Chernobyl Victims Still Face Greater Cancer Risk

Study's timing amid Japan nuclear crisis pure coincidence
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 18, 2011 12:29 PM CDT
An aerial shot, dated 31 December1986, of the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine. A major explosion, 30 April 1996, at the plant affected 3,235,984 Ukrainians, according to local statistics, and...   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – It’s been almost a quarter of a century, but kids who consumed contaminated milk or affected cheese soon after the Chernobyl crisis still face a heightened thyroid cancer risk, a study finds. Researchers have kept tabs on 12,500 subjects who were under 18 and lived near Chernobyl when the disaster occurred. Sixty-five of them ended up with thyroid cancer within 10 years, and those most exposed to radiation faced the highest cancer risk, reports the New York Times.

Participants lived up to 90 miles from the site of the incident and thus may have had little, if any, exposure to radioactive iodine from the initial fallout—pointing to the dangerous effects of consuming contaminated food. "This study confirms the risk of thyroid cancer from radioactive iodine,” said a scientist—effects that still haven’t declined, the Times notes. “But thyroid cancer is largely a nonlethal cancer. If detected and treated in a timely manner, they have a good prognosis.” It’s just a coincidence that the study’s results emerged during Japan’s own nuclear crisis. (Read more Chernobyl stories.)

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