WHO Warns Of Higher Cancer Risk In Fukushima Disaster Area

Category: World / Feb 28, 2013 11:11AM EDT
The World Health Organization announced on Thursday (February 28) that people in the area worst affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident two years ago have a 4 percent higher risk of developing certain cancers. "If we take all solid cancers together, the increase will be four percent and I repeat again, for the most affected areas and an additional estimated risk that can be predicted over the already expected background rate of cancer that you will have in any type of population," said Doctor Maria Neira from the WHO. The WHO report said for the general population, inside and outside of Japan, the risks are low and there is no observation of increases in cancer. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami killed nearly 19,000 people on March 11, 2011 and devastated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, triggering meltdowns, spewing radiation and forcing about 160,000 people to flee their homes. In the most contaminated area, the WHO estimated that there was a 70 percent higher risk of females exposed as infants developing thyroid cancer over their lifetime. "The purpose of this report was not to say how many deaths or how many cancers or deaths caused by cancer are expected. The purpose of this report was saying, looking at this portion and the doses of which peoples has been exposed, what is the risk that we can expect as an increase over the base line, or the so called natural one. I think this is more human than trying to predict how many people will die from cancer," said Doctor Neira. The WHO’s 200 page report, based on a comprehensive assessment by international experts, said there was no discernible increase in health risks expected outside Japan. Video Source: Reuters