Is there a connection between Fukushima Nuclear fallout and excess deaths of 14'000 in the U.S ? Renowned nuclear expert Joe Mangano and Janette Sherman, toxicologist and contributing editor of the 2009 New York Academy of Sciences "Chernobyl, Consequences for People and Environment" says yes there is, and it's comparable to the excess rates of U.S deaths from Chernobyl
Furthermore Dr. Sherman told me that "the deaths from Fukushima will be greater than from Chernobyl" and that "the young will be adversely effected by the radiation - their immune and detoxification systems are not fully formed and operational, and based upon their small body weights, they receive a proportionally larger dose of radioisotopes than do adults."* This could explain the excess death rates of young infants in the U.S in the weeks following the Fukushima incident. The 18 page document published by Mangano & Sherman closes on this discussion:
"The Fukushima meltdowns, and the introduction of radioactivity across the
globe, indicate that accurate measurements are needed on subsequent changes in
environmental radioactivity and in health status. In the United States, there have
been limitations in both measures. Radioactivity samples in precipitation, air,
water, and milk were sporadically reported by the Environmental Protection
Agency. Many measurements failed to produce detectable levels, and on May 3,
2011, the agency reverted to its policy of making only quarterly measurements.
Some elevated concentrations were found to be up to several hundred times the
norm soon after the arrival of the Fukushima fallout, but no meaningful temporal
trends and spatial patterns can be discerned from these data.
Few aggregate data on health status are available until several years after a
death or specific diagnosis. Immediately after Fukushima, the only nationwide
health status data available in the United States were weekly deaths by age
reported by 122 U.S. cities (about 25% to 35% of all U.S. deaths), as reported
by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the 14 weeks after the
Fukushima fallout arrived in the United States, total deaths reported were
4.46 percent above the same period in 2010; in the 14 weeks before Fukushima,
the increase from the prior year was just 2.34 percent. The gap in changes for
infant deaths (+1.80% in the latter 14 weeks, –8.37% for the earlier 14 weeks)
was even larger. Estimated “excess” deaths for the entire United States were
projected to be 13,983 total deaths and 822 infant deaths.
Patterns of deaths among persons of all ages strongly reflect patterns among
the elderly, who account for over two-thirds of all deaths. For the older population,
explanations for excess deaths must be considered after exposure to higher
levels of radioactive fallout. If cancer in some patients becomes active again,
it may mean they already have cells carrying all but one of the three to four
requisite mutations to express cancer. Exposure to radiation (or a toxic chemical)
can provide the one final mutation to reactivate a quiescent tumor (17). Also
vulnerable are those elderly with depressed immune status, made worse by
exposure to radiation.
The CDC weekly mortality data have limitations. They represent only a 25
to 35 percent sample of all deaths, which may or may not accurately represent
the entire nation. Deaths are reported voluntarily and thus are subject to variations
from city to city and for unusual circumstances in a week or period (e.g., totals
during the Christmas holiday season appear to be much lower). Weekly totals
are sometimes reported as unavailable and so cannot be used in any analysis.
The deaths reported are by city of occurrence, whereas all final statistics are
by residence at time of death. Deaths are categorized when the death certifi-
cate is filed, not necessarily the date of death. Finally, the CDC weekly reports
provide raw numbers of deaths, not the more useful mortality rates, as popula-
tions or numbers of births are not given.
Nonetheless, 25 to 35 percent of the United States is not a small sample,
representing all large cities and many smaller ones in all regions of the nation.
When extended periods are used, the numbers become larger and more
meaningful, because any variations increasing or decreasing death counts are
more likely to balance each other out. The total of 155,015 U.S. deaths in the
14-week period after Fukushima, 2,722 of which are infant deaths, represents a
large database that is meaningful in a preliminary analysis of potential Fukushima
effects. Not to use them would mean a two- or three-year absence of any health
status data, until final figures are made public.
The statistically significant difference in increased number of reported deaths
(total and infant) for the 14-week period after Fukushima has an added dimen-
sion because of similar findings for the four months immediately after the
Chernobyl meltdown in 1986, using a 10 percent sample of U.S. deaths. The
post-Chernobyl increases, based on preliminary death data, were roughly com-
parable to the increases calculated from final death data (see Appendix Table 2).
The preliminary versus final 1985–1986 change for the period May–August in
total deaths was within 3.7 percentage points (+6.0% vs. +2.3%), and the count
of infant deaths was within 3.0 percentage points (+3.1% vs. +0.1%). Thus, it is
unlikely that, for Fukushima, final death counts would show results markedly
different from the finding that more Americans, especially infants, died than
expected in the 14-week period following arrival of the Fukushima fallout.
The 14-week excess death projections after mid-March 2011 (13,983 total,
822 infant) are relatively similar to actual excesses in May–August 1986 (16,573
total, 306 infant).
Recent assessments have suggested that the amount of radioactivity released
from Fukushima equals or exceeds that released from Chernobyl. Given the
continuing emission of radioisotopes from the melted reactors, the high density
of population around the plant, and the close proximity to food sources, we can
expect that morbidity and mortality will be high in Japan. The relative homo-
geneity of the Japanese population will allow for comparison of health conse-
quences for people living in areas with lesser and greater levels of contamination,
as has been done in areas affected by Chernobyl.
Adverse health effects may also be expected in the United States, even though
exposures have been far below those in Japan. Low-dose radiation exposure,
previously assumed to be harmless, has been linked with elevated disease rates
in children born to women who underwent pelvic X-rays while pregnant (18),
Americans exposed to atomic bomb fallout (19), nuclear plant workers (20),
and, for leukemia, children exposed to very low doses after Chernobyl (21).
In addition to physical diseases is loss of cognitive ability in adolescents fol-
lowing low-dose ionizing radiation in utero (22).
The human fetus and infant are especially radiosensitive, given their rapid
cell growth and cell division, as well as their small size that results in a propor-
tionately larger dose. These exposures include X-ray, alpha, beta, and gamma
radiation. Depending on the time of in utero radiation exposure, the result can be
expressed as spontaneous abortion, premature birth, low birth weight, stillbirth,
infant death, congenital malformations, and brain damage.
While this report concentrates on effects to humans, all life is sensitive to
nuclear radiation exposure, including plants, fungi, insects spiders, birds, fish,
and other animals (23). The best-studied group near Chernobyl (birds) shows
a 50 percent decrease in species richness and a 66 percent drop in abundance in
the most contaminated areas, compared with normal background in the same
More importantly, the findings reported here, plus the disease patterns that
developed after Chernobyl, indicate that public health personnel can anticipate
and plan to put in place diagnostic and treatment procedures. Given the con-
tinued high levels of radioactive iodine, it is predicted that the incidence of
thyroid disease, including thyroid insufficiency in newborns and thyroid cancer
in children and adults, will increase (4, 25).
The health effects of exposure to radioactivity from the Fukushima meltdowns,
both in Japan and around the world, will take a long time to fully assess. The
paucity of data from the U.S. EPA is unfortunate and will hamper future studies.
A quarter of a century after the Chernobyl disaster, and more than 60 years after
the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, compilations of health casualties
are still being updated. It is critical that research should proceed with all due
haste, as answers are essential to early diagnosis and treatment for exposed
people, particularly children and the very young."
(Mangano & Sherman, Increase of U.S Mortality and Fukushima Fallout, 2011-2012)
Altough this is by far not a finished study, it gives disturbing and inconveniant hints that even low-level radiation doses cause serious health problems. The whole study can be read here:Mangano & Sherman Study
* Email correspondance with Dr. Janette Sherman from February, 8th 2012.