Fukushima Meltdown Driving Increased Abnormalities Among US Infants
In wake of disaster, children on the west coast almost one-third more likely to suffer from thyroid abnormalities
Infants on the West Coast of the United States are showing increased incidents of thyroid abnormalities, which researchers are attributing to radiation released following the March 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
According to a new study (.pdf) published in the Open Journal of Pediatrics, children born in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington between one week and 16 weeks after the meltdown began are 28 percent more likely to suffer from congenital hypothyroidism (CH) than were kids born in those states during the same period one year earlier.
CH results from a build up of radioactive iodine in our thyroids and can result in stunted growth, lowered intelligence, deafness, and neurological abnormalities—though can be treated if detected early.
Because their small bodies are more vulnerable and their cells grow faster than adults’, infants serve as the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine’ for injurious environmental effects.