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Excerpt: "An estimated 14,000 excess deaths in the United States are linked to the radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, according to a major new article in the December 2011 edition of the International Journal of Health Services. This is the first peer-reviewed study published in a medical journal documenting the health hazards of Fukushima."

NOAA has run a numeric model for ocean surface currents to predict the movement of marine debris generated by the Japan tsunami over five years. The model measures the movement of surface currents, as well as the movement of what is in or on the water, 03/31/11. (photo: J. Churnside (NOAA OAR)/Google Earth)
NOAA has run a numeric model for ocean surface currents to predict the movement of marine debris generated by the Japan tsunami over five years. The model measures the movement of surface currents, as well as the movement of what is in or on the water, 03/31/11. (photo: J. Churnside (NOAA OAR)/Google Earth)

Study: US Deaths Tied to Fukushima Disaster Fallout

By PR Newswire

20 December 11


Impact seen as roughly comparable to radiation-related deaths after Chernobyl; infants are hardest hit, with continuing research showing even higher possible death count.

n estimated 14,000 excess deaths in the United States are linked to the radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, according to a major new article in the December 2011 edition of the International Journal of Health Services. This is the first peer-reviewed study published in a medical journal documenting the health hazards of Fukushima.

Authors Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman note that their estimate of 14,000 excess U.S. deaths in the 14 weeks after the Fukushima meltdowns is comparable to the 16,500 excess deaths in the 17 weeks after the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. The rise in reported deaths after Fukushima was largest among U.S. infants under age one. The 2010-2011 increase for infant deaths in the spring was 1.8 percent, compared to a decrease of 8.37 percent in the preceding 14 weeks.

Just six days after the disastrous meltdowns struck four reactors at Fukushima on March 11, scientists detected the plume of toxic fallout had arrived over American shores. Subsequent measurements by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found levels of radiation in air, water, and milk hundreds of times above normal across the U.S. The highest detected levels of Iodine-131 in precipitation in the U.S. were as follows (normal is about 2 picocuries I-131 per liter of water): Boise, ID (390); Kansas City (200); Salt Lake City (190); Jacksonville, FL (150); Olympia, WA (125); and Boston, MA (92).

Epidemiologist Joseph Mangano, MPH MBA, said: "This study of Fukushima health hazards is the first to be published in a scientific journal. It raises concerns, and strongly suggests that health studies continue, to understand the true impact of Fukushima in Japan and around the world. Findings are important to the current debate of whether to build new reactors, and how long to keep aging ones in operation."

Mangano is executive director, Radiation and Public Health Project, and the author of 27 peer-reviewed medical journal articles and letters.

Internist and toxicologist Janette Sherman, MD, said: "Based on our continuing research, the actual death count here may be as high as 18,000, with influenza and pneumonia, which were up five-fold in the period in question as a cause of death. Deaths are seen across all ages, but we continue to find that infants are hardest hit because their tissues are rapidly multiplying, they have undeveloped immune systems, and the doses of radioisotopes are proportionally greater than for adults."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues weekly reports on numbers of deaths for 122 U.S. cities with a population over 100,000, or about 25-30 percent of the U.S. In the 14 weeks after Fukushima fallout arrived in the U.S. (March 20 to June 25), deaths reported to the CDC rose 4.46 percent from the same period in 2010, compared to just 2.34 percent in the 14 weeks prior. Estimated excess deaths during this period for the entire U.S. are about 14,000.

Dr. Sherman is an adjunct professor, Western Michigan University, and contributing editor of "Chernobyl - Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment" published by the NY Academy of Sciences in 2009, and author of "Chemical Exposure and Disease and Life's Delicate Balance - Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer." your social media marketing partner


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+68 # Bill Clements 2011-12-20 23:25
I find it absolutely unconscionable that this story is not being covered in the media. Even more egregious, not a word from the CDC, the EPA? And these estimates are only for the 14 weeks following the disaster. How many more deaths can we add in the intervening 6 month period following those 14 weeks?

And you wonder why people don't trust their governments?
+1 # ruralhorseman 2011-12-21 21:36
Yes and the government told us that they would tell us when it was time to distribute Potassium Iodine pills and there was no rush to go to your pharmacy and deplete the stock. Funny how that did NOT happen! Has anyone read the study? If so the majority of the extra deaths should have been in the west coast and Rocky Mtn. states. Anyone know if that is true? Another point...with all the hullabaloo over immigration and shrinking of the economy, one would think your government would want to save its citizens from sickness thereby not having the insurance companies loose money and the big Pharma not make money because iodine pills are so cheap. Is this a case much like the Clinton-Lewinsk y republican prosecution process where the republican congress has thrown so many b.s. obstacles at Obama and his administration it is impossible to stay on top of everything? With Clinton it was Al Qaeda that got dropped to a degree. With Obama, will it be these small but important disasters that add up to something that could have been prevented had there been no republican diversion in Congress?
+42 # RagingLiberal 2011-12-20 23:37
We KNEW they wouldn't tell us the truth, and they didn't. I'm thankful that the International community doesn't kowtow to US policy, or the US would never have known about this. Our own government just denies any radiation fallout or any effects. And most americans believe them. This study won't get much news coverage.
+16 # Vardoz 2011-12-21 01:16
These people who run the NRC are murders and our lives are in the hands of those who are no better than the tabacco industry. They don't care if you die, they know it can kill for decades and they take no responsibility for the consequences of their actions. As long as I can remember I asked myself what would happen if one of those reactors built on a fault wasn't the most insane idea one could think of. Using nuclear substances the most dangerous substance known to man to boil water and make energy is absolutely insane and it is this mentality that will desrtoy us!!!!!
+4 # Gnome de Pluehm 2011-12-21 02:41
How do we/they know this is really the cause and not just a statistical correlation?
+10 # AndreM5 2011-12-21 10:06
I am not pro-nuc but radiation is my business (medical). This news report is very misleading as are the quotes from the authors. The effects of elevated exposure to I-131 are NOT INSTANAEOUS but delayed by many years. Correlating "excess deaths" with the arrival of airborne radioisotopes makes no sense to me. I will look for the original article now.
+5 # Gurka 2011-12-21 18:42
@AndreM5, you have a strong point. My first reaction was the same - how can they tell so soon?
+7 # AndreM5 2011-12-22 11:46
The flaws in this "paper" are lengthy. If you are interested, I just found a short critique offered at Scientific American.
+4 # AndreM5 2011-12-22 11:10
Look up the "paper" yourself. It is a very thin opinion piece, not a rigorous scientific study. Unfortunately for the sake of this discussion the stats are very weak indeed. They compare gross death statistics for a few cities in the USA for a 5 month period, I think, in 2011 following Fukushima to the same calendar period in the previous year. The study is very crude, uncorrected for any of many confounding effects or regional variations. The data cannot be used to predict population doses or a dose-response effect. There are a lot of numbers reported inlcuding death statistics for my own city (which showed a DECREASE in deaths for the post-Fukushima period, not an increase). Certainly there is no plausible cause and effect suggested, which is not a big deal in itself. My own students would give the methods in this paper a C-. Check the paper yourself and don't take my word for it.
0 # Upgeya 2011-12-23 00:57
I would hardly call this 64 page paper a "very thin opinion piece". Your use of this language suggests your bias. Correlation does not prove causation, but the correlation IS there. And, the very interesting thing is: radiation affects the very fast growing young much more than those who are older. And guess what - it's in the young where the big increases in deaths occur. So, while the exact mechanism of action may not be known for SIDS, it's clear that radiation harms life. That's plausible enough for me. And yes, it would be great if we had better data. I wonder why we don't? And why the U.S. Government provided so much more data after Chernobyl?
+1 # AndreM5 2011-12-23 13:42
There is no demonstrated correlation. There isn't even a reasonable error estimate. Please apply objective thought here or the serious discussion gets hijacked by emotion.

And where did you get the idea the paper is "64 pages" long? It's 16 pages counting all of the Appendices.

Are you sure you looked at the right paper?
+1 # talljerry 2011-12-21 06:38
my best friend is a 56 year old, clean living fitness dude living in the San Francisco area. He's undergoing surgery today for breast cancer. I pray for a full recovery and sit here wondering if his cancer is related to radiation exposure from Fukushima.
+2 # AndreM5 2011-12-22 11:21
The short answer is "not likely." Breast cancer does effect about 2000 men each year in the USA and it is often overlooked in physical exams. The latency for induction of breast cancer due to radiation exposure (very high doses) is 20 years or more.
+17 # mwd870 2011-12-21 07:56
Anyone who thinks it would be a good idea to build new "safe" nuclear reactors in this country is out of their mind.

This was a terrible tragedy for Japan with worldwide repercussions. The story could be covered more in the media, but it feels like there is nothing we can do about the health issues after the damage has been done.

Media coverage could force proactive policies to prevent another disaster, such as shutting down all nuclear reactors gradually over time. How much support would this get from big money interests?
+10 # oakes721 2011-12-21 09:09
The NUCLEAR MACHINE is geared to protect only itself ~ not those it is supposed to serve or those who serve the MACHINE.

Having opened Pandora's Box, the used nuclear salesmen can do nothing but hide their face ~ even from their own families ~ yet lack the intestinal fortitude to say, "STOP THIS!" ~ even now.
+9 # brianf 2011-12-21 09:14
When officials were saying the levels of radiation were "safe", did they know these "safe" levels would cause deaths? Yes. "Safe" doesn't mean nobody will be affected or even that nobody will die. It just means the chances that a random person will get sick or die are below a certain level. Any time radiation rises, chances of sickness and death also rise. This is true whether we are talking about X-Rays, Fukushima, radiation treatment for cancer, or the lingering effects of nuclear testing. Instead of telling people that these things increase the average person's chances of injury or death by a certain percentage, they call them "safe".

It's impossible to say whether a particular person's death was caused by Fukushima radiation, just as it's impossible to say a particular extreme weather event was caused or made stronger by global warming. But when you see a strong enough correlation of rising deaths with how much radiation increased in various locations, and you know radiation causes damage to tissues, you can conclude that the increase in deaths was probably due to the radiation. And when the frequency or intensity of extreme weather events rises with the temperature, especially when scientists predicted this would happen years earlier, and when nobody has found any other explanation, you can conclude that global warming = more extreme weather.
+7 # AndreM5 2011-12-21 10:07
The "officials" do not say an exposure level is "safe" or "not safe." That is a repeated error of the media.
+8 # noitall 2011-12-21 12:25
"Findings are important to the current debate of whether to build new reactors, and how long to keep aging ones in operation."
This statement speaks volumes! I remember that period a few days after the design-flawed reactor blew, spewing out death that should never have left its natural source. We were told that "monitor readings on the West Coast of the U.S. were high". The solution: our govt. shut down the monitoring stations. Was this a protective reaction in the interest of citizen health or in the interest of the corporation's bottom line? Seems clear to me what the answer to that question is. Is there a $ figure that will sate the greed of our corporate lords? the gods that our oath-sworn leaders grovel before? those who's altar we lay out our sons and daughters as sacrificial gifts in foreign countries that possess oil? What's worse? ignorance? War? GM-poisoned foods? destroyed environment? Torture? Rendition? Racism? lack of compassion? brain washing? incarceration and murder of truth tellers?

Because of this repeating of history, Earth's 'civilizations' continue to live in the Dark Ages, centurys away from enlightenment. Any question why GREED is a sin in your bible and in every creed on earth? and still we admire and cowtow to those who reach some level of excessive wealth. Shame on all of us. We reap what we have sown.
0 # ruralhorseman 2011-12-21 21:47
I'm sorry but as an OWS participant in 5 different cities, enduring weather, loss of job, financial strain, familial separation and sometimes the wrath of the government, I find it hard to imagine just how thin can the AVERAGE American spread themselves to address our government of our grievances? How many letters must we write? 1000? Done that and more. How many phone calls to our elected officials must we make? 2000? Done that and more. How much money must we donate to causes in the name of human rights and the freedom our creator gave us? More than we are worth? Almost there....There will come a time when we all will rise up and demand that this madness stop. We alone can bring the government to a close. If we don't work, if we don't or can't pay taxes, if we become a burden on the government CHANGE WILL COME or the cancer will spread world wide. I know, it may already be there.
+5 # johnteyre 2011-12-22 13:26
I'm a neroradiologist with some real knowledge about radiation. This article is not scientific. It's total crap. That's why it hasn't appeared in mainstream media who have experts to verify and vet the authenticity of these reports. Anti-nuc lunatic fringe should not be regarded as news sources. Andre M5 is right. You can have your own opinions but not your own facts. This slanted crap is no better than Fox news.
-2 # mwd870 2011-12-23 07:28
I'm willing to take your word about the accuracy of the fallout in the United States (to date). However, it is a fact there were disastrous meltdowns in four reactors at Fukushima.

Any scientist understands that the ecology of the earth is connected, which makes it possible there will be radioactive fallout in this country. You cannot deny radiation causes serious health issues and can kill. This was not the first meltdown and likely will not be the last. Opponents of nuclear power are not a lunatic fringe. Maybe the question is what vested interest makes you so obviously pro-nuclear.
+4 # AndreM5 2011-12-23 13:50
I don't see anything in Johnteyre's comments that are "obviously pro-nuclear" but it is easy to derive the wrong impression in short blogs.

Reviewing the meager available data and the furious actions taken at Fukushima I fear the problem is far worse than reported. No suprise there.

A reliable up-to-date source of engineering/phy sics data from Japan is the Union of Concerned Scientists web site.
+1 # tclose 2011-12-23 08:59
Johnteyre - you have I think done a service in bringing some balance to this discussion. You have implied though that the source of this info is the "anti-nuc" fringe - could you tell us what is the link of the authors to that? Thanks.

I am generally with the folks who are concerned about environmental effects of our economic activities, but am also skeptical here - radiation effects tend to be of long duration unless extremely high levels are incurred, which is certainly not the case here.

Lets not try to demonize governmental agencies - or the nuke industry for that matter - on the basis on the questionable data presented here.
0 # AndreM5 2012-01-05 11:37
Take a look at the authors' web site. They write numerous opinion pieces in concert with their personal fund raising. Getting hysterical media attention is good for fund raising.
0 # Scott479 2011-12-23 09:53
We don't need no stinking "safe levels" of exposure just see the EPA hiking the limits by many thousands right after the meltdowns:

Another point (fact)-US monitoring facilities are unbelievably being run by the same industry they are supposed to monitor:
0 # Bill Clements 2011-12-23 22:03
Apparently some problems with the data in this study. Worth reading.

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