econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 29 April 2016

What We Learned From Chernobyl About How Radiation Affects Our Bodies

from The Conversation

-- this post authored by Ausrele Kesminiene, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

The world has never seen a nuclear accident as severe as the one that unfolded when a reactor exploded in Chernobyl on April 26 1986, sending vast amounts of radiation into the skies around Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

The planet had experienced massive releases like this before, in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. But Chernobyl-related radiation exposure had a more protracted character.

It was the first time in history that such a large population, particularly at a very young age, was exposed to radioactive isotopes, namely iodine-131 and cesium-137, not just through direct exposure, but through eating contaminated food as well.

In 2006, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published estimates of how many excess cancers would occur as a result of this contamination.

While noting that these estimates are subject to substantial uncertainty, the authors found that 1,000 cases of thyroid cancer and 4,000 cases of other cancers had already been caused by the accident. They further estimated that by 2065, 16,000 cases of thyroid cancer and 25,000 cases of other cancers could be attributed to the effects of Chernobyl radiation.

Research on the health impact of the Chernobyl disaster has mainly focused on thyroid cancer, in particular in those exposed to radioactive iodine isotopes in childhood and adolescence. Large amounts of iodine-131 were released into the atmosphere after the explosion, and children were exposed by consuming locally produced milk and vegetables.

Efforts were made to better understand the mechanisms of radiation-induced thyroid cancer and which factors could modify the radiation risk. This allowed us to identify a molecular "radiation fingerprint", which can point to changes that are specific to radiation exposure, as opposed to any other factors.

Studies were also conducted to evaluate the risk of haematological malignancies - tumours that affect the blood, bone marrow, lymph, and lymphatic system - in children and Chernobyl clean-up workers in the three most affected countries. Studies of cancer incidence and mortality, cardiovascular diseases and all-cause mortality were also conducted on clean-up workers. Although of variable quality, the list of studies done on people affected by the blast is long.

What we found

Today, there is an overall agreement among scientist that thyroid cancers increased following exposure to radiation in childhood and adolescence. Several studies have also indicated an increase in haematological malignancies and thyroid cancer in Chernobyl clean-up workers.

Children who live in contaminated territory take physiotherapy at a rehabilitation and health centre in Belarus. Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Findings on radiation-associated risk both for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and other types of leukaemia in clean-up workers were reported in 2013. Before then, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia was not considered to be sensitive to radiation. Further research will be required to confirm these findings.

Some studies focused on non-cancer health consequences of exposure to radiation. Convincing results on eye lens cataracts among Chernobyl clean-up workers led to the revision and considerable reduction in the recommended radiation dose limit for the lens of the eye.

Chernobyl also led to a greater knowledge on optimising treatment and follow-up of survivors of acute radiation sickness. A better understanding of thyroid cancer radiation risks allowed us to respond better to other disasters, such as Fukushima, to minimise potential adverse health consequences.

What we still don't know

Despite these important findings, many grey areas still remain. For example, we still have no convincing evidence for childhood leukaemia associated with Chernobyl. It is unclear if this is due to methodological limitations or for other reasons.

Nor do we know how radiation risk changes over time after a someone is exposed as a child, as a longer follow-up study is required. We also don't yet understand the potential transgenerational affects on children born to exposed parents.

The need for more research is immense, yet funding is declining. We need a sustainable approach to Chernobyl health research - similar to that taken after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in Japan. Without this, it is unlikely that the true impact of Chernobyl will ever be fully understood.

The ConversationAusrele Kesminiene, Deputy Section Head Section of Environment and Radiation at IARC, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical News Post Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, using Livefyre just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.



You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.





Econintersect Contributors


search_box

Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.


Take a look at what is going on inside of Econintersect.com
Main Home
Analysis Blog
Consumers Carry Weak GDP Number Out of the Red
The Theory of the Monetary Circuit: A Critique
News Blog
Rail Week Ending 24 September 2016: Data Is Mixed
Infographic Of The Day: Global Energy Efficiency
Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Lower, Oil Soft, Japan Deflation Strengthens, Trade Backlash, Trump Fades, Veto Override Reconsidered, DB Could Take Down Merkel And Euro, Germany's "Adolfina" And More
What Are British People Most Proud Of
Trust In Mass Media Erodes
Shimon Peres Was An Israeli Nationalist First And A Peacemaker Second
Guessing Game: Valuations Of Trump's Fortune
What We Read Today 29 September 2016
This Mushroom Starts Killing You Before You Even Realize It
August 2016 Median Household Income Has Declined From The Beginning Of The Year
August 2016 Pending Home Sales Index Declines?
24 September 2016 Initial Unemployment Claims: Rolling Averages Continue to Improve.
Third Estimate 2Q2016 GDP Revised Upward. Corporate Profits Down.
Investing Blog
Are You A Trader Or Investor?
Investing.com Technical Summary 29 September 2016
Opinion Blog
First: 'Over-Population End-of Times' Now: 'Shrinking Population Disaster'
The Federal Reserve Note
Precious Metals Blog
Where Silver Prices Are Headed Now After Fed's Latest Inaction
Live Markets
29Sep2016 Market Close: Wall Street Bracing For Major Turn Down If German Bank Fails, Crude Prices Rise Towards 50 Handle And US Dollar Showing New Strength
Amazon Books & More






.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government



Crowdfunding ....






























 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2016 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved