The authors of a study recently published in a peer-reviewed journal assemble evidence suggesting that Fukushima radiation has already killed 14,000 Americans. Details of their work are reported on Washington’s Blog (December 24, 2011) (copied below), and of course, in the study itself.
But when I recently tried to locate the study using the authors’ names and a few other key words, I discovered that the study has been roundly criticized by a variety of sources. If you’re interested in those criticisms, you can find them readily enough; just plug “Sherman Mangano Fukushima” into your search engine and let ‘er rip.
My purpose here though is to draw attention again to the fact that the failure of the US, Canadian and other governments to gather and share data continues to make it impossible to have an open scientific debate about what is happening, even as our exposure to radiation from Fukushima continues. For some of the details of this problem, sources of documentation, and some suggestions for giving yourself and others the limited protection you can, see my blog entries of May and March 2011. Some of the highlights:
First, there is no safe dose of radiation. That is absolutely clear. The National Academy of Sciences recently concluded that the preponderance of scientific evidence shows even very low doses of radiation pose a risk of cancer or other health problems and it is unlikely that a threshold exists below which exposure can be viewed as harmless. According to Richard R. Monson, chairman of the review panel and a professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s School of Public Health, “The scientific research base shows that there is no threshold of exposure below which low levels of ionized radiation can be demonstrated to be harmless or beneficial.”
Comforting statements about the safety of low radiation are not even accurate for adults. Small increases in risk per individual have immense consequences in the aggregate. When low risk is accepted for billions of people, there will be millions of victims. And our culture is entirely too casual about exposing us to radiation in various forms. For example, common, low-dose dental x-rays more than double the rate of thyroid cancer. Those exposed to repeated dental x-rays have an even higher risk of thyroid cancer. http://healingjustice.wordpress.com/2011/03/.
Besides failing to gather the data that would permit a full-scale scientific analysis, governments downplay the risks of radiation in the very criteria by which they purpose to assess such risk. As Washington’s Blog notes, “radiation safety standards are set based on the assumption that everyone exposed is a healthy man in his 20s – and that radioactive particles ingested into the body cause no more damage than radiation hitting the outside of the body.
“However – in the real world – radiation affects small children much more than full-grown adults. And small particles of radiation – called ‘internal emitters’ – which get inside the body are much more dangerous than general exposures to radiation.” Washington’s Blog, December 24, 2011.
Nuclear engineer Arnie Gunderson says that the Japanese will suffer one million cancer deaths from Fukushima, and that we’ll see a statistically meaningful increase in cancer on the West Coast of America and Canada from Fukushima. Gundersen says that – after Japan – the most radioactive areas are the Cascades and Portland.
And in another recent development, French researchers have confirmed that childhood leukemia rates “are shockingly elevated among children living near nuclear power reactors.” John Laforge, http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/01/26/childhood-leukemia-spikes-near-nuclear-power-plants/ (January 26, 2012).
Washington’s Blog has done a fine job of discussing the reasons the number of deaths we’ve already experienced from the Fukushima disaster is controversial, and one of the ways in which our exposure is continuing. So to make its findings more conveniently accessible, I copy below the December 24, 2011 and August 14, 2011 entries from Washington’s Blog (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/author/washingtonsblog):
Study: Fukushima Radiation Has Already Killed 14,000 Americans
Already 14,000 U.S. Deaths From Fukushima ?
A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal International Journal of Health Services alleges that 14,000 people have already died in the United States due to Fukushima.
Specifically, the authors of the study claim:
An estimated 14,000 excess deaths in the United States are linked to the radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, according to a major new article in the December 2011 edition of the International Journal of Health Services. This is the first peer-reviewed study published in a medical journal documenting the health hazards of Fukushima.
[The authors] note that their estimate of 14,000 excess U.S. deaths in the 14 weeks after the Fukushima meltdowns is comparable to the 16,500 excess deaths in the 17 weeks after the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. The rise in reported deaths after Fukushima was largest among U.S. infants under age one. The 2010-2011 increase for infant deaths in the spring was 1.8 percent, compared to a decrease of 8.37 percent in the preceding 14 weeks.
The authors seem – at first glance – to have pretty solid credentials. Janette Sherman, M.D. worked for the Atomic Energy Commission (forerunner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission) at the University of California in Berkeley, and for the U.S. Navy Radiation Defense Laboratory in San Francisco. She served on the EPA’s advisory board for 6 years, and has been an advisor to the National Cancer Institute on breast cancer. Dr. Sherman specializes in internal medicine and toxicology with an emphasis on chemicals and nuclear radiation.
Joseph J. Mangano is a public health administrator and researcher who has studied the connection between low-dose radiation exposure and subsequent risk of diseases such as cancer and damage to newborns. He has published numerous articles and letters in medical and other journals in addition to books, including Low Level Radiation and Immune System Disorders: An Atomic Era Legacy.
Sherman also claims that a study in British Columbia of infants under 1 year of age allegedly corroborates the increased deaths due to Fukushima:
Certainly radiation from Fukushima is dangerous, and could very well lead to negative health effects—even across the Pacific.
What Do Other Experts Say?
Pediatrician Helen Caldicott said recently:
May I say that North America has received quite a large fallout itself.
We’re going to see an incredible increase in cancer, leukemia, and — down the time track — genetic disease. Not just in Japan but in the Northern Hemisphere, particularly North America.
Caldicott also wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed:
Children are innately sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of radiation, fetuses even more so. Like Chernobyl, the accident at Fukushima is of global proportions. Unusual levels of radiation have been discovered in British Columbia, along the West Coast and East Coast of the United States and in Europe, and heavy contamination has been found in oceanic waters.
Nuclear engineer Gunderson says that the Japanese will suffer one million cancer deaths from Fukushima, and that we’ll see a statistically meaningful increase in cancer on the West Coast of America and Canada from Fukushima. Gundersen says that – after Japan – the most radioactive areas are the Cascades and Portland.
There is certainly evidence that West Coast residents – especially in Seattle, Portland and other areas near the Cascades – have been hit with some radiation. And there is certainly evidence that radioactive contamination has spread in the United States, and will continue to spread for some time to come.
Why Is The Science So Hotly Debated?
Why is there so much dispute about the number of deaths which Fukushima could cause on the West Coast?
Because radiation safety standards are set based on the assumption that everyone exposed is a healthy man in his 20s – and that radioactive particles ingested into the body cause no more damage than radiation hitting the outside of the body.
However – in the real world – radiation affects small children much more than full-grown adults. And small particles of radiation – called “internal emitters” – which get inside the body are much more dangerous than general exposures to radiation. See this and this.
In addition, American and Canadian authorities have virtually stopped monitoring airborn radiation, and are not testing fish for radiation. (Indeed, the EPA reacted to Fukushima by raising “acceptable” radiation levels.)
Indeed, the core problem is that all of the world’s nuclear agencies are wholly captured by the nuclear industry … as are virtually all of the supposedly independent health agencies.
So the failure of the American, Canadian and other governments to test for and share results is making it difficult to hold an open scientific debate about what is happening.
Nuclear Expert: Radioactive Rain-Outs Will Continue For a Year – Even In Western U.S. and Canada – Because Japanese Are Burning Radioactive Materials
Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen says in a new interview that the Japanese are burning radioactive materials. The radioactivity originated from Fukushima, but various prefectures are burning radioactive materials in their terroritories.
Gundersen says that this radioactivity ends up not only in neighboring prefectures, but in Hawaii, British Columbia, Oregon, Washington and California.
He notes that radioactive rain-outs were documented recently in British Columbia and Oklahoma with geiger counters.
Gundersen says that we’ll see another year of radioactive rain-outs, as the Japanese continue to burn radioactive materials.
Cover Up By American and Canadian Governments
Gundersen has a high-level contact in the State Department who says that the U.S. government has decided – within various agencies, including the State Department, FDA, and other agencies – to downplay the dangers from Fukushima. Because of this policy decision, the government is not really testing for radiation.
Gundersen is working with scientists who will publish a paper in the near future definitively debunking Canadian and American health officials’ claims that only harmless levels of radiation are being released.
Click here to listen to the interview.
See this for background.