Background: Impact of Radiation on Babies
It should be no surprise to anyone that, as time passes after the onset of the worst nuclear disaster in the history of mankind – at Fukushima, the horrible toll that ionizing radiation has on our children will become more apparent.
We will likely not have any good epidemiological data from Japan for a long time to come unless courageous whistleblowers provide it to the world. If you have or can get this information – please share it with us. It will be our privilege and honor to maintain your anonymity.
What we do have is a huge body of evidence on the effects of ionizing radiation on early embryonic and later development. It would be overwhelming to do an exhaustive review here. I am going to provide a few more recent papers on the effects of the Chernobyl disaster (25 years ago) on children in the affected regions.
Take a look through the articles below for details. I have pulled out a specific table from the 2010 article below to make it a bit easier for you to see the array of deformities that arise from radioactive exposure.
There are many terms there that you may not be familiar with. The following list gives links to more information:
- Spina bifida
please do not hot link images from our site)
OBJECTIVE: One of the populations most exposed to chronic low-dose radiation from Chornobyl (Chernobyl in Russian) lives in Polissia, the region representing the northern half of Rivne Province (Oblast) in Ukraine. Here the patterns and population rates of malformations are reported and possible etiologic factors and regional contrasts are explored.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Malformations, as defined by international standards, noted among all 96 438 births in Rivne between 2000 and 2006, were analyzed statistically. Contrasts of rates in Polissia compared with the rest of Rivne also were investigated.
RESULTS: The overall rate of neural tube defects in Rivne is among the highest in Europe (22.2 per 10 000 live births). The rates of conjoined twins and teratomas also seem to be elevated. In Polissia, the overall rates of neural tube defects are even higher (27.0 vs 18.3, respectively; odds ratio: 1.46 [95% confidence interval: 1.13–1.93]), and the rates of microcephaly and microphthalmia may also be elevated.
CONCLUSIONS: The malformation patterns observed suggest early disruptions of blastogenesis, manifesting as alterations of body axes, twinning, duplications, laterality, and midline formation. The results are sufficiently compelling to justify continuing and expanding this investigation of malformations in chronic low-dose radiation-impacted regions of Ukraine.
Wladimir Wertelecki, Malformations in a Chornobyl-Impacted Region, 2010, Pediatrics 125: e836, 2009-2219 -> article link
In addition to the document above, please see the 1999 article below.
Frank P. Castronovo Jr. Teratogen Update: Radiation and Chernobyl 1999 TERATOLOGY 60:100–106 (PDF link)
ABSTRACT The 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chernobyl caused nonuniform radiocontamination of air and land, primarily within regions of the former Soviet Union and Western Europe. Major exposure groups included the reactor workers, villagers evacuated from within 30 km of the accident, the “liquidators” who decontaminated the evacuation zone afterward, those in radiocontaminated villages not evacuated, and “others” not in the latter categories. The possibility of being exposed to radiation caused considerable anxiety, especially among pregnant women. Were teratogenic levels of radiation (≥ 0.1 Gy) exposure attained? To date there is no consistent proof that this level of radiation exposure was received. Nevertheless, thousands of induced abortions were performed. Radioiodine (I-131) caused thyroid cancer in young children in portions of Belarus, the Ukraine, and Russia. It is not known but very possible that I-131 fetal thyroid exposure contributed to this observation. The relationship between mental retardation and radiation exposure has not been confirmed. Leukemia and other cancers, while predicted for the liquidators (mainly males), has not been found in the other exposure groups at this time. Investigations of aborted fetuses and newborns in Belarus showed an increase in the frequency of both congenital and fetal abnormalities in high and low Cs-137 contaminated regions. This study is unreliable due to detection and selection biases. Accident and environmental factors unrelated to radiation doses may have contributed to these observations. Occasional positive teratogenic studies in less contaminated regions of Western Europe are suspect because of the low radiation doses received. There is no substantive proof regarding radiation-induced teratogenic effects from the Chernobyl accident.
The following document came out in 2009 and is of considerable importance in terms of reporting the impact of Chernobyl on humans and the environment.
Yablokov, Nesterenko and Nesterenko 2009 Ann NY AS Vol 1811
This is just a sampling – I may add more to this page in the future.