Read Linda Pentz Gunter’s article discussing Dr. Tim Mousseau’s peer-reviewed studies of biota exposed to radiation in Fukushima and Chernobyl.
In this video, evolutionary biologist Dr. Timothy Mousseau discusses research on the biological effects of radiation exposure on biota in Chernobyl and Fukushima. At the end, he highlights the importance of research on the long-term effects of lose-dose radiation on the environment by universities and groups that are NOT funded by the nuclear industry or somehow connected with them. From my personal research experience, I have found that that type of research is seldom conducted because of the strong foothold that intergovernmental agencies that promote the “safe use of nuclear energy” have in academia. Some good places to find reliable information on radiation doses and effects are the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.
” Some nuclear advocates suggest that wildlife thrives in the highly-radioactive Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, animals like it, and not only that, a little radiation for anybody and everybody is harmless and maybe good, not bad. This may seem like a senseless argument to tackle were it not for the persistence of positive-plus commentary by nuke lovers. The public domain deserves better, more studied, more crucial answers.
Fortunately, as well as unfortunately, the world has two major real life archetypes of radiation’s impact on the ecosystem: Chernobyl and Fukushima. Chernobyl is a sealed-off 30klm restricted zone for the past 30 years because of high radiation levels. Whereas, PM Abe’s government in Japan has already started returning people to formerly restricted zones surrounding the ongoing Fukushima nuclear meltdown.
The short answer to the supposition that a “little dab of radiation is A-Okay” may be suggested in the title of a Washington Blog d/d March 12, 2014 in an interview of Dr. Timothy Mousseau, the world-renowned expert on radiation effects on living organisms. The hard answer is included further on in this article.
Dr. Mousseau is former Program Director at the National Science Foundation in Population Biology, Panelist for the National Academy of Sciences’ Panels on Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities and GAO Panel on Health and Environmental Effects from Tritium Leaks at Nuclear Power Plants, and a biology professor – and former Dean of the Graduate School, and Chair of the Graduate Program in Ecology – at the University of South Carolina.
The title of the Washington Blog interview is:
Chernobyl and Fukushima Studies Show that Radiation Reduces Animal and Plant Numbers, Fertility, Brain Size and Diversity… and Increases Deformities and Abnormalities.
Dr. Mousseau made many trips to Chernobyl and Fukushima, making 896 inventories at Chernobyl and 1,100 biotic inventories in Fukushima. His mission was to test the effects of radiation on plants and animals. The title of his interview (above) handily serves to answer the question of whether radiation is positive for animals and plants. Without itemizing reams and reams of study data, the short answer is: Absolutely not! It is not positive for animals and plants, period.
Moreover, low doses of radiation aka: “radiation hormesis” is not good for humans, as advocated by certain energy-related outlets. Data supporting their theory is extremely shaky and more to the point, flaky.
Furthermore, according to the Cambridge Philosophical Society’s journal Biological Reviews, including reported results by wide-ranging analyses of 46 peer-reviewed studies published over 40 years, low-level natural background radiation was found to have small, but highly statistically significant, negative effects on DNA and several measures of good health.
Dr. Mousseau with co-author Anders Møller of the University of Paris-Sud examined more that 5,000 papers involving background radiation in order to narrow their findings to 46 peer-reviewed studies. These studies examined plants and animals with a large preponderance of human subjects.
The scientists reported significant negative effects in a range of categories, including immunology, physiology, mutation and disease occurrence. The frequency of negative effects was beyond that of random chance.
“There is no threshold below which there are no effects of radiation,” Ibid.
“With the levels of contamination that we have seen as a result of nuclear power plants, especially in the past, and even as a result of Chernobyl and Fukushima and related accidents, there’s an attempt in the industry to downplay the doses that the populations are getting, because maybe it’s only one or two times beyond what is thought to be the natural background level…. But they’re assuming the natural background levels are fine. And the truth is, if we see effects at these low levels, then we have to be thinking differently about how we develop regulations for exposures, and especially intentional exposures to populations, like the emissions from nuclear power plants….” Ibid.
Results of Major Landmark Study on Low Dose Radiation (July 2015)
A consortium of researchers coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, examined causes of death in a study of more than 300,000 nuclear-industry workers in France, the United States and the United Kingdom, all of whom wore dosimeter badges, Researchers Pin Down Risks of Low-Dose Radiation, Nature, July 8, 2015.
The workers received on average just 1.1 millisieverts (mSv) per year above background radiation, which itself is about 2–3 mSv per year from sources such as cosmic rays and radon. The study confirmed that the risk of leukemia does rise proportionately with higher doses, but also showed that this linear relationship is present at extremely low levels of radiation.
The study effectively “scuppers the popular idea that there might be a threshold dose below which radiation is harmless,” Ibid.
Even so, the significant issue regarding radiation exposure for humans is that it is a “silent destroyer” that takes years and only manifests once damage has occurred, for example, 200 American sailors of the USS Reagan have filed a lawsuit against TEPCO, et al because of radiation-related illnesses, like leukemia, only four years after radiation exposure from Fukushima.
Japan Moving People Back to Fukushima Restricted Zones
Japan’s Abe government has started moving people back into former restricted zones surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station even though it is an on-going major nuclear meltdown that is totally out of control.
Accordingly, Greenpeace Japan conducted a radiation survey and sampling program in Iitate, a village in Fukushima Prefecture. Even after decontamination, radiation dose rates measured ten times (10xs) the maximum allowed to the general public.
According to Greenpeace Japan: “The Japanese government plans to lift restrictions in all of Area 2 , including Iitate, where people could receive radiation doses of up to 20mSV each year and in subsequent years. International radiation protection standards recommend public exposure should be 1mSv/year or less in non-post accident situations. The radiation limit that excluded people from living in the 30km zone around the Chernobyl nuclear plant exclusion zone was set at 5mSV/year, five years after the nuclear accident. Over 100,000 people were evacuated from within the zone and will never return.” (Greenpeace Press Release, July 21, 2015). ”
All of the following information is from Fukushima Voice version 2e. Thank you Dr. Yuri Hiranuma for your dedicated work in helping to make this information available.
” The Nineteenth Prefectural Oversight Committee for Fukushima Health Management Survey convened in Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture, on May 18, 2015, releasing the latest results of thyroid examination, consisting of Initial Screening or the first-round screening (originally scheduled to be conducted from October 2011 to March 2014, but actually still ongoing) and Full-Scale Screening or the second-round screening (beginning April 2014). It has been 3 months since the last committee meeting on February 12, 2015, and the latest results include 3 more months worth of data confirmed as of March 31, 2015.
An official English translation of the results will be available here. ”
Below is a summary of the results for the Initial Screening and Full-Scale Screening. All numbers shown below are from the data analysis as of March 31, 2015. Please visit Fukushima Voice version 2e to read an excellent analysis and synthesis of the screenings’ data and view an unofficial translation of selective tables from the results.
Initial Screening (October 2011 – ongoing)Total number targeted: 367,685 Number of participants in primary examination: 299,543 Number with confirmed results: 299,233
- A1 154,018 (51.5%) (no nodules or cysts found)
- A2 142,936 (47.8%) (nodules ≦ 5.0 mm or cysts ≦ 20.0 mm)
- B 2,278 (0.8%) (nodules ≧ 5.1 mm or cysts ≧ 20.1 mm)
- C 1 (0.0%) (requiring immediate secondary examination)
- 1 benign nodule
- 95 papillary thyroid cancer
- 3 poorly differentiated cancer
- A1 50,767 (41.6%) (no nodules or cysts found)
- A2 70,187 (57.5%) (nodules ≦ 5.0 mm or cysts ≦ 20.0 mm)
- B 1,043 (0.9%) (nodules ≧ 5.1 mm or cysts ≧ 20.1 mm)
- C 0 (0.0%) (requiring immediate secondary examination)
- 5 papillary thyroid cancer
” FUKUSHIMA – The Fukushima Prefectural Government may stop providing free accommodations at the end of March 2017 for people who voluntarily left areas in the prefecture not subject to nuclear evacuation advisories, sources said.
Officials hope to encourage people who evacuated on their own to return home, but the proposed end to the assistance will certainty draw objections from them.
There have been calls in some Fukushima municipalities that are worried about the lack of progress in the return home of evacuees for an end to the support program.
The prefecture will decide after listening to the opinions of local officials later this month, the sources said.
Of about 115,000 people who have taken refuge in and outside the prefecture, some 36,000 are believed to be from areas that are not covered by the central government’s evacuation advisories for radiation from the nuclear crisis that started in 2011.
Many voluntary evacuees are people with children as well as former residents of such areas as the town of Hirono, the village of Kawauchi and the city of Minamisoma, all geographically close to the government-designated evacuation zones.
They sought refuge outside their hometowns mainly due to concerns over exposure to radiation from the reactor meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant.
Under the Disaster Relief Act, the prefectural government provides prefabricated temporary housing for nuclear evacuees for free and fully finances their rent for private apartments.
The aid program was originally supposed to run two years, but it was extended by a year twice, with the current version set to expire at the end of next March. For voluntary evacuees, the prefecture hopes to terminate the assistance after another one-year extension, the sources said.
It is looking at continuing the free accommodations for people who fled the designated evacuation areas, the sources said. ”
” Mrs. Junko Honda migrated from her native Kagamiishi, Fukushima prefecture, to Sapporo, Hokkaido, after 3.11. Although she was a successful beauty salon owner who ran two salons in Kagamiishi, she closed down the businesses in 2012 and moved to Sapporo with her husband and two children. Honda took a number of unusual health problems that had happened to her family members, including her teenage daughter, as a serious warning sign for radiation effect on health, and decided to leave everything behind to protect herself and her family. Everything literally means all she had: her successful business, her community ties, circles of relatives and friends. After struggling with emotional and economical difficulties, Mrs. Honda opened a new beauty salon in Sapporo in 2013. She has also been advocating for rights of disaster evacuees and immigrants in her new community.
She recently shared a note on Facebook, in which she had collected unusual symptoms that she had heard about, over the past three years. The nature of her profession as a hairdresser, who deals with many customers and has talks with them, sometimes leads up to issues on health and well-being. Thus she has had opportunities to hear personal stories that otherwise are rarely heard.
Honda says these stories are only some of the stories she has heard, but they are the ones whose veracity she has been able to ascertain.
WNSRC translated Mrs. Honda’s note to show how an ordinary citizen happened to face a series of health problems in Fukushima since the nuclear accident. The municipal and national governments have meanwhile advocated for the safety of living in Fukushima and encouraged former residents to go home. ”
” Record of cases on health problems after the nuclear accident in March, 2011
Before the nuclear accident, I had never heard of so much sickness and death in such a short period of time. Are they caused by psychological stress? It’s too easy to say so and such a word is insulting for the people who passed away.
I spotted insect-bite-like reddish eczema on my daughter’s face. They stayed until we evacuated to Hokkaido.
I felt strange feeling in my lymph nodes around the neck. The salon staff also felt the same.
The hair of our pets, a dog and a cat, become uneven because of hair loss to an unusual degree.
1. Kagamiishi: My friend’s father died with a tumor in the lymph glands.
2. Kagamiishi: A man in his 60s died all of sudden.
3. Koriyama: A gynecologist mentioned there was an increase of lymph tumors.
4. Koriyama: A customer in her 40s got ill with a disease that cannot renew blood.
5. Izumizaki: A woman in her 30s died from cardiac arrest after recovering from uterus cancer surgery.
6. Koriyama: A hairdresser friend and her sister have suffered dermatologic eczema since the accident.
7. One of my relatives got infected with herpes zoster for the first time and experienced big weight loss. Coughing started after the accident but the cause cannot be determined.
8. A child of an evacuee from Shirakawa had nosebleeds very often after the accident. The child reported that there are many others at school who had nose bleeding.
9. Yabuki-town: Five customers who visited a beauty salon in Yabuki town owned by my friend , experienced funerals of close family members during very short period (from the end of the year 2011 to spring in 2012). Three of the deceased were in their 50s.
10. Izumizaki village: A man in his 30s died suddenly.
11. One of my family members has shadows under her eyes and coughs do not stop. Her child had hives for the first time, and got infected with Influenza A and B, one after the other.
12. All the fingernails of a child evacuee from Sugakawa fell off after the accident. They grew back later. Another child had had headaches and nausea since the accident. Their mother experienced hair loss and since then she had sparser hair for a while.
13. Kagamiishi: One of my relatives died suddenly of subarachnoid hemorrhage. He was in his 30s.
14. Two classmate of my daughter visited us in Hokkaido. Both of them had shadows under eyes and had colorless cheeks.
15. One of my relatives, a child, came to Hokkaido. Her skin was dark and she had colorless cheeks, and her eyes looked as if they were lightly covered by a membrane. After 3 weeks stay in Sapporo, her eyes brightened, her skin gained its natural color and the cheeks became pinkish.
16. Kagamiishi: A woman in her 40s started to suffer with her already existing illness. She recently had breast cancer operation.
17. Grandmother of an evacuee from Tenei village, Fukushima, had had throat irritation but after she came to Hokkaido the irritation had gone.
A carpenter in Tenei village died suddenly.
18. Kagamiishi: A resident in his 30s developed a tumor.
19. Tenei village: A resident in her 40s developed a tumor and died a year later.
20. Sugakawa: A friend of an evacuee’s friend from Sugakawa died suddenly. The friend was in his (her) 40s.
21. Koriyama: Parents of an evacuee from Koriyama decided to take full-medical examinations because their friend, a medical doctor, suggested them to do so, mentioning that his friends have been dying with cancer one after another. Her younger sister, who was a resident of Tokyo, did a blood test and the leukocyte count showed some abnormality.
22. Sugakawa: A child of an evacuee from Sugakawa underwent unsubsidized thyroid examination and the doctor told her that the thymus gland was swollen. Several children who have fled from Fukushima show same symptoms.
23. Fukushima: A friend of an evacuee gave birth to a polydactyl child.
24. Iwaki: A younger friend of an evacuee from Koriyama got ill with cancer.
25. Tokyo: A child of an evacuee had an unsubsidized thyroid examination. Nothing was found last year, but this year they found many cysts.
26. Kagamiishi: A female customer, who was in her mid 30s, of an evacuee from Kagamiishi, developed thyroid cancer.
A neighbor of the evacuee in his 60s had several incidents of convulsion, being taken to emergency room, but doctors couldn’t determine the cause. The last convulsion eventually killed him.
27. Sugakawa: A male friend of an evacuee from Kagamiishi was working as decontamination worker and he died suddenly.
28. My friend in her 40s had surgery for removal of an ovarian cyst. Her doctor said if the discovery of they cyst had been any later, it would have developed into cancer.
29. Sugakawa: A friend of an evacuee, in her 30s, had thyroid surgery.
30. One of my relatives, a middle school student, got ill with rheumatism. Medicine doesn’t work effectively.
Read an open letter written by Mrs. Honda HERE. ”