Fukushima kids’ cancer risk raised

Exposure study: 1-year-old girls face slight hike over lifetime

Kyodo

The lifetime risk of developing cancer has risen slightly among 1-year-old girls in an area affected by the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, according to a study published online in a U.S. science journal Monday.

The assessment was based on an August-September 2012 study by Japanese researchers conducted about a year and a half after the March 2011 nuclear disaster started. The study checked the radiation exposure of around 460 residents living near the crippled plant.

The health risk assessment indicates that doses after 2012 will raise the lifetime solid cancer incidence rate among 1-year-old girls by 1.06 percentage points in the Tamano area of Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, from the average rate of 31.76 percent, according to the study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study covered both male and female residents aged 3 to 96 in the village of Kawauchi, the Haramachi district of Minamisoma and the Tamano area, all located 20 to 50 km from the plant.

The study says that increases in the lifetime solid cancer incidence rate were relatively higher in the Tamano area than the other two areas among all age groups.

In Tamano, the rate was 0.82 point higher than average for 10-year-old girls, 0.71 point higher for 1-year-old boys and 0.59 point higher for 20-year-old women.

It is the first time projections have been made regarding the probability of cancer risk related to the disaster, the team said.

  • Starviking

    And the scientists involved say:

    “According to the dose rate after 2012, a detectable increase in cancer risk is unlikely? This estimate provides perspective on the long-term radiation exposure in these area.”

  • Starviking

    A big omission. I found it though, it’s in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences:

    “Radiation dose rates now and in the future for residents neighbouring restricted areas of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.”

  • Sam Gilman

    Steve, the paper is here:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/02/19/1315684111

    You’re right that this is not the first study; the article itself references the WHO study, so I’m not quite sure how “the team” could say this, assuming they did say it.

    I’ll write a longer post on this article hereafter, but the journalist does appear to have misread the stats.

    ON EDIT: Actually, the journalist hasn’t misread; the authors appear to have seriously over-applied the Linear/No threshold (LNT) model of radiation risk. This is a bit of an odd study.

  • Edmund Singleton

    In the USA there is a move to stimulate the nuclear industry; are they nuts?

    • Starviking

      Seems less crazier than relying on coal, oil, or fracking. I would think a study on the effects of those industries on the health of children would leave this one in the dust.