On May 27, The Asahi Shimbun, one of the major newspapers in Japan, made a headline regarding the UNSCEAR press release that they don’t foresee any health effects among the general public and the vast majority of workers from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident. UNSCEAR claims that Fukushima is different from Chernobyl, and that the effect of radiation on thyroid glands will be minimal.
This announcement was released while 12 Fukushima children were diagnosed to have thyroid cancer and 15 more suspected by the investigative committee of Fukushima Prefecture. Earlier, in February, there were only 3 confirmed thyroid cancer cases. (In general, the thyroid cancer rate among children is 1~3/1,000,000.)
Beyond Nuclear warns that UNSCEAR’s assumptions are unhealthy as well as unscientific and says that UNSCEAR continues to downplay health effects from the ongoing nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima. The following issues are addressed to protect public, especially minors.
1. Fear of radiation is justified, based on radiation dangers and past official actions to hide this danger
2. Radiation is the real danger, not evacuation and relocation
3. Scientific bodies like UNSCEAR should know better than to attempt to “predict away” health effects of radiation exposure
4. People want proper medical treatment, not data-mining
5. Studies of past radiation exposures are not always applicable to Fukushima exposures
6. Children are falling victim to radiation AND to predictions of “no noticeable health impacts”
7. Radiation exposure assumptions are based on flawed and incomplete data
UNSCEAR’s press release completely ignores the fact that incidences of thyroid cancer are on the rise among the Fukushima children. The numbers are potentially higher since there are methodological problems in conducting the tests, according to some experts. UNSCEAR will release the final report in October, 2013.