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View Diary: UN Special Rapporteur: Japan Must Do More for the People of Fukushima (57 comments)

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  •  I provided it because it is (2+ / 0-)
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    mahakali overdrive, Jim P

    current and establishes a 'norm' (at least, here in the US) of 0.22 and 1.35% for SINGLE thyroid nodules/cysts in children. You don't like what it reports, so say no one should consider this published, peer-reviewed research to be valid. That is obviously YOUR problem, not mine.

    And it's certainly not the problem of any of these medical doctors who specialize in pediatric endocrine disorders who reported their statistics and/or reviewed the statistics from the represented institutions.

    Your insistence that physicians should be noting a >40% rate of thyroid nodules/cysts in children as "normal" in 2012 - in Japan, in the United States, or anywhere else in the world - is flat-out wrong. Outrageously so. This sort of thing is just bound to bite you on the ass in the quest to protect nuclear power from the unacceptable threat it presents to the humans on this planet - particularly children.


    •  Nodules aren't that hard to spot (2+ / 0-)
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      Joieau, Jim P

      to be honest. A good doctor can detect even a pretty small one with a palpation of the neck, and that's a routine thing that doctors do during physicals of kids.

      The stats I looked at were also at about <1% in kids (higher in older women, but only around 5%).

      I'm not aware of any major advances in ultrasound technology that would matter here because even the old ultrasounds were very sensitive to see small nodules. Thyroid screening isn't that hard.

      "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom" - Walter Benjamin

      by mahakali overdrive on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 04:13:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course you're right. (1+ / 0-)
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        mahakali overdrive

        It's not like doctors never knew how to check for thyroid issues in children (or adults) before ultrasound. Or that ultrasound is so very much 'better' now than it was ten or twenty years ago so as to 'explain away' the findings of >40% thyroid nodules/cysts in the children of Fukushima. Why, a study published just weeks ago (cited above) establishes rates of less than 2% as 'normal' in the US. Entirely in line with previous studies.

        If nearly half of children were presenting with thyroid pathologies ANYWHERE in the world, it would qualify as a genuine public health crisis and the cause would be meticulously investigated and urgently dealt with. Unless, of course, you happen to live within 80 km of the worst multi-meltdown nuclear disaster the world has ever seen. In which case it would be the 'New Normal' so shut up and eat your glow in the dark rice, kid.

        Grumble, grumble.

        •  It's not the benign nodules I'm worried about (1+ / 0-)
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          at all. These tend to not be much of anything. But a nodule found after radioactive exposure is going to be much more of a risk. It's not a hypothetical, controversial, or even ground-breaking idea to link thyroid cancer with radioactive exposure (even low-levels). It's the reason why the dentist puts a lead apron on you when you have a tooth x-ray and why doctors no longer give throat x-rays to children in the U.S. (for several decades now; they used to far more customarily), and thyroid cancer is very, very common after radioactive exposure. I don't know if it is the most common cancer, but the thyroid is a funny little thing which has cells which are very responsive to radiation.

          Well-known fact.

          Nothing speculative there.

          Did Japan experience high levels of radioactive iodine? Parts of it did. Without a doubt. It was easy to measure in the plants, such as in green tea, causing some crops to be destroyed.

          Can elevated levels of radiation lead to thyroid cancer? Absolutely. Known and factual. Thus the use of prophylactic iodine afterwards.

          Is prophylactic iodine a definite defense? Absolutely not if there is continued radiation emitted into the atmosphere/environment.

          Was there continued radiation emitted into the atmosphere/environment? TEPCO has widely been indicted for lying about what the environmental situation looked like, and there were continued and measurable reads of radiation well past what they suggested, which is how the whole coverup was really noticed by the world in the first place.

          So is all of this in the realm of possibility? Yes. And the UN is saying this as well. And it could even be considered within the realm of probability from all that we've learned about the thyroid and certain forms of radiation exposure. This is not even looking at the other radionuclides which were released.

          "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom" - Walter Benjamin

          by mahakali overdrive on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 05:11:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here, it took me like ten seconds to find this (3+ / 0-)
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            jeanette0605, Joieau, Jim P

            From the American Cancer Society:



            Exposure to radiation is a proven risk factor for thyroid cancer. Sources of such radiation include certain medical treatments and radiation fallout from power plant accidents or nuclear weapons.

            Having had head or neck radiation treatments in childhood is a risk factor for thyroid cancer. Risk depends on how much radiation is given and the age of the child. In general, the risk increases as the dose increases, also the risk is higher with lower (younger) ages at treatment. In the past, children were sometimes treated with low doses of radiation for things we wouldn't use radiation for now, like acne, fungus infections of the scalp (ringworm), an enlarged thymus gland, or to shrink tonsils or adenoids. Years later, the people who had these treatments were found to have an increased risk of thyroid cancer. Radiation therapy in childhood for some cancers such as lymphoma, Wilms tumor, and neuroblastoma also increases risk. Thyroid cancers associated with prior radiation therapy are not more serious than other thyroid cancers.

            Being exposed to radiation as an adult carries much less risk of thyroid cancer.

            Several studies have pointed to an increased risk of thyroid cancer in children because of radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons or power plant accidents.
            For instance, thyroid cancer is several times more common than normal in children living near Chernobyl, the site of a 1986 nuclear plant accident that exposed millions of people to radioactivity. Adults involved with the cleanup after the accident and those who lived near the plant have also had a higher rate of thyroid cancer. Children with more iodine in their diet appeared to have a lower risk.

            Some radioactive fallout occurred over certain regions of the United States after nuclear weapons were tested in western states during the 1950s. This exposure was much, much lower than that around Chernobyl. A higher risk of thyroid cancer has not been proven at these low exposure levels. If you are concerned about possible exposure to radioactive fallout, discuss this with your doctor.

            Hardly a controversial idea that there may be elevated thyroid cancer levels post-Fukushima in either adults or (especially) children.

            "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom" - Walter Benjamin

            by mahakali overdrive on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 05:16:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Unless you're a nuke (2+ / 0-)
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              mahakali overdrive, Jim P

              trying desperately to salvage your place in the religion of dark powers and dark deeds. In which case you'd convince yourself that nearly half of children suffer thyroid dysfunctions/cancer before they're old enough for middle school as a matter of course. Why, more common than strep throat, it is! Yep... that's the ticket.

              Don't forget that these are the same people who stridently insist to this very day that 'only' 31 people died as a result of Chernobyl, where at least 5% of one reactor's core was released due to steam explosions and fire.

              Unless you are vaporized on the spot and leave a greasy shadow on the wall, or die within days of acute radiation-induced gastrointestinal syndrome, your later death can never be blamed on radiation exposure. No matter how closely correlated your disease happens to be with levels of radiation you were demonstrably exposed to. That's apparently a 'rule' in NukeWorld, and by gum, they'll stick to it come hell or high water. Or both.

          •  You know, I should probably say (0+ / 0-)

            something about 'prophylactic' non-radioactive iodine as a protection against radiation. Just in the interests of being thorough on details per this subject.

            Potassium Iodide [KI] should have been distributed to residents within 10-15 km of Daiichi long before the earthquake/tsunami. The rationale for this is that officials can tell people to start taking them immediately whenever they are notified of an Oops at the local nuke. Because all nuclear Oopses release iodine 131 (at least). It's the #1 most limiting isotope. Hell, because nuclear plants release iodine 131 daily in the course of 'normal' operations, supplemental KI should be routine for nearby residents. Most folks don't.

            Yet people whose families have lived for generations on the coast of Honshu (and to a certain extent anywhere in Japan) should 'normally' have fairly saturated thyroid glands, as iodine is abundant in seaweed and seafood, as well as in soils of island nations in which crops are grown. So Fukushima citizens should have been better able to weather the 131 dump-storm than, say, people who lived near Three Mile Island or Chernobyl. For there to be a 40% rate of thyroid nodules/cysts less than a year after the Super-Oops, the doses had to be high and had to have been persistent over an extended period (~3 months) during which time the 'normal' iodine-rich diet was unavailable.

            Anyway, "packing" a thyroid with stable iodine can certainly protect your thyroid gland from radioactive iodine. But it can't protect your lungs and digestive internal organs from alpha/beta/gamma radiation released by ANY radioactive isotopes by spontaneous decay on their way through your body. Internal dose.

            These are Arnie's "hot particles," that are not included in any assessment or estimate of overall radiation exposure (based on monitoring of dose levels in the environment) because they're bombing you from the inside, not from the outside. And do far more damage.

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