Thursday, August 2, 2012


I am going to speculate a little.

Before I do, I'll provide a couple examples of past research documenting health effects in animals and people from nuclear fallout. In the two cases presented below, the nuclear fallout was from Chernobyl.

Examples of Research on Effects of Chernobyl in US

Jay Gould and Benjamin Goldman analyzed U.S. government mortality data in the wake of Chernobyl fallout in the U.S. Their analysis concluded that Chernobyl resulted in clearly statistically significant excess mortality rates in the US and Germany. Gould and Benjamin conclude that for human infants the dose-response is “supralinear” rather than linear, “which means that infant mortality rises more rapidly at low doses.”

Dr. Dave DeSante, from the Institute on Bird Populations, found similar but more substantial effects on newborn bird populations, particularly on bird populations that fed their newborn insects consuming new growth that had been contaminated by Chernobyl fallout. DeSante found newborn bird mortality averaged sixty-five percent in the central California coastline and one hundred percent for species whose young fed on the new-growth consuming insects.

The studies examined here - Gould and Goldman’s Deadly Deceit, and DeSante’s bird research – document somatic effects at exposure levels not predicted to cause them. The reason for the discrepancy in findings versus predictions may stem from the fact that the construct of the permissible dose was predicated upon short term analysis of somatic effects, rather than upon long term analysis of effects across time. Recent in vivo and in vitro research on DNA mutations caused by exposure to ionizing radiation offer an explanation as to how long term somatic effects can be caused by minute DNA mutations.


Majia Here: My family just returned from our annual trip to San Diego. We go every year. I completed my BS and MS degrees from San Diego State University years ago (PhD from Purdue).

This year we were saddened to hear from our friends that their granddaughter was born extremely premature - at 1 pound - after her otherwise healthy, young mother inexplicably developed severe problems during pregnancy. The baby was born in early January and is alive today but spent months in the hospital.

The story reminded me of what happened to one of my former college students. She is in her late 20s. She is very healthy. She developed severe preclampsisa during her pregnancy and her baby was born in March 2012 at 4 pounds because it was so early.

These examples could have no relation to the Fukushima disaster. I don't know and never will. But the stories bother me because both women were young, healthy and near perfect body weight. They had no risk factors for these problems and had no diagnosable viral or bacterial infections that could have caused these problems.

I cannot help but wondering and I worry about the health of these babies.

That is not all.

When we were in San Diego I noticed very few hermit crabs in the tide pools. My husband and kids commented upon it also. There were some, but not nearly as many as we typically find. I've been going to this same beach - Wind and Sea in La Jolla - for at least 25 years.

So, I googled "hermit crabs and nuclear radiation" just to see what would come up.

I found a book titled, Radioactivity in the Marine Environment that was published in 1972 by the National Research Council.

The book looks at the research on the effects of atmospheric testing on marine life.

On page 234 there is an entry on hermit crabs at the Bikini Atoll. The crabs' skeletons and muscle were tested for radionuclides. The original research study on the crabs was published in 1960.

[excerpt] “The land-dwelling hermit crab, Coenobita sp and coconut crab, Birgus latro, are subject to higher levels of chronic radiation from internally deposited radionuclides than any other organism studied at the atolls. The level of Sr (90) and Cs (137) were found to remain virtually constant at 4,500 pCi of St90 per gram of skeleton and 450 pCi of Cs(137) of muscle in Coenobita sp. At Enlwetok over a period of two years (Held, 1960)."

Majia here: This passage states that the hermit crabs had higher levels of internal radiation contamination than any other organism studied at the atolls.


The entry says that no studies had been performed on the population size.

No "gross anomalies" were detected.

I need to track down the original research study by Held published in 1960 and read more.

Again:  I speculate on an isolated example, but I really have to wonder. 

The one animal that I detected changes in population level turns out to be the one marine animal most likely to bio-accumulate internal radionuclides.

The insidious nature of nuclear fallout stems from the difficulty in proving that the fallout caused measurable health effects.

Fallout effects DNA and cellular reproduction so effects can take time to develop. 

If no one had ever counted the hermit crabs, how could anyone determine that a drop in population had occurred?

Gross abnormalities are often masked when radiation damage occurs to DNA because recessive genes are more likely to mutate. 

Damage to recessive genes can cause health problems and shorten lives but is less likely to show up in obvious and overt mutations.

Have San Diego hermit crabs suffered a population loss due to Fukushima radiation?

I don't know for sure and probably never will, but I do have my suspicions that they were impacted adversely...


Gould, Jay and Benjamin A. Goldman Deadly Deceit: Low-level Radiation, High-level Cover-Up (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows), 1993.

DeSante, Dave of the Institute for Bird Population in Point Reyes, California interviewed in “Fukushima Fallout - Lessons from Chernobyl by Ecological Options Network” YouTube (uploaded 2011, March 11):

Radioactivity in the marine environment By National Research Council (U.S.). Panel on Radioactivity in the Marine Environment


  1. The dose-response curve is supralinear in general, not just for infant mortality. This is the contention of the ECRR, and was confirmed by the most recent atomic bomb survivors study, as well as much other research.

    This means, that since the curve is flat over the range of very low doses to moderately low doses, any study for this dose range that does not use a control group, and uses dose-response data only, would not be expected to find increasing disease or death rates over this range. Thus they erroneously conclude that there is no effect from the radiation dose. An example of this is the Hanford thyroid study.

    Also, supralinearity implies that dilution of radioactivity INCREASES the amount of death and disease. Dilution exposes a much wider population to radiation, but reduces the dose to this larger population. But the reduction in dose does not matter as much, while the number exposed is greatly larger.

  2. Majia,
    I would like to comment on your hermit crab observation. Although obviously it in itself is not prove any kind of causation - observation such as this is important in developing hypotheses which can be proven or disproven with scientific study.

    I too have a similarly unscientific observation. Last week I had to travel to Alaska and heard several times that the "salmon are very late this year" - as the following article indicates - not only were they late, they were down about 20-30% from last years abysmal numbers - making them in some places 50 and up to 75% off in the past two early summer runs.

    Having the salmon go away by 50% in the two seasons following a huge radiation fallout over the pacific ocean - coincidence? or not? Alaskans seem to have been convinced it had something to do with the immensely cold and snowy winter they had last year. I don't really know, but I couldn't help but wonder if it had more to do with something "hot", than something cold.

    The reason this may be easy to study is that they have relatively sophisticated methods of counting the fish as they swim upstream. I'm not completely familiar with it, or the accuracy, but I do know that it's not just an observation subject to human estimation error.

    Incidentally , I'm simply amazed at how many young folks are still distracted by global warming propaganda. I met a couple of young female PHD researchers studying "the effects of global warming on glaciers" - and in the brief conversation with them I realized they were very much in the camp of man-made global warming as the cause of glacier melt -

    so I acted a bit dumb and told them I heard that glaciers have been receding steadily for a few hundred years, and I though i remembered hearing that glacier bay has receded 40 miles over the past 250 years - which was met with blank stares.

    Then I asked them what's been going on with global temperature for the past few years, that I hadn't looked recently - to which they immediately replied - "oh it's gone up several degrees"

    I was shocked. These were not some uneducated rubes - these were PhD candidates from a well-known school!

    They apparently don't know the history of the very thing they are studying!

    They apparently don't look at any data at all - because they have no clue about the facts of global temperature...

    Not only were they dead wrong in answering my questions, they thought I was the one who was an imbecile - I could tell from their body language

    Of course they aren't the only ones... with this total lack of understanding of facts and scientific research methods all the way up to the PhD level, is it any wonder the public has no clue where the real environmental danger is to life on planed earth?

    after this short encounter, I got a bit depressed.


  3. James,

    That's one example of why what is called Western Civilization is doomed. The elite have so dumbed down everyone that PhD students are lost, and even those who are supposed to replace the evil apparatchiks are not up for the task. The newer gang simply can't fill Kissinger's or Brzezinski's shoes.

  4. Majia,

    I wonder how the emissions are changing the chemistry of our oceans and air. Will it increase ocean acidification or form dangerous compounds? Tritium is usually 'managed' by nuke industry; filtered, stored and released when safe. Tritiated water is only lethal if ingested, affecting mostly aquatic species. Tepco has had major problems managing emissions.

    "tritium produced measureable, dose dependent, and irreversible suppression of immune capacity in affected fish."
    "It appeared that there was no threshold or significant dose-rate effect for either beta or gamma rays on germ cell survival, and that tritium beta rays were more effective than cesium-137 gamma rays in germ cell killing."
    "Food Survey Values:
    Tritium was detected in 4% of 200 portions of foods (raw vegetables, fruits, fish, and milk) collected near 33 nuclear reactors from October 1986 to September 1992(1). The maximum concentration observed in these positive detections was 70 Bq/kg, and most of the positive detections occurred in fish and vegetables in the vicinity of 4 sites"
    "For scientific purposes, the generally accepted value for the half-life of tritium, as measured by Mound Laboratories, is 12.323+/-0.004 years (4500.88+/-1.46 days)."