Scientists Admit: We Don’t Know the Impact of Fukushima Radiation on Humans
Researchers publishing on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have released a study (that is now scrubbed from the internet) that centers on the need for establishing “reliable and accurate radiation dose estimates for the affected populations.”
This study was released in January of 2014. It details how scientists do not know the impact of radiation exposure to the human body and how the long-term effects of exposure to Fukushima radiation is still unknown.
Indeed, this study refers to the fact that currently the “strategies for dose assessment” when involving nuclear accidents which are haphazard and do not follow a universal scientific method.
In this study, researchers “propose a comprehensive systematic approach to estimating radiation doses for the evaluation of health risks resulting from a nuclear power plant accident.”
The study asserts: “The guidelines we recommend here are intended to facilitate obtaining reliable dose estimations for a range of different exposure conditions. We recognize that full implementation of the proposed approach may not always be feasible because of other priorities during the nuclear accident emergency and because of limited resources in manpower and equipment. The proposed approach can serve as a basis to optimize the value of radiation dose reconstruction following a nuclear reactor accident.”
According to the report, deciphering the dangers of “radiation exposure following nuclear accident” is based on “medical planning, emergency response, and immediate consequence management but is limited for the collection of radiation exposure–related data needed to predict or estimate risks for late health effects.”
Indeed, this issue poses a problem when there are no established “guidelines to estimate radiation doses for evaluations of health risk.”
The researchers studied Fukushima, Chernobyl, Windscale and Three Mile Island nuclear plant disasters for comparison and strategy.
Two questions were posed:
- Immediately after the accident: What adverse health effects should be expected as a consequence of the accident?
- Years after the accident: What were the actual health consequences caused by the accident?
The answer to these questions further how these disasters could be dealt with and “health risks” could be evaluated based on “risk projections and epidemiological studies.”
Risk projections encompass “the types and number of expected adverse effects resulting from an accident [and] the estimated or assumed extent of human exposure.”
This strategy allows scientists to create responses “well in advance of the expected occurrence” with the assumption that the disaster will hold true to prior “estimation[s] of average does over populations.”
Epidemiologic studies will facilitate long-term consequences of nuclear desasters through “analysis of observed adverse health risks” to project and assume what the “background baseline rate” is and compare that to public health assessments.
Through “projections generate[d] by observed rates of disease” researchers state that “we [can] discuss dose assessment” to give the general public a standard by which to judge whether their exposure to radiation is detrimental to their health.
The study explained that “the radiation health impacts of the Windscale, TMI, and Chernobyl accidents were projected or assessed on the basis of estimated radiation doses to the affected populations; similar efforts to estimate dose are in progress for the Fukushima accident.”
With special regard to Fukushima, the study reads: “Radiation-exposure data related to the assessment of doses received by the population affected by the Fukushima accident are still being collected.”
Strategic assessment of radiation does exposure and dangers to health are based on variations that include:
- Identification of the target population
- Collection of as many individual-based radiation measurements as possible for persons in the target population
- Collection of individual personal and lifestyle information that can be used for the estimation of individual dose
- Collection of information on the spatial and temporal patterns and variations of the radiation field
- Calculation of realistic radiation doses with efforts to minimize sources of bias
- Validation of the dose estimates by independent measurements or strategies
- Qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the uncertainties associated with dose estimates.
Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR) spoke out after officials in Canada changed the acceptable exposure dose to radiation after Fukushima.
Edwards said: “If it’s causing cancer, it’s not safe.”
According to professionals educating nurses in the US, current standards of judging the amount of radiation being emitted from a source is based on assumptions from previous accidents.
In 2011, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) asserted that “it is appropriate for U.S. residents within 50 miles of the Fukushima reactors” evacuate their immediate environment.
That same year media reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) RadNet monitoring system, used as a comprehensive “network for [observing] radioactivity and ionizing radiation.”
Two years ago, RadNet was being used, although the EPA admitted “that its network isn’t fully operations.”
It was stated that RadNet was neglected by the agency and in bad need of repairs and systems updates.
The EPA admitted that samples revealed “elevated radiation levels were found in Alaska, Alabama, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands and Washington [with] traces of radiation also were found as far east as Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.”
In a statement the EPA wrote: “Elevated levels of radioactive material in rainwater have been expected as a result of the nuclear incident after the events in Japan since radiation is known to travel in the atmosphere. There have been reports received that the states of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have seen elevated levels of radiation in recent precipitation events.”
In 2008, it was reported that “the new draft” of the EPA’s Protection Action Guides (PAG) for radiation exposure was being altered to allow for “permitting higher exposures [of radiation] to the public.”
The Protecting Employees Who Protect Our Environment (PEWPO) reported that in 2013, President Obama gave “final approval for dramatically raising permissible radioactive levels in drinking water and soil following ‘radiological incidents,’ such as nuclear power-plant accidents and dirty bombs.”
PEWPO stated that this “is a win for the nuclear industry which seeks what its proponents call a ‘new normal’ for radiation exposure among the U.S population.”
PAG has allowed for “long-term public exposure to radiation in amounts as high as 2,000 millirems” as well as increasing “a longstanding 1 in 10,000 person cancer rate to a rate of 1 in 23 persons exposed over a 30-year period.”
Researchers from the University of San Diego (USD) are teaming up with 50 biologists and scientists to collect kelp from the West Coast to test it for radioactive material that could be tied to the disaster at Fukushima Diachi nuclear power plant in 2011.
Called the Kelp Project (KP), a small group of students are participating in the collection of kelp from bed near Point Loma and Ocean Beach to be given to laboratories at the University of California at Berkley (UCB) Lawrence Berkley Lab and the Scripps Institution for Oceanography for analysis.
Samples from Alaska to Baja, California have been selected because as the kelp dies it “gets ground into powder, making it easy to analyze for radioactive material.”
This makes kelp “the perfect ‘sentinel’ organism” because it “absorbs and concentrates radioactive material.”
These scientists have already decided that “the radioactivity from Fukushima has not reached [the West Coast]. If it does, we’ll be able to measure it, even though it will be really diluted.”
The scientists say that radioisotopes Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 would have been swept across the Pacific Ocean and therefore deliver a lethal dose of radiation to the entire West Coast of North America.
Matt Edwards, biologist for USD said : “Radiation levels may not reach harmful levels but scientists need to be vigilant about tracing the progress of the radioactive material.”
Edwards explained: “Kelp is a good indicator of what water quality is like. It’s a sentinel so it absorbs and concentrates things like radioactive materials.”
Chad Nelsen, environmental director for the Surfrider Foundation (SF), commented: “There’s been a lot of confusion between the levels of radiation that have been detected and levels that are harmful. So far, there have been no levels that are a real concern.”
It is assumed that if the researchers did find trace amounts of radiation, “they will be very low, not levels that are going to be a public health risk or risk organisms that are out in the ocean.”
Seafood being caught out of the San Francisco Bay is suspected of being toxic.
Oceanographers and radiological scientists are becoming vocal about the “existing levels of radiation in the ocean.”