Effects of Radiation Exposure in Babies
Written by Faith Anderson on April 8, 2013
Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
Following a major earthquake in Japan in March 2011, a tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors, causing a devastating accident that was rated the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. Later that same month, Japanese officials announced that “radioactive iodine-131 exceeding safety limits for infants had been detected at 18 water-purification plants in Tokyo and five other prefectures.” In the aftermath of the accident, radioactive materials were released into the atmosphere, and trace amounts of radiation have since been observed around the world, largely in the Western United States and other Pacific countries.
Adverse Effects of Exposure to Radiation in Children
For those individuals living in Japan, the health effects linked to the Fukushima disaster are significant, as expected. The mortality rate for elderly people living in retirement facilities near the nuclear plant at the time of the accident has reportedly tripled, and there have also been reported increases in the number of Japanese children with flat feet, believed to be the result of kids playing on radiated soil. A year after the nuclear disaster occurred, reports indicated that the radioactive fallout that reached the United States may have been responsible for an increase in deaths, especially for children under the age of one. Two years later, this new study indicates that explosions at the nuclear plant produced the radioisotope iodine-131, which floated east over the Pacific Ocean and landed on West Coast states through precipitation, possibly leading to an increased risk of congenital hypothyroidism in U.S. babies.
Contact an Experienced Attorney for Legal Help
According to reports, radioactive iodine accumulates in human thyroid glands, and, in fetuses and babies, the radiation can impair the development of both the body and the brain. While hypothyroidism associated with the Fukushima disaster can have devastating effects on U.S. babies exposed to the radiation, congenital hypothyroidism is actually treatable when detected early. Experts have suggested that parents of children born in the Western United States or Pacific regions in March or April 2011 have their children checked for congenital hypothyroidism by a pediatrician. If you believe your child has been adversely affected by the nuclear disaster in Japan, contact an experienced attorney in your area to discuss your legal options.