Chernobyl’s cancer legacy – the IAEA misled the world about this

Thyroid Cancers: More, Sooner, Untreatable   Chernobyl at Ten:  Half-lives and Half Truths, Chernobyl, by John M. LaForge 

“……Dr. Soyfer further discovered that the Soviets focused on and publicized the fallout’s radioactive iodine content, but understated the amounts of other far more dangerous isotopes. While 10 to 15 percent of the fallout was iodine-131, the long-lived radionuclides strontium-90 and cesium-137 made up more than two thirds of the total contamination.[12]

Furthermore, the Soviet’s 1986 estimate of future cancer deaths was based only on the impact of iodine-131, and then only on external doses. As a result, the IAEA misled the world about Chernobyl’s cancer threat.People contaminated with iodine-131 ingested it, first by breathing, then by drinking contaminated milk for six weeks. Thyroid cancer is caused by the iodine-131. Its rates are today ten times higher than the increase any scientist had anticipated. The U. N. has said that the number of thyroid cancers among children in Belarus — where 70 percent of the fallout landed — are 285 times pre-Chernobyl levels.[13]

The British Medical Journal reported in 1995 that the rate of thyroid cancer in the region north of Chernobyl — Ukraine and Belarus — is 200 times higher than normal, and the (British) Imperial Cancer Research Fund found a 500 percent increase in thyroid cancers among Ukrainian children between 1986 and 1993.[14]

Fear is growing among physicians treating the young radiation victims, because the thyroid cancers are appearing sooner than expected and growing quicker than usual. Dr. Andrei Butenko, at Kiev Hospital No. 1 in Ukraine, says of his patients, “Routine chemotherapy seems to have lost its effectiveness; something has changed in the immune system.”[15]

 Cesium’s Genetic Assault: the 300 Years War

Cesium-137 contamination is probably Chernobyl’s most devastating and ominous consequence. The body can’t distinguish cesium from potassium, so it’s taken up by our cells and becomes an internal source of radiation. Cesium-137 is a gamma emitter and its half-life of 30 years means that it stays in the soil, to concentrate in the food chain, for over 300 years. While iodine-131 remains radioactive for six weeks, cesium-137 stays in the body for decades, concentrating in muscle where it irradiates muscle cells and nearby organs.[16]

Strontium-90 is also long-lived and, because it resembles calcium, is permanently incorporated into bone tissue where it may lead to leukemia.

The Soviets acknowledged in 1986 that the influence of cesium-137 on cancer death rates would be nine times that of iodine-131. They said that the effects of strontium-90 would “perhaps have, along with cesium-137, the most important meaning.”……[17]

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