Debate over health effects of Chernobyl re-ignited|
20100424 The Lancet reports - "Debate over health effects of Chernobyl re-ignited" - Controversy surrounding the true toll and disease burden caused by fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 has resurfaced following the release of a new study. Ed Holt reports. Calls have been made for comprehensive studies into the continuing health effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster after a rise in birth defects was identified in one of the regions most affected by the catastrophe. A study by Wladimir Wertelecki of the University of Southern Alabama ... found above average rates of a number of birth defects in one province in Ukraine ... Wertelecki says that the rise could be linked to continuing exposure to low-level radiation doses ... The findings, published in Pediatrics, are in stark contrast with a major, but highly criticised, 2005 study by WHO and other groups ... study show claims that birth defects are not linked to the disaster need to be re-evaluated. He told The Lancet: “The official position is that Chernobyl and birth defects are not connected. That position needs to be reconsidered at the very least.” ... Werteleckis study concentrated on the Rivne province of Ukraine, about 200 km from the Chernobyl plant. Its northern half, Polissia, was classified as being “significantly affected” by the disaster and the ground, as well as food, in the area still contains low doses of radioactive caesium 137. ... The rate was even higher in the Polissia region with 27 of 10 000 babies born with a neural tube defect. Polissia also had high rates of microcephaly and microphthalmia than in other parts of Rivne ...
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