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Extensive radiation study finds no internal cesium exposure in Fukushima children

by

Staff Writer

An extensive study of internal radiation exposure in Fukushima Prefecture children detected no radioactive cesium among the examinees, according to the results of a study published Friday.

The study, the first of its kind, involved over 2,700 infants and small children mostly from Fukushima who could have been exposed to radiation during and after the Fukushima No. 1 power plant crisis in 2011. The children were examined by three local medical institutions: Hirata Central Hospital, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital and Tokiwakai Hospital.

Published in the Proceedings of the Japan Academy magazine, the study examined 2,707 children up to 11 years of age from December 2013 to March 2015, using newly developed whole body counters designed especially for scanning small children.

The study found no cesium in the children, indicating that even if they did ingest food and water tainted with radiation, the levels of any radioactive isotopes present must have been negligibly low to avoid detection by such a high-precision machine.

The results were the same among children who ingested local produce and tap water and those who did not, the study showed.

Most were residents of Fukushima, but some were from neighboring prefectures, such as Ibaraki.

The new whole body counter, called a Babyscan, can detect as little as 50 becquerels of cesium in a young human body, which is about a fifth or a sixth of the amount measurable by other devices widely used to scan adults, the study said.

Even if cesium below Babyscan’s capabilities was present, the resulting exposure level would be less than 16 microsieverts a year, which is negligible, the study said.

The International Commission on Radiological Protection’s exposure limit under normal situations is 1 millisievert per year. It says a cumulative exposure of 100 millisieverts per year increases the chances of dying from cancer by 0.5 percent.

Masaharu Tsubokura, a University of Tokyo researcher who examined some of the children at Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, which is less than 30 km from the crippled nuclear plant, said the result was quite surprising, given the Babyscan’s high sensitivity.

Roughly speaking, the study showed the children weren’t consuming even a becquerel of cesium per day, said Tsubokura, who co-wrote the report.

Although overall public interest in radiation exposure has declined in the past four years, anxiety lingers among many parents with small children, he said. Sadly, their understanding of radiation has not deepened much, he said.

Although several studies have shown that the internal radiation exposure of Fukushima residents is low, Tsubokura said there are plans to continue monitoring children.

“There are people who want us to continue the examinations and reserve a place where they can consult about them. And there are still many people who say they can’t eat produce grown in Fukushima. I believe our job is to continue checkups and to deal with each one of them sincerely,” he said.

Of the children examined, 638 were living in Minamisoma, 218 were former Minamisoma residents, and the rest were from outside the 30-km radius of the nuclear power plant.

The latter group includes 1,579 mostly from Koriyama and Miharu, west of the doomed plant, and from Daigo, Ibaraki Prefecture, as well as 272 mostly from Iwaki, to the south of the plant.

  • Sam Gilman

    Good news. Really good news. Parents in Fukushima have been terrified into ill health.

    Now watch and see if all the people who tweet and share every scare story and junk report about Fukushima do the same for this article.

    Or are we only supposed to “think of the children” if they have propaganda value?

    • robrob

      It’s Prof Geraldine Thomas! ‘The fear of Radiation is more harmful than the actual radiation’..only that’s a lie! So that throws Imperial College London into the garbage for starters. These institutions are united by lies which will become most evident over the coming years. FuKushima has not stopped it’s releases for 4 1/2 years….Chernobyl releases lasted ONLY 10 days and was 1/3 the size of the smallest containment failure in Japan. Reluctance to publish findings on Strontium 90 is a real worry going forward.

      • Sam Gilman

        Robrob, if you could present your qualifications and peer reviewed publications on this matter, that would be great.

        Until then, yes, I do take the opinion of Gerry Thomas and others involved in Chernobyl research perfectly seriously. Especially when you get something as basic as the comparative scale of releases between Fukushima and Chernobyl flat wrong.

      • robrob

        Ken Buesseler seems qualified enough to proffer the ‘banana’ argument! Directly relating the Fukushima releases to ones exposure to your every day banana, ha! Indeed there is a whole chart available quantifying exposure to roughly how many bananas one would need to eat e.t.c
        From that point on all science became a joke obviously.

        A self supporting error in thinking just for you.
        Have fun with it! Homeostasis be damned..lol
        Man made radionuclides are still nothing to do with bananas however.

      • Sam Gilman

        I asked you for references that showed your unsupported opinion should be worth listening to over Professor Gerry Thomas at Imperial on the issue of thyroid cancer, and you offer instead an attack on a completely different scientist from a completely different discipline.

        And then you mock “homeostasis”. What do you have against self-regulating organisms? Or did you mean “hormesis”, a concept in health physics that is entirely irrelevant here, and to the two scientists mentioned thus far?

      • robrob

        Old chap! ‘homeostasis’ provides a way for our bodies do regulate the Potassium-40 (40K) build up, this is indeed the naturally occurring radioactive isotope in the famous banana. The potassium content of the body is under strict homeostatic control mitigating any problem presented. what’s your point? and why defend it’s use as regards the ongoing Fukushima releases of AS YET unknown inventory? 4 1/2 years into the predicted 6 that will see the North Pacific Ocean rendered a dead zone. Even the Russians dare not publish any data gleaned from their expedition to the Island group North of Japan last fall.
        We all watched them go in, but they seemingly never announced their return!

      • Sam Gilman

        Look, you do appear to be a bit mad, but purely out of curiosity: when the world’s media descends on Tokyo in 2020 for the Olympics broadcasting live and unredacted and they don’t find the awful human and general biological devastation you’re talking about here, how do you think you will cope cognitively?

        Will you start telling the Internet that the entire population of Japan and its flora and fauna are all holograms?

      • robrob

        Sorry Sam,or is it Geraldine?..lol But there have been far too many projections and simulations of the spread of materials from Fukushima for you to now argue ‘all is well’.
        Even along the West coast 1000,000 times background was reported by IRSN after the accident. The North Pacific Ocean has been sacrificed in the name of the Nuclear lie.
        In Geraldine’s case she is so obviously simply protecting funding for the ITER build in which Imperial college is playing a lead role. I’s all very very sad.

      • Sam Gilman

        So you think that the Tokyo Olympic coverage will show devastation? If it doesn’t, will you change your mind?

        Why do you think it is that if you open, say, National Geographic, or Newsweek, or The Guardian or Telegraph or New York Times, you can’t find reports of the death of the North Pacific?

      • robrob

        Dear Geraldine (aka ‘Sam’).
        The word ‘bizarre’ has been used by ‘scientists’ regularly in the press when encountering the die offs along the West Coast USA.
        The director of Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre stating that all was well apart from a few sea stars who’s mass die off was due to other reasons, inventing the domoic acid excuse for our benefit in conjunction with Cornell.
        This has long passed it’s sell by date as all is most definitely not well at all!
        This is poor science by any standards but especially as regards strong inference, a scientific process that demands of it’s practitioners exacting effort and rugged conclusions with sub hypothesis to explain the possibilities that remain. The press seem to have one message only:
        ‘Chernobyl was worse than Fukushima.’
        This is of course the starting point for all sorts of games as we have seen these past 4 1/2 years. It’s a great shame for all those that have a profound respect for our Sea life and the habitat that supports it.

      • Sam Gilman

        You think that Professor Thomas has decided to set up a Disqus account pretending to be someone living in Japan. That’s an interesting insight into your frame of mind.

        You didn’t answer my question: why has there been no reporting of the North Pacific Ocean dying off from Fukushima across the media?

        How many people do you think are in on this conspiracy of silence?

      • robrob

        There can be no doubt that as a whole, the Global Scientific Community has let us all down. In particular the Good People of Japan and of course Fukushima prefecture. A catalogue of historic School Boy like errors has plagued basic design and mitigation options regarding the plants effected by the 2011 event. Regardless of the Valiant efforts by TEPCO we are basically beat for now and the releases have no end in sight. Whilst I understand the compassionate need to not make people ‘suffer’ even more.. I hope and pray for a breakthrough, as i feel certain we all do.

      • Sam Gilman

        Can you give me another example in modern times of an entire scientific field and global media failing like this?

        You mention schoolboy errors. To what level did you yourself study science and in what area?

      • robrob

        Perhaps you have a point! Who am I to comment? But as regards your post, Fukushima surely begs the question ‘ If this can be done, what else can we view in this new light?’. There are endless possibilities i feel sure!
        But this is another discussion!
        I feel what we have covered here is important Sam and am delighted to have been able to post my thoughts!

      • Sam Gilman

        The point is this: what are the chances of you with no apparent science education beyond secondary school being wiser about what is happening than the general scientific community about this one specific subject?

        What are the chances of the media around the world overlooking the death of the North Pacific?

        What are the chances of the world’s sporting communities acquiescing in sending their finest athletes to an apparent death trap?

        Where are the millions of refugees from Japan, fleeing the currently unfolding large scale disaster?

        What I’m interested in is how you can ignore all these signs that show how you’re completely at odds with reality.

      • Sam Gilman

        The point is this: what are the chances of you with no apparent science education beyond secondary school being wiser about what is happening than the general scientific community about this one specific subject?

        What are the chances of the media around the world overlooking the death of the North Pacific?

        What are the chances of the world’s sporting communities acquiescing in sending their finest athletes to an apparent death trap?

        Where are the millions of refugees from Japan, fleeing the currently unfolding large scale disaster?

        What I’m interested in is how you can ignore all these signs that show how you’re completely at odds with reality.

      • Sam Gilman

        Look, you do appear to be a bit mad, but purely out of curiosity: when the world’s media descends on Tokyo in 2020 for the Olympics broadcasting live and unredacted and they don’t find the awful human and general biological devastation you’re talking about here, how do you think you will cope cognitively?

        Will you start telling the Internet that the entire population of Japan and its flora and fauna are all holograms?

  • thedudeabidez

    Given the known amounts of cesium in the environment in those areas, this result really requires further explanation. Just two days prior there was another article in the JT presenting data that thyroid cancer amongst children in the region was much higher than average.

    • Sam Gilman

      Yes, there was, but the study has been severely criticised by leading scientists, including the head of the Chernobyl tissue bank. It looks like a bad study in so many ways. In any case, that’s from iodine, not caesium.

      • robrob

        ”head of the Chernobyl tissue bank” is Geraldine Thomas! How convenient is that? The same Geraldine who advised that ”.. the containment around the reactor remains virtually intact..”…lol
        ”..only a small amount of Radioactive Iodine has been released”..lol and commented that the Pacific Ocean is ” a rather large sink..”
        SO… We are in safe hands:(

      • Sam Gilman

        Could you provide some data rather than innuendo? It’s not just Professor Thomas saying that risks are very low. It’s quite a few experts, and with more experience in these matters than the authors of that thyroid study.

      • robrob

        These were her own statements not mine old chum!

  • Dr.K.SParthasarathy

    I recall the detection of Cs-137 from atmospheric nuclear testing in infants using whole-body radioactivity monitors during early 60s. Prof F W Spiers and his coworkers at the University of Leeds, UK published it in NATURE. They measured radioactivity in infants from the day they were born. They continued the studies till the children remained relatively still when high sensitivity radiation detectors measured the activity levels. Researchers assessed Cs-137 in samples of formula milk consumed by the infants. Probably this study was the first in which the slow accumulation of Cs-137 in human body was recorded.

  • Chernobyl Children Fukushima C

    The babyscanner does not even tell, if the cesium is in the intestines, kidneys or heart muscle tissue (most likely).
    A 1,3 billionths of a gram of Cesium 137 (4,000 becquerel)
    creates a load of 100 Becquerel per Kg in the body of a 40 Kg heavy
    child.
    Quote from the article”as little as 50 becquerels of cesium in a young human body, which is
    about a fifth or a sixth of the amount measurable by other devices
    widely used to scan adults, the study said.”
    This is technically
    inadequate. Low internal contamination is therefore not recognizable,
    and remains undetected. Probably the device has been designed on purpose
    that way. Welcoming Dose Limits.
    From the article: “Even if cesium below Babyscan’s
    capabilities was present, the resulting exposure level would be less
    than 16 microsieverts a year, which is negligible, the study said”
    Are
    they out of their mind? That ‘s 140 milli Sievert per year! Thats 4
    times a CT scan. IN their bodys. In children’s bodies! Children take in 500% more Cesium, because their organism needs more than a mature, because they grow.
    Sadly you can not be evacuated from
    your own body.Also: does Babyscan measure Cesium as potassium, and then
    Cesium is not found? They have a different energy signature. Cesium is Gamma AND Beta.
    Cesium 137 concentrations in children’s organs sig nificantly exceed the ones in adults.This is murderous epidemiology. I condemn this failure of a whole body counter! Individuals with rhesus negative blood accumulate Cesium 137 in lower
    concentrations in comparison withindividuals who have rhesus positive
    blood. Radiometric measurements performed by Gomel State Medical University in
    1996 – 1997 during autopsies of inhabitants of areas contaminated with
    radioactive elements found high levels of Cesium 137 in the heart,
    thyroid, adrenal and pancreatic glands, small and large intestine,
    stomach, kidneys, spleen, brain, lung and skeletal muscles.
    In addition, these measurements must be constantly repeated,
    monthly, every three months or every six
    months. Theoretically, as long as the person lives. The paradox is that
    the cesium reaches more and more people, and the concentration
    increases.
    The full decay time of Cesium 137 is 10 human generations or 300 years.
    From the article: “Even if cesium below Babyscan’s
    capabilities was present, the resulting exposure level would be less
    than 16 microsieverts a year, which is negligible, the study said” Are
    they out of their mind? That ‘s 140 milli Sievert per year! Thats 4
    times a CT scan. IN their bodys. Sadly you can not be evacuated from
    your own body.Also: does Babyscan measure Cesium as potassium, and then
    Cesium is not found? This is murderous epidemiology.
    The whole babyscanner system was build around a treshold aka dose limit. First pathological changes appear around 20 bq / body kg of chidren: Such as
    Arrhythmias, adaptation to stress disorders. But our experts blame “wrong living conditions”: Who was in charge such a bad system? A semi pro nuke professor, I assume.

  • Chernobyl Children Fukushima C

    The babyscanner does not even tell, if the cesium is in the intestines, kidneys or heart muscle tissue (most likely).
    A 1,3 billionths of a gram of Cesium 137 (4,000 becquerel)
    creates a load of 100 Becquerel per Kg in the body of a 40 Kg heavy
    child.
    Quote from the article”as little as 50 becquerels of cesium in a young human body, which is
    about a fifth or a sixth of the amount measurable by other devices
    widely used to scan adults, the study said.”
    This is technically
    inadequate. Low internal contamination is therefore not recognizable,
    and remains undetected. Probably the device has been designed on purpose
    that way. Welcoming Dose Limits.
    From the article: “Even if cesium below Babyscan’s
    capabilities was present, the resulting exposure level would be less
    than 16 microsieverts a year, which is negligible, the study said”
    Are
    they out of their mind? That ‘s 140 milli Sievert per year! Thats 4
    times
    a CT scan. IN their bodys. In children’s bodies! Children take in 500%
    more Cesium, because their organism needs more than a mature, because
    they grow.
    Sadly you can not be evacuated from
    your own body.Also: does Babyscan measure Cesium as potassium, and then
    Cesium is not found? They have a different energy signature. Cesium is Gamma AND Beta.
    Cesium
    137 concentrations in children’s organs sig nificantly exceed the ones
    in adults.This is murderous epidemiology. I condemn this failure of a
    whole body counter! Individuals with rhesus negative blood accumulate
    Cesium 137 in lower
    concentrations in comparison withindividuals who have rhesus positive
    blood. Radiometric measurements performed by Gomel State Medical University in
    1996 – 1997 during autopsies of inhabitants of areas contaminated with
    radioactive elements found high levels of Cesium 137 in the heart,
    thyroid, adrenal and pancreatic glands, small and large intestine,
    stomach, kidneys, spleen, brain, lung and skeletal muscles.
    In addition, these measurements must be constantly repeated,
    monthly, every three months or every six
    months. Theoretically, as long as the person lives. The paradox is that
    the cesium reaches more and more people, and the concentration
    increases.
    The full decay time of Cesium 137 is 10 human generations or 300 years.
    From the article: “Even if cesium below Babyscan’s
    capabilities was present, the resulting exposure level would be less
    than 16 microsieverts a year, which is negligible, the study said”
    No. That is INTERNAL radiation, beta and gamma. And internal is 10 to 100 times more damaging. Mitosis of babies makes cell repair not possible. External would activate body protection systems, knowsn in evolution.
    Sadly you can not be evacuated from
    your own body.Also: does Babyscan measure Cesium as potassium, and then
    Cesium is not found? This is murderous epidemiology.
    The
    whole babyscanner system was build around a treshold aka dose limit.
    First pathological changes appear around 20 bq / body kg of chidren:
    Such as
    Arrhythmias, adaptation to stress disorders. But our experts
    blame “wrong living conditions”: Who was in charge such a bad system? A
    semi pro nuke professor, I assume.

  • Chernobyl Children Fukushima C

    The babyscanner does not even tell, if the cesium is in the intestines, kidneys or heart muscle tissue (most likely).
    A 1,3 billionths of a gram of Cesium 137 (4,000 becquerel)
    creates a load of 100 Becquerel per Kg in the body of a 40 Kg heavy
    child.
    Quote from the article”as little as 50 becquerels of cesium in a young human body, which is
    about a fifth or a sixth of the amount measurable by other devices
    widely used to scan adults, the study said.”
    This is technically
    inadequate. Low internal contamination is therefore not recognizable,
    and remains undetected. Probably the device has been designed on purpose
    that way. Welcoming Dose Limits.
    From the article: “Even if cesium below Babyscan’s
    capabilities was present, the resulting exposure level would be less
    than 16 microsieverts a year, which is negligible, the study said”
    Are
    they out of their mind? That ‘s 140 milli Sievert per year! Thats 4
    times
    a CT scan. IN their bodys. In children’s bodies! Children take in 500%
    more Cesium, because their organism needs more than a mature, because
    they grow.
    Sadly you can not be evacuated from
    your own body.Also: does Babyscan measure Cesium as potassium, and then
    Cesium is not found? They have a different energy signature. Cesium is Gamma AND Beta.
    Cesium
    137 concentrations in children’s organs sig nificantly exceed the ones
    in adults.This is murderous epidemiology. I condemn this failure of a
    whole body counter! Individuals with rhesus negative blood accumulate
    Cesium 137 in lower
    concentrations in comparison withindividuals who have rhesus positive
    blood. Radiometric measurements performed by Gomel State Medical University in
    1996 – 1997 during autopsies of inhabitants of areas contaminated with
    radioactive elements found high levels of Cesium 137 in the heart,
    thyroid, adrenal and pancreatic glands, small and large intestine,
    stomach, kidneys, spleen, brain, lung and skeletal muscles.
    In addition, these measurements must be constantly repeated,
    monthly, every three months or every six
    months. Theoretically, as long as the person lives. The paradox is that
    the cesium reaches more and more people, and the concentration
    increases.
    The full decay time of Cesium 137 is 10 human generations or 300 years.
    From the article: “Even if cesium below Babyscan’s
    capabilities was present, the resulting exposure level would be less
    than 16 microsieverts a year, which is negligible, the study said”
    No. That is INTERNAL radiation, beta and gamma. And internal is 10 to 100 times more damaging. Mitosis of babies makes cell repair not possible. External would activate body protection systems, knowsn in evolution.
    Sadly you can not be evacuated from
    your own body.Also: does Babyscan measure Cesium as potassium, and then
    Cesium is not found? This is murderous epidemiology.
    The
    whole babyscanner system was build around a treshold aka dose limit.
    First pathological changes appear around 20 bq / body kg of chidren:
    Such as
    Arrhythmias, adaptation to stress disorders. But our experts
    blame “wrong living conditions”: Who was in charge such a bad system? A
    semi pro nuke professor, I assume.

  • 108

    If thousands don’t end up dying from radiation exposure in Japan, others will die from disappointment.

  • jimhopf

    All those tests (scary for parents) to confirm, yet again, that there is no measurable impact from the event. Meanwhile, much more serious pollution (e.g., that from fossil fuels) is ignored; no testing for those! Just one more example of how the Japanese govt’s efforts to assuage public fears are actually greatly increasing them. Isn’t it about time for them to admit that they essentially lied about the magnitude of the threat/impact?

    The scientific community is in near-unanimous agreement that Fukushima (the worst-case meltdown of three large reactors, and the only significant release of pollution in nuclear power’s entire history outside the old Soviet Union) caused no deaths and will have no measurable public health impacts. Total eventual economic costs of the event (for plant decommissioning, land decontamination and generous public compensation) are on the order of $100 billion.

    In stark contrast, worldwide fossil-fueled power generation causes hundreds of thousands of deaths *annually* (i.e., ~1000 every single day) and is the leading cause of global warming. On the economic front, the US EPA states that fossil plant pollution causes $100 billion in economic damage (i.e., the same amount as the Fukushima event) every single year in the US alone! Worldwide, the figure is on the order of $1 trillion per year.

    Japan has (indefensibly) decided to use fossil fuels, including coal, in place of nuclear. Over just the 4 years since the accident, that fossil fuel use has already caused thousands of Japanese deaths (i.e., more than the Fukushima event ever will), has resulted in a massive increase in CO2 emissions, and (catch this) has already cost Japan more than the $100 billion economic cost of the Fukushima event.

    Why aren’t they doing similar tests on people living downwind of all those coal plants? Tests for internal mercury, arsenic, etc… It would actually make more sense.

  • Thomas Brown

    So a limit of 50 becquerels means children producing 49 radioactive decays PER SECOND (!) would be considered uncontaminated. Utter nonsense. See the stories regarding thyroid cancer rates for a more realistic evaluation.

    • Jean-Michel Levy

      You seem to forget (or ignore) that radioactive isotope K40 delivers thousands of becquerels in the human body, 24h a day and during the whole life. This isotope is an irreducible part of natural potassium and as such, an irreducible part of your blood serum. So nature maybe utter nonsense as you put it, but so it is.

  • Sam Gilman

    That’s the Yuri Kageyama AP version where she presents opinion on the study as “scientists divided” rather than what appears to be the case, “scientists seriously criticise study and the spin being put on it”.

    Compare the NPR quote from David Brenner and Kageyama’s quote from him.

    Geoff Brumfiel, science correspondent for NPR:

    Other researchers are skeptical of the new result. Geraldine Thomas, a professor at Imperial College who has studied thyroid cancer from Chernobyl, says the analysis incorrectly compares the screening in Fukushima to clinical cases of thyroid cancer in which patients are already sick. The comparison falsely suggests thyroid cancer in Fukushima is elevated by as much as 50 times compared with the general population. “This is not a very good paper to be basing opinions on,” she says.

    David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University, adds that the study makes no effort to trace the exposure of patients. “It’s simply relating geographic regions to cancer risks and not looking at individual radiation doses,” he says, adding that without that information, it’s virtually impossible to connect the screenings to the accident. “It really doesn’t tell us the whole story,” he says.

    Yuri Kageyama, AP journalist and (no joke) anti-nuclear beat poet:

    David J. Brenner, professor of radiation biophysics at Columbia University Medical Center, took a different view. While he agreed individual estimates on radiation doses are needed, he said in a telephone interview that the higher thyroid cancer rate in Fukushima is “not due to screening. It’s real.”

    Sigh. No, the screening process doesn’t literally fabricate cancers. That’s not what the problems are with the study or how the screening effect works.