Effects of the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns on environment and health. February 16th, 2012
Dr. med. Alex Rosen, University Clinic Düsseldorf, Department of General Paediatrics
[Excerpted] The earthquake and tsunami on March 11th, 2011 led to multiple nuclear meltdowns in the reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Northern Japan. Radioactive emissions from the plant caused widespread radioactive contamination of the entire region. The vast majority of the nuclear fallout occurred over the North Pacific, constituting the largest radioactive contamination of the oceans ever recorded. Soil and water samples, as well as marine animals have been found to be highly contaminated.
Increased levels of radioactivity were recorded at all radiation measuring posts in the Northern Hemisphere. Fallout contaminated large parts of Eastern Honshu island, including the Tokyo metropolitan area.
Within a 20 km radius, up to 200,000 people had to leave their homes. Outside of this evacuation zone, the radioactive fallout contaminated more than 870 km2 of land, home to about 70,000 people who were not evacuated. These people were exposed to harmful radioisotopes and now have an increased risk to develop cancer or other radiation-induced diseases.
Many people still live in areas with high contamination. Food, milk and drinking water have been contaminated as well, leading to internal radiation exposure. Most severely affected are children, as their bodies are more susceptible to radiation damage. Preliminary tests have shown internal radioactive contamination of children with iodine-131 and caesium-137.
It is too early to estimate the extent of health effects caused by the nuclear disaster. Taking into consideration the studies on Chernobyl survivors and the findings of the BEIR VII report, scientists will be able to estimate the effects once the true extent of radioactive emissions, fallout and contamination are better studied. Large-scale independent epidemiological studies are needed in order to better help the victims of this catastrophe.
Claims by scientists affiliated with the nuclear industry that no health effects are to be expected are unscientific and immoral.