(Update 8/25/14 – out of the nearly 300,000 Fukushima children being monitored, 104 have been discovered to have tumescent thyroid growths between 4 and 41 millimeters in size. 57 have been judged to be definatively cancerous, one tumor is benign, and the remaining 46 are “suspected” of possibly being cancerous. Fukushima officials maintain that none of them could possibly be due to the Fukushima accident releases.)
Harvey Wasserman’s recent posting “Fukushima’s Children are Dying” (1) is the epitome of embellishment. It is nothing more than a thinly veiled conspiracy theory diatribe which accuses the entire medical community on our planet with the most monumental cover-up in human history. No such conspiracy exists. Wasserman has suddenly become the crown prince of antinuclear FUD…Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.
Wasserman says the Fukushima child thyroid rates in “nearby children have skyrocketed to more than forty times (40x) normal. More than 48 percent of some 375,000 young people—nearly 200,000 kids—tested by the Fukushima Medical University near the smoldering reactors now suffer from pre-cancerous thyroid abnormalities, primarily nodules and cysts. The rate is accelerating.” He adds that fellow antinuclear cohort Joseph Mangano says more than 120 childhood cancers have been found, where only three would have happened if it were not for Fukushima. All of these claims are groundless, using conveniently selected details taken entirely out of context to allegedly support Wasserman’s long-held bias against nuclear energy.
What Wasserman first fails to mention is that the medically-acknowledged latency period between radioactive Iodine-131 ingestion and thyroid cancer development is more than four years. Further, there is not a shred of statistical evidence to show a single thyroid cancer induction at the I-131 levels that have been measured with respect to Fukushima children. In addition, Wasserman ignores the fact that most thyroid cancer patients survive the malady, regardless of treatment. (2)
Japan has not before had a child thyroid screening of this magnitude. The ultrasound technology used to make the medical determination is many times more sensitive than any previously used in Japan. Past technology could detect thyroid nodules of 5 millimeters or greater, and cysts larger than 20 mm. In 2006, 46 cases of thyroid cancer were officially confirmed in Japan across all age groups, but there was no data on papillary child thyroid cancers in the statistical cohort. In other words, the 2006 that (which Wasserman seems to be using for statistical comparison) does not concern children, but rather focuses on adults! In fact, the only child thyroid cancer data in Japan prior to the current Fukushima screenings was with the city of Nagasaki, which indicated a 0.5% rate of child thyroid cancers in the several generations since the atomic bombing in 1945.
Most importantly, the technology used for the Fukushima screening can detect nodules much smaller than 5mm and cysts considerably less than 20mm. The new screening showed that 120 (0.6%) of the children tested had nodules greater than 5mm and/or cysts bigger than 20mm – almost exactly the same rate as the 2006 screenings of Nagasaki children! However, the overwhelming number of Fukushima children found to have nodules <5mm and/or cysts <20mm are what constitute Wasserman’s ridiculous allegation that some 200,000 Fukushima children “suffer from pre-cancerous thyroid abnormalities”. None of them have thyroid cancer, and none of them are “pre-cancerous” in any way, shape or form. Wasserman’s “pre-cancerous thyroid” contention is a flat-out fabrication!
The 120 Fukushima children with nodules >5mm and/or cysts >20mm were further screened for the possibility of cancer. Doctors Shinichi Suzuki and Shunichi Yamashita of Fukushima University posted a formal letter which concluded, “We have defined what needs the second-stage examination as nodules over 5.1 mm and cysts (non-solid but colloidal or liquid collection only) over 20.1 mm. Thus, in addition to those with no abnormal findings, those with nodules smaller than 5 mm or cysts smaller than 20 mm have been decided not to be the subjects of further testing such as biopsies, or treatments.” (3) But, only a small fraction of those further-tested actually showed signs of cancer and had the growths surgically removed. To be precise…50 out of the roughly 290,000 children screened by June of 2014 were diagnosed to possibly have cancerous growths, which is less than 0.02%. All have had the growths surgically removed. (4)
To the contrary of Wasserman’s contention, it is likely that Fukushima’s detailed screening program has been a benefit to the families of the affected children. Without this groundbreaking program, it is likely that none of the relatively few possible cancers would have been found.
Wasserman goes on to say the “deadly epidemic at Fukushima is consistent with impacts suffered among children near the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island and the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl, as well as findings at other commercial reactors.” But, as we have just seen, there is no deadly cancer epidemic at Fukushima. In addition, no such epidemic has occurred within the population around Three Mile Island since 1979. In fact, the data was so overwhelming that the state of Pennsylvania has stopped the study for cancer in the TMI population – a fact acknowledged by Wasserman, but is smugly attacked by saying “Pennsylvania mysteriously killed its tumor registry, then said there was ‘no evidence’ that anyone had been killed.” He continues by saying a “wide range of independent studies confirm (sic) heightened infant death rates and excessive cancers among the general population.” All of these “independent studies” were written by antinuclear scare-mongers using selective bias in the data used, taken completely out of context with the references. Further, Wasserman writes “But after 35 years, no one knows how much radiation escaped or where it went. Three Mile Island’s owners have quietly paid millions to downwind victims in exchange for gag orders.” To the contrary, the minutial amount of radioactive emissions due to TMI have been well documented, and not one red cent has been used to pose “gag orders” on anyone.
However, the intent is clear…Conspiracy…Cover-up!! Any reputable organization that disagrees with Wasserman’s agenda is accused of being part of a treacherous plot.
Wasserman’s inclusion of Chernobyl in his article adds to the misleading content. First, Wasserman says “At Chernobyl, a compendium of more than 5,000 studies has yielded an estimated death toll of more than 1,000,000 people.” He is referring to the infamous “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment” by Yablokov, et al, in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. This work is nefarious! The Academy posted the following…“This collection of papers, originally published in Russian, was written by scientists who state that they have summarized the information about the health and environmental consequences of the Chernobyl disaster from several hundreds of papers previously published in Slavic language publications. In no sense did Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences or the New York Academy of Sciences commission this work; nor by its publication does the Academy validate the claims made in the original Slavic language publications cited in the translated papers. Importantly, the translated volume has not been formally peer‐reviewed by the New York Academy of Sciences or by anyone else.” In other words, the work has been disavowed by the very organization out of which the English translation was posted. (5)
Next, Wasserman states “According to Mangano, some 80 percent of the ‘Children of Chernobyl’ born downwind since the accident have been harmed by a wide range of impacts ranging from birth defects and thyroid cancer to long-term heart, respiratory and mental illnesses. The findings mean that just one in five young downwinders (sic) can be termed healthy.” There is not one shred of evidence to support this outrageous claim! It should be noted that Mangano’s repeated “studies” about negative nuclear energy health effects on the public-at-large have been repeatedly rebuffed by respected health departments in the United States and around the world. Perhaps the most telling fact relative to our inquiry is Mangano saying “more than 120 childhood cancers have been found” in the Fukushima survey, when the fact is that 50 have experienced possibly cancerous growths being surgically removed. Mangano is not a reputable and honest reference for anything associated with nuclear energy or radiation, but his irresponsible publications are exactly the kind of thing Wasserman needs for his purposes.
This brings us to Wasserman’s most telling allegation of international conspiratorial intrigue. He attacks the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), the International Atomic Energy agency (IAEA) and World Health organization (WHO). To quote, “UNSCEAR is interlocked with the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, whose mandate is to promote atomic power. The IAEA has a long-term controlling gag order on UN findings about reactor health impacts. For decades UNSCEAR and the World Health Organization have run protective cover for the nuclear industry’s widespread health impacts. Fukushima has proven no exception.” Why such a wide-spread cover-up might exist is not stated…in fact, this common antinuclear paradigm is never presented with a rationale for its existence! Saying that the most prestigious health organizations in the world are part-and-parcel to such a heinous act is absurd, if not tacitly criminal.
As “proof” for his specious claim, Wasserman evokes two of the most nuclear-energy-bigoted groups in the world as sources… “In response, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the German International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War have issued a ten-point rebuttal, warning the public of the UN’s compromised credibility. The disaster [Fukushima] is ‘ongoing’ say the groups, and must be monitored for decades. UNSCEAR’s studies on background radiation are also ‘misleading’, say the groups, and there must be further study of genetic radiation effects as well as ‘non-cancer diseases’.” Asking either the Physicians for Social Responsibility and the German International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War about anything associated with nuclear energy is tantamount to asking Al Qaida about the United States.
Perhaps the most disgusting aspect of Wasserman’s insubstantial-but-incendiary rant is found in his closing statement, “But Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and the plague of death and disease now surfacing near Fukushima make it all too clear that the human cost of such decisions [operating nuclear power plants] continues to escalate—with our children suffering first and worst.” This is nothing more than an unmitigated death threat to each and every child in the world. Alleging mortal harm to children is a standard antinuclear ploy used to appeal to human emotions in the most extreme and disgusting fashion. Promises of child mortality of this magnitude are usually punishable under the law, but preposterous genocidal threats of this nature seem to be permissible when purported to be due to nuclear energy.
However, there is no reason to allow such a dastardly deed to go unopposed. Let the truth be known…Wasserman lies like a rug. He’s done it numerous times since Three Mile Island, he’s doing it now and he will continue to make unethical death threats on the human race as long as he continues to make a tidy living out of it!
(For those who might wish to know what is actually the case with respect to the intensive child thyroid study being run in Fukushima Prefecture, please see my webpage about it – Fukushima Child Thyroid Issue. (6) I update the data as soon as it becomes available.)
2 – Most Patients Survive Common Thyroid Cancer Regardless of Treatment; http://geiselmed.dartmouth.edu/news/2010/05/davies.pdf
3 – Fukushima Children’s Thyroid Examination: How Shunichi Yamashita would like doctors to deal with the results; http://fukushimavoice-eng.blogspot.com/2012/05/fukushima-childrens-thyroid-examination.html