It's not only about cancer

If you get your information from the IAEA, WHO or magazines like The New Scientist, you might get the impression that nuclear accidents have little effect on health and add only a small percentage to the total of all cancer cases. The focus on cancer is entirely misleading, and probably deliberately deceptive on the part of those who downplay the risks of nuclear energy. Below is a summary of the health effects that have been documented in heavily contaminated regions near Chernobyl (this is a summary of a previous post citing Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment). This issue is also covered well in the interview with Dr. Janette Sherman who edited the English version of this study.
These ailments also overlap with signs and symptoms reported by Iraqi citizens and US military personnel who were exposed to depleted uranium. We can also note that everywhere for the last quarter century there has been a widely acknowledged medical mystery: there have been increasing rates of cancer, diabetes, obesity, immune deficiency, chronic fatigue and formerly rare allergies to common foods. It is suspected that chemicals are the main cause of this problem, but rising levels of radiation poisoning - from mining, burning of coal, industrial uses of radioactive materials, weapons testing, and nuclear accidents - have not received much attention (go here for more on this hypothesis). People in Europe and North America quickly forgot about Chernobyl and were never informed about the implications of the significant amount of Chernobyl fallout that landed on their territories.

Radiation and Health 
Every increase in nuclear radiation has an effect on both somatic and reproductive cells of all living things.

Radiation has negative effects on:
  • Circulatory system (owing primarily to radioactive destruction of the endothelium, the internal lining of the blood vessels).
  • Endocrine system (especially nonmalignant thyroid pathology - for every case of thyroid cancer there are hundreds of cases of reduced thyroid function).
  • Immune system (“Chernobyl AIDS,” increased incidence and seriousness of all illnesses).
  • Respiratory system.
  • Urogenital tract and reproductive disorders.
  • Musculoskeletal system (including pathologic changes in the structure and composition of bones: osteopenia and osteoporosis).
  • Central nervous system (changes in frontal, temporal, and occipitoparietal lobes of the brain, leading to diminished intelligence and behaviorial and mental disorders).
  • Eyes (cataracts, vitreous destruction, refraction anomalies, and conjunctive disorders).
  • Digestive tract.
  • Congenital malformations and anomalies (including previously rare multiple defects of limbs and head).
  • Thyroid cancer. After surgery the person becomes dependent on replacement hormone medication for life.
Radiation causes:
  • Leukemia (blood cancers) not only in children and liquidators, but in the general adult population of contaminated territories.
  • Other malignant neoplasms. 
  • Changes in the body's biological balance, leading to increased numbers of serious illnesses owing to intestinal toxicoses, bacterial infections, and sepsis.
  • Intensified infectious and parasitic diseases (e.g., viral hepatitis and respiratory viruses).
  • Increased incidence of health disorders in children born to radiated parents (both to liquidators and to individuals who left the contaminated territories), especially those radiated in utero. These disorders, involving practically all the body's organs and systems, also include genetic changes.
  • Premature aging in both adults and children.
  • Increased incidence of multiple somatic and genetic mutations.
Chernobyl has “enriched” world medicine with such terms, as “cancer rejuvenescence,” as well as three new syndromes:
  • “Vegetovascular dystonia”—dysfunctional regulation of the nervous system involving cardiovascular and other organs (also called autonomic nervous system dysfunction), with clinical signs that present against a background of stress.
  • “Incorporated long-life radionuclides”—functional and structural disorders of the cardiovascular, nervous, endocrine, reproductive, and other systems owing to absorbed radionuclides.
  • “Acute inhalation lesions of the upper respiratory tract”—a combination of a rhinitis, throat tickling, dry cough, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath owing to the effect of inhaled radionuclides, including “hot particles.”
Several new syndromes, reflecting increased incidence of some illnesses, appeared after Chernobyl. Among them:
  • “Chronic fatigue syndrome”—excessive and unrelieved fatigue, fatigue without obvious cause, periodic depression, memory loss, diffuse muscular and joint pains, chills and fever, frequent mood changes, cervical lymph node sensitivity, weight loss; it is also often associated with immune system dysfunction and CNS disorders.
  • “Lingering radiating illness syndrome”—a combination of excessive fatigue, dizziness, trembling, and back pain.
  • “Early aging syndrome”—a divergence between physical and chronological age with illnesses characteristic of the elderly occurring at an early age. 
  • Specific Chernobyl syndromes such as “radiation in utero,” “Chernobyl AIDS,” “Chernobyl heart,” “Chernobyl limbs,” and others await more detailed definitive medical descriptions. 
The optimists like to say that no causal relations can be proven because these effects are all influenced by socioeconomic factors, lifestyle, and anxiety about radiation, and other causes of poor health. But this doesn't explain why the same effects are found in all plants and animals in zones contaminated by nuclear fallout.

No comments:

Post a Comment