KOMO 4 News transcript, Feb 11, 2015 (emphasis added): Men and women sworn to serve, now suffering from mysterious health problems… Local rescuers find themselves battling for the truth — and their own survival… They had no idea of what was happening in coastal Fukushima… 3 of 6 nuclear reactors suffered meltdowns, then several explosions… prevailing winds sent most of that radiation over the Pacific, where the 7th Fleet was positioned… the sailors say no one aboard ship took any extra radiation protection measures [for] “probably about a week”… [Aviation Structural Mechanic Ron] Wright remembers one time the scanners went crazy over his trousers. “It was just being like beep, beep, beep, beep… I lost my pants.”… The Navy continuously reassured them… Within a month of Operation Tomodachi… he started experiencing painful swelling in his groin. He’s undergone 3 surgeries but expects to suffer pain the rest of his life. Even more frightening — Wright’s diagnosis of varicocele can lead to male infertility.
More on Wright’s health problems: They had to turn in the things that were deemed to be contaminated which were then burned… [He] had to turn in his pants and… walk through the ship in his underwear… “They always told us that we were safe”… One month later, his testicles swelled up to the size of tennis balls… the pain was unbearable… a doctor on board recommended that the young sailor be flown out, partially because he didn’t know what Wright was actually suffering from. Instead, he was given pain killers. And the treatment still hasn’t changed: Neurontin and Percocet… “When I asked if it might have something to do with the radiation from Fukushima, a doctor told me pretty gruffly no,” Wright says… “I have been operated on seven times, always in military hospitals. Nothing has helped. There has been no diagnosis, just the pills.”
- ‘Endocrine effects of Fukushima‘: All the endocrine glands are susceptible to damage by radiation exposure; however, pituitary, thyroid and gonads are most likely to be affected… Gonads are also profoundly affected by irradiation… [Exposed individuals risk] less sex steroid production and infertility.
Master Chief Petty Officer Leticia Morales: Since 2008, she has been responsible for the flight deck on board the Ronald Reagan and about 100 sailors… In May 2013 [she] suddenly began suffering dizzy spells. Her arm swelled up, her right hand looked like a baseball mitt… Her general practitioner told her that there was something serious going on, but they weren’t sure what it was… they found a tumor in her liver. [Last] February, they found a malignant growth in her thyroid gland… In the summer of 2014, she began experiencing cardiac arrhythmia and that autumn, they found metastases in her breast.
Lieutenant Steve Simmons, also on the USS Reagan during 3/11: [A] year after he returned from Japan… muscles began to fail and his hair started falling out by the handful. He got migraines, experienced bloody discharges, became incontinent and his fingers turned yellow, even brown on some days. His feet are now dark red in color and he experiences whole-body spasms… he can no longer walk — and nobody can tell him why.
Published: February 16th, 2015 at 2:42 pm ET