Title: Fukushima Rescue Mission Lasting Legacy: Radioactive Contamination of Americans
Source: New Jersey Newsroom
Author: ROGER WITHERSPOON
Date: January 31 2013
The Department of Defense has decided to walk away from an unprecedented medical registry of nearly 70,000 American service members, civilian workers, and their families caught in the radioactive clouds blowing from the destroyed nuclear power plants at Fukushima Daiichi [...]
The decision to cease updating the registry means there will be no way to determine if patterns of health problems emerge among the members of the Marines, Army, Air Force, Corps of Engineers, and Navy stationed at 63 installations in Japan with their families. In addition, it leaves thousands of sailors and Marines in the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group 7 on their own when it comes to determining if any of them are developing problems caused by radiation exposure.
So far, however, more than 150 service men and women who participated in the rescue mission and have since developed a variety of medical issues – including tumors, tremors, internal bleeding, and hair loss – which they feel were triggered by their exposure to radiation.
[...] the decision by the Defense Department to abandon the registry leaves them on their own. [...]
Statements by service members:
- “We stayed about 80 days, and we would stay as close as two miles offshore and then sail away” -Navy Quartermaster Maurice Enis, navigator on the USS Ronald Reagan
- “Normal outside radiation exposure is between five and 10 CCPM. And that’s from the sun. At Atsugi [in Kanagawa Prefecture, ~250 kilometers from Fukushima Daiichi], the background readings were between 200 and 300 CCPM in the air. It was all over. The water was radiated. The ground was radiated. The air was radiated.” -Michael Sebourn, senior chief mechanic for the helicopter squadron based at Atsugi
- “The rule was if there was anything over a count of 500 you needed special gloves. Over 1,000 CCPM and you needed a Tyvek radiation suit. And if it was over 5,000 you needed an entire outfit – suit, respirator, goggles, and two sets of gloves. You couldn’t put a contaminated radiator back into the helicopters – they had to be replaced. I remember pulling out a radiator and it read 60,000 CCPM.” -Sebourn
See also: Report: Many sailors from USS Ronald Reagan suffered problems after 3/11 -- "No amount of money would compensate me if I'm 23 years old and bleeding from my behind" -Attorney
Published: February 1st, 2013 at 3:31 pm ET