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Japan Medicine Power Science

Fukushima's Fallout of Fear 124

gbrumfiel writes "Experts believe that the many thousands who fled from the Fukushima nuclear disaster received very low doses of radiation. But that doesn't mean there won't be health consequences. Nature magazine traveled to Fukushima prefecture and found evidence of an enormous mental strain from the accident. Levels of anxiety and PTSD-like symptoms are high among evacuees. Researchers fear that, in the long run, the mental problems could lead to depression and substance abuse among those who lost their homes. In other words, even if no one develops cancer as a direct result of radiation, the health effects could still be very real."
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Fukushima's Fallout of Fear

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  • What about drowning? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @06:07PM (#42609561)

    Experts believe that the many thousands who fled from the Fukushima nuclear disaster received very low doses of radiation. But that doesn't mean there won't be health consequences.

    Yeah I think having your friends, family, and coworkers drown might stress them a wee bit, even if americans think nothing happened there but a minor nuclear power incident.

  • by fnj ( 64210 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @06:18PM (#42609721)

    Losing your home, let alone all your possessions, is a horrific thing to go through, no matter what the process of loss is: nuclear accident, hurricane, bankruptcy. I believe it is a more devastating loss than the one you have when you reach a certain age and the truth of your own mortality comes into full focus. Losing everything the day your own light goes out forever, there is a sense of loss in the anticipation, but there is no "you" to miss anything afterwards. Losing all your "stuff" on the other hand is the hurt that just keeps hurting.

  • by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @06:25PM (#42609825)

    Does this lead to suggesting that the government downplay risks since the fear causes more injuries that the actual risk? Should we avoid technologies that scare people even if there is not data to support that fear?

    I think the study is probably valid, but I think people need to be very careful on how this information is incorporated into policy.

  • by EdZ ( 755139 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @07:08PM (#42610493)

    If officials would reliably issue accurate statements there would be much less reason to stress out.

    They did. Even prior to the hydrogen explosions, I was following the IAEA and NISA reports on exactly what was going on, complete with regularly updated radiation levels for various sampling stations.
    However, if all you're getting in media reports is fearmongering over THIS NUMBER IS 100 TIMES BIGGER THAN THIS OTHER NUMBER! (and neglecting to mention the units, let alone a helpful comparison to commonly encountered levels of radiation) you'd be forgiven for thinking that the people who know what's going on aren't telling anyone. They are, it's simply that nobody is bothering to listen (and think).

  • by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:39PM (#42611435)

    Yeah well even the summary still doesn't attribute all lost homes to the nuclear accident as you claim.

    The Summary says that the effects from the 'accident' (the reactor) include PTSD for people who lost their homes. That's quite clearly attributing tsunami issues since far more people 'lost' homes to the tsunami than to the reactor failure...which isn't a fair metric.

    I will happily take the RTFA blame as I didn't, but the summary is still quite clearly 'bad'.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"