Some recent news coming out of Japan has reminded me of that story- a study on Fukushima butterflies has found that over 50% of them have genetic abnormalities. I reported on a similar story back in April about plant mutations. And I reported a story three weeks ago discussing how radiation is being found in Pacific fish. Each day it becomes obvious that the disaster at Fukushima is having a dismal effect on nature. So, what does this mean for the people of Japan?
First, the disaster at Fukushima is far from being over. While TEPCO claimed that they had reached a state of ‘cold shutdown’, their data on radiation emissions is contradictory. The last time they released measurements, Fukushima’s reactors were found to be releasing 10 million becquerel of cesium per hour. That’s over 7 billion becquerel per month- this is enough to make millions of people sick.
So, if history is any indicator, Japan is in for a wild ride over the next century- what happened in Chernobyl tells us that. The people and children of areas affected by Chernobyl have suffered through some gruesome consequences.
1. Genetic Mutations & Birth Defects
First, there are the obvious genetic mutilations- hundreds of children have been born with abnormalities, and they continue to be born to this day. This doesn’t only happen in the region near Chernobyl, this happens across the Ukraine, and into Belarus. And, over 25 years later, the mutations are still occurring- there are hospitals filled of deformed children even today.
Next, there’s the plague they call Chernobyl Heart- otherwise known as Ventricular septal defect. This is a birth defect between the left & right ventricles of the heart. Each year there are 100’s of cases of this disease and there is no sign of it ending soon.
One of the more disturbing stories coming out of Fukushima is how, since the accident, there has been a massive spike in people there having abortions. The people of Japan know the problems they are facing- they just aren’t talking about them.
We all know by now that radioactive releases from nuclear power can create cancer in people and animals. Conservative research has shown that at least five million people were exposed to hazardous radiation from the Chernobyl, on this high-side, there are estimates of up to 15 million. One of the challenges in making estimates is that it can take up to 20 years for cancer to develop after exposure.
Thyroid cancer continues to be statistically much higher in Belarus and the Ukraine than in the rest of the world. It has become so common that the result of thyroid surgery, a scar across the neck, has got the nickname “Chernobyl Necklace”. Incidents of thyroid cancer spiked after the incident at Chernobyl, but have been gradually decreasing over the years. Currently, in the Fukushima area, over 36% of children are experiencing thyroid abnormalities.
Chernobyl’s radiation spread across Europe, and did not only land in the Ukraine & Belarus. Scientists have found Chernobyl radiation as far west as Ireland, and as far north as countries in Scandinavia. The same thing has happened in Japan, where radiation hotspots have been found across the country. Tokyo, in particular, has found many radioactive soil samples.
This problem is only getting worse because the Japanese government is improperly handling radioactive materials. One of their more controversial practices has been to incinerate contaminated soil. Burning radioactive goods doesn’t make them any less radioactive, all it does is push the radiation into the air and spreads it around further. This will result in people getting cancers across Japan, and in other countries as well.
3. Reproductive Health- Gender Odds
During the age of atmospheric atomic bomb testing scientists discovered a disturbing global trend of an increase in births of male children over female. The ratio of male to female births around Chernobyl increased by nearly half a percent. This may not seem like a lot, but statistically it is very significant. It is much too soon to know what the results will be in Japan, but history tells us that they should expect at least a similar change in their gender balance.
As with Chernobyl, the health effects of what happened at Fukushima will take many years until they are understood. Currently, there are still 100’s of thousands, and perhaps millions, of people in Japan who are living in radiated areas, eating radioactive food, and breathing radioactive particles from the air. By not talking about the risks we aren’t helping anyone- if anything, this will only make the problems worse.
As I’ve said before, the ways that the world’s governments are trying to cover-up the effects of Fukushima may one day be seen as one of the greatest crimes against humanity ever. To give you a better idea of the effects of what happened in the Ukraine, I’ll leave you with one of the best documentaries made about that accident- Chernobyl Heart. It is definitely worth 40 minutes of your time…