While the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs killed 200,000 people, the effects of the event on 177,000 survivors were proven not to be as dramatic as initially thought.
The Molecular Biology Study
A French molecular biologist analyzed the medical records of the survivors and their children, as well as the clinic reports of 20,000 other people who were not in the radiation area.
The results of the study show that, even though the survivors did have an increased risk of cancer, they lived on average almost as long as the people who were not exposed to radiations.
The survivors and their children did not report any mutations or health effects associated with radiations.
The report wants to correct the impression that the survivors had to face extremely grave heath effects and that their children had an increased rate of genetic disease.
Although the atomic bombs had devastating effects on the population, just like any other instrument of war, the effects on the survivors are not as dramatic as it was believed. The explanation for the panic surrounding the atomic bombing may lay in the fact that a new danger is something that everyone fears, even if its effects may not be as powerful as those of an already known peril.
The scientists explain that radiation can be detected easier than other hazardous chemicals which have similar effects on health, such as raising the risk of cancer or genetic mutations.
One example offered is that of coal, which is frequently ignored when it comes to the health of the miners and when it’s related to atmospheric pollution.
The Atomic Bombs and Cancer
A cooperative research organization constituted of Japanese and American scientists explain that half of the leukemia deaths occurring between 1950 and 2000 were caused by radiation exposure, with a total estimated number of 1,900 cases.
A life span study of the survivors shows that out of the 105,427 participants more than 17,000 had been diagnosed with solid cancers. The type of cancer was directly related to the radiation. The researchers are now trying to separate from the study the other factors that can influence the risk of cancer, and to determine how radiation interacts with smoking, bacterial agents or other chemicals in affecting a person’s health.
Even if cancer is still occurring among the survivors of the A-bomb, the risk for leukemia decreased in the ten years after the bombing and now has almost completely disappeared. However, the risk for solid cancers remained constant and persisted for every individual for the rest of their lives.
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