Title: Japan and the atom: Nuclearphobia
Source: The Economist
Date: Aug 6, 2012
In her maternity bed in this peach-farming town about 40km (25 miles) from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, Akemi Makuta, a 40-year-old mother, knows all about such fears. Since the March 2011 nuclear disaster, “radiation has been preying on my mind the whole time,” she says. It makes her stop her elder children picking flowers, jumping in puddles, and touching wet umbrellas. She doesn’t like taking her newborn daughter, Mika, out for walks. She knows this is bad for her children’s well-being, but she cannot stop taking precautions.
What she is rarely told is that, according to health experts, her fear of radiation may be more harmful than the radiation itself.
But people like Mrs Makuta may benefit as much from hearing the positive side of the story. As her obstetrician, Hiroshi Nishida, puts it, the precautions she may need to take may be no more than reminding her children to wash their hands and gargle after they’ve been outside. In Japan, that is something that children mostly do anyway.
The Economist’s ‘experts’?
- David Ropeik: (On Chernobyl) “Psychological harm from the accident, from fear, uncertainty, mistrust, was FAR worse than the cumulative health damage from radiation”
- Shunichi Yamashita: Head of Fukushima health study: 100 mSv/yr OK for pregnant moms -- "Effects of radiation do not come to people that are happy... They come to people that are weak-spirited"
Published: August 6th, 2012 at 1:18 pm ET