9 Mars 2012
Thyroid screenings detect relatively high exposure
Experts have detected radioactive iodine in the thyroid glands of 80 percent of the people who used to live near the Fukushima nuclear plant. Five of them had dosages of more than 50 millisieverts.
The scientists at Hirosaki University in Aomori Prefecture conducted checkups last April of 65 people who were living near the Fukushima plant at the time of the nuclear accident. They found radioactive iodine in the thyroid glands of 50 of them.
The team calculated the amount of radioactive iodine exposure for each resident. The calculations assumed that the residents had inhaled radioactive iodine on March 12th, just one day after the accident.
Most of the residents had an estimated dosage of 10 millisieverts or less, but 5 had dosages of more than 50 millisieverts. The International Atomic Energy Agency recommends taking iodine tablets for this level of exposure.
The person with the highest dosage of 87 millisieverts stayed within 30 kilometers of the Fukushima power plant for more than 2 weeks after the accident.
The team leader, Hirosaki University Professor Shinji Tokonami, says the levels of radioactive iodine were relatively low compared to the scale of the accident.
But he says some residents face potential health risks from the exposure, and they should have continue to have regular health checkups by professional researchers.