Skip to main content

The United Nations reports today (November 26, 2012) that its assigned Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Anand Grover, has completed his visit to Japan to look into government response to health issues caused by the multiple meltdown disaster at Fukushima Daiichi in March of 2011. Special rapporteurs like Mr. Grover are appointed in an honorary capacity by the UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. Grover's full report is not scheduled to be released until June of 2013, but he is reporting some disturbing and urgent findings immediately because they must be addressed quickly.

Video here for those who care to watch.

While Grover said he welcomed the ongoing health checks of residents in Fukushima prefecture, he maintained that those are too narrow in scope. First, only the 2 million residents of the prefecture are able to access these exams. Secondly, only children are being examined. The plumes of radioactive contamination went far beyond Fukushima's borders, thus the health survey "should cover all radiation-affected zones", including most of the northern half of Honshu, Japan's main island. As of this date - 30 months after the disaster struck - only 25% of Fukushima's population has been examined for possible radiation caused health effects. Among the released post-accident health survey findings, 36-42% of children tested presented with thyroid nodules and/or cysts before the one-year mark in March of this year. At least one child in the prefecture has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer less than a year after the meltdowns.

Sure, there are the usual nay-sayers out there claiming this horrendously high percentage of children tested who show thyroid pathologies can't have received that radiation from Daiichi's melting and spewing reactors/spent fuel pools. Because to get these sort of figures this quickly after the disaster, the exploding, burning, spewing, wide-open nuclear plants would have to have released far more iodine 131 (+123, 124, 125, 133 & 135, all thyroid concentrating gaseous fission products) than Japan, IAEA, AREVA, the NRC and the whole rest of the nuclear world's reported figures. IOW, rather than look at the well-known, entirely predictable and wholly evident health effects of radioactive iodine internal exposure and working back from there to get a halfway decent estimation of how much was released, they simply cite the industry's self-serving - and entirely fraudulent - 'guesstimates' and claim that radiation didn't cause these health effects. Oy.

Even worse, the UN's appointed rapporteur says that parents in Fukushima whose children have been tested for thyroid issues are being denied the right to access their child's medical documentation. The government is keeping the individual results of health evaluations under wraps, and the parents have to petition under an FOIA-like process to get the information. There are more issues of concern going on that Grover reported in his news conference, including:

• The failure of Japan's government to distribute stable iodine resulted in more harm being done than would otherwise have been the case.

• There was a "regrettable" government failure to inform the public of radiation plume forecasts, which it generated from its SPEDI radiation monitoring data. This resulted in evacuation of populations from relatively lower dose areas directly into the path of the primary plume.

• The government health surveys ONLY checks thyroids, and ONLY in children, using 'bad' Chernobyl data, and entirely ignores studies pointing to cancer and other diseases resulting from chronic low-level exposures in all age groups.

• The government's enforcement of food safety regulations need 'urgently' to be strengthened, as a great deal of contaminated food is being consumed.

Before anybody says that maybe by next summer when this report is formally submitted the UN's public health arm - WHO - will step in to ensure that proper monitoring and followup care to the citizens of northern Japan, WHO [World Health Organization] is specifically barred under provisions of its 1959 agreement with the UN's nuclear arm - IAEA - from intervening in anything the nuclear powers and industry decide needs to be kept secret from the public. And you won't find any nukes anywhere willing to talk honestly about Daiichi and the harm it's caused/is causing. Hell, they still insist on characterizing the disaster as "a near-meltdown" rather than 3 total meltdowns [core locations: unknown], 3 fully breached containments that don't hold water, 4 major atmospheric explosions, two of which ejected fuel assemblies and sent chunks of them flying up to a mile away, and several spent fuel fires that burned straight to atmosphere for days.

"Partial meltdown" my ass.

Just an update for those who haven't forgotten yet.

Originally posted to Joieau on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:08 PM PST.

Also republished by Nuclear Free DK and Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  n/t. (5+ / 0-)

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:34:28 PM PST

  •  For kids, checks will have to be done every year (24+ / 0-)

    if we -- and more importantly the Japanese parents -- are to know the full extent and development of the nuclear insult to their health.

    But I wonder if the authorities are doing a very thorough job, as, iirc, you would look for heart troubles and suppressed immune systems in particular for infants and children (moreso with girls.)

    I can already hear the "nothing happening here" crowd telling us that thyroid troubles, even cancer, are not that much to worry about as there are way more serious problems.

    As to the honesty of the official accounts of the level of releases, and the official expectations of what low-, mid-, and high-level radiation can do to a population's health -- at this point we've a fairly strong and consistent record of TEPCO lying.

    btw, any nuke experts find out where the core of the reactors are yet? With more precisions than "in Fukushima."

    The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

    by Jim P on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:43:47 PM PST

    •  Well, there is a logic to it. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, 207wickedgood

      These special rapporteurs are deployed in well-off democratic countries to remove the stigma of their work in badly-off autocracies.  I'm willing to suck it up, as long as we don't have to pay them any mind.

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 05:07:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Huh? n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive, Joieau

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:13:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We've a few nuclear boosters here (7+ / 0-)

        at DKos who don't like it one bit that anyone in the world might notice that this disaster is still ongoing, highlights "what's wrong with nuclear power" so effectively, or is allowed to speak out from a position of some authority on the awful results of the biggest, baddest nuclear Oops the world has ever seen.

        This poster sees the involvement of the special rapporteur on the right to health for the UN's Human Rights Council on issues that beg intervention from the UN's World Health Organization as "nagging." And since it's not hard to guess that the UN's IAEA will exercise its veto power over what WHO will be allowed to say or do about the human toll in Japan, he may be right as far as official world response is concerned.

        Sad, isn't it?

    •  check yourself (0+ / 0-)

      there must be a mirror handy, or a bridge to grumble under....

      The "extreme wing" of the Democratic Party is the wing that is hell-bent on protecting the banks and credit card companies. ~ Kos

      by ozsea1 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:02:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the update. Those living in (22+ / 0-)

    the exclusion zone haven't forgotten and thanks to updates like this we won't either.  

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

    by John Crapper on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 04:08:19 PM PST

  •  Thank you for this report. (15+ / 0-)

    I hadn't heard about the atmospheric explosions, though I was paying attention at the time.

    But I have read accounts that basically say, assume nuclear agencies and governments are lying in the first days... and all days thereafter.

    And people wonder why I don't support nuclear power as a solution to global warming.

    (Well, that's one reason.  There are many.  But even if nuclear power were "safe", it's particularly bad at responding to fluctuating demand, and particularly ill-suited for distributed generation, both of which will be necessary in a low-carbon future.)

    © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:11:22 PM PST

  •  The UN link alone is pretty upsetting (20+ / 0-)

    It states that there really isn't enough oversight being done into thyroid cancer post-fallout.

    As someone who nearly died of thyroid cancer, I'm sure you can imagine how that sits with me :/

    Thyroid cancer isn't always deadly. It's often pretty slow-growing. But in kids, it grows more quickly. And it can really show up in several forms, each with its own distinct profile of growth and malignancy patterns. If it's aggressive, which it can be, it can easily kill you. Even if it doesn't kill you, it can cause you to be very ill from thyrotoxicosis -- too much thyroid hormone -- which I had, and which can (if prolonged) permanently damage your muscles, your heart, and so forth. It can cause psychological disturbances as well such as panic attacks and insomnia. It can cause malnutrition as well. It can even cause what is called a "thyroid storm," which can be fatal. In my case, I had four years of prolonged, undiagnosed thyrotoxicosis which in and of itself was probably what gave me heart damage and visual damage that I've had since then. This is what these kids are looking at, potentially. The adults too, but in kids, its harsher because their thyroids are already growing at a rapid rate, so the cells really divide more quickly.

    So along with the issue of cancer, the basic issue of prolonged elevated thyroid can be serious if untreated, and can result in death. The cancer usually moves into the lungs, bones, and brain, if I recall.

    And this is not even addressing the whole issue of what the Government should or should not be doing. This is a simple, practical look at the damage that thyroid tumors can cause even if not directly causing cancer damage. As endocrine tumors, the hormones impacted are serious and can in turn effect essentially the entire rest of your body, with specific damages that are typical and others which are less predictable.

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

    by mahakali overdrive on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:00:15 PM PST

    •  Thanks for this detail. (11+ / 0-)

      People who think thyroid cancer is an "easy" form of cancer are likely thinking of papillary thyroid cancer, caught early.

      But 14% of thyroid cancers are another form.

      Which is to say nothing of other cancers that may result from various forms of radiation.

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:14:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry you had to go through that, MO. (8+ / 0-)

      My Mother-in-Law had thyroid issues when she was young, controlled them with supplemental hormones for the rest of her life but never managed to develop cancer. Thyroid hormones - which include iodine in their molecular structure - are very important to normal metabolism. And cancer is NEVER fun for any sufferer. They've focused on this one (while ignoring the myriad 'other' isotopic exposures) because it's readily treatable these days if caught in time. Looks to me like catching it in time isn't something on the Japanese government's to-do list, since they're keeping the people in the dark about who needs to be followed for treatment.

      The several radioactive isotopes of iodine released in a nuclear Oops concentrate in the thyroid and bombard it point-blank with beta and gamma radiation. Beta in this instance of internal exposure without skin in the way being more damaging. Because iodine is so readily absorbed and concentrated, it is the most limiting isotope of a 'normal' Oops. In a disaster that also releases huge amounts of volatized heavy metal fuels and every other nasty isotope atom smashing creates, it's merely the first to show up AS physical damage if people make it through the original exposures.

      There is much that can be considered relatively 'worse' than thyroid dysfunction/cancer coming in the next decade (and at least a decade beyond that). Inside and well outside Fukushima prefecture.

  •  Thank You for the post. (6+ / 0-)

    ditto; {Honestly, I can never ever 'get used to' the idea that money is so much more important than people's lives that thousands - perhaps tens of thousands, all told - of lives can be casually tossed onto the altar of bottomless greed and nobody cares.}
    I live in L.A. When I go to the beach I meditate & send prayers. I touch the water with hope. I will ALWAYS remember the tsunami's casualties.
    I've always been observant. Without a long why I know, radiation causes weird anger, a type of an unexplained anger when you experience it. In my observation, this has been one angry time, world/exposed/wide.
    I kept thinking an aftershock & the pacific would be unimaginable.
    I will always remember the tsunami's casualties.
    It's so interesting?, it was soooo close.
    I wonder when GOD will say, "I can't do this anymore!" or in my case being Buddhist, the luck of the draw…
    The Japanese are not dumb, hopefully new gens will STOP the absurdity.
    Europe is moving forward.
    We may survive ?:) Some may survive? Who knows?
    I'm sure they are studying how to twist & manipulate the masses for the next meltdown. Can you imagine people actually voted for a total mental meltdown theiRmoney?
    Their inevitable. (interesting word, in.ev.i.ta.ble)
    Eat healthy, don't worry. What can we do but teach?
    Thank You for the post.
    I will always remember the tsunami's casualties. I love the ocean. She puked!
    She'll survive:)
     Bigtime, Repukes. BIG TIME!
    Just to add: I usually begin my post with I'm 61. In my entire life if I heard that there was an earthquake back East, a SMALL earthquake, 3 times maybe. We've had an earthquake that cracked the Washington Monument & so many quakes in the last few years, I'm stunned. They just keep frackin away...
    Not to worry, not to worry, not to worry, we are way beyond that :)
    An aftershock, WOW
    I'm glad I meditate, say prayers, whatever.

  •  Classic double bind (10+ / 0-)

    If the full health effects suffered by the entire affected population were to be studied and publicized the government and the industry might have to acknowledge greater fallout than has been claimed or health effects at a lower dose if they stand by the previous claims.

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 04:33:30 AM PST

    •  You're right, of course. (7+ / 0-)

      And they will always downplay everything, never tell the truth about what got out.

      In this, where the serious health effects are inevitable across the board, all they can do is ignore/not report them in hopes that nobody notices the suffering and death. Or, in this case, apply the lessons learned by the industry and its host [pet] governments at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, etc. Simply announce a figure for release of a single isotope (among dozens) that is several orders of magnitude BELOW what really got out, then insist that all future investigations into releases and resulting health effects be required to accept the fabrication as God's Own Truth.

      Then if a researcher - like this special rapporteur - happens to find far more health effects than could be accounted for by the fabrication, point to the fabrication and whine as loudly as you can that all that suffering and death CAN'T be attributable to your little nuclear Oops.

      That's entirely backwards, of course. But even if called on the self-serving release figure fabrications later they always have the 'out' of saying nobody knows (related to "no one could have foreseen") how much was actually released. And that, when all is said and done, is true.

  •  In presenting the most alarming view of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    things (which I'm sure is totally by accident) you forgot to mention that Grover commended the Japanese authorities for their response so far.

    And that the type of expanded monitoring he suggested is already underway:

    Thyroid gland tests on kids in Nagasaki to be compared with Fukushima findings

    The Environment Ministry has begun thyroid gland tests on children in faraway Nagasaki Prefecture as part of efforts to gauge the effects of radiation fallout from last year's nuclear disaster.

    Those children will serve as a control group for kids undergoing similar tests in Fukushima Prefecture, where the disaster occurred.

    By comparing the results from the two prefectures, officials expect to gain a better grasp of the issue.

    Despite parental concerns about radiation exposure, it remains difficult to say with any certainty whether the 40-percent occurrence rate is alarmingly high or not. This is because no exhaustive thyroid gland tests have been done on children using highly reliable ultrasound technology.

    The Environment Ministry commissioned the Japan Association of Breast and Thyroid Sonology to conduct thyroid gland checkups on 4,500 children aged 18 or under in three prefectures outside Fukushima.

    In Nagasaki Prefecture, thyroid gland tests that use the same ultrasound and diagnostic standards as in Fukushima Prefecture have started on about 1,100 children attending Nagasaki University's kindergarten, elementary school and junior high school. Similar tests will begin shortly at a senior high school in the prefecture.

    •  They tested a 'control group' (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandino, Lujane, Calamity Jean, mrkvica, Jim P

      of children in Nagasaki years ago, RG, and found a 'norm' rate of nodules/cysts of ~2%. Which is commensurate with the 'normal' incidence of these thyroid issues in children worldwide (apart from the Chernobyl area), as long reported in public health stats.

      ~40% rate in the children of Fukushima so far tested (about 25%) is a most glaringly obvious shout-out that things are nowhere near 'normal' in Fukushima prefecture. 40% is higher than 2% you see. It also provides a glaring, flashing red light alarm that informs us TEPCO and the Japanese government have vastly underestimated how much iodine was released and what the divvied [estimated] thyroid doses actually were.

      BTW, the 40% figure for thyroid nodules/cysts was found during testing which occurred between 6 and 9 months after the Super-Oops. If the government could manage to test 25% of Fukushima's children before a year had gone by, what's the excuse they're giving for not having tested all the rest of the children by now, 18 months down the line? Do they ever actually plan to test adults?

      •  Links for your allegations would be nice (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Because the link I provided quite clearly states that NO testing has been done outside of Fukushima using the most advanced techniques being used there (which also puts the lie to your allegations that the Fukushima kids are not being provided with adequate medical care - by contrast, they are receiving the very best).

        And it is a well known, albeit somewhat confounding, phenomenon that the best imaging techniques turn up apparent abnormalities in every single person tested - just because they are so sensitive that they can "see" things not statistically represented in the historical medical databases.

        For example, select a cohort of US women from any given city, screen their breasts by the latest methods, and pretty much in every case some "abnormality" will be detected that an alarmist would say requires drastic medical intervention (e.g., surgery).  That, of course, is insane.

        •  Fine with me. (5+ / 0-)

          Urinary Iodine Levels and Thyroid Diseases in Children; Comparison Between Nagasaki and Chernobyl, Endocrine Journal 48, 2001.

          My ~2% remembrance was erroneous. The rate in Nagasaki children (examined by ultrasound) was 0% for nodules, 0.8% for cysts. Oh, and a 1.6% rate of goiter. Which is much more prevalent in Belarus than in Japan, an island nation with high seafood consumption.

          Still, you've got to admit that 40% is higher than either 0% or 0.8%. So much higher, in fact, that epidemiologists would be rightly alarmed.

          Again, the SimplyInfo report:
          Thyroid Exposure in Fukushima Children

          • The thyroid gland can be affected by exposure to radiation. The thyroid glands of children are especially sensitive to radiation, much more so than the thyroid gland of an adult.

          • Radiation exposure appears to cause a number of different thyroid problems, including an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer.

          • The younger the child is when the radiation exposure occurs, the greater is the risk of these problems occurring.

          • The three major ways a thyroid is impacted after radiation exposure, hypothyroidism, thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer.

          Well worth a careful read. And a July 2012 article from
          Fukushima - Local Children Unwitting (and Unwilling) Radioactive Guinea Pigs

          A [Medscape] report just this month giving the rate of [singular] thyroid nodules in children overall as 0.22% to 1.35%...
          Solitary Thyroid Nodule Clinical Presentation

          And last but certainly not least, the Journal of the American Medical Association, a 2006 article...
          Radiation Dose-Response Relationships for Thyroid Nodules and Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases in Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors 55-58 Years After Exposure

          •  I'm totally happy and willing to believe (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lujane, alain2112, billmosby

            this when it's published in a reputable medical journal - you know, like your JAMA 2006 linked paper that says:

            We previously conducted a comprehensive thyroid disease study among 2856 Nagasaki AHS cohort members from 1984 to 1987 by using ultrasound examinations and blood tests to evaluate the effects of radiation on thyroid nodules, thyroid autoimmunity, and thyroid function.14 However, this study was conducted only in Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors, not in Hiroshima survivors. Furthermore, screening techniques to diagnose thyroid diseases have advanced remarkably since the last thyroid study. Ultrasound examination has become more sensitive in detecting thyroid nodules.
            which is my point exactly, the new technology is MUCH BETTER at detecting nodules than what was used in the study reported in 2001 (and obviously done before that).
            •  How about some links to support (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sandino, Jim P

              your assertion that ultrasound has advanced SO much since 2001 that physicians should be reporting ~40% rates of nodules/cysts in children as a 'norm' (your implication)? And contrast your implication that 40% is somehow 'normal' with the November 2012 Medscape article reporting CURRENT 'norm' at 0.22% to 1.35%. Those aren't anywhere close to 40% either, you know.

              It's November 2012 right now as we speak, RG. It's rather absurd of you to demand it be published in JAMA before you'd bother to consider its validity. Since you could have clicked on that little "more..." link after the author list as easily as me...


              Andre Hebra, MD Chief, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine; Surgeon-in-Chief, Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital

Andre Hebra, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, American Pediatric Surgical Association, Children's Oncology Group, Florida Medical Association, International Pediatric Endosurgery Group, Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, South Carolina Medical Association, Southeastern Surgical Congress, and Southern Medical Association

              Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


              Melissa Miller, MD Department of Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina

              Melissa Miller, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association and American Medical Student Association/Foundation

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

              Patrick B Thomas, MD Fellow, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Texas Children's Hospital

              Patrick B Thomas, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association and South Carolina Medical Association

              Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

              Specialty Editor Board

              Arlan L Rosenbloom, MD Adjunct Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, University of Florida College of Medicine; Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology

              Arlan L Rosenbloom, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Epidemiology, American Pediatric Society, Endocrine Society, Florida Pediatric Society, Pediatric Endocrine Society, and Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

              Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

              Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

              Lynne Lipton Levitsky, MD Chief, Pediatric Endocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

              Lynne Lipton Levitsky, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Diabetes Association, American Pediatric Society, Endocrine Society, Pediatric Endocrine Society, and Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Pfizer Grant/research funds P.I.; Tercica Grant/research funds Other; Eli Lily Grant/research funds PI; NovoNordisk Grant/research funds PI; NovoNordisk Consulting fee Consulting; Onyx Heart Valve Consulting fee Consulting

              Merrily P M Poth, MD Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Neuroscience, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

              Merrily P M Poth, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, Endocrine Society, and Pediatric Endocrine Society

              Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

              Chief Editor

              Stephen Kemp, MD, PhD Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Endocrinology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine, Arkansas Children's Hospital

              Stephen Kemp, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, American Pediatric Society, Endocrine Society, Phi Beta Kappa, Southern Medical Association, and Southern Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

              This is published, peer-reviewed medical research that cannot simply be dismissed out of hand because you don't like what it reports.

              You will believe what you choose to believe, no matter what anybody of any qualification has to say about it, or how much research ever has been or will be done on the subject. I know better than to expect otherwise from committed pro-nukes.

              •  YOU provided the link! (0+ / 0-)

                do you want to retract it now?

                perhaps you should read your links before you post them??

                In any event, if there's any interested reader out there I suspect that he or she is quite capable of going to Google or whatever their preferred search engine might be and typing in "advances in ultrasound technology"   - I'd be perfectly happy to present the search results but would probably be accused of being biased, so why bother?

                •  I provided it because it is (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  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-)
                    Recommended by:
                    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-)
                      Recommended by:
                      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-)
                        Recommended by:

                        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-)
                          Recommended by:
                          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-)
                            Recommended by:
                            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.

            •  How's the tech these days on comparing (0+ / 0-)

              heart damage, immune system damage, other of the myriad kinds of cancer going? Do you have the Japanese studies on these effects? As you know, thyroid cancer is only one of the multitude of health-damage possible from radiation.

              Not sure what your point is exactly, unless it's that more primitive technologies for detection must have underestimated/undercounted effects. And so once again industry figures touted are misleading.

              The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

              by Jim P on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 10:29:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The point is that the Nagasaki cohort was (0+ / 0-)

                analyzed with now obsolete technology no capable of detecting what today's imaging instruments can detect.

                So, the 1 to 2% discovery of nodules is probably WAY low compared to what could be detected right now.

                And this is not all being swept under the rug like the diarist suggests - by contrast the Powers-that-be are going to be re-imaging the Nagasaki kids to have an appropriate control group to compare  the Fukushima kids to.  Seriously, this the way thing SHOULD BE DONE.

                A bit off topic is that I recently attended a seminar where a major medical instrument device maker more or less shot itself in the foot by making an instrument so sensitive that every single breast imaged showed some type of "abnormality" - and if alarmists were to be believed, would be well on the way to developing breast cancer.

                Yet, copious statistics bear out that only one out of 7 women tested will ultimately get breast cancer - so is there ethical justification whatsoever for scaring 7 out of 7 women that they may be at risk?

                Clearly, purveyors of the "scientific" reasoning in this thread would so yes, there is.

                Fortunately, the evil evil Big Corporate makers of this instrument think not and are forgoing profits by not putting it on the market at the current time. . ..

    •  40% is alarming (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, Sandino, Roadbed Guy, Lujane, mrkvica

      You really don't normally see these so much in the general population. There are definitely places in the US where screening was mass -- usually after ground beef gets tainted with thyroid, which happened in the early 90's really badly. I don't know the average %, but between that and goiter belt screenings, nodules aren't one 1 in 3.

      Here's one mention: 6% in older women, 1% in older men:

      The % of nodules which are cancerous wind up being about 1/4 or so, according to NYU med.

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

      by mahakali overdrive on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 09:09:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree this is alarming if it is actually true (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        billmosby, mahakali overdrive

        and verified to not be the case in the appropriate control population using the latest technology (not 90s' technology) being used to screen the Fukushima kids.

        But in any event, the tainted beef- radioisotope comparison is quite interesting, that's an angle to argue against eating meat that I had never really considered before!

        •  A finding of radioactive iodine (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mrkvica, mahakali overdrive

          in cattle thyroids that got ground up to make tainted burgers begs some darned important questions all by itself, beyond what kind of doses people who ate those burgers got.

          Where the heck were these cattle raised that exposed them to enough radioactive iodine - in the early 1990s yet - to make their thyroids hot enough to contaminate whole lots of ground beef? And has anybody checked on the MILK in the areas where these cattle were raised? Sheesh!

          Never heard about this one. I should probably be thankful, except that while I haven't eaten beef in more than 40 years, I do put milk in my coffee and consume quite a bit of cheese...

        •  Ultrasound and a TSH test should be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          fine to check for nodules and thyroid disease. My doctor is one of THE top thyroid doctors in the world, the whole world, and my remission was only declared like two or three years ago. Until then, I had the same screening test every year -- an ultrasound and a TSH (I also have a bunch of other bloodwork, but that's because my levels go all over the place and have been hard to control, so I have the host of T3 and T4, plus a few others that look for cancer specifically).

          Thank God I was declared in remission. They wait ages to do that, and then they back you off of your high thyroid dose (finally). I had to have a gnarly full body CT scan with contrast for that, and they took me off my medication to medically induce low thyroid levels. I felt like I was going to die. The one other time I had that test, I wound up very sick with incredibly looow thyroid, too low; that's when they decided I break T4 down a bit more quickly then some folks: it can vary from 5 days to almost a month, but they use a two week average. Two weeks? I can't last that long. They call this "fast conversion."

          I don't have a ton of political knowledge about all of this stuff, but I've got more patient knowledge then one would ever like to have. And since I'm an academic researcher whose coped with this since I was an adolescent, my doctor knows I like the long, complicated answers to things in medicalese, not patient-friendly or anything.

          So I think that a combo of ultrasound, TSH, and palpation should be fine. When in doubt, aspirate the nodule. This isn't pricey! C/T isn't necessary and can't tell if the node's even cancerous or not. For that, blood work is helpful along with the ultrasound.

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

          by mahakali overdrive on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 02:07:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's definitely something that happens! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau, Jim P

          I was looking for the story I remember, but it was literally just like this one:

          We report an outbreak of thyrotoxicosis without true hyperthyroidism that occurred between April 1984 and August 1985 among residents of southwestern Minnesota and adjacent areas of South Dakota and Iowa. One hundred twenty-one cases were identified through surveillance of medical clinics, laboratories, hospitals, and physicians' offices. Investigation of the outbreak demonstrated an association between the occurrence of thyrotoxicosis and the consumption of ground beef prepared from neck trimmings processed by a single slaughtering plant (odds ratio, 19.0; P = 0.0001). The cause was confirmed by the findings of bovine thyroid tissue in samples of these trimmings and high concentrations of thyroid hormone in implicated samples of ground beef and the demonstration of prompt increases in serum thyroid hormone concentrations in volunteers who ate the implicated ground beef. Bovine thyroid tissue had been introduced into the neck trimmings inadvertently during the process of "gullet trimming," a procedure that harvests muscles from the bovine larynx. The outbreak resolved after this procedure was discontinued at the plant. The clinical features of the illness suggested the diagnosis of silent thyroiditis, and it is possible that sporadic cases--or even outbreaks--of thyrotoxicosis factitia caused by this mechanism may have occurred in the past but were not recognized.

          This would qualify as exogenous thyrotoxicosis.

          This link is really helpful. It's funny because my doctor told me (I asked) that if I ever was stranded in the wilderness, I should eat the thyroid glands of large mammals, laugh. Well, I used to have this terror about it. Here:

          Looks like some of this is now banned in the US, but that doesn't mean accidents don't happen! And regulations vary from country to country. I don't eat beef, but that's simply because I wasn't raised to, so I have zero taste for it.

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

          by mahakali overdrive on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 02:16:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  So why are they treating the results (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, Sandino, Calamity Jean, mrkvica

      as classified information to the point that parents have to beg the government to tell them how their children are doing?  Want to bet that doctors in Japan are also under orders not to inform their own patients of similar results even if they get tested independently?

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 10:44:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know (0+ / 0-)

        but that's reminiscent of when I was a kid, and was forced to take IQ tests that no one would tell me the results of.

        Very, very annoying, indeed.

        After a couple of go-rounds, I simply filled in the ovals in geometric patterns up and down the pages.

      •  Doctors in the region (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean, mrkvica, tofumagoo, Jim P

        (including Tokyo) are not being allowed to test or treat anyone for ailments that are strongly correlated with radiation exposure. Hospitals have even posted prominent signs outside their facilities stating this so prospective patients won't waste their time trying.

        This restriction was put into place after the incidence of nodules/cysts found in the government's testing had risen to >40%. This also helps to explain why the 'other' 75% of Fukushima children have not been tested 18 months later, and why the government would consider the individual results "secret" enough to deny parents the right to their children's testing results.

        Nice example, statement on the matter from a nurse at the hospital, as translated from EX-SKF...

        We are instructed to say we don’t do the tests for radiation exposure. All we can say is that people consult the local public health center. Tests for radiation exposure cannot be done without appointment. There’s also an issue with the national government when it comes to radiation exposure…
        I presume (with some good reason) that there is a very good reason the UN's Special Rapporteur asserted immediately upon return from northern Japan that much more needs to be done, and the scope to be immediately expanded to almost all of northern Honshu. Including Tokyo. There are whole swaths of territory OUTSIDE of Fukushima prefecture where contamination levels are up to twice the level for permanent relocation at Chernobyl. The Japanese government has no plans to monitor any of those populations for radiation-related health effects.

        ...and nobody has any plans whatsoever to compensate any of the people who end up sick or dead. It always boils down to money in the end.

        •  Yep, so if you get thyroid cancer you just have (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau, mrkvica

          to let it go untreated and die from it (or leave the country for treatment).

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:17:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  One would certainly hope not, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Throw The Bums Out, mrkvica

            but that's what the shake-out here looks like, doesn't it?

            The real truth they refuse to acknowledge is that northern Honshu is contaminated enough to justify permanent relocation for all citizens - starting with citizens with small children. Close it off as an international monument to human hubris. But the contaminated area is nearly a third of the entire nation of Japan.

            Much easier - and fully within cultural 'norms' for that particular culture - to simply urge citizens to "smile more" so that radioactive isotopes concentrating in their food, water and bodies will be rendered forever harmless.

            Meanwhile, those with the means to leave have already left. You can't die of thyroid (or any other) cancer if nobody notices, records, or treats you for it. Just normal attrition - cause 'unknown' - amongst the affected population.

  •  Japan redirects tsunami relief to whaling (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, Lujane, mrkvica

    Roughly $30 million equivalent.  It seems nonsensical, given the level of continuing dire needs.  Oh, well, they must keep cultural threads intact, regardless of the impacts on their own people, particularly the children.  On human beings like us, that is.  Exactly what the U.N. is there to observe and document.

    •  Heh. Even the whales (6+ / 0-)

      (those that are primarily taken by Japanese whalers in Asian waters) are contaminated with cesium. First report I saw on that was back in 2011. Ditto the tuna, the Pacific salmon, various other fish throughout the upper end of the ocean food chain. And of course the seaweed and various bottom-dwelling crustaceans. The Daiichi nuclear disaster was reported 'officially' to be the biggest radiological contamination event in any ocean in all of history. Back in 2011.

      Heck, they found the California kelp beds contaminated enough by cesium to be a concern for OUR food supply...

      The entire event (Disaster At Fukushima) is enough to be of serious epidemiological/Public Health concern both inside and outside of Japan. Particularly on the contaminated food supply issues. It remains to be seen whether or not WHO or national Public Health agencies are ever allowed to report honestly or intervene directly in remediation efforts.

  •  Browser settings at work prevent the rec (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, mrkvica, madhaus

    So I will rec it 1000x here :)

    The "extreme wing" of the Democratic Party is the wing that is hell-bent on protecting the banks and credit card companies. ~ Kos

    by ozsea1 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:00:55 PM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site