In Japan, Fears of Radiation Cause More Harm Than The Radiation Itself

March 8th, 2013
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Recently stories have been making the rounds about how Japan is coping with the aftermath of the tsunami and the partial meltdown that occurred two years ago.  It is as sad as it is predictable that the fears of radiation would become the most lingering and harmful effect.   Even as the radiation itself has faded to background levels for most of the effected areas, public anxiety remains high.   This is exactly what happened with Chernobyl and other incidents.


Via the Associated Press:

Stress Emerges As Major Health Issue In Fukushima
MINAMI-SOMA, Japan (AP) — Japan’s radiation nightmare has turned the lively home that truck driver Takahiro Ishitani once shared with his wife and three sons into a cluttered bachelor pad.

A coffee mug full of cigarette butts, a towel and other odds and ends sit on a low table in the apartment’s small living room. He offers a visitor a takeout box lunch, his main source of sustenance these days. Laundry hangs inside so it won’t absorb the radiation that remains in the ground, two years after an earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns and explosions at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) to the south.

To escape this lonely weekday existence, the 42-year-old Ishitani drives three hours up winding roads every weekend to see his family, which has moved away because of fears that radiation could harm the children.

“If it really is safe, I want them to come back,” says Ishitani, a stocky man with a small beard on the tip of his chin. “But it’s hard to know. Different people say different things, and that adds to my stress. I don’t know whom to trust.”

Just as with Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, mental distress could be one of the biggest health issues to emerge from this disaster, experts say. While attention has focused on the potential cancer risks, they remain unclear. What is clear is that the uncertainty and the upheaval it’s caused in people’s lives is already exacting a very real and pervasive psychological toll.

“It’s one of the biggest problems,” said Seiji Yasumura, a professor of public health at Fukushima Medical University.

Ishitani collapsed on the street with an ulcer nine months into the disaster. He was hospitalized for three days and still takes stomach medicine. The slightest tremor wakes him at night, and then he can’t back to sleep as he worries about the future.

Will his youngest son, 8-year-old Ryusei, ever be able to play in the woods and catch crawfish in the river as Ishitani did as a child? How long can his family continue this divided life? Will his now half-deserted hometown of Minami-Soma even survive — or shrivel and die?

They can and should move back now. The tiny increase in radiation is trivial compared to the amount of damage this has done to the social fabric of the areas effected. Sadly, very few seem to be advocating this while many continue to cash in on the tragedy as a way of promoting their own agenda, often through fear-mongering. More efforts to inform the public are definitely necessary. Sadly, they seem to be lacking


This entry was posted on Friday, March 8th, 2013 at 3:45 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Culture, Enviornment, Nuclear. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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31 Responses to “In Japan, Fears of Radiation Cause More Harm Than The Radiation Itself”

  1. 1
    Joffan Says:

    Of course stress is a problem. The government decision has robbed these people of their communities and livelihoods, their businesses and their homes, on the basis of an unsubstantiated tiny possible future risk.

    Similar risks are not treated this way. People are compensated sometimes but never exiled.

    I wouldn’t be anxious. I’d be furious.


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  2. 2
    DV82XL Says:

    One day irrational fear of radiation will pass and future generations will look at us the way we look at those that burned witches.


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  3. 3
    drbuzz0 Says:

    I’m working on another post on this. Based on the best current measurements, all except a few very isolated areas present the kind of radiation exposure to residents that would likely be less than living on the Colorado Plateau.

    And of course, that’s only for the next couple years anyway. Projections are that if you moved back now, because of both radioactive decay and erosion and washing away of fallout, in ten years your average cumulative dose for that period of time would be only very slightly above someone who lived in the same area before this occurred.


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  4. 4
    drbuzz0 Says:

    HEre is a projection:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pQPTlGwfFlc/T5YH9C7YXWI/AAAAAAAAD5U/laDDxfs_WZs/s1600/120424radiation_maps_asahi.jpg

    At this point, the dose you get in the red areas is higher than most areas (not higher than Ramsar Iran, but higher than most other areas)

    But given the projections for decay and general reduction due to weathering, the levels are going to be lower than many high altitude areas within about another year or two.

    If you took two people and put one in the red area of the Fukushima Prefecture today and another in Denver Colorado today and both were wearing dosimeters, then by the year 2014, the one in Fukushima would have a higher cumulative dose than the one in Colorado. However, by the year 2023, the one in Denver Colorado would have a much higher cumulative dose than the one in Fukushima.


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  5. 5
    John Says:

    Yeah, I have read things. It’s a real shame. People are confused and scared and they believe they have no future because people are telling them they have been so badly exposed they will surely die or have deformed children and so on when really, it’s not even that big a deal.

    I don’t understand where this is coming from. According to the best scientific data, nobody got that bad of radiation exposure. Most civilians, at the very worst, maybe the same as a few x-rays. Surely this is nothing to obsess over for life. And even the plant workers, not that much worse.

    So much stress and people running around tearing their hair out. Families torn apart! people assuming their child or husband will surely die, when they won’t.


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  6. 6
    Anon Says:

    It comes largely from fossil fuel interests, the toll from the anti-nuclear movement whilst larger than the problems caused by nuclear power is still insignificant compared to the problems they cause in normal operation and since they are already making the rest of us pay that price of keeping them in business…


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  7. 7
    Pete Says:

    Perhaps you have seen this from World Nuclear News.
    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS_Radiation_declines_at_Fukushima_0603131.html

    Radiation exposure levels have already significantly declined.


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  8. 8
    BMS Says:

            Pete said:

    Radiation exposure levels have already significantly declined.

    Yep, that’s the thing about radioactive material … it decays. :-)


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  9. 9
    I'mnotreallyhere Says:

    Out of curiosity : how much of the reduction is due to decay and how much due to deliberate decontamination efforts?


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  10. 10
    Matte Says:

            I’mnotreallyhere said:

    Out of curiosity : how much of the reduction is due to decay and how much due to deliberate decontamination efforts?

    My quick and dirty estimate would indicate about 3% of the total activity released have been reduced through decay, Cs-137 only. The rest would be due to sedimentation, washout and decontamination efforts. Hard to know which and how much as I don’t have any data to hand…


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  11. 11
    SteveK9 Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    HEre is a projection:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pQPTlGwfFlc/T5YH9C7YXWI/AAAAAAAAD5U/laDDxfs_WZs/s1600/120424radiation_maps_asahi.jpg

    At this point, the dose you get in the red areas is higher than most areas (not higher than Ramsar Iran, but higher than most other areas)

    But given the projections for decay and general reduction due to weathering, the levels are going to be lower than many high altitude areas within about another year or two.

    If you took two people and put one in the red area of the Fukushima Prefecture today and another in Denver Colorado today and both were wearing dosimeters, then by the year 2014, the one in Fukushima would have a higher cumulative dose than the one in Colorado. However, by the year 2023, the one in Denver Colorado would have a much higher cumulative dose than the one in Fukushima.

    Generally agree with everything you’ve written here, but if we believe in DNA repair mechanisms and that problems arise when they are overwhelmed, then rate and overall dose above a critical rate is what matters. From recent work at Berkeley it seems that the repair mechanisms also respond to radiation. A detailed understanding of this based on mechanisms and not statistical correlations is probably in the near future. That should help a lot if/when it is accepted.


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  12. 12
    Robert Sneddon Says:

    Measured dosage isn’t the only factor to take into account, there are a number of reasons why the exclusion zone(s) around the Fukushima Daiichi plant aren’t being lifted.

    For one thing the cooling systems controlling the temperatures in the three previously-functional reactors (numbers 1, 2 and 3) aren’t up to the safety standards required of working reactors in cold shutdown. They are ad-hoc assemblies of pumps, cooling systems, pipes, storage tanks etc. which occasionally leak. The water being pumped into and out of the reactor vessels and containments is becoming contaminated by exposed damaged fuel pellets and it requires treatment before it can be reused and there is also evidence that groundwater is getting into where it shouldn’t. Until the folks working on those reactors can be absolutely sure they won’t suffer another catastrophic failure to cool the cores then the exclusion zone will stay in place by Japanese law if nothing else.

    The spent fuel pools are also in a mess with similarly lashed-up water cooling systems and with the added bonus of having a pile of wrecked equipment, steel beams and concrete lying on top of the fuel rods stored in them. As far as the engineers monitoring the pools can tell there’s been no release of radioactivity due to damaged or overheated fuel rods in the pools but they are again definitely not in compliance with required safety rules. Until they are emptied and the fuel rods relocated to other functional pools or dry-casked then it’s unlikely the condition of the pools would permit the zones to be relaxed, especially close to the plant.

    The four reactors at Daini across the bay have been getting their damaged control systems and switchgear replaced and they could well be certified as being safely in cold shutdown in a few months time, but they’re within the ten km exclusion zone of the wrecked Daiichi reactors so there will be no change in the zones when they do get checked off as being in a safe condition.

    In addition the contamination spread around the plant, mostly Cs-134 and Cs-137 since isotopes like I-131 have decayed away, is mostly in the soil and plant life and it would be taken up by food crops or animal fodder to would appear in the human food chain. The Japanese have severely tightened the limits of such contamination in food, almost certainly beyond a reasonable level but I can understand why they did so, to try and reassure a frightened public. Folks returning into the areas with lower level contamination would be expecting to continue producing food grown locally but they’d have problems selling it even when it was tested and approved by the government since even below-the-limits food from that area would be treated with suspicion by other Japanese folks.


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  13. 13
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Robert Sneddon said:

    Measured dosage isn’t the only factor to take into account, there are a number of reasons why the exclusion zone(s) around the Fukushima Daiichi plant aren’t being lifted.

    While I do agree there are other concerns, I do not think they are weighing them against the extreme social and economic costs being forced upon the population by the exclusion zone.

    One has to consider the risks in both terms of the probability and consequences and then compare that to the risk of not lifting the evacuation zone.

    Yes, containment could fail again. That’s unlikely but it could happen. If it did, what would be the consequence? They’d have to evacuate again. Perhaps, possibly, maybe, some of those close to it would get the equivalent of a chest x-ray.


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  14. 14
    Jean Demesure Says:

    What’s ironic with this radiation mass hysteria is that Japan is a volcanic country with plenty of radioactive hot springs (onsen) converted to spas generating a massive tourism industry.
    Maybe someone should remind them of this inconvenient truth : that radioactivity is appreciated by many because it’s good for their health and is a much better cure for multiples diseases than anything else, eg these “radon galleries in Gastein, Austria” : http://www.gastein.com/en/radon-galleries-salzburgerland
    People going there receive much more massive cumulated dose and dose rate (especially through radon inhalation) than anyone would ever get from Fukushima’s cesium. And for ages (the first ones to observe the beneficial effects of radioactivity are miners going into those radon infested mines). Still looking for the corpses of the victims, if LNT is to be believed.


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  15. 15
    Robert Sneddon Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    Yes, containment could fail again. That’s unlikely but it could happen.

    The main building in the Fukushima Daiichi complex lost power briefly on the 18th of March and this tripped out a bunch of equipment including the spent pool recirculation pumps for not only the reactors but also the site’s common spent fuel pool (which wasn’t actually hit by the tsunami). Is that a case for evacuation? If not, at which point do the authorities decide to move 100,000 people at zero notice from their homes, pets, workplaces, schools etc.? When there actually is a significant and detectable radiation release [1]? When the temperatures in the juryrigged cooling systems reach a certain point? How do they ensure all the people affected can be contacted at a few minutes notice? Where is the transport to move these people to come from? Where are they to be evacuated to? Are food, water, sanitation, clothing, communication all laid on and ready to hand when the evacuation is ordered?

    Right now at the Fukushima Daiichi plant the engineers and workers are doing the equivalent of fighting a fire in an apartment complex. They’re pretty sure they’ve got it contained but it could break out again and surprise them. Letting folks move back into the building is not really a good idea even though their particular apartments aren’t smouldering.

    Saying all that some areas on the original exclusion zones are in fact being opened up for folks to move back into and other areas with higher backgrounds and measurable contamination levels are being opened for visits and short stays by previous residents. Large areas of the original zones are not going to be opened up any time soon.

    [1] The reactor buildings at Daiichi are still releasing radioactive materials into the surrounding countryside in measurable amounts, about 10MBq or so. That extra contamination represents 0.03mSv/year exposure at the plant boundaries. a trivial amount. In Japanese law and the legal systems controlling the licencing and operation of every other nuclear power station on the planet that level of emissions would be totally unacceptable since a properly-functioning reactor shouldn’t release anything near that amount of particulate or gaseous materials into the environment.


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  16. 16
    Robert Sneddon Says:

            Jean Demesure said:

    What’s ironic with this radiation mass hysteria is that Japan is a volcanic country with plenty of radioactive hot springs (onsen) converted to spas generating a massive tourism industry.
    Maybe someone should remind them of this inconvenient truth : that radioactivity is appreciated by many because it’s good for their health and is a much better cure for multiples diseases than anything else,

    I don’t know when radium stopped being regarded as a cure-all or even just good for your health but there was a time…

    As for Japanese onsens, been there, done that (last time was in Atami to the south of Tokyo a couple of years ago. There’s a hot-springs footbath just outside the railway station connected to an underground hot spring.)

    http://imgur.com/uAH2cuv

    They’re wonderful to relax in but they don’t actually cure infertility (as one onsen promises), gout, cancer, the mange, Alzheimers etc. You might gain an improvement in a skin condition in some onsen baths with lots of chemical salts in them, depending but you could get the same effect at home with steroidal creams or bath salts. The extra radioactivity from the hot water is not really a health risk but it doesn’t help either. As for radon galleries, my father worked in coal mines all his life and he got enough radon underground from fresh-cut rock and coal underground, going looking for more of it after he retired wasn’t on his agenda.


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  17. 17
    James Greenidge Says:

    Greetings!

    I’m no ad-man and don’t go around promoting blogs, and the following isn’t that case. If nuclear energy is to get a fair shake in the court of public opinion then it needs to be viewed free of tainted, biased, FUD, and often pernicious assertions divorced from fact or study. Rod Adams has vented anti-nuclear activists whose credential pretenses and outright lies has caused great grievous injury to the public perception and acceptance of nuclear power. Two such excellent and long overdue ventings can be viewed here:

    http://atomicinsights.com/2013/04/was-gundersen-a-licensed-reactor-operator-and-senior-vp-nuclear-licensee.html#comments

    I hope more blogs step up to the plate to debunk and expose anti-nuclear zealots and organizations. Nuclear blogs ought have a persona notorious headliner on these types to tip off a clueless web surfer. I implore all nuclear advocates join me, even redundantly, to embedding this above address on as many nuclear sites as possible for a heads-up on the same page on our common unscrupulous nemesis who is almost literally getting away with mass murder in league an unchallenging often sympathetic media. Doing so is not strutting a blog; you are doing a public good by enlightenment for the irresponsible pro-fossil actions of anti-nuclears has cost the health and lives of real-life non-specutalated tens of millions of people worldwide.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY


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  18. 18
    Chris Says:

    Fukushima fallout may be causing illness in American babies: Study
    “A new study from the Radiation and Public Health Project found that babies born in the western United States as well as other Pacific countries shortly after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011 may be at greater risk for congenital hypothyroidism. Babies born in places including Hawaii, Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington shortly after Fukushima were 28 percent more likely to suffer from the illness, according to the study, than children born in those same regions one year earlier. The illness, if untreated, can cause permanent handicaps in both the body and brain…

    …In Japan, the health effects associated with Fukushima are obviously much worse. The mortality rate of elderly people who were in retirement facilities near the nuclear plant has reportedly tripled.”

    Secondary Source:
    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/study-fukushima-fallout-may-causing-illness-american-babies-165531579.html;_ylt=AkWrc3dt8LfCkBgcCvtSkEys0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNrZWlxZzljBG1pdANNZWdhdHJvbiBGUARwa2cDOGM3ZTM1MDUtYTQxZS0zNmQ3LTljZDgtNzEzZGU3ZmZlNjA0BHBvcwMzBHNlYwNtZWdhdHJvbgR2ZXIDZTMzMjExNjAtOWUxNC0xMWUyLWJlZmMtOTI5YmUyZGVlNDU2;_ylg=X3oDMTFpNzk0NjhtBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25z;_ylv=3


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  19. 19
    BMS Says:

    The Radiation and Public Health Project has been in the junk science business for a long time. Their work has been dismissed by at least eight state Departments of Health as being less than worthless, and this new “study” only continues the trend.

    Aside from the authors’ affiliation, the other clue that this “paper” is suitable only for cleaning up after a bowl movement is that it appears in a crap “open-access” journal that is published by a “predatory publisher.” For those who are not familiar with the academic publishing world, “these publishers are corrupt and exist only to make money off the author processing charges that are billed to authors upon acceptance of their scientific manuscripts.” Here the word “scientific” is used in the loosest of possible interpretations.

    In other words, the only way that this “study” was ever published at all is because RPHP wrote a check.

    Note that neither author of this paper has a PhD, the minimum qualification for doing credible scientific research — although Mangano does have an MBA, which I’m sure is useful when you’re in the business of scarring the scientifically naive to bolster your income from donations.

    Sorry, Chris, but you seem to have a special affinity for junk science.


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  20. 20
    BMS Says:

    Make that “bowel movement.”


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  21. 21
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Chris said:

    Fukushima fallout may be causing illness in American babies: Study
    “A new study from the Radiation and Public Health Project found that babies born in the western United States as well as other Pacific countries shortly after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011 may be at greater risk for congenital hypothyroidism. Babies born in places including Hawaii, Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington shortly after Fukushima were 28 percent more likely to suffer from the illness, according to the study, than children born in those same regions one year earlier. The illness, if untreated, can cause permanent handicaps in both the body and brain…

    …In Japan, the health effects associated with Fukushima are obviously much worse. The mortality rate of elderly people who were in retirement facilities near the nuclear plant has reportedly tripled.”

    This deserves a post of its own. It’s complete junk and it disgusts me to see such misinformation being printed so widely. There are many things wrong with the study.

    I’m going to try to get a good detailed post up about this. Unfortunately I’ve got a lot going on right now, and my great uncle died the other day, so I have to spend today at the wake. Then, tomorrow, I have a call in for jury duty.

    It seems a lot is converging right now to make it especially hard for me to post about stuff like this.


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  22. 22
    Chris Says:

    “The death rate of elderly people evacuated from old people’s facilities around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant has tripled, according to research. The UNIVERSITY OF TOKYO tracked 328 senior evacuees and found 75 had died within one year, close to THREE TIMES the annual average death rate.” – http://www.euronews.com/2013/03/28/fukushima-a-legacy-of-unforeseen-health-problems/


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  23. 23
    DV82XL Says:

            Chris said:

    “The death rate of elderly people evacuated from old people’s facilities around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant has tripled, according to research. The UNIVERSITY OF TOKYO tracked 328 senior evacuees and found 75 had died within one year, close to THREE TIMES the annual average death rate.” – http://www.euronews.com/2013/03/28/fukushima-a-legacy-of-unforeseen-health-problems/

    Of course, anyone involved in geriatric care knows that displacing old people and upsetting their routines will lead to fatalities. The most tragic thing is in their case, even if there was low level radiation in the area they were taken from, as a population, they would be the least affected due to their advanced years. Between having generally lower rates of cell division, cancers that would take decades to develop are of little concern to those who are far more likely to die from natural causes over the intervals in question.


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  24. 24
    Chris Says:

    Janette Sherman has an M.D and who says you have to have a PhD as “the minimum qualification for doing credible scientific research” ? Where did you learn that in medical school?

    If you work for a non-profit organisation and your monthly salary is never gauranteed due to times when there are not enough donations, then I don’t see anything wrong with being paid for your research. Research is a service after all, is it not? She does not work for some University that pays her a gauranteed monthly salary. BMS you seem to think that only anti-nuclear journals have a susceptibility to corruption.
    Most mainstream medical journals allow paid advertising by pharmaceutical companies, when they could just as easily raise revenue soley from paid reader subscriptions.

    Here is a link to the full study:
    http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperDownload.aspx?paperID=28599
    In any case the study is actually MORE OF A REVIEW of many OTHER studies conducted by OTHER researchers.

    For example it states: “A national study conducted by the National Geological Survey examined concentrations of wet depositions of fission-produced isotopes in soil at sites across the US, for several radioisotopes, between March 15 and April 5, 2011. Results showed that for I-131, the highest depositions,
    in becquerels per cubic meter, occurred in northwest Oregon (5100), central California (1610), northern
    Colorado (833), coastal California (211), and western Washington (60.4). No other station recorded concentrations above 13. Similar results were observed for Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 [42]. All the cited locations are on or near the Pacific coast, with the exception of Colorado, in the western US.
    Thus, the data indicate the greatest concentrations of environmental I-131 in the continental US after Fukushima occurred on the west coast. While the excess is difficult to quantify precisely, for purposes of this report comparisons in airborne gross beta concentrations will be made between the five Pacific and West Coast states (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington) and the remainder of the nation. The source of data is the US Environmental Protection Agency’s twice-weekly measurements in nearly 100 US locations, creating a large sample of hundreds of measurements in the weeks after the arrival of Fukushima fallout.”

    “All US newborns diagnosed with primary CH born March 17-December 31, 2011 were exposed in
    utero to radioactive fallout from the Fukushima meltdowns. While these newborns were exposed at different
    phases of pregnancy, effects of exposure is elevated during the fetal period, compared to those during infancy, childhood, and adulthood… Phone calls to state newborn screening program coordinators
    for monthly confirmed primary CH cases for 2010 and 2011 provided data for 41 of 50 states, representing 87% of all US births. Included in the 41 states were all five Pacific/West Coast States. Most of the other
    states not sharing statistical data were small states with under 10 cases per year, whose policies would not permit release of small numbers of cases due to confidentiality concerns… The 2010-2011 ratio representing the change in CH cases was 1.16 for the five Pacific/West Coast States, rising from 281 to 327 confirmed cases. The 1.16 ratio exceeded the 0.97 ratio (decline in cases from 1208 to 1167) for the 36 control states.”

    1.16 compared to 1.00 is a 16 percent increase in congenital hypothyroidism. Compared to 0.97 (a decline) it is more that 16 percent.

    Are state newborn screening program coordinators also lying now?

    Attack the message and not the messenger.
    Outline the faults in the study itself if you find the study so repulsive.

    “Janette Sherman, M.D. specializes in internal medicine and toxicology with an emphasis on chemicals and nuclear radiation that cause illness, including cancer and birth defects. She graduated from Western Michigan University with majors in biology and chemistry and from the Wayne State University College of Medicine. Prior to medical school, she worked for the Atomic Energy Commission (forerunner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission) at the University of California in Berkeley, and for the U.S. Navy Radiation Defense Laboratory in San Francisco. Thus began her long-time involvement with the subject of nuclear radiation. From 1976–1982 Dr. Sherman served on the advisory board for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Toxic Substances Control Act. She has been an advisor to the National Cancer Institute on breast cancer and to the EPA on pesticides. She is a resource person, advisor, and speaker for universities and health advocacy groups concerning cancer, birth defects, pesticides, toxic dumpsites, and nuclear radiation.” – http://janettesherman.com/about/


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  25. 25
    Chris Says:

    http://depletedcranium.com/shameful-study-claims-fukushima-radiation-effected-us-babies/comment-page-1/#comment-40093

    Regarding the link above, your analysis on the study is pathetic. You say: “it takes a minimum of A FEW DAYS for atmospheric material to traverse the Pacific” and also: “with a half-life of only eight days…means that a good portion of the isotope would have decayed by the time it reached the US”. Firstly what is “a few days”? If “a few days” is anything less than 8 days, then that is all that is necessary to cause harm to infants (and possibly adults too). In fact if my understanding of the term ‘half-life’ is correct, then it would be anything less than 16 days. Radio-active iodine can also be absorbed very quickly and there is no need for months, or years of exposure to cause damage.

    Your claims of dilution are also exaggerated.
    You say: “Of course, we are talking about the United States of America. This is thousands of miles from Japan and any iodine-131 that might make it across the Pacific would be expected to be extremely dilute.”
    Weather systems can carry the radiation in more or less intact form for long distances and even if dilluted somewhat in clouds, it started off so concentrated in Japan that any moderate amount of dillution wouldn’t be enough to prevent harm in babies who are far more sensitive than adults due to lower body weights and possibly other factors. Additionally it is even possible for the United States to receive MORE radiation (at least through rainfall alone) than Japan if the radioactive smoke caught up in rain clouds never precipitated much in Japan before it started travelling eastward to the United States.

    Also, even if you want to dismiss the stats on measurements of total radiation as not being radiation from radioactive iodine alone and throw that whole section of stats out of the study, you will still have to explain the differences in CH in babies of different regions – and to be honest you do a poor job of that.

    When you analyze the differences between the controlled and exposed regions for the stats obtained of babies with CH, you laugh at the differences obtained from areas located right next to each other, but the line has to be drawn somewhere !!! Of cource there will be some variation, it will not be a ‘perfect line’ and NOT ALL western cities will have more cases of CH, neither will ALL eastern cities have less cases. This is normal in any statistical analysis and does not discredit the entire analysis as you would hope. Not to mention that if rainfall is the main way that radioactive iodine is tranmitted, and the radioactive rainfall originates from the east, that still doesn’t mean that there aren’t cases where rain can pass over an area without falling, and then only fall once it gets further east (i.e. skip SOME areas in the west, and then fall extra hard in SOME areas in the east). The weather is SOMETIMES (but not mostly) unpredictable, but I am sure if you were a meteorologist you would like wise us that fact as an excuse to entirely dismiss the useful science of weather forecasting!!!! – Such is the nature of your depleted cranium.


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  26. 26
    BMS Says:

            Chris said:

    Janette Sherman has an M.D

    So does my general practitioner, but I wouldn’t trust him to perform a competent research study on a topic such as this. If this paper had been a clinical study, or a description of one or more cases, then an MD would be appropriate, but it is not.

    and who says you have to have a PhD as “the minimum qualification for doing credible scientific research” ?

    That the common standard in the scientific research world. The MD is a degree for practicing medicine. The PhD is the research degree. Physicians who have chosen to primarily do research typically have both degrees.

    If you work for a non-profit organisation and your monthly salary is never gauranteed due to times when there are not enough donations, then I don’t see anything wrong with being paid for your research. Research is a service after all, is it not?

    I wouldn’t call what Mangano and Sherman do research, nor would I call it a service.

    When your salary depends on how many people you can scare, I’d say that there is a definite conflict of interest that compromises trust in your work. People don’t trust research funded by tobacco companies for a reason. Why should anyone trust an anti-nuclear “study” that was funded by an anti-nuclear organization?

    BMS you seem to think that only anti-nuclear journals have a susceptibility to corruption.

    Who said that the “Open Journal of Pediatrics” is anti-nuclear? I only said that it’s a low-quality journal with poor standards.

    While there are some quality open-access journals, many of them exist simply to make money publishing papers that are otherwise unpublishable. This latest piece of junk science from Mangano and Sherman is a good example.

    In any case the study is actually MORE OF A REVIEW of many OTHER studies conducted by OTHER researchers.

    This is not a review article. I doubt that you know what a real review article is.

    Are state newborn screening program coordinators also lying now?

    The only people I’m accusing of being dishonest are Mangano, Sherman, and the incompetent editors and reviewers that allowed this paper to be published.

    You’re clearly not familiar with their work. They rely on dishonest techniques such as cherry picking and drawing unwarranted conclusions from spurious or meaningless correlations. They’ve been at this game for years, and this junk paper is just one of their latest examples. They have not a shred of integrity.

    Attack the message and not the messenger.

    This blog has already posted a critique of this paper, which you appear to be ill equipped to understand.

    Then again, this paper was written specifically for you, the scientifically illiterate layman, who reads and believes the press release, but has no chance of understanding the paper itself. Nobody credible in the scientific research world takes this paper seriously.


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  27. 27
    Chris Says:

    Read my second comment above and then read this:

    You don’t need a degree in research, PhD or otherwise, to do credible research.
    It’s the nuclear industry that does not have a shred of integrity.

    You can’t equate flawed pro-tobacco research done by tobacco companies to PROMOTE tobacco, to anti-nuclear activists who do research which DENOUNCES super profitable nuclear power. Where is the conflict of interest in that? And no, people don’t make donations to get a cheap thrill from anti-nuclear studies. If you don’t trust your MD “to perform a competent research study on a topic such as this”, then why do you trust a fake doctor calling himself Dr Buzzo to write a critique of their study on his blog?

    By saying “MORE OF A REVIEW” I simply meant that they did not seem to conduct their own research and relied on existing statistics and therefore their statistics are used by others as well and originated with others.

    “Nobody credible in the scientific research world takes this paper seriously.”
    By “nobody credible” do you mean nobody with vested interests in the nuclear industry?
    We’ll have to see, but the following institutions seem to take Janette Sherman seriously (as per above):
    University of California in Berkeley
    U.S. Navy Radiation Defense Laboratory
    Environmental Protection Agency
    National Cancer Institute


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  28. 28
    DV82XL Says:

            Chris said:

    We’ll have to see, but the following institutions seem to take Janette Sherman seriously (as per above):
    University of California in Berkeley
    U.S. Navy Radiation Defense Laboratory
    Environmental Protection Agency
    National Cancer Institute

    You will have to supply some references to support the assertion that these institutions take this study seriously. At any rate simply having worked somewhere in the past hardly establishes the status of her current credibility with these organizations.


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  29. 29
    BMS Says:

            Chris said:

    You don’t need a degree in research, PhD or otherwise, to do credible research.

    Although that is technically true, it is the exception, rather than the rule. The researcher’s qualifications are still one of the first measures used to estimate the quality of the research. In this case, the both the qualifications of the researchers and the quality of the research are very poor. So, this example provides yet more evidence to support this rule of thumb.

    You can’t equate flawed pro-tobacco research done by tobacco companies to PROMOTE tobacco, to anti-nuclear activists who do research which DENOUNCES super profitable nuclear power. Where is the conflict of interest in that?

    Any time the researcher’s income depends on getting a certain result, there’s a conflict of interest. It doesn’t matter whether you happen to agree with the results or not; it is still a conflict of interest. I fail to understand how anyone could be so stupid as to not realize this.

    why do you trust a fake doctor calling himself Dr Buzzo to write a critique of their study on his blog?

    Well, first of all, I don’t “trust” him; I evaluate his critique based on its own merits. Second, the “Dr” is just a silly nickname. He has never claimed to be a genuine doctor.

    By “nobody credible” do you mean nobody with vested interests in the nuclear industry?

    The nuclear industry does not perform this kind of research and does not publish epidemiological studies such as this. These studies are almost always performed by academics in the various schools of public health, who are funded by grants, most often from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Sometimes, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will sponsor research along these lines, but they are the government regulator, not the nuclear industry. In either case, the researchers performing these studies have no interest other than producing honest results, since their academic reputation depends on this.

    Any researcher with some sort of financial connection to the nuclear industry, including from close relatives, would need to declare a conflict of interest and would not be eligible to be an investigator in such a study.

    Unfortunately, this scheme of self-policing is far from perfect, and here we see that two rabid anti-nuclear advocates — who have profited from their advocacy for decades — can still publish a deeply flawed study in an obscure, low-quality journal and fool scientifically illiterate journalists and Internet trolls.


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  30. 30
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Chris said:

    Janette Sherman has an M.D and who says you have to have a PhD as “the minimum qualification for doing credible scientific research” ? Where did you learn that in medical school?

    I should just say that I do not accept the idea that research or conclusions should be considered based on the qualifications of the researcher alone. Really, it has little to do with the quality of the research or the statement, because, unfortunately, we know that there are those who are academically well qualified but are still dishonest.

    Andrew Wakefield was a real doctor. he went to medical school. He had experience in medical research. He was still dishonest and published bunk data and results.

    Rustum Roy was constantly using the fact that he was a PhD materials scientist and that he had a reasonably impressive list of accomplishments in the field in his career. He would use this to try to justify his ridiculous claims about homeopathy. When he was questioned his response was normally just “I know what I am talking about. I have a PhD and I discovered two new forms of ceramics in the late 1940′s!”

    Others come to mind. Earnest Sternglass, for example.

    Then you have those who just seem to go off on some kind of tangent. Linus Pauling was a nobel prize winner and nobody can question his great contributions to chemistry. However, he spent the last half of his life obsessed with mega-doses of vitamin C, despite no solid data for it doing anything other than forcing your body to excrete a lot of the excess vitamin C.

    For these reasons, I will not accept any claims without question, regardless of how well accomplished their author is. That’s just not how you should approach these. There is no degree or accomplishment that proves a person is not dishonest and has not gone off the deep end.


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  31. 31
    BMS Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    I should just say that I do not accept the idea that research or conclusions should be considered based on the qualifications of the researcher alone.

    Of course not. There are many people who have advanced degrees and even occupy prestigious positions in academia who are complete nitwits. (I’ve met a few.) And then you have counter examples like the physicist Freeman Dyson, who holds only a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics. Nevertheless, his long, esteemed career has contributed greatly to the advancement of science.

    You should never judge a book solely by its cover, but that doesn’t mean that the cover can’t give you a good clue as to what’s inside.


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