Infants in Fukushima face greater risk of cancer: WHO
Geneva: Infants in Japan`s Fukushima prefecture are at greater risk of developing cancer after the March 2011 accident at the Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, the World Health Organization says in a report released here Thursday.
People living near Dai-Ichi were exposed to radiation when the plant suffered severe damage from the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck northeastern Japan March 11, 2011.
Inhabitants of the worst-affected area who were infants at the time of exposure face additional risks of developing cancer in comparison with Fukushima residents who lived farther from the plant and with people in other parts of Japan, the WHO experts concluded.
For girls in the target area, the chances of having thyroid cancer over the course of their lifetimes are 70 percent greater, while the boys face a 7 percent higher risk of leukemia, the report says.
Japanese girls in general have a 0.75 percent probability of thyroid cancer and those in the hardest-hit part of Fukushima must contend with an additional risk of 0.5 percent, the researchers said.
"Outside the geographical areas most-affected by radiation, even in locations within Fukushima prefecture, the predicted risks remain low, and no observable increases in cancer above natural variation in baseline rates are anticipated," the WHO said.