Press release PSR/IPPNW Switzerland

Swiss and German doctors warn the IOC

Current nuclear policy in Olympic Japan: Fukushima children risk severe radio-induced disease and death.

Lausanne, 26th February 2020 About 1 in 15 children born in 2011 exposed to 100 Millisievert (mSv) will suffer from radio-induced cancer or other life threatening disease during lifetime under the Japanese radiation dose limits currently in force. In regions radiocontaminated by the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident these risks will last for hundredsof years. These regionsare uninhabitable according to the  usual radioprotection limit of 1 mSv/year. In 2020 the Fukushima NPP catastrophe is by no means  controlled.

Radioactive fallout such as from the Fukushima 2011 nuclear disaster spreads without regard to borders and affects people indiscriminately. Therefore any nuclear disaster that disperses radioactive  materials  in the air, soil, or water is of global concern. Ionizing radiation is intensely biologically injurious.  At all doses, without anythreshold below which there is no effect (including doses too low to cause any short-term ef-fects or symptoms), radiation exposure  increases the  long-term risk of cancer and chronic disease  such as cardiovascular diseases for the rest of the life of thoseexposed.

Radiation protection standards disrespected
The most widely accepted standard for radiation protection (excluding medical radiation) allows a maximum permissible dose of ionizing radiation for members of the public in nonemergency situations of 1 mSv per year. In the post-accidental era in Japan 20 mSv per year is presently tolerated by the state. This is irre-sponsible although it is in line with ICRP-regulations.High radiation risks of children –especially infants, and of women –especially during pregnancy Children are more vulnerable to  radiation-related diseases than adults. Especially infants are about four times as sensitive to radiation cancer-inducing effects as middle-aged adults. Females are overall at close to 40 percent greater cancer risk as males for the same dose of radiation. A single X-ray to the abdomen of a pregnant woman, involving a radiation dose to thefetus of about 10 mSv, has been shown to increase the risk  of cancer during childhood in her offspring by 40 percent. For cardiovascular disease risk, increased lifetime risk of death from circulatory disease estimated is  about ten times higher for a child exposed to radiation before ten years of age compared with exposure occurring after age seventy.

Perspective ofrisks induced by ionizing radiation in children of Fukushima
To provide a perspective on these risks, for a child born in Fukushima in 2011 who was exposed to a total of 100 mSv of additional radiation in its first five years of life, a level tolerated by current Japanese policy, the additional lifetime  risk of cancer would be on the order of one  in thirty, probably with a similar additional risk of premature cardiovascular death. (Tilman Ruff, IPPNW, 2013)

IPPNW Germany is supporting this warning to the IOC.