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Thursday
Aug012019

Misuse of thyroid cancer data threatens public health protection

As the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe unfolded in March 2011, experts began studying the impact of radioactivity, particularly radioiodine, on children's health. After Chernobyl, it took nearly a decade for official experts to admit what data were revealing: exposure to radioiodine, one of the nuclides released from nuclear power disasters, increases thyroid cancer. Those who were children at the time of their exposure were particularly vulnerable.

During Fukushima releases, experts had determined that thyroid exposures wouldn't be high enough to dispense potassium iodide to the public for protection. Regarding this decision, one expert uttered "oops" after viewing actual fallout maps. Subsequently, these same experts were put in charge of studies examining radioiodine's impact. Missing and misused, data from these reports are now influencing future international response to radioiodine exposure. More