News / Asia

No New Measures Needed to Counter Radiation Health Risks in Japan

A staff member checks the level of radiation on an industrial product produced in Fukushima Prefecture at Fukushima Technology Center in Koriyama, northeastern Japan, April 4, 2011
A staff member checks the level of radiation on an industrial product produced in Fukushima Prefecture at Fukushima Technology Center in Koriyama, northeastern Japan, April 4, 2011

The World Health Organization says no new public health measures are needed to counter the higher levels of radiation being emitted from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.   On Tuesday, Japanese authorities raised their rating of the severity of the accident at the nuclear plant to seven.  

WHO says the severity of the releases of radioactive material at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is a cause for concern.  But, in terms of public health, it says the countermeasures taken soon after the accident in mid-March, are still good.

WHO Director of Public Health and the Environment, Maria Neira, says there is no need for new public health countermeasures.

"Those that are in place, things related to the evacuation zone, the relocation of certain populations, the measures associated with the early intake of potassium iodine pills for the population that has been identified by the Japanese government as appropriate, the issues related to food safety and controls-things like that…Those public health recommendations are still valid," she said.

The level seven rating given to the Japanese nuclear power plant is the worst on an international scale from five.  It is equal to that given in 1986 to Chernobyl, long considered the worst nuclear accident in history.  

But, Neira notes the two situations and their consequent impacts on public health are very different.  For one, she says a massive explosion triggered the Chernobyl nuclear accident.  

On the other hand, heavy emissions of radiation from the Japanese nuclear facility resulted from the plant’s cooling system, which was put out commission by the earthquake and tsunami.

Another important difference, she says, is that Chernobyl did not put in place similar life-saving countermeasures that are in operation in Japan.

Nevertheless, Neira says the severity of the Fukushima accident must not be under-estimated.  She says the situation continues to evolve and nuclear watchdogs need to constantly assess and reassess the public health consequences.

"This situation unfortunately is not yet under control.  We do not know what might happen.  So, therefore, obviously, we continue to be very vigilant.  We continue to be on alert,” Neira said.  “We never came down on our level of alert at WHO and we continue to monitor on a very careful way how the situation is moving and our assessment might change completely in one hour.  I do not know.  But, for the time being, with the current data and the current situation, this is our assessment."

On a related issue, Neira, says WHO does not see any need to impose a ban on the export and consumption of food from Japan.  She says no food is being grown in the contaminated areas.  And, she notes, Japanese authorities test food before it is exported to make sure it is safe.

She does not discount the possibility that radiation might be present in some of the food products.  But, she says the radiation is so minimal a person would have to consume large quantities of the food for a very long time for it to have a negative effect.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in public More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid