Radiation and health problems

People, Japanese and non-Japanese as well, are still in danger of being exposed to much higher radiation which heavily affects their health, and more than 500,000 foreign residents and migrants left Japan in April foreverr or evacuated from there temporarily in fear of aftershocks and radiation exposure. Even our Japanese classes have fewer students than beore because of the unimproved current situation. On top of that, it seems that people are half angry and half reconciled to Japanese government's improper measures and Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s supply of not always accurate informaton little by little. But now is not the time to give up. It is necessary for us to try to have a better understanding of the matter and take another look at the way we have been.
The following is an excerpt from BBC news on Health effects of radation exposure, dated on April 18:
"How does radiation have an impact on health?"
Radioactive materials decay spontaneously to produce ionising radiation, which has the capacity to cause significant damage to the body's internal chemistry, breaking the chemical bonds between the atoms and molecules that make up our tissues. Damage to the DNA of a cell is particularly important.
The body responds by trying to repair this damage, but at high doses it is too severe or widespread to make repair possible, leading to short-term acute health effects.
There is also a danger of mistakes in the natural DNA repair process, which can lead in the long-term to cancer.
Regions of the body that are most vulnerable to acute radiation damage include the cells lining the intenstine and stomach, and the blood-cell producing cells in the bone marrow.
The extent of the damage caused is dependent on how long people are exposed to radiation, and at what level.
"What are the most likely long-term health effects?"
Cancer is the biggest long-term risk. Usually when the body's cells reach their sell-by date they commit suicide. Cancer results when cells lose this ability, and effectively become immortal, continuing to divide and divide in an uncontrolled fashion.
The body has various processes for ensuring that cells do not become cancerous, and for replacing damaged tissue.
But the damage caused by exposure to radiation can completely disrupt these control processes, raising the risk of cancer.
Failure to properly repair the damage caused by radiation can also result in changes - or mutations - to the body's genetic material (DNA), which are not only associated with cancer, but may also be potentially passed down to offspring, leading to deformities in future generations. These can include smaller head or brain size, poorly formed eyes, slow growth and severe learning difficulties.
"Are children at greater risk?"
Potentially yes. Because they are growing more rapidly, more cells are dividing, and so the potential for things to go wrong is greater.
Following the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in the Ukraine in 1986, the World Health Organization recorded a dramatic increase in thyroid cancer among children in the vicinity.
This was because the radioactive materials released during the accident contained high levels of radioactive iodine, a material that accumulates in the thyroid.
Children continued to eat and drink heavily contaminated foodstuffs, such as milk.

テーマ : 東北地方太平洋沖地震義援金、災害援助
ジャンル : 福祉・ボランティア

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