Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fukushima generates cumulative radiation health fear

The leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant hit by the earthquake and tsunami happened in Japan last month so far shed nearly a tenth of the amount of radiation emitted in the Chernobyl disaster. This is leading some experts to warn of possible serious health risks in the long term. The Agency for Nuclear and Industrial Safety in Japan (NISA) and the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan estimated cumulative radiation levels between 370 thousand and 630 thousand terabecquerelios.

Using a mean value of 500 000 terabecquerelios, that would amount to nearly 10 percent of the total radiation of 5.2 million cast terabecquerelios Chernobyl. Chernobyl statistics was provided by Japanese agencies. "If that is the total radiation far from the first stroke, the amount is very serious.

It is undoubtedly very bad. That's about one tenth of the radiation from Chernobyl in a month," said Lam Ching-wan, chemical pathologist University of Hong Kong and member of the American Board of Toxicology. "This means that there is damage to soil, ecosystem, water, food and people. The people receive this radiation.

You can not escape it by simply closing the window," he said. As Japan extended the evacuation area beyond the initial 20 km exclusion zone and urges children, pregnant women and hospital patients to stay out of the regions 20 or 30 kilometers from the nuclear complex, said Lam fears of radiation leakage is still far from being controlled.

"The radioactive threat is there and must have control of the national radiation for medical purposes (...) must decide whether there should be regular checks for cancer prevention," said Lam. Experts are most concerned about three radioactive substances: iodine-131, cesium-134 and cesium-137, which can cause various types of cancer years later.

According to studies of survivors of nuclear plant accidents in the past, as well as the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during World War II, the relationship between exposure to radioactive iodine and thyroid cancer is the most conclusive. Although the radioactivity in the iodine-131 decays completely in 80 days, can be found in people walk quickly through the air and milk and vegetables, rapidly accumulating in the thyroid gland, where it can cause DNA damage and increases cancer risk, particularly in young children.

The experts called for monitoring long-term health of survivors who live near the plant in Fukushima, as well as the hundreds of nuclear plant workers who are struggling to control the situation. "It takes several feet of concrete to protect against radiation (...) Even the lead aprons will help," said Stephen Law, head of clinical oncology department Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong.

The doctor said that whatever the protective material using the nuclear plant workers, not protect them completely. Lam said that regular monitoring of cancer would be important for people living near the nuclear plant. "Thyroid cancer is treatable and early detection increases the cure rate.

Without monitoring, you lose the golden window of opportunity offered by early treatment," said Lam.

No comments:

Post a Comment