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U.S. deaths linked to disaster in Japan

14,000 U.S. deaths may be linked to Fukushima nuclear disaster

WASHINGTON, D.C. | December 30, 2011

An estimated 14,000 excess U.S. deaths may be linked to the radioactive fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, two researchers say.

Study authors epidemiologist Joseph Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project, and Dr. Janette Sherman, an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University, said six days after the nuclear reactor meltdowns struck four reactors at Fukushima March 11, scientists detected the plume of toxic fallout had arrived over American shores.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found levels of radiation in air, water and milk hundreds of times above normal across the United States, the researchers said.

Mangano said the normal level of Iodine-131 in U.S. precipitation was about 2 picocuries Iodine-131 per liter of water, but the highest detected levels of Iodine-131 in precipitation were: Boise, Idaho, 390; Kansas City, 200; Salt Lake City, 190; Jacksonville, Fla., 150; Olympia, Wash., 125; and Boston, 92.

"This study of Fukushima health hazards is the first to be published in a scientific journal. It raises concerns, and strongly suggests that health studies continue, to understand the true impact of Fukushima in Japan and around the world," Mangano said in a statement. "Findings are important to the current debate of whether to build new reactors, and how long to keep aging ones in operation."

The findings are published in the International Journal of Health Services.

Copyright 2011 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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