10, 2011 | By HIROKO TABUCHI
TOKYO — In an effort to track the long-term health effects
of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan has begun a
survey of local children for thyroid abnormalities, a
problem associated with exposure to radiation.
The study comes in response to concerns over the health
consequencesof the serious radiation leaks caused by
multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power
Station in March. Japanese officials hope to study about
360,000 children who were under 18 at the time of the
accident and track their health through their lifetimes,
according to Fukushima Prefecture officials.
Children and pregnant women are particularly sensitive to
radioactive iodine, which can harm the thyroid, studies
after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 have shown.
According to research presented at a 2006 global conference,
at least 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer among children have
been linked to Chernobyl’s fallout.
On Sunday, the first day of the Fukushima study, more than
100 children were tested. Specific test results will not be
made public, according to Fukushima Prefecture. But the
children, who will be tested every two years until they turn
20 and every five years after that, will receive further
care if doctors discover abnormalities.
Almost 20,000 people were killed in the earthquake and
tsunami that struck eastern Japan on March 11 and also
ravaged the Fukushima plant, leading to a huge release of
radioactive substances into the environment. Although no
deaths have been linked to radiation, concerns remain high
over its long-term health effects.
Tens of thousands of people are unable or unwilling to
return to their homes because of fears of contamination in
the area. An evacuation zone remains in effect in a 12-mile
radius from the Fukushima plant, though some areas have been
exempted in a bid by the government to reassure evacuees
that it is safe to return.
Officials in those regions have begun decontaminating public
areas by removing the topsoil from school playgrounds and
hosing down roads and buildings. Government officials have
acknowledged, however, that areas closer to the stricken
plant may be off limits for decades.
A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy
Agency arrived in Fukushima on Sunday to monitor Japan’s
decontamination efforts. The team will visit schools and
farms and meet with government officials throughout
Fukushima, the agency said on its Web site. It is the
nuclear agency’s second major mission to Japan since the