According to the latest data, many more children died as a result of the Chernobyl disaster than previously thought. It is the time to rethink the risks from low doses of radiation that threaten the future of the nuclear industry. A future may never have existed. The danger posed by micro doses of radiation to human life requires urgent scientific reassessment. This is especially true of the danger to unborn children, given the relationship between radiation and childhood leukemia.
The authors of a report conducted for the international charitable foundation Children with Cancer reached the conclusion. This fund works as part of the Campaign to Reduce Radiation Pollution, initiated by UK scientists. The report relies on evidence from numerous scientific studies conducted over several decades.
Research locations were almost all over the world. The most reasoned evidence base includes the data collected near the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Collecting this data turned out to be the most problematic, but the most fateful for research.
“Even small doses of radiation inhaled by a person can have a devastating effect on his body. Hundreds of observations proved it. And this is an indisputable fact now. Low radiation doses also cause cancer and birth defects.”
These studies were carried out for a number of international educational institutions and medical organizations. Their results contain a lot of scientific and practical evidence, which is the reason for an immediate revision of the so-called “safe” doses of radiation. Rationally assessing the evidence, it appears that the health effects of low doses of radiation have consistently and systematically been underestimated. This is especially true for the health of children and youth. And the representatives of the international foundation note that it’s the main conclusion of the research.
The authors agree that this is not the first time for such statements. However, no relevant measures are being taken in the world. They believe that we urgently need the measures. What kind of safety should there be for workers of nuclear power plants and people who live nearby? What should the modern rehabilitation of those who suffered from radioactive releases as a result of accidents be? These issues have always caused arduous debate. And they continue to be of paramount importance to the residents of Sellafield, Harrisburg, Chernobyl, Fukushima, and so on.
Scientists working on the research detail how professional debate broke out in the 1980s. Then, a manifold increase in cases of childhood leukemia was recorded in the area of the English town of Sellafield. The government conducted an investigation. But they did not reach any clear conclusions. Since then, the effects of low doses of radiation have become a “battlefield” among numerous scientists. Now imagine the following statistic. It’s really shocking.
Most official medical institutions still use in practice dose estimates based on calculations from 1943.
These calculations took place at the dawn of atomic research. It was a time when Western states were still trying to develop an atomic bomb. The time when people knew very little about the effect of microdoses of radiation on the human body. The time when DNA had not been discovered yet. And the time when people thought that the medical radiological research was a fiction.
Despite this, international scientifically outdated standards, irrelevant assumptions, have not been revised yet. What is the relationship? This is actually not difficult to define it. If that happened, the results would be disastrous for the nuclear industry and for nuclear weapons manufacturers. If the damage caused by low doses of radiation was confirmed, there would be no one to live near nuclear power plants. This is an obvious fact. The stakes are very high. Most people will wonder to hear the latest research findings.
There is a need for revolution
Every fifth child living in a 50-kilometer zone from the NPP gets leukemia. This statistic blows the mind of every thinking person. That’s why the discrepancy between the expected and actual number of congenital malformations after the Chernobyl accident is shocking. It accounts for a difference ranging from 15,000 to 50,000 diseases. If the Ministry of Health recognizes the results of the report, it will mean the end of the adequate perception of nuclear energy by the society.
It is quite understandable now why the authors of the report faced resistance from a number of governments and businesses. Their report notes that we need a scientific revolution in relation to low doses of radiation. The British compare the current situation with the one that happened during the work with asbestos. In 1980, the first evidence of diseases related to asbestos production was presented to the UK Parliament.
However, the official ban on the use of asbestos in the European Union took place only in 2005. For a long time, parliamentarians have doubted the causal relationship between asbestos and the increase in mortality among those who produce it. Due to a belated risk assessment, an average number of 2,700 people die each year in the UK. All of them came into contact with asbestos and inhaled its mixtures at a certain stage of production.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified asbestos as the most dangerous human carcinogen. You can’t use it in the European Union. However, the third world countries, which are home to 80% of the world’s population, widely use asbestos even today. People use it in construction work and in a number of industries.
Another example, not given in the report, is no less relevant today. It’s about the notorious air pollution. It took decades for the scientific community to realize the threat of dirty air particles. In large cities, particles invisible to the naked eye enter the lungs of a person and destroy them from the inside. Thousands of people die every year from various respiratory diseases, including lung cancer.
Fear is not unfounded
However, advanced economies start making life-changing environmental decisions only now. Some are moving away from the use of cars, refueled with gasoline and diesel fuel. Others are planning to reduce industrial activities related to the use of hydrocarbon materials.
Norway, the Netherlands and Germany are the most decisive in this regard. However, there is no talk of giving up the use of nuclear energy even in advanced economies. But there is a reservation that the view of progressive researchers in this industry cannot but cause certain risks. So, fear is not unfounded. And most of the world’s scientists and radiologists agree with this thesis.
The charity report cites a lot of research. And the most revealing are the comparative analyzes, carried out in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. The real number of cancer cases, congenital malformations in children as a result of the Chernobyl accident discourage even the most doubtful. High infant mortality deprives them of their last doubts.
Only a few remain who don’t see a causal relationship between low-dose radiation and childhood leukemia. Such specialists still declare outdated calculations in their practice. Only thanks to the possibility of early diagnosis of oncological diseases, it is possible to draw attention to the problem of pediatric oncology. The 21st century must find a way out of the vicious circle associated with one of the most dangerous human diseases.
What is the difficulty of studying the Chernobyl disaster?
Research conducted by specialists must rely on real facts and evidence-based statistics. This was extremely difficult to achieve in the case of research in Chernobyl. Observations of scientists have taken place for thirty years. Obtaining information from intractable authorities was difficult until the collapse of the USSR. The Chernobyl statistics did not inspire confidence among researchers until the KGB archives began to unfold a few years ago. So, then the truth began to come out.
This undeniable thing found its confirmation in the medical reports of the KGB agents. The divide between the declared by the authorities and the real number of birth defects among children checked out after the Chernobyl accident. The authors of the latest studies hope to refute repeated claims that the fear of people about radiation is unfounded. They put health and interests of ordinary people above the preservation of the “status quo” of the powers and supporters of atomic globalization.