Reports came out this week about the results of a Fukushima Prefecture radiation survey of residents. The survey didn’t actually scan or test people for exposure, it was a set of questions about people’s location and activities compared against the SPEEDI data that the government possessed but did not give to the public when they needed it most to avoid exposure.
These surveys only estimate external exposure and do not estimate internal exposure. Many people in Fukushima have been trying to get whole body counter scans but a lack of machines and a lack of government cooperation has meant that many go un-scanned not knowing their real exposure level and risk.
The survey estimates that 40% of the 10,000 people questioned had over limit exposures of 1 millisievert per year total or more. This is only counting their external exposures. If internal exposure were to be included and the surveys to actually cover more of the more than 2 million people that live in Fukushima Prefecture the numbers would likely be much higher.
Authorities quoted by Jiji called the exposure levels health risk “It is difficult to imagine there would be an effect on health“.
A small fraction were estimated with a questionnaire and “all clear” is being declared by a government official. Meanwhile the real testing being done is not so quick to declare no problem. We reported earlier that 51% of children tested at Minamisoma Municipal hospital are showing up as contaminated internally with radiation. Children in Fukushima City tested by NGO ACRO have been increasingly showing up with radiation in their urine indicating internal contamination. 30% of Fukushima children recently tested for thyroid abnormalities were positive for some sign of damage or lumps.
The government response seems to be, test very little, test as vague as possible, ignore all other testing and declare no problem.
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