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Fukushima produces first thesis on effects of internal radiation exposure on children

14 Comments
By Andrew Miller

A thesis which assesses the risks of internal radiation exposure within Fukushima Prefecture following the explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, suggests that the effects of internal radiation fall far below that recorded after Chernobyl.

Ryugo Hayano, who works as a professor at Tokyo University’s Science Research Department, has collected the findings of doctors who conducted research into internal radiation exposure among those living inside of the Fukushima Prefecture. He consolidated these findings into an English journal titled "Proceedings of Japan Academy Series B89," which is available on the Internet.

The latest journal is a collection of reports that looks at the degree of radiation exposure through daily food consumption and it is reported to be the first of its kind.

Hayano comments, “Findings suggest that the level of internal radiation exposure brought about by pollution from the soil within the Fukushima Prefecture is much less than originally believed. The amount is so negligible that it is difficult to imagine there being any risk to the health.”

Something that is generally unknown to most living outside of Fukushima is that since the nuclear accident, there have been numerous organizations carrying out their own individual investigations into the effects of radiation. The largest-scale whole body counter (WBC) began in June 2011. Experts in the field used the WBC to examine the effects cesium had on the body of 118, 904 inhabitants inside of Fukushima. Surprisingly, of those who took part, 99.9% fell within the safety standard limit of 1 millisievert (mSv). While such a result is positive, the investigation does not provide elaborate details on the inhabitants’ daily intake of cesium, which arguably also requires close monitoring.

The findings from the most recent thesis by Fukushima Prefecture draw upon tests conducted by Fukushima Hiratamura’s Hirata Central Hospital. The results were obtained by examining 32,811 patients from Fukushima and Ibaraki Prefecture from the periods of October 17, 2011 to November 30, 2012. Of the patients tested, 10,000 were reported to be living in an environment where the soil was contaminated with 100,000 becquerels of cesium 137 per square meter.

The number of participants whose levels of radioactive contamination exceeded the WBC upper limit of 300 becquerels formed just 4.7%. Even more encouraging is that this figure, when looked at per kilogram, fell below the 50 becquerel range. Of the studies that took place after March 2012, this figure fell even further to just 1%. In particular, after May 2012 cesium was undetected in the children whose previous radioactive intake exceeded the upper 300-becquerel limit.

The thesis also addresses the skepticism surrounding the idea that the above figures do not accurately represent the average citizen of Fukushima for the reason that only the most health-conscious person is inclined to volunteer to take part in the tests. It resolves this possible bias by including results carried out from a whole body counter which targeted almost all the students at Miharamachi elementary school located 50 kilometers from the nuclear plant. In 2011, of the 1,494 students who were monitored, 54 students exceeded the upper limit reading.

However, as was the case with the other experiment, from August 2012 the detection of radiation dropped to zero. Around 20% of those living in Miharamachi work within the agriculture industry as farmers and the tendency to produce and consume vegetables from the area is thought to be high.

What can be deduced from this is that without a regular intake of contaminated food products, there is little if any increase in the level of internal radiation exposure. It also suggests that a majority of food products from areas of high soil contamination were not as contaminated as first thought.

Professor Hayano comments, “Results have shown that even the minority of people whose radiation exposure was high can reduce or eliminate exposure through regular health monitoring and avoiding contaminated food.”

High levels of internal radiation exposure were reported for many years after the Chernobyl nuclear explosion. However, Fukushima’s strict policy on the circulation of food products and thorough inspections have acted effectively in virtually eliminating this problem.

This result carries considerable implications not only for Japan on a domestic scale but also internationally as well. It all has to do with the line of thought that became prominent after the Chernobyl explosion which suggests that the degree of internal radiation exposure has to do with the length someone resides in a polluted area.

Applying this principle to Fukushima, it is natural to estimate that for a highly polluted area like Koriyama, the level of a person’s cesium 134 and 137 radioactive intake would reach figures of around 5 millisieverts. However, the actual levels of intake were considerably less. It is the first time that this type of contradictory evidence has come to light.

In fact, up until the announcement of this latest thesis, theses produced by Japan which analyze the correlation between internal radiation exposure and radioactive pollution have been surprisingly lacking. The World Health Organization (WHO) has produced two reports into the possible effects on the body of living in a highly polluted area. However, figures are based on predicted worst case upper limit radiation levels and are not taken from any actual data from within Fukushima.

It has been confirmed that this latest thesis will also be used as a reference to the United Nations Science Committee’s investigation (UNSCEAR) into effects of radiation which is due to be carried out this summer. It is hoped that this report will help to raise new levels of awareness into the effects of radiation on an international scale.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Finance, the number of food inspections related to radioactive contamination carried out since the nuclear catastrophe come in at 40,000 cases. The number of food products that exceeded the safety limit totaled 10%. Breaking this figure down further, of 10% of food stuffs that exceeded the safety limit, only 2% reached contamination levels of 100 becquerels per kilogram.

In addition, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan Agricultural Cooperative, and the Fishermen’s Cooperative are also carrying out their own independent tests into radioactive contamination. The results have seen most products fall within the limit deemed safe for public consumption. In spite of this, there still remains a deep-rooted fear regarding radioactive contamination within Fukushima.

If the facts from this latest thesis are accepted by the international community, it is hoped that the negative rumors relating to contamination can at last be dispelled. The residents living in the prefecture can then begin to put behind them any fears about their future and their home towns.

Source: Shukan Diamond

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Tokyo Clinic to Test Internal Radiation Exposure -- More Than Half of Cleanup Staff at Fukushima Plant on Counterfeit Contracts -- Blogger’s Troubling Insight into Psyche of Post-Disaster Fukushima Residents

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14 Comments
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"If the facts from this latest thesis are accepted by the international community, it is hoped that the negative rumors relating to contamination can at last be dispelled. The residents living in the prefecture can then begin to put behind them any fears about their future and their home towns."

No, this is bull... the international community has nothing to do with it. The people living close by the reactor are, or should be, the ones most skeptical about this "thesis"... One of the driving points of this paper is "not consuming contaminated food" Good luck with that!!!

We here the phrase "Anzen Dai ichi", meaning safety first, all the time. Why is it that, when it comes to their health and their childrens health, people won't follow that simple rule. If it is only questionable, if there is any doubt about the safety of the products you are feeding your kids, would that not be enough?

If I grew up in Fukushima and found that I was fed contaminated food that was said to be safe by the government and I ended up with tyroid cancer, I would like to have the names of all these "experts" to sue every single one of them!!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Lets be honest though ... if it came back that there were huge contamination risks, that it was very dangerous for children, and that the levels were similar to that of chernobyl, they wouldn't tell us anyway.

Then in hindsight they would say they didn't want to cause "panic" or fear.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Unless there is a validation of this by multiple secondary sources outside Japan, I would not buy this at all.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Who can believe this? Do they think we are all children?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

lets face it, there are pro nuclear scientist and against nuclear scientist, did anybody check up this prof's background and probably his connection to the nuclear power industry? there are some homework up for grabs for journalists! all the best!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I wonder how much TEPCO payed him for this "thesis"

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The whole tone of this thesis is jolly and upbeat, even self-congratulatory. It seems to say that we can learn from nuclear accidents, that we can live after nuclear accidents, and that in the future (which is assumed to be nuclear) such inevitable accidents (or even nuclear war) are really nothing to be afraid of, as long as we can seal ourselves off from the immediate environment.

Roofs were hosed down. Topsoil was scraped off school playgrounds. People were told to stay indoors and eat food produced elsewhere.

Shades of artificial environments. The Eden Project. We can live on Mars as long as the bubble is not compromised.

Well, congratulations on the successful social experiment. But do we really want to go down this path?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It reminds me of the children who were moved to the south west of Japan and discovered with huge relief that they were now allowed to play outside, to swim in outdoor pools and do things most children take for granted.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

>"the investigation does not provide elaborate details on the inhabitants’ daily intake of cesium, which arguably also requires close monitoring." Yes, let's skip over that then. >"the number of food inspections related to radioactive contamination carried out since the nuclear catastrophe comes in at 40,000 cases. The number of food products that exceeded the safety limit totaled 10%. Breaking this figure down further, of 10% of food stuffs that exceeded the safety limit, only 2% reached contamination levels of 100 becquerels per kilogram." That's still 4,000 cases of unsafe, radioactive food. I wonder where it all ended up? And those figures should be more exact...not rounded up or down to nearest ten thousand.

The number of participants whose levels of radioactive contamination exceeded the WBC upper limit of 300 becquerels formed just 4.7% That's "just" 1,542 people. This is not the first time that this author has constructed an article using highly debatable research from obscure professors at minor Japanese colleges.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

1) A child is constantly increasing in weight and size, it grows from the intrauterine embryo to adult, the younger, the faster. Therefore, the cells divide much more frequently than an adult. Cells in the division phase (mitosis) are more vulnerable to radiation than cells in the resting phase.

2) The ability of the body to recognize “defective” cells and to eliminate them develops during childhood. An embryo has not yet this ability. Therefore “defective” cells can multiply unimpeded and later lead to cancer or heritable diseases.

3) A child that grows must hold more substances than emiting them, more than an adult. The body of a child takes in more radioactive substances in food, drink and air we breathe than adults. Especially dangerous are 137 and Cs-134 and 137 and Sr-90 – deposited in the muscles or in the bone (see below).

4) Children have their whole lives ahead of them. Some diseases caused by radiation take a long time to occur (latency): 20 or even 30 years. Children are more likely than older adults to reach the dubious chance to see the end of this latency. In the human body there are about 200 different cell types, each has a different function.

Basically, each cell can respond to injury with four responses:

1) The damage is so severe that the cell dies.

2) The cell can repair the damage (in children see above).

3) The cell loses its ability to produce certain substances, such as in the pancreas gland which can not produce insulin anymore (increase of diabetes in Belarus among children and adults) or other digestive juices during the growth, of the thyroid hormones.

4) The malignant cells degenerate and there is cancer.

It is now clear: Any radiation poses a risk especially for children who are extremely radiosensitive

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Great news!!!! Radiation is not dangerous anymore. Ironic that a Japanese whould come to that conclusion.Really sad for those who actually belive this "The amount is so negligible that it is difficult to imagine there being any risk to the health." This actually brought a tear to my eye.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If anyone is actually interested in reading the report it's at: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/pjab/89/4/89_PJA8904B-01/_article

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I've read the report. Looks pretty reasonable. Any comments from others who have read it?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In Japan, Hayano is criticized because of his political behavior. On 2011.3.11, Hayano retweeted Yoshiyuki Mizuno's tweet "I cannot understand the opinion that there is a possibility of meltdown" on his twitter account. And on 2011.3.22, Hayano said "Let's take a wet spring rain" on twitter. This tweet is deleted by Hayano later. Also he introduced the article of Forbes misinforming that LNT model was denied by UNSCEAR. Hayano insisted that urine test is undesirable, and sticked to only inspection by the WBC. He went the lobbying and suggested Project HAYANO to the government. In this project, he claimed that litigation is a barren and that the compensation cost should be reduced. About this WBC paper, in Japan, Hayano himself misled people by saying "Health effects will never occur in this value" on weekly diamond magazine. In this way, Hayano is considered to act not as a scientist, but as a political player.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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