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Shedding Light in the Darkness

Child Cancer Rates Soar After Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

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Back in March, Forbes ran an article on the Fukushima disaster by nuclear power industry proponent James Conca asserting that: “No one will die from Fukushima radiation, there will be no increased cancer rates, the food supply is not contaminated, the ocean nearby is not contaminated, most of the people can move back into their homes, and most of the other nuclear plants in Japan can start up just fine.”

He also quoted a statement by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation – “It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers from exposure to radiation following the leaks and explosions at the earthquake-damaged power plant in March of 2011.”

And he included a quote from the pro-nuke industry Breakthrough Institute – “Fukushima children have no more thyroid cancer rates than any other regions in Japan, and are actually lower than many.”

Well, it seems they were all wrong!

“Researchers in Japan say that children living near the Fukushima nuclear plant have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer at a rate 20 to 50 times that of children in other places,” reported the magazine The Week.

“This is more than expected and emerging faster than expected,” lead author Toshida Tsuda, a professor of environmental epidemiology at Okayama University, told the Associated Press. Since the nuclear meltdowns in 2011, most of the 370,000 children living in the Fukushima prefecture have had ultrasound checkups, with the most recent statistics released in August showing 137 children have confirmed or suspected thyroid cancer, up 25 from last year. In other areas, an estimated one or two of every million children are diagnosed with thyroid cancer annually.

The authors have disputed the government’s stance that a high number of cases have been found because of constant monitoring.

David J. Brenner, professor of radiation biophysics at Columbia University Medical Center says, the higher thyroid cancer rate in Fukushima is “not due to screening. It’s real.”

The UK newspaper The Times noted: “The researchers urged the Japanese authorities to stop quibbling over the interpretation of cancer statistics, and to muster medical resources. “We need to prepare for leukaemia and breast cancer.”

The study will be published in the November issue of Epidemiology.

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