The possibility of negative health effects caused by radiation from the Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is low when considering the radiation levels currently expected. However, the most common health effect demonstrated as a result of Chernobyl was the increase in childhood thyroid cancer as a result of internal exposure to radioactive iodine.
Those forced to evacuate suddenly as a result of the nuclear disaster are currently living in evacuation centers or in the homes of relatives and friends, in an environment that is completely different from their former lives.
Radiation exposure following the meltdown has been directly implicated in more than 50 deaths and suspected in many more, mostly related to powerplant staff. The true extent of the disaster's effects, such as the cancer risk posed by widespread low-level radiation, remains unclear. Since a meltdown could release radioactive iodine into the air the distribution of potassium iodine is another important precaution.
Concerns over the radiation levels
Scientists and doctors are calling for a change of national policy in Japan that regulates the testing of food, soil, water, and the air samples for radioactivity. There are reports of radiation still being emitted from Fukushima's heavily damaged Daiichi nuclear power plant. The main question in public revolves on how much radioactive materials had actually been released from powerplant during the incident.
There is widespread concern about a general lack of government monitoring for radiation, which has caused people to look for independent monitoring results, some of which have also found disturbingly high levels of radiation. The government and TEPCO have not reported the total amount of the released radioactivity to this moment.
Distrust of the Japanese government's response to the nuclear disaster is now common among people living in the affected areas and more and more people are showing public concerns about their health. Doctors in Japan are treating patients suffering from increased number of nosebleeds, stubborn cases of diarrhoea, and flu-like symptoms in children that are attributed to radiation exposure.