Study Links Fukushima catastrophe to 14,000 US deaths

By Michael Smith
MedPage Today

The U.S. appears to have suffered about 14,000 excess deaths in the period after the Japanese Fukushima nuclear plant was severely damaged, researchers said.

The finding, which is the latest report from researchers who have repeatedly sounded alarms about risks from Fukushima, was based on CDC data on deaths in a set of U.S. cities from March 20 to June 25 — a 14-week period starting after the radioactivity released from the reactor on March 11 has reached the U.S., according to Joseph Mangano, MPH, of the non-profit Radiation and Public Health Project, based on Ocean City, N.J., and author Janette Sherman, MD.

Over that period, the number of deaths, compared with the same period in 2010, was up 4.46%, Mangano and Sherman reported online in the International Journal of Health Services.

In contrast, during the 14 previous weeks, deaths in the reported cities rose 2.34% compared with the same period in 2010 — yielding an “excess” of 3,286 deaths, Mangano and Sherman reported.

Extrapolated to the whole country, they said, that works out to “a projected 13,983 excess U.S. deaths” during those 14 weeks.

In a telephone press conference, Mangano said the finding is a “clarion call for more extensive research.”

But he told MedPage Today that the researchers can’t rule out factors other than the Fukushima radiation that might have accounted for the excess.

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2 responses to “Study Links Fukushima catastrophe to 14,000 US deaths

  1. Seems reaching a bit, since it takes time for ingested radionuclides to cause cancer. Unless the report it using other info, I find this spurious science.

  2. The data before and after Fukushima differ: After Fukushima, the authors included 119 cities in their evaluation, before Fukushima only 104 cities. The excess infant deaths come from the 15 additional cities.
    A trend analysis of weekly infant deaths with the official CDC data from week 50, 2009, to week 25, 2011, yields no upward shift, but a 1.3% decrease of infant deaths after Fukushima.

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