A new study asserts that children residing near the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer at a rate 20 to 50 times that of children elsewhere.
The study was released online and is being published in the November issue of Epidemiology. The Data comes from tests overseen by Fukushima Medical University
These findings undermine the government’s contention that more cases have been discovered in the area only because of stringent monitoring.
A majority of the 370,000 children in Fukushima prefecture have received ultrasound checkups since the March 2011 meltdowns at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.
The most recent statistics show that thyroid cancer is suspected in 137 children. This is a number that rose by 25 from a year earlier. Thyroid cancer typically only occurs in about one or two of every million children per year.
The lead author of the study asserts that thyroid cancer is more than expected and is emerging faster than expected.
It is scientifically impossible to link an individual cancer case to radiation. However analysis through routine check-ups, like the one in Fukusima, leads to quicker discovery of tumors.
Immediately after the disaster, a doctor repeatedly ruled out the possibility of radiation-induced illnesses. According to the government, the thyroid checks were being ordered just to be safe.
Conclusions about any connection between Fukushima radiation and cancer will help determine compensation and other policies. Many individuals that live in the areas considered safe by the government have subsequently fled in fear of sickness, especially for their children.
An area about 20 kilometers from the nuclear plant has been declared as an exclusion zone. The borders are constantly being remapped as cleanup of radiated debris and soil continues in an effort to bring back inhabitants. Decommissioning the plan is expected to take decades.