WHO report on Fukushima meltdown provides imaginary statistics

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Despite the tragedy and dismay that struck with Japan s 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami and nuclear plant meltdown, a World Health Organization report concluded that people living near Fukushima Japan s 2011 nuclear disaster site face only a slightly greater risk of cancer.

The 166-page report released yesterday capped off a comprehensive two-year analysis of the estimated dose of radioactivity from the accident and its potential risks. The group of experts convened by the agency stated that the highest increases in risk appeared for people exposed as infants to radiation in the most heavily affected areas.

The report estimated that infants in the most affected regions had an additional four to seven percent overall risk of developing cancers including leukemia and breast cancer over their lifetimes. In Japan, men have about a 41 percent lifetime risk of developing cancer of an organ, while a woman's lifetime risk is about 29 percent. For those most exposed to the radiation after the Fukushima meltdown, their chances of cancer would rise by about one percent.

Furthermore, the scientists also noted that no discernible increase in health risks was expected outside of Japan, nor did they predict any adverse effects on pregnancies, among mothers or their newborns.

Although the study did not directly look at psychological effects of the disaster, the study said that the psychological toll of the disaster, including the stress of evacuation, were also harmful to health. "The report was not looking at mental health or psychological impact of three major events - the earthquake, tsunami and accident at the nuclear power plant. But we know for sure that the psychological consequences and their impact will be very high," Dr. Maria Neira, WHO director for public health and environment, said.

Although this tragic event is still upsetting to recall, says ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom, there is no real news here, it is all math. Their assumptions are based entirely upon models. His 2011 op-ed in Forbes entitled Garbage In, Anti-Nuclear Propaganda Out: The 14,000 Death Fukushima Lie debunks some of the clumsy scare tactics used by those who viewed this event as an opportunity to condemn nuclear power.You can read it here.