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Thu Feb 28, 2013, 05:14 AM

Report: Infant Girls Exposed to Most-Contaminated Fukushima Area Face 70% Higher Risk Thyroid Cancer

Source: World Health Organization / NBC News

@BreakingNews: Report: Infant girls exposed to most contaminated areas around Fukushima face 70% higher risk of thyroid cancer - WHO http://t.co/1BPhoyFxLm

Global report on Fukushima nuclear accident details health risks
News release

28 FEBRUARY 2013 | GENEVA - A comprehensive assessment by international experts on the health risks associated with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) disaster in Japan has concluded that, for the general population inside and outside of Japan, the predicted risks are low and no observable increases in cancer rates above baseline rates are anticipated.

The WHO report ‘Health Risk Assessment from the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami based on preliminary dose estimation’ noted, however, that the estimated risk for specific cancers in certain subsets of the population in Fukushima Prefecture has increased and, as such, it calls for long term continued monitoring and health screening for those people.

Experts estimated risks in the general population in Fukushima Prefecture, the rest of Japan and the rest of the world, plus the power plant and emergency workers that may have been exposed during the emergency phase response.

“The primary concern identified in this report is related to specific cancer risks linked to particular locations and demographic factors,” says Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director for Public Health and Environment. “A breakdown of data, based on age, gender and proximity to the nuclear plant, does show a higher cancer risk for those located in the most contaminated parts. Outside these parts - even in locations inside Fukushima Prefecture - no observable increases in cancer incidence are expected.”

In terms of specific cancers, for people in the most contaminated location, the estimated increased risks over what would normally be expected are:

all solid cancers - around 4% in females exposed as infants;
breast cancer - around 6% in females exposed as infants;
leukaemia - around 7% in males exposed as infants;
thyroid cancer - up to 70% in females exposed as infants (the normally expected risk of thyroid cancer in females over lifetime is 0.75% and the additional lifetime risk assessed for females exposed as infants in the most affected location is 0.50%).

Read more: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/fukushima_report_20130228/en/index.html

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Report: Infant Girls Exposed to Most-Contaminated Fukushima Area Face 70% Higher Risk Thyroid Cancer (Original post)
Hissyspit Feb 2013 OP
In_The_Wind Feb 2013 #1
madokie Feb 2013 #2
FBaggins Mar 2013 #6
RobertEarl Mar 2013 #7
FBaggins Mar 2013 #8
RobertEarl Mar 2013 #9
FBaggins Mar 2013 #10
RobertEarl Mar 2013 #12
FBaggins Mar 2013 #16
RobertEarl Mar 2013 #18
FBaggins Mar 2013 #21
RobertEarl Mar 2013 #22
zappaman Mar 2013 #19
CreekDog Mar 2013 #11
FBaggins Mar 2013 #13
CreekDog Mar 2013 #17
FBaggins Mar 2013 #20
RobertEarl Mar 2013 #15
Burma Jones Feb 2013 #3
Mutatis Mutandis Feb 2013 #4
RobertEarl Feb 2013 #5
WilmywoodNCparalegal Mar 2013 #14

Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 06:21 AM

1. This ~


Experts estimated risks in the general population in Fukushima Prefecture, the rest of Japan and the rest of the world, plus the power plant and emergency workers that may have been exposed during the emergency phase response.

all solid cancers - around 4% in females exposed as infants;
breast cancer - around 6% in females exposed as infants;
leukaemia - around 7% in males exposed as infants;
thyroid cancer - up to 70% in females exposed as infants (the normally expected risk of thyroid cancer in females over lifetime is 0.75% and the additional lifetime risk assessed for females exposed as infants in the most affected location is 0.50%).


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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 06:29 AM

2. In light of this how can nuclear energy be seen as safe?

To get that KW of nuclear power to your meter is one hell of a dirty and expensive process.

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Response to madokie (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 07:53 AM

6. Seriously?

In light of this?

"This" is saying that the greatest statistical impact expected is:

Assuming a model (LNT) which overestimates radiation risk
Assuming an infant
Assuming that infant lives in the most exposed region of Fukushima
Assuming that she stayed there for an entire year
Assuming she ate only food from that area (including food that was never actually given to anyone because it failed the radiation check)

Assuming all of those things... then she goes from a lifetime risk of 0.75% to a lifetime risk of 1.275%... of getting a cancer that in the vast majority of cases is entirely treatable?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #6)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 02:23 PM

7. NYT article had this to say

The study’s authors warned, however, that their assessment was based on limited scientific knowledge; much of the scientific data on health effects from radiation is based on acute exposures like those that followed the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and not chronic, low-level exposure. In Japan, some densely populated areas are expected to remain contaminated with relatively low levels of radioactive materials for decades.

“Because scientific understanding of the radiation effects, particularly at low doses, may increase in the future, it is possible that further investigation may change our understanding of the risks of this radiation accident,” the report said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/01/world/asia/who-sees-low-health-risks-from-fukushima-accident.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #7)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 02:45 PM

8. So? They're saying the same thing I said.

LNT is a conservative guess at the risks of very low radiation exposure. There is good reason to believe (and plenty of studies to show) that very low exposure levels actually result in less risk than the LNT model estimates, but they went out of their way to overestimate the risk. Until the LNT dragon is completely slain, these types of analysis necessarily continue to use them... which is fine as long as you state (as they do) that it's a conservative estimate... not a prediction.

If instead of reading the out-of-context enenews post you had actually read the report, you would see that the sentence is preceded by:

The dose estimates and assumptions used in this assessment were deliberately chosen to minimize the possibility of underestimating eventual health risks


IOW... the numbers cited should be the upper bounds of what we might see. The real numbers will very likely be lower.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #8)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 03:07 PM

9. No, went right over your head didn't it?

It said based on "limited scientific knowledge".

IOW, they admit this situation is opening up all new fields of science and that further studies will be needed. Which means they are being honest. Which is quite refreshing.

Most of the self-claiming scientist we see here are claiming that they know everything already. Which exposes them to being anti-science.

Science, true science, never sleeps. Wake UP!

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #9)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 03:48 PM

10. Nope. It's just what I said (twice now).

I gave you the summary... and if that was too much, the longer version won't do you much good. But here's what they were summarizing in that statement (emphasis mine):

To avoid any underestimation of risks, the HRA Expert Group adopted the LNT model as the most reasonable approximation of the relation between low-dose radiation exposure and cancer risks and made the prudent choice of not applying a dose and dose rate effectiveness
factor (DDREF). Because this HRA is based on a LNT model and the risk quantity adopted (LAR) is proportional to the dose, more refined risk estimations can be provided in the future if a more detailed dose assessment becomes available.

The HRA Expert Group considers the risk estimates robust on the basis of existing knowledge and information at the time of this assessment. The input data and risk models used are considered to be the most appropriate at present. An effort was made to avoid any underestimation of risks when adopting assumptions; hence, any possible bias is likely directed toward overestimation of health risks.


IOW, they admit this situation is opening up all new fields of science

Nope... That isn't what they're saying at all. The levels are so low that they get lost in the background noise. As you've probably been told a dozen times (and ignored each time), there is no difference between "natural" and "manmade" radiation. Scientists have a very tough time identifying your exact exposure when we're talking about values that low. Let me give you an example.

Radon levels in your kitchen could be different from those in your basement... but the granite in your countertops only gives you a dose when you're in the kitchen. The bricks in your fireplace and walls are radioactive, but you're not near them all day long. Your dietary intake can impact your dose... and a hundred other things (before we even talk about medical exposure). So they look at your life and try to determine what your exposure is... and all they can do is come up with a range. We'll call that range 5-30 UUs (unspecified units). Now you come in with a new exposure (you read the word "Fukushima" and it scared you)... and they determin that it was 5 UUs. The new dose is swallowed up in the estimation error of your existing dose. So when they add you to the study, it's challenging to figure out where to put you on the dose scale. If there are a million of you and two additional cancers show up... is it just statistical variation? Is it something to expect at 15UUs? or 20? Or 25? They simply can't tell.

It is by no means a "new field of science"... it's very well understood. It's just that the risks are too small to quantify.

Most of the self-claiming scientist we see here are claiming that they know everything already.

Nope. That's another one of your strawmen. What they've (correctly) claimed is that they know more than enough to correct your errors. Which I can tell you from personal experience requires far less than "everything".

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #10)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 04:02 PM

12. There you go with the personal attacks

If you really believed in 'your' science, you wouldn't have to make one personal attack.

Real science people admit that Fukushima is without precedence and will require much research before conclusions can be made.

Here is what real science advice after the explosions said:

Based in part on NARAC projections and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) guidance, on March 16, the U.S. Department of State advised American citizens living within 80 kilometers of the damaged nuclear power plant to evacuate or take shelter indoors.


The plume, in just a few days, had spread over 80 kilometers. And it has been spewing ever since.

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #12)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 04:47 PM

16. Again... Nope.

You perceive it as a personal attack... but it's just the truth. Too much of this stuff has been way over your head and you've chosen to make up your own reality to deal with it. I'm under no obligation to enter that "reality"... only to try to help you out of it.

Real science people admit that Fukushima is without precedence and will require much research before conclusions can be made.

They most certainly do not. There's LOTS of research yet to do... but that does NOT mean that nothing can be stated conclusively.

The plume, in just a few days, had spread over 80 kilometers.

Again... you don't understand what you're reading. It took FAR less than a "few days" for the plume to spread 80 km. There's no connection between how far the radiation had traveled and State's guidelines. Try looking up "abundance of caution". It's another country where we don't have access to data - so we they were overcautious. Big deal.

But I bet you read that as the US government "knowing" that anyone within 80 km was in danger. Didn't you?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #16)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 04:55 PM

18. You should go there and tell the people

That it is perfectly safe there. That the 160,000 people can go home now.

But you are right, the plume actually spread around the world in a few days.

The advice to Americans within the 80 kilometers was given after a few days of the first releases, and was based upon real data of radiation found in the area.

Based in part on NARAC projections and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) guidance, on March 16, the U.S. Department of State advised American citizens living within 80 kilometers of the damaged nuclear power plant to evacuate or take shelter indoors. Factors such as weather and wind direction were cited by the embassy as key reasons for this recommendation. “None of the recommendations were based solely on model results,” says Gayle Sugiyama, program leader for NARAC. “But modeling analyses were certainly important in providing guidance, especially in the early phases of the crisis.”

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #18)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 06:24 PM

21. So you're really incapable of nuance, eh?

It's either deadly and there's a conspiracy to hide it... or it's "perfectly safe"

But you are right, the plume actually spread around the world in a few days.

Yep. At levels far too low to worry about except right there near the plants. But something tells me that thousands of miles away in NC... you were looking for iodine pill suppliers?

and was based upon real data of radiation found in the area.

Nope. Do you really read that paragraph to say that?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #21)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:08 AM

22. Facts

It is deadly, that's why 160,000 people had to leave.

They don't want to admit it, but the fact that people had to leave proves it is. The matter of compensation for destroying people's lives will be very costly, so the company is trying to negate the danger -'Hide it'.

The public relations for the whole industry is very bad so, again, 'Hide' is the operative word.

Cesium of measurable amounts was found in NC. We were dusted with the plume from Fukushima. The whole world was dusted, some places worse than others. That also happened after Chernobyl but not nearly as bad.

Here is an interesting article:

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/51585989-82/nuclear-radiation-scientists-bullets.html.csp

There is no 'safe' exposure to radiation

Bioaccumulation is one reason why it is dishonest to equate the danger to humans living 5,000 miles away from Japan with the minute concentrations measured in our air. If we tried, we would now likely be able to measure radioactive iodine, cesium, and strontium bioaccumulating in human embryos in this country. Pregnant women, are you OK with that?

Hermann Mueller, another Nobel Prize winner, is one of many scientists who would not have been OK with that. In a 1964 study, "Radiation and Heredity", Mueller spelled out the genetic damage of ionizing radiation on humans. He predicted the gradual reduction of the survival of the human species as exposure to radioactivity steadily increased. Indeed, sperm counts, sperm viability and fertility rates worldwide have been dropping for decades.

These scientists and their warnings have never been disproven, but they are currently widely ignored. Their message is very clear: Virtually every human on Earth carries the nuclear legacy, a genetic footprint contaminated by the Cold War, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, the 400-plus nuclear power plants that have not melted down and now Fukushima.

Albert Einstein said, "The splitting of the atom changed everything, save man's mode of thinking; thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe."

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #12)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 05:06 PM

19. heh

Here's an example of a personal attack.

"No, went right over your head didn't it?"

Be Free to discuss without insult!

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #6)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 03:55 PM

11. almost doubling of her risk

but please, try to sound as horrified as possible that someone might say something bad about a nuclear accident.

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #11)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 04:09 PM

13. With numbers that small... why be "horrified"?

You probably "double your risk" of dying falling down your stairs by taking your shoes off... you probably increase it tenfold or more by walking down the stairs in the dark. You more than double your risk of brake failure leading to a fatal crash whn you only check your breaks once a year.

Does anyone get "horrified" when they take these risks?

Based on how conservative they were in their estimates, there probably aren't many infant girls with that level of exposure. There's a pretty good statistical chance that not a single extra case of thyroid cancer will result at that level. At what point does the horror subside?

The ironic thing is that if you ask a specialist, she'll tell you that LOTS of people have thyroid cancer and don't even know it. More than one study done through autopsy has shown a MUCH higher rate of lifetime thyroid cancer than previously assumed - and the people never knew it because it had no effect on them. There have already been as many as ten kids in Fukushima who had thyroid cancers caught by screening that they never would have received otherwise.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #13)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 04:48 PM

17. a 1 in 133 risk turning into a 1 in 78 risk?

it would take some pretty good talking points to make me think this is a good thing.

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #17)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 06:18 PM

20. For someone in that category, yes.

No need for "talking points". We're not talking about hundreds of thousands of people here... we're talking about a worst-case group that might not include anyone. And a risk of getting something that isn't particularly difficult to deal with.

Tens of thousands of people died in the earthquake and tsunami and you were an infant in the worst irradiated portion of the area (and someone stayed and only ate food from the area - including food that didn't even pass inspection but somehow came to you anyway)... and you have a slightly higher chance of needing a minor surgery and taking a pill decades down the road?

You wouldn't need talking points... you would need a little perspective.

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #11)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 04:40 PM

15. Thanks for caring CreekDog

And let's not forget that 160,000 people had to evacuate their lands.

If they stayed there, how would their health be?

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 09:19 AM

3. On the plus side, if you're going to get cancer, thyroid is the one to get.

Just thinking like a rich guy here.......

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:15 PM

4. tip of the iceberg, this is going to end in tears for so so many, and not just in Japan

 

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Response to Mutatis Mutandis (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:18 PM

5. That is what I am afraid of

The Russian ruler Gorbachev, is quoted as saying that Chernobyl was the cause of the Soviet collapse. Japan may follow?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/01/fukushima-chernobyl-risks-radiation

Nuclear's green cheerleaders forget Chernobyl at our peril

Every day there are more setbacks to solving the Japanese nuclear crisis and it's pretty clear that the industry and governments are telling us little; have no idea how long it will take to control; or what the real risk of cumulative contamination may be.

The authorities reassure us by saying there is no immediate danger and a few absolutist environmentalists obsessed with nuclear power because of the urgency to limit emissions repeat the industry mantra that only a few people died at Chernobyl – the worst nuclear accident in history. Those who disagree are smeared and put in the same camp as climate change deniers.

I prefer the words of Alexey Yablokov, member of the Russian academy of sciences, and adviser to President Gorbachev at the time of Chernobyl: "When you hear 'no immediate danger' then you should run away as far and as fast as you can."

Five years ago I visited the still highly contaminated areas of Ukraine and the Belarus border where much of the radioactive plume from Chernobyl descended on 26 April 1986. I challenge chief scientist John Beddington and environmentalists like George Monbiot or any of the pundits now downplaying the risks of radiation to talk to the doctors, the scientists, the mothers, children and villagers who have been left with the consequences of a major nuclear accident.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 04:35 PM

14. On a tangent, but related...

When Chernobyl happened in 1986, I was still living in my hometown in north-central Italy. The radiation fallout went a bit everywhere, but it was especially concentrated (partly due to geography and partly due to weather) in and around Bologna and the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy (of which Bologna is the seat).

There are plenty of studies online that show the correlation of exposure to the Chernobyl fallout and high levels of cesium and other isotopes in breast milk, etc.

Anyway, to make a long story short, my mom started having some problems with her thyroid in the late 1990s. By then, we were in North Carolina. After consulting various local specialists, she was referred to Duke Medical Center and finally diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, which is a rather unusual diagnosis for an European woman who has lived most of her life in Europe.

Thankfully, this specialist - who is world renowned in thyroid issues - had done some research after Chernobyl at the University of Pisa where some studies were able to prove some correlation of Hashimoto's with exposure to the fallout from Chernobyl.

That study also indicated that high estrogen production increases vulnerability to autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto's, which is why females who are exposed to radiation (Chernobyl or Fukushima or anything else) seem to have more autoimmune problems than males.

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