Asahi Shimbun, May 19, 2015 (emphasis added): Fukushima finds 16 new cases of thyroid cancer in young people… authorities said May 18, although they added it is “unlikely” a direct result of the nuclear accident…The 16 new cases were detected between January and March, and bring the total number of young people diagnosed with the disease in the testing program to 103… 127 [have been diagnosed or suspected of having thyroid cancer]… many cases of thyroid cancer in infants were reported after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. However, this has not proven to be the case so far with regard to the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
Fukushima Voice, May 19, 2015: The Thyroid Examination Evaluation Subcommittee… came to a conclusion [that this] clearly represents an excess incidence… by an order of magnitude (At the November 11, 2014 subcommittee meeting, it was described as “61 times“)… this increase can be a result of either excess occurrence due to radiation exposure or over-diagnosis… “it is not possible to conclude if thyroid cancer cases detected during the screening are radiation-induced… it is unlikely these cases are the effect of radiation exposure… the exposure dose is far less than the Chernobyl accident and that there have been no cancer cases in children younger than 5… early internal exposure dose from radioactive iodine is extremely critical in assessing the effect of the accident.”
The subcommittee and Asahi article discount the link between these cancers and the Fukushima disaster due to a lack of cases among infants. Asahi claims this is unlike Chernobyl, where “many cases of thyroid cancer in infants” had developed. Is this accurate? According to Shinichi Suzuki, who was in charge of the Fukushima Thyroid Examination, March 2015: “There is a striking similarity between the [age] profiles of patients diagnosed during the period of latency after Chernobyl in Ukraine and currently in Fukushima.”
Also, the subcommittee noted “the early internal exposure dose from radioactive iodine is extremely critical in assessing the effect of the accident” — what does that dose data show?
Japan Focus, Dec 8, 2014: Sakiyama Hisako, former senior researcher at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences… observed that power was deployed to stop measurements of thyroid exposure being taken… Professor Tokonami Shinji of Hirosaki University… tried to measure exposure levels immediately after the explosions [but] was halted by Fukushima Prefecture, which accused him of stirring up trouble… Tokonami went on to test 65 Fukushima residents one month after the explosions [and] found radioactive iodine in the thyroids of 50 out of the 65 (77%)… He estimated the equivalent dose to the thyroid [was up to] 87 mSv [and] infants who remained in areas with high iodine levels may have been exposed to over 100 mSv.
FUKUDEN (pdf), Dec 31, 2014: Prof. Toshihide Tsuda, an epidemiology specialist [said] “When we analyzed the results of the thyroid cancer survey conducted in the Fukushima Prefecture according to location, it is obvious that there are more numbers of thyroid cancer cases in the Nakadori area (middle area), and we urgently need to take necessary measures.”
Prof. Tsuda, Eiji Yamamoto & Etsuji Suzuki of Okayama Univ.: [The thyroid cancer] incidence rate ratio was 26.98… in the nearest area, and in Fukushima city, it was 19.41… compared with the Japanese mean… [E]xcess incidence rate ratios were observed… Dose-response relationship by distance from the plant was indicated… countermeasures against the suspected outbreak are necessary in Fukushima and the neighboring areas.
Published: May 19th, 2015 at 7:05 pm ET