Dr. Damien Downing's Column
...expert advice on treating environmental illnesses with ecological and nutritional medicine.
Dr. Damien Downing M.D. is President of the British Society for Ecological Medicine (www.ecomed.org.uk), Chief Medical Advisor to the charity Yes to Life (www.yestolife.org.uk), and Editorial Board member of the Orthomolecular News Service (www.orthomolecular.org). He is a practitioner of ecological medicine in London (www.newmedicinegroup.com) and York (www.naltd.co.uk) and author of several books including The Vitamin Cure for Allergies (USA, Basic Health Books, 2010).
You can benefit from Dr. Downing's wisdom and experience by visiting us at The Environmental Illness Resource regularly to read articles from his newsletter!
Friday, September 23rd, 2011:
The REAL Health Hazards Posed by the Fukushima Nuclear AccidentThe Health Hazards of Disease Prevention
by Damien Downing MD
Jim Al-Khalili always seemed like one of the good guys, but in his Horizon programme on Fukushima (BBC2 14th September) he became an unapologetic apologist for nuclear power. He looked at the impact of the nuclear disaster on people around the TEPCO plant, but ignored the much more serious release of radioactivity into the sea, which is now being distributed round the world. Fukushima is a “dirty bomb”; radioactive elements released to the sea include plutonium, strontium, caesium and iodine. These elements will be radioactive for periods from days up to thousands of years. Airborne traces were detected in the western USA six days after the tsunami, but the waterborne radioactivity will not arrive there for months yet.
He compared it to Chernobyl, which he inaccurately described as the biggest nuclear disaster ever; Fukushima is worse in several ways, not least because it is still ongoing and may take two years to be shut down (when we invent the technology to do so). Actually, I think he was “KGB’d”, something I experienced in 1994 when looking at pollution in Central Asia; a fruitful discussion was terminated by a senior figure who gave the party line that the health damage was negligible. Al-Khalili was told that only seven people died of thyroid cancer after Chernobyl, which ignored all the other pathology and deaths, estimated by some as over a million across Europe  – and he accepted it without question.
It was embarrassing to then hear him say that radioactivity is present in the food we eat, with the implication that it’s therefore OK. The usual dose of sunlight is OK; a thousand times more is not. Fukushima will affect us all; you may not feel it but somebody will.
For a comprehensive look at the potential health effects caused by the Fukushima accident and what can be done to mitigate them see Dr. Downing's article - Fukushima: Health Effects and How to Reduce Your Risk
Yablokov AV. Mortality after the Chernobyl catastrophe. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Nov;1181:192-216.
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