Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thyroid Cancer Cases in Fukushima Children Increase, Again.

The Asahi Shimbun is reporting 11 new cases of thyroid cancer detected in Fukushima Prefecture young people, bringing the number of confirmed thyroid cancer cases to 115:

Yuri Oiwa. Fukushima confirms 11 new thyroid cancer cases among young people. The Asahi Shimbun, December 01, 2015, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201512010072

Eleven people in Fukushima Prefecture aged 18 or younger at the time of the 2011 triple meltdown were recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 115 since the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant...

...The number of patients with suspected or confirmed cases totaled 114 in the first round of screening, and 39 in the second round, for a total of 153.
I reported in 2012 concerns that children were unduly exposed and their measured exposure levels were erased (see here). I recently noted that erased data is being used to deny linkages between radiation exposure and subsequent thyroid cancer incidents in Fukushima young people (here).

Here is some background information on children's sensitivities to ionizing radiation:

1. OVERALL RISKS FOR CHILDREN UNDER-REPRESENTED: The greatest risks are for the youngest whose cells are dividing rapidly and for future generations who acquire germ line cell damage, particularly micro deletions. However, most models of dose-effects are based on a male reference man:
a. The 2006 U.S. National Academies’ panel on the risks of low-level radiation, the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) VII report, found that overall fatal cancer risk for females was 37.5 percent greater than for males exposed to the same radiation dose, and children are even more vulnerable.[i] Despite these findings, the reference man continues to inform many international and national regulatory guidelines, including the ICRP.[ii]

2. ATMOPSHERIC EXPOSURE VERSUS BIO-ACCUMULATION AND BIO-MAGNIFICATION: Radiation exposure levels measured by the ‘badges’ worn by Fukushima children under-predict effects because they don’t address internal exposure:
a. In 1962, Harold Knapp described how radioiodine from a single deposition in pasture-land bioaccumulates and biomagnifies, producing substantial and injurious radiation doses for children consuming milk.[iii]

b. Strontium is bio-accumulated in bone as an analog of calcium. Both strontium and cesium (an analog of potassium) can pass the blood-brain barrier by entering the brain’s calcium channels (e.g., see Xu-Friedman & Regehr, 1999).[iv]

c. Uranium is particularly chemically toxic. See ‘Once Upon a Mine: The Legacy of Uranium on the Navajo Nation’[v]

a. FETUSES/EMBROYS VULNERABILITIES: Ian Fairlie observes that hematopoietic tissues [containing stem cells] appear to be considerably more radiosensitive in embryos/fetuses than in newborn babies.’[vi]

b. A study by the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (French Institute of Health and Medical Research, or INSERM) documented a leukemia rate twice as high among children under the age of 15, living within a five kilometer radius of France's 19 nuclear power plants, when compared to those living 20 kilometers or more away from a plant.[vii] The French study reinforced previous findings on excess risk for leukemia in young children living in close proximity to German nuclear power plants.[viii]

c. Studies on medical imaging show children are very vulnerable to the radiation used in the imaging. A study published in The Lancet in 2012 found that CT scans cause a small but significant increased risk for leukemia and brain cancer in children.[ix] Two to three scans of the head for children under three tripled the risk for brain cancer as compared to the general population while five to ten scans tripled the risk for leukemia.

d. One study found a 12 percent increase in childhood leukemia for every millisievert of natural gamma-radiation dose to bone marrow.[x]
e. Nowakowski and Hayes (2008) describe effects of radiation on early brain development (i.e., neurogenesis), which include double-strand breaks of DNA impacting cell proliferation and migration during critical periods of early brain development. They conclude that early fetal development is particularly susceptible to effects of relatively low levels of exposure to radioisotopes.[xi]


[i]  National Research Council Health Risks.

[ii]  The Nuclear Energy Agency Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development 2011 report, Evolution of ICRP Recommendations 1977, 1990, and 2007 explains that the ICRP publication distinguished between non-stochastic (deterministic) and stochastic (probabilistic) effects in 1977, but didn’t provide quantitative estimates of the stochastic risk for fatal cancer across the lifespan and severe hereditary effects from radiation until 1990 (pp. 15-16). The 2007 ICRP publication incorporates ‘detriment,’ which attempts to quantify all deleterious effects of exposure by including cancer incidences, not simply fatal cases (p. 16). The models still relies on a homogenized reference man (Available, http://www.oecd-nea.org/rp/reports/2011/nea6920-ICRP-recommendations.pdf, date accessed 22 May 2013).

[iii]  S. Kirsch (2004) ‘Harold Knapp and the Geography of Normal Controversy: Radioiodine in the Historical Environment’, Osiris, 19, 167-181.

[iv] Xu-Friedman, M. A., & Regehr, W G. (1999, April). Presynaptic strontium dynamics and synaptic transmission. Biophys J., 76(4), 2029–2042.

[v] Carrie Arnold (2014, February). Once upon a mine: The legacy of uranium on the Navajo Nation’ Environmental Health Perspectives, 122(2), A44-A49, http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/122-a44/

[vi]  I. Fairlie (2009) ‘Commentary: Childhood Cancer near Nuclear Power Stations’, Environmental Health Perspectives, 8.43, http://www.ehjournal.net/content/8/1/43, date accessed 24 August 2012.

[vii] C. Sermage-Faure, D. Laurier, S. Goujon-Bellec, M. Chartier, A. Guyot-Goubin, J. Rudant, D. Hemon and J. Clavel (2012) ‘Childhood Leukemia around French Nuclear Power Plants-The Geocap Study, 2002-2007’, International Journal of Cancer, 131, 5, p. 769-780, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.27425/pdf, date accessed 7 September 2012.

[viii] M. Blettner, P. Kaatsch, S, Schmiedel, R. Schulze-Rath, and C. Spix (2008) ‘Leukaemia in Young Children Living in the Vicinity of German Nuclear Power Plant’, International Journal of Cancer, 122, 721–726.

M. Blettner, P. Kaatsch, S, Schmiedel, R. Schulze-Rath, and C. Spix (2008) ‘Case-Control Study on Childhood Cancer in the Vicinity of Nuclear Power Plants in Germany 1980–2003’, European Journal of Cancer, 44, 275–284.

[ix] Mark S Pearce, Jane A Salotti, Mark P Little, Kieran McHugh, Choonsik Lee, Kwang Pyo Kim, Nicola L Howe, Cecile M Ronckers, Preetha Rajaraman,

Sir Alan W Craft, Louise Parker, Amy Berrington de González. Radiation exposure from CT scans in childhood and subsequent risk of eukaemia and brain tumours: a retrospective cohort study. The Lancet. June 7, 2012DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60815-0, http://press.thelancet.com/ctscanrad.pdf/.

[x] University of Oxford (2012) ‘Natural Gamma Rays Linked to Childhood Leukemia,’ http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2012/120612.html, date accessed 22 November 2012.

[xi] Nowakowski, R. S. & Hayes, N. L. (2008). Radiation, retardation and the developing brain: Time is the crucial variable. Acta Pediatrica, 97, 527-531.



  1. Fukushima is the largest nuclear catastrophe in human history. Huge amounts of radioactive cesium have been released into the environment and transported around the world.
    There really is no simple way to detect or see radionucleides. Right?

    In 1987 Goiânia, Brazil, scavengers — unaware of what the substance was — opened a sealed 137Cs source they had found at an abandoned medical clinic. The fascinating blue glowing powder was sold to a junkyard owner, who shared it with many family members and acquaintances. 250 people became sick from radiation poisoning.


    glowing blue cucumers fukushima

    Blue headed bear canada

    Glowing blue pork and pigs from radioactive cesium

    1. Yikes.

      It is truly an insane madhouse we inhabit.

  2. older article but interesting


  3. Re: 115 cases of thyroid cancer in children

    Normally there are 1 or 2 cases per 12 million according to this 2013 JapanToday study:

    "However, according to one study that might be a more useful comparison, of 250 schoolchildren examined in Nagasaki in 2000, only 0.8% of them had thyroid nodules, of which none were found to be malignant. Additionally, the incidence of thyroid cancer in the general population is just one or two in 12 million children."


    SP: How many children under 15 in Japan?

    Answer: 16 million


    SP: So there should be 3 or 4 cases total and there are 115. Very sad when a country's government does not protect their children.


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