From the experience of the Japanese bomb survivors it is possible that a large proportion of the leukaemia cases that could be linked to Chernobyl have already occurred, now that 20 years have passed since the accident. However, further studies are needed to clarify this. While scientists have conducted studies to determine whether cancers in many other organs may have been caused by radiation, reviews by the WHO Expert Group revealed no evidence of increased cancer risks, apart from thyroid cancer, that can clearly be attributed to radiation from Chernobyl.
Aside from the recent finding on leukaemia risk among Chernobyl liquidators, reports indicate a small increase in the incidence of pre-menopausal breast cancer in the most contaminated areas, which appear to be related to radiation dose.
Both of these findings, however, need confirmation in well-designed epidemiological studies. The absence of demonstrated increases in cancer risk — apart from thyroid cancer — is not proof that no increase has occurred.
Based on the experience of atomic bomb survivors, a small increase in the risk of cancer is expected, even at the low to moderate doses received. Such an increase, however, is expected to be difficult to identify. Among them, 28 persons died in due to ARS.
Other liquidators have since died but their deaths could not necessarily be attributed to radiation exposure. An increased number of cancer deaths can be expected during the lifetime of persons exposed to radiation from the accident. Since it is currently impossible to determine which individual cancers were caused by radiation, the number of such deaths can only be estimated statistically using information and projections from the studies of atomic bomb survivors and other highly exposed populations.
It should be noted that the atomic bomb survivors received high radiation doses in a short time period, while Chernobyl caused low doses over a long time. This and other factors, such as trying to estimate doses people received some time after the accident, as well as differences in lifestyle and nutrition, cause very large uncertainties when making projections about future cancer deaths. In addition, a significant non-radiation related reduction in the average lifespan in the three countries over the past 15 years caused by overuse of alcohol and tobacco, and reduced health care, have significantly increased the difficulties in detecting any effect of radiation on cancer mortality.
Where Is Chernobyl?
However, there are uncertainties concerning the magnitude of the effect, particularly at doses much lower than about mSv. The Expert Group concluded that there may be up to 4 additional cancer deaths among the three highest exposed groups over their lifetime liquidators; evacuees and the residents of the SCZs. Predictions, generally based on the LNT model, suggest that up to 5 additional cancer deaths may occur in this population from radiation exposure, or about 0. Again, these numbers only provide an indication of the likely impact of the accident because of the important uncertainties listed above.
However, according to UNSCEAR, the average dose to these populations is much lower and so the relative increase in cancer deaths is expected to be much smaller. Predicted estimates are very uncertain and it is very unlikely that any increase in these countries will be detectable using national cancer statistics. The lens of the eye is very sensitive to ionizing radiation and cataracts are known to result from effective doses of about 2 Sv.
The Chernobyl Disaster May Have Also Built a Paradise
The production of cataracts is directly related to the dose. The higher the dose the faster the cataract appears. Chernobyl cataract studies suggest that radiation opacities may occur from doses as low as mSv. Recent studies among other populations exposed to ionizing radiation e. A large Russian study among emergency workers has suggested an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease in highly exposed individuals. While this finding needs further study with longer follow-up times, it is consistent with other studies, for example, on radiotherapy patients, who received considerably higher doses to the heart.
Chernobyl: How bad was it?
The Chernobyl accident led to extensive relocation of people, loss of economic stability, and long-term threats to health in current and possibly future generations. Widespread feelings of worry and confusion, as well as a lack of physical and emotional well-being were commonplace.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union soon after the Chernobyl accident, and the resultant instability in health care, added further to these reactions. High levels of stress, anxiety and medically unexplained physical symptoms continue to be reported among those affected by the accident. The accident has had a serious impact on mental health and well-being in the general population, mainly at a sub-clinical level that has not generally resulted in medically diagnosed disorders.
Add to Collections. Order articles. Fetching bibliography My Bibliography Add to Bibliography. Generate a file for use with external citation management software. Create File. Br J Radiol. Fry FA 1. Abstract I had originally thought that by this time, nearly 1 year after the Chernobyl reactor accident, I would be in a position to describe fully its impact on the UK in terms of radiation doses, economics and future emergency planning.
Supplemental Content Full text links. External link. After months of research, the scientists discovered that the wolves were healthy and prosperous. Humans were also greatly affected by the Chernobyl incident. Psychological problems were also prevalent in displaced people Figure 4. The city of Pripyat prior to the reactor explosion was home to 49, people.
Cause and Effect: Understanding Chernobyl by Marianne Barisonek
The levels of radiation were so high in the area surrounding the power plant that it became completely unlivable. Within a few days the entire population was forced to relocate. People still cannot live near Chernobyl and will not be able to settle the area for hundreds of years. In conclusion, the Chernobyl disaster altered the lives of many different animals, plants, and humans living in the area.