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 acute radiation illness, including bleeding noses, hair loss 
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UNITED NATIONS, Jun 26 2013 (IPS) - The United Nations has come under criticism from medical experts and members of civil society for what these critics consider inaccurate statements about the effects of lingering radioactivity on local populations.

Ana Pancenko, one of the many Ukrainian children affected by the Chernobyl disaster. Credit: José Luis Baños/IPS
Scientists and doctors met with top U.N. officials last week to discuss the effects of radioactivity in Japan and Ukraine, and the U.N. has enlisted several of its agencies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), to address the matter.

In May, UNSCEAR stated that radiation exposure following the 2011 Fukushima-Daichii nuclear disaster in Japan poses “no immediate health risks” and that long-term health risks are “unlikely”.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Helen Caldicott, an Australian doctor and dissident, in response to the UNSCEAR report.

“There have been health effects. A lot of people have experienced acute radiation illness, including bleeding noses, hair loss, nausea and diarrhoea,” she told IPS.

The UNSCEAR report followed a February WHO report, which also predicted low health risks and normal cancer rates in Japan after the Fukushima disaster, even while noting that long-term studies are still needed. WHO warned instead of resulting psychosocial damage to the population.

Asked why UNSCEAR and WHO released such statements if they were medically inaccurate, Caldicott referred to a 1959 WHO-IAEA agreement that gives the IAEA – an organisation that promotes nuclear power – oversight when researching nuclear accidents.

Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:06 am
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