Sadly, this is not much of a big surprise. A new study says children living near the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer at a rate 20 to 50 times that of children elsewhere, a difference the study contends, undermines the government’s position that more cases have been discovered in the area only because of stringent monitoring.
Most of the 370,000 children in Fukushima prefecture (state) have been given ultrasound checkups since the March 2011 meltdowns at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. The most recent statistics, released in August, show that thyroid cancer is suspected or confirmed in 137 of those children, a number that rose by 25 from a year earlier. Elsewhere, the disease occurs in only about one or two of every million children per year by some estimates.
The likely cause? Fukushima radiation.
The lead author of the study noted that This is more than expected and emerging faster than expected…This is 20 times to 50 times what would be normally expected.
Thyroid cancer among children is one sickness the medical world has definitively linked to radiation after the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe. If treated, it is rarely fatal, and early detection is a plus, but patients are on medication for the rest of their lives.