INFANT DEATHS SOAR 35% IN PACIFIC NORTHWEST ---
AREA HIT HARDEST BY JAPANESE NUCLEAR FALLOUT
June 7, 2011 – Infant deaths rose 35% in the Pacific Northwest since mid-March, when fallout from the meltdowns at Japanese nuclear reactors reached the U.S., according to data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and featured in a new report by health researchers.
Soaring infant deaths occurred in the region where the highest levels of environmental radiation were found in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) samples, raising the possibility that there is a link between Japanese radiation and risk of infant death.
“The fetus and infant are highly susceptible to harm from radiation,” says Joseph Mangano MPH MBA. “The Fukushima meltdowns are still releasing radiation, so trends should be monitored further,” he adds. Mangano is Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP), a New York-based health research group. He is the author of the new report on Fukushima fallout in the U.S. and infant death trends.
The airborne radioactive plume from Japan reached the West Coast on March 17, six days after a powerful earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns in four reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant. EPA data shows that most of the highest levels in the continental U.S. of radioactive Iodine-131 (I-131) in precipitation in late March were found in Idaho, northern California, Washington, and Oregon.
The two highest precipitation levels found by EPA were in Boise ID (390 and 242 picocuries of I-131 per liter of water, hundreds of times greater than the typical level of about 2). Along with Boise, samples from Richmond CA (near San Francisco), Portland OR, and Olympia WA made up 6 of the 10 highest measurements in the U.S. I-131 is one of over 100 radioactive chemicals found only in nuclear reactors and atomic bombs.
Infant deaths reported to the CDC in eight northwestern cities averaged 9.25 per week for the four weeks ending March 19. The average jumped to 12.50, a 35.1% increase, in the following 10 weeks. Cities include Boise ID, Portland OR, and Seattle WA, plus the northern California cities of Pasadena, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, and Santa Cruz. Total U.S. infant deaths increased 2.3% during this time.
Infant deaths are published in the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. They are preliminary (final figures are available in 2014), but are often similar to final data. The CDC data can be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/mmwr_wk/wk_cvol.html; EPA data is at http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/rert/radnet-sampling-data.html#precip.
RPHP health researchers (www.radiation.org) have published 27 medical journal articles and 7 books on health hazards of radiation exposure. Their work has been covered by the New York Times, USA Today, CNN, and Fox News.