H. Caldicott "Remind us of Chernobyl"
It is now 31 years since the radioactive accident at Chernobyl and the medical effects continue to impact thousands of exposed people. 40% of the European land mass is polluted and will remain so for thousands of years contaminated by long lived isotopes – plutonium 239, 238 and 241, cobalt 60 and technetium 132. Parts of Turkey and the UK received high fallout impacting their crops. Millions were initially exposed to very high doses of radiation from short lived isotopes, thousands of times higher than doses received 3 years later.
A large literature now records the medical impact of Chernobyl. In Belarus 80% of children were once healthy, now only 20%. One million children still reside in highly radioactive areas.
Ongoing abnormalities of the immune system including B, T cells and immunoglobulins led to increased incidences of bacterial and fungal infections. Chronic joint and bone pain, osteoporosis, periodontal disease and increased incident of fractures. Strontium 90 and plutonium concentrate in bones and teeth.
Premature aging with heart attacks, hypertension, strokes and type 1 diabetes and alopecia are recorded in children. Multiple endocrine abnormalities including diabetes, hypo and hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease plus menstrual disorders have increased as cesium concentrates in endocrine organs and cardiac muscle.
Intellectual retardation recorded in babies who were in utero at the time of the accident as well as neural tube defects, microcephaly and microphthalmia in babies secondary to mothers’ high whole body count of cesium recorded in the Polissia Region of the Ukraine. Increased incidence of congenital cataracts, retinal pathology and adult cataracts occur in many European countries.
Thyroid carcinoma arose 2 -4 years post-accident, in Belarus increasing to7000 cases by 2000 and despite surgery 30% were aggressive and had metastasized. Congenital thyroid cancer in newborns also was documented. Iodine131, and 129, technetium 132, rubinium 103 cesium 137 and 134 concentrate in the thyroid.
Increased incidences of cancer have been and are still recorded in the Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Germany, the UK, Greece, Rumania and Europe including stomach, colon, bladder, kidney, pancreas, retinoblastoma, leukemia, adrenal, melanoma, breast, lung rectum, brain, and pharyngeal.
Many thousands of children have been born with severe teratogenic deformities, mental retardation and the incidence of trisomies 13 and 18 rose while the incidence ofDown’s syndrome increased by 49% in Belarus, 250% in Germany and 30% in Sweden.
Of the 800,000 “liquidators”, young men who were exposed to massive doses of radiation recruited from all over Russian 120,000 to 125,000 died within the first 19 years. Surveys of wildlife and birds in the exclusion zones revealed genetic and chromosomal abnormalities, sterility in male swallows, small brains, tumours, and other anatomical abnormalities.