(NaturalNews) New peer-reviewed research published in the Open Journal of Pediatrics raises fresh concerns about the health effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster on American children and babies. As has long been suspected by those with an understanding of the widespread reach of radioactive fallout from Fukushima, newborns living in California, Hawaii, Washington, and other West Coast states appear to have been directly affected by Fukushima fallout in a serious way, which is reflected by the disproportionate rate of hypothyroidism observed amongst this demographic.
Conducted by a duo of scientists from the Radiation and Public Health Project, a non-profit education and scientific organization that seeks to understand the relationship between nuclear radiation exposure and public health, the research evaluated average rates of hypothyroidism both before and after the Fukushima disaster. In their findings, Joseph J. Mangano and Janette D. Sherman reported that, compared to one year earlier, babies born between one week and 16 weeks after the nuclear meltdowns in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington were 28 percent more likely to suffer from congenital hypothyroidism.
2,110 percent increase in iodine-131 on US West Coast following Fukushima linked to hypothyroidism
Each of these states and the Pacific Ocean, according to the study, experiences significantly elevated levels of radioactive iodine-131 (I-131), as well as various other radioactive isotopes, in the days and weeks following the March 11, 2011, disaster. Based on the data, the 2,110 percent increase in detectable I-131 all along the U.S. West Coast following the disaster appears to be directly correlated with the higher-than-average rates of congenital hypothyroidism.
"After entering our bodies, radioactive iodine gathers in our thyroids," explains John Upton, writing for Grist.com, about how radioactive isotopes interfere with proper thyroid function. "Thyroids are glands that release hormones that control how we grow. In babies, including those not yet born, such radiation can stunt the development of body and brain. The condition is known as congenital hypothyroidism."
A similar uptick in congenital hypothyroidism, which is fully treatable if detected early, was also observed in young children following the historic meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor back in 1986. Because of this, researchers are even more convinced that Fukushima is responsible for the now-occurring uptick, which is only just now beginning to be realized.
"Congenital hypothyroidism can be used as one measure to assess any potential changes in U.S. fetal and infant health status after Fukushima because official data was available relatively promptly," wrote the authors in their report. "However, health departments will soon have available for other 2010 and 2011 indicators of fetal/infant health, including fetal deaths, premature births, low birth weights, neonatal deaths, infant deaths, and birth defects."
For the latest developments related to the Fukushima disaster, be sure to check out the Fukushima Diary blog: http://fukushima-diary.com/