TEHRAN, YJC. -- Exposure to Fukushima radiation puts children from US West Coast at risk of acquiring thyroid cancer.
Children born in the US States of California, Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon and Washington in the period between March 17 and June 30 of 2011 when the Fukushima nuclear disaster happened, have a 28 percent risk of acquiring hyperthyroidism or thyroid cancer than those born before March or after December, 2011, the finding made by researchers from the New York-based Radiation and Health Project.
The preliminary conclusion to that effect was made after the researchers studied the concentration levels of radioiodine isotopes (I-131) and congenital hypothyroid cases along the US West Coast registered in the studied period.
Shortly after the tragedy I-131 concentration levels in California, Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon and Washington were registered up to 211 times above the normal level. At the same time, the number of congenital hypothyroid cases registered between March 17 and June 30 gave evidence to conclude that children born in the mentioned period have a 28 percent greater risk of acquiring hyperthyroidism than those born beyond this period.
Because of radiation exposure a child’s body and brain can stop developing due to the affected thyroid, which cannot release growth hormones properly any longer.
The researchers draw a parallel between the Fukushima meltdown and the one happened in 1986 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Higher absorption of I-131 radiation has led to an increased risk for thyroid cancer among victims of Chernobyl radiation, a 2011 study by the National Institutes of Health has claimed.