JAPAN | Nuclear commission erases children’s exposure data

Posted on August 11, 2011

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JAPAN | NHK | 11 August 2011

Japan’s nuclear watchdog has been found to have erased from its website, data on the results of thyroid checkups for children in Fukushima Prefecture.

The Nuclear Safety Commission had uploaded the test results carried out by the government in March. More than 1,000 children aged 15 or younger were checked to see whether radioactive substances are accumulating in their thyroid.

The results included information that showed a 4-year-old infant in Iwaki City was exposed to 35 millisieverts of radiation. This amount is not considered a health threat.

But the commission removed all the data earlier this month. It cited the possibility that individual children could be identified because detailed information such as the 4-year-old’s address was included.

The deletion is drawing criticism as no other similar data is available on children’s health. Children have greater risks of developing thyroid cancer.

Professor emeritus Hirotada Hirose of Tokyo Woman’s Christian University says the commission cannot escape blame that it removed the data fearing a negative reaction to children’s exposure. He said the move runs counter to providing accurate information to the public.

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Posted in: JAPAN