LLRC: Citizen epidemiology – antidote to official cover-ups
LLRC is advising people in Japan to take control of health research in the Fukushima 5000 study
As we predicted from the beginning of the Fukushima disaster, officials are saying that the long-term impact on human health will not be serious. This is the beginning of a long-term cover-up intended to deny citizens legal redress for the failure of the Government’s and Tepco’s duty of care.
· recruiting a study group of 5000 people living in a contaminated area. This should begin as soon as possible;
· a questionnaire survey of their health
· using the same questionnaire to survey their health in 2014
· and again in 2016.
There is a report on the method, including a draft questionnaire
Official reassurance is false
· officials continue to believe in the invalid risk model of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). ICRP massively underestimates the effects of radioactivity inside the body because its model is based on studies of Atom-bomb survivors at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These studies are silent on the effects of internal radiation; they didn’t begin to collect data until 1950, and they excluded data collected earlier;
· official sources are silent about alpha-emitting radionuclides like Uranium and Plutonium which are the types of internal contaminant for which the ICRP model is most inaccurate;
· officials ignore the vast amount of evidence from Chernobyl and other exposure scenarios that shows far greater danger than ICRP predicts, affecting a wider range of diseases, occurring sooner than expected, and not conforming with the ICRP’s external dose model.
Chernobyl teaches us the importance of taking control early
Official studies will start late; they will be underfunded, and they will be designed not to produce clear results.
Officials will insist on dose reconstruction. This jargon means that the radiation dose received by each individual person must be known before any conclusions can be reached about whether their health has been damaged by the radioactive contamination; Chernobyl teaches that this is difficult and often impossible and the ICRP itself has said its model cannot and should not be used in this way because of the large uncertainties. It is known that “dose” is meaningless for many types of internal exposure but officials will nonetheless assume that there must be a strict linear relationship between dose and disease.
Officials will assume that radioactive contamination can only cause a narrow range of diseases – cancer, leukaemia and heritable genetic effects. They will therefore ignore non-cancer effects like still births and congenital defects arising from in utero irradiation. They will claim these conditions are illusory or psychosomatic and that they are caused by despair, anxiety, radio-phobia and life-style factors such as poor diet and substance abuse.
Officials will assume that cancers diagnosed in the first 10 – 15 years cannot have been caused by the exposure.
In 2004 the Swedish radiation protection agency SSI used these arguments when attacking a study  that showed increased cancer within ten years of Chernobyl. The SSI page is here [retrieved June 4 2011]. The absolutely standard official response to evidence that challenges the ICRP risk model is to rely on the risk model itself. It’s more like religion than science.
3. The future: a simple proposal (extract from the Fukushima 5000 report)
It is proposed that a case-control study of 1000 households is carried out in a town or small area just outside the 30 km radius from the Fukushima nuclear site. This will be carried out in the same way as the Fallujah study (Busby et al 2010). It will involve a team of local people defining an area of roughly 1000 houses identified from electoral records and visiting each house to obtain answers to a questionnaire. This questionnaire will ask who lives at the house, what their ages and sexes are, and what cancers or leukemias have been diagnosed in the previous 5 years including the type of cancer, age and sex of the person and year of diagnosis. In addition some questions about birth outcomes and miscarriages in the household will be asked. It will also obtain details of deaths from all causes.
Results will give a population of about 5000 people of all ages. The questionnaire will be coded to the householder or responder who will leave an identification number and details of how they can be contacted for a second questionnaire in 3 years and 5 years time. Thus a baseline health sample will be defined against which future health effects can be gauged. The report includes a sample questionnaire.
 Tondel M, Hjalmarsson P, Hardell L, Carisson G and Axelson A (2004) Increase in regional total cancer incidence in Northern Sweden. J Epidemiol. Community Health. 58 1011-10.