[ RadSafe ] The Dangerous Myths of Fukushima

Jerry Cohen jjc105 at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 9 18:17:08 CST 2012

 Ex-pres. LBJ stated it well when he advised,

"Never get into a pissing contest with a skunk"

From: Maury <maurysis at peoplepc.com>
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List 
<radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Sent: Fri, March 9, 2012 3:40:23 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] The Dangerous Myths of Fukushima

Is there an HP on here willing to take the trouble to draft a response to this 
article -- I'd like to circulate it. I don't have the references at hand to 
compose a good response -- I suspect little is correct and a lot other not -- 
probably goes well with his baby tooth project .... Thanks if anyone would 
undertake something along this line



Weekend Edition March 9-11, 2012
http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/03/09/the-dangerous-myths-of-fukushima/## [link 
to source]

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Exposing the "No Harm" Mantra
The Dangerous Myths of Fukushima


The myth that Fukushima radiation levels were too low to harm humans persists, a 
year after the meltdown. A March 2, 2012 New York Times article quoted 
Vanderbilt University professor John Boice: “there’s no opportunity for 
conducting epidemiological studies that have any chance for success – the doses 
are just too low.” Wolfgang Weiss of the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects 
of Atomic Radiation also recently said doses observed in screening of Japanese 
people “are very low.”

Views like these are political, not scientific, virtually identical to what the 
nuclear industry cheerleaders claim. Nuclear Energy Institute spokesperson Tony 
Pietrangelo issued a statement in June that “no health effects are expected 
among the Japanese people as a result of the events at Fukushima.”

In their haste to choke off all consideration of harm from Fukushima radiation, 
nuclear plant owners and their willing dupes in the scientific community built a 
castle against invaders – those open-minded researchers who would first conduct 
objective research BEFORE rushing to judgment. The pro-nuclear chants of “no 
harm” and “no studies needed” are intended to be permanent, as part of damage 
control created by a dangerous technology that has produced yet another 

But just one year after Fukushima, the “no harm” mantra is now being crowded by 
evidence – evidence to the contrary.

First, estimates of releases have soared. The first reports issued by the 
Japanese government stated that emissions equaled 10% of 1986 Chernobyl 
emissions. A few weeks later, they doubled that estimate to 20%. By October 
2011, an article in the journal Nature estimated Fukushima emissions to be more 
than double that of Chernobyl. How anyone, let alone scientists, could call 
Fukushima doses “too low” to cause harm in the face of this evidence is 

Where did the radioactive particles and gases go? Officials from national 
meteorological agencies in countries like France and Austria followed the plume, 
and made colorful maps available on the internet. Within six days of the 
meltdowns, the plume had reached the U.S., and within 18 days, it had circled 
the Northern Hemisphere.

How much radiation entered the U.S. environment? A July 2011 journal article by 
officials at Pacific Northwest National Lab in eastern Washington State measured 
airborne radioactive Xenon-133 up to 40,000 times greater than normal in the 
weeks following the fallout. Xenon-133 is a gas that travels rapidly and does 
not enter the body, but signals that other, more dangerous types of radioactive 
chemicals will follow.

A February 2012 journal article by the U.S. Geological Survey looked at 
radioactive Iodine-131 that entered soil from rainfall, and found levels 
hundreds of times above normal in places like Portland OR, Fresno CA, and Denver 
CO. The same places also had the highest levels of Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 in 
the U.S. While elevated radiation levels were found in all parts of the country, 
it appears that the West Coast and Rocky Mountain states received the greatest 
amounts of Fukushima fallout.

Radiation in rainfall guarantees that humans will ingest a poisonous mix of 
chemicals. The rain enters reservoirs of drinking water, pastures where 
milk-giving cows graze, the soil of produce farms, and other sources of food and 

Finally, how many people were harmed by Fukushima in the short term? Official 
studies have chipped away at the oft-repeated claim that nobody died from 
Fukushima. Last month brought the news that 573 deaths in the area near the 
stricken reactors were certified by coroners as related to the nuclear crisis, 
with dozens more deaths to be reviewed. Another survey showed that births near 
Fukushima declined 25% in the three months following the meltdowns. One 
physician speculated that many women chose to deliver away from Fukushima, but 
an increase in stillbirths remains as a potential factor. In British Columbia, 
the number of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome deaths was 10 in the first three 
months after Fukushima, up from just one a year before.

On December 19, 2011, we announced the publication of the first peer-reviewed 
scientific journal article examining potential health risks after Fukushima. In 
the 14 week period March 20 – June 25, 2011, there was an increase in deaths 
reported to the CDC by 122 U.S. cities. If final statistics (not available until 
late 2014) confirm this trend, about 14,000 “excess” deaths occurred among 
Americans in this period.

We made no statement that only Fukushima fallout caused these patterns. But we 
found some red flags: infants had the greatest excess (infants are most 
susceptible to radiation), and a similar increase occurred in the U.S. in the 
months following Chernobyl. Our study reinforced Fukushima health hazard 
concerns, and we hope to spur others to engage in research on both short-term 
and long-term effects.

For years, the assumption that low-dose radiation doesn’t harm people has been 
used, only to fall flat on its face every time. X-rays to abdomens of pregnant 
women, exposure to atom bomb fallout, and exposures to nuclear weapons workers 
were all once presumed to be harmless due to low dose levels – until scientific 
studies proved otherwise. Officials have dropped their assumptions on theses 
types of exposures, but continue to claim that Fukushima was harmless.

Simply dismissing needed research on Fukushima health consequences because doses 
are “too low” is irresponsible, and contradictory to many scientific studies. 
There will most certainly be a fight over Fukushima health studies, much like 
there was after Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. However, we hope that the 
dialogue will be open minded and will use evidence over assumptions, rather than 
just scoffing at what may well turn out to be the worst nuclear disaster in 

Joseph Mangano is an epidemiologist and Executive Director of the Radiation and 
Public Health Project.

Janette Sherman is an internist and toxicologist
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