It has been over three years since the nuclear disaster occurred at Fukushima. One of the biggest concerns with radiation is the effect it has on the thyroid. Located in our neck, the thyroid gland secretes hormones. According to WebMD,
Thyroid hormones act throughout the body, influencing metabolism, growth and development, and body temperature. During infancy and childhood, adequate thyroid hormone is crucial for brain development.
In order to function, the thyroid needs iodine. Typically, this gland absorbs iodine from our blood stream; however, during a nuclear accident, radioactive iodine is absorbed. Thyroid.org explains:
In babies and children, the thyroid gland is one of the most radiation- sensitive parts of the body.
Most nuclear accidents release radioactive iodine into the atmosphere which can be absorbed into the body. When thyroid cells absorb too much radioactive iodine, it can cause thyroid cancer to develop several years after the exposure. Babies and young children are at highest risk. The risk is much lower for people over age 40. Thyroid cancer seems to be the only cancer whose incidence rises after a radioactive iodine release. Potassium iodide protects only the thyroid, but it is the organ at greatest risk from radioactive iodine.
Given this information, it is expected that children living near Fukushima would experience high thyroid cancer rates. In fact, thyroid rates for Fukushima’s children are 40 times that of normal children.
Some 39 months after the multiple explosions at Fukushima, thyroid cancer rates among nearby children have skyrocketed to more than forty times (40x) normal.
More than 48 percent of some 375,000 young people—nearly 200,000 kids—tested by the Fukushima Medical University near the smoldering reactors now suffer from pre-cancerous thyroid abnormalities, primarily nodules and cysts. The rate is accelerating.
More than 120 childhood cancers have been indicated where just three would be expected, says Joseph Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project.
Children are the most affected by nuclear disasters. Fukushima is not over. Three-Mile Island is not over. Chernobyl is not over.
Nuclear power is not safe. Propaganda, like Florida Light and Power Company’s Kid’s Korner claim, “Nuclear energy is a clean, safe way to make electricity. It does not burn any fuel like coal so there are no pollutants released into the air,” is a blatant lie. We need to remember nuclear disasters.
As my alternative energy professor used to say about the burden versus benefits of nuclear power, “Do we really need to split an atom to make toast?”
Children suffering from 40 times the normal rate of thyroid cancer near Fukushima would answer, “no”.