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World

German doc criticizes WHO report downplaying health effects after nuke crisis on Fukushima residents

Sunday, 16 December 2012
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Tokyo, December 16:

A German doctor and member of a Nobel Peace Prize-winning physicians’ group has criticized a World Health Organization report on the Fukushima nuclear tragedy for underestimating its impact on human health.

In a research paper, Alex Rosen said the WHO report, published in May this year on estimated radiation doses received by residents near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, was compiled mainly by officials related to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which promotes the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.

According to the Japan Times, Rosen, a member of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, called for an independent assessment based on solid scientific methodology that would examine the health impacts from radioactive fallout released after the Fukushima No. 1 complex suffered three core meltdowns in March 2011.

The WHO report put the maximum whole-body radiation dose per person in the first four months of the crisis at 50 millisieverts, even in two municipalities very close to the plant, the town of Namie and the village of Iitate, the report said.

The risk of developing cancer is believed to substantially increase if the annual dose exceeds 100 millisieverts, the report added.

According to the report, Rosen noted that the WHO’s estimate on the amount of radioactive fallout emitted from the plant''s destroyed reactors was significantly lower than projections provided by research institutes in many other countries.

He said that the WHO report also failed to take into account the radiation exposure of people living within 20 km of the No. 1 plant and who were evacuated in the first few days of the calamity.

The report ‘seems to suggest a certain safety while omitting the important information that the risk of developing cancer and other radiation-induced diseases increases proportionally to the amount of radioactive exposure,’ Rosen, a pediatrician, said.

The most flawed aspect of the WHO report is ‘its apparent lack of neutrality’, he said.

A WHO official said the organization is as yet unable to respond to Rosen''s research paper or the German branch''s letter because it is still examining the documents, the report added. (ANI)

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