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A Pediatrician Remembers Fukushima’s Children And The Risks Of Radiation

By Dr. Carolyn Roy-Bornstein

It has been six months since a 9.0 magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Radiation fall-out from the disaster continues to be a significant health problem for the people of Fukushima and the dangers will in all likelihood continue for years to
come. As a pediatrician, I’ve been wondering recently, who will care for the children of Fukushima?

Children are at greater risk of the dangers of radiation for many reasons. Their minute volumes, or the amount of air they breathe in one minute, are greater than adults, causing them greater exposure to radioactive gases. They also live and breathe closer to the ground and therefore closer to nuclear fallout as it settles to earth. Radioactive Iodine is readily transmitted to human breast milk. (Cesium has been detected in the breast milk of seven women in the Fukushima area.) Cow’s milk also becomes quickly contaminated when radioactive materials settle onto grazing fields. Continue reading