Bridging Wormwood and Happy Island Vol.5: Inquiries to a father in Belarus

Alexander Leonov is a director of Roza Luxemburg nursery school and has a close relationship with Institute Belrad. He and his family live in Gomel Belarus.


1) How do you try to reduce internal exposure of your children?

Internal exposure of my children is reduced well and effectively by using the VITAPECT preparation. And, of course, the food should be under strict, permanent control. The foodstuffs exceeding the norm value of Caesium-137 concentration should not be given to children.


2) How do the people commit to the measures to reduce internal exposure as a part of community activities?

At the beginning few people paid attention to it. They did not want to measure the radiation in the body. But now they are very active. They show their interest about next measurements.

3) If they do, what kind of role does school play in such activities?

In school there is a centre for making measurements of Caesium in foodstuffs. The school accepts a mobile laboratory for measuring radiation in people. The school also performs explanatory work among schoolchildren, teachers and local inhabitants. In school there are held classes, seminars and round tables on the topic of radiation contamination of the territory. The school does permanent monitoring of radiation in food and human body.


4) Do you see the difference in the health condition of those who pay attention to food contamination etc and those who don't? 

Yes, I do. Me, for example. When I had radiation levels about 900 Bq/kg body weight, I felt apathy, drowsiness, loss of appetite. Now I have 120 Bq/kg and feel better. Other people have the same symptoms.


5) Have you ever considered leaving your town to less contaminated areas?

As for me, I would like to do it. But it is an economical question. The state does not undertake resettlement. And my family does not have money to realize it.


6) Do you have any particular concern about the future of your children?

I have thought about it for 26 years. And I would answer: it remains to be seen.


7) How do you educate children about radiation?

There was developed a special program in order to teach children to know the basic principles of radiation. In school there is an additional course “Fundamentals of Health and Safety”. At this course the children learn bases and concrete life and scientific recommendations for living in a radio-contaminated zone.


8) How do you encourage other members of your community to account for radioactive issues? What are the responses? 

We give classes. At such classes we demonstrate the results of our research work. We tell about other contaminated places of Belarus and distribute printed materials. The children together with teams of protagonists appear on stage. We arrange meetings with parents and invite doctors to take part in them. The most important fact is that practically the majority of the inhabitants bring vegetables from their home gardens and forest products for controlling. As a result of that the majority acquires information consciously and follows the recommendations.


Alexander Leonov  Gomel, Belarus

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