Fukushima and West Coast infants with under-active thyroid glands
As we approach the second anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe on March 11, the debate continues over its impact on public health.
In an article on the Counterpunch.org website, the executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project, Joseph J. Mangano, points out that officials customarily downplay the impact of nuclear meltdowns.
He notes that there was a 64 percent rise in cancers over a five-year period within 10 miles of the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania.
Yet people still insist that nobody died from this accident in 1979.
Similarly in the former Soviet Union, there was an attempt to minimize the effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear explosion. Mangano reports that the World Health Organization and other groups later put the cancer toll from this meltdown at 9,000 worldwide.
"In the December 2011 International Journal of Health Services, we documented a 'bump' in U.S. deaths in the 3-4 months after Fukushima, especially among infants—the same 'bump' after Chernobyl," Mangano writes. "Our recent study in the Open Journal of Pediatrics showed rising numbers of infants born with an under-active thyroid gland—which is highly sensitive to radiation—on the West Coast, where Fukushima fallout was greatest."
It's worth repeating this part of Mangano's statement for B.C. public-health officials to ponder: rising numbers of infants born with an under-active thyroid gland...on the West Coast, where Fukushima fallout was greatest.
Meanwhile, Greenpeace activists held a protest today outside the General Electric Hitachi Nuclear Energy facility in Toronto.
It follows last month's Greenpeace report, Fukushima Fallout: Nuclear business makes people pay and suffer, which revealed how the industry avoids covering the full cost of its mistakes.
"The nuclear industry and governments have designed a nuclear liability system that protects the industry, and forces people to pick up the bill for its mistakes and disasters," Greenpeace charges in the report. "To safeguard the public from nuclear risks, the system needs to be fundamentally reformed to hold the entire nuclear industry fully accountable for its actions and failures."