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Thursday, 19 March 2015

Congenital Anomalies Statistically linked to Fukushima

The Researchers Joseph Mangano* and Janette D. Sherman, working for the Radiation and Public Health Project, New York, USA, published an article titled:

Changes in Congenital Anomaly Incidence in West Coast and Pacific States (USA) after Arrival of Fukushima Fallout

The Article begins:

"Radioactive fallout after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown entered the U.S. environment within days; levels of radioactivity were particularly elevated in the five western states bordering on the Pacific Ocean." [http://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=54828#.VQtsu47F9Ai]

This is an acknowledgement that fallout was falling at high levels, at least along the coast, and that public health officials knew of it. The article then asks the scientific question:

"The particular sensitivity of the fetus to radiation exposure, and the ability of radioisotopes to attach to cells, tissues, and DNA raise the question of whether fetuses/newborns with birth defects with the greater exposures suffered elevated harm during the period after the meltdown." [http://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=54828#.VQtsu47F9Ai]

Research like this ought to be using rhetorical questions. But there has been so much propaganda and disinformation on the subject that researchers have to act like they don't already have evidence on the subjects. And sure enough:

"increase of 13.00% in the five western states is significantly greater than the 3.77% decrease for all other U.S. states combined (CI 0.030 - 0.205, p < 0.008). Consistent patterns of elevated increases are observed in the west (20 of 21 comparisons, 6 of which are statistically significant/borderline significant), by state, type of birth defect, month of birth, and month of conception. While these five anomalies are relatively uncommon (about 7500 cases per year in the U.S.), sometimes making statistical significance difficult to achieve, the consistency of the results lend strength to the analysis, and suggest fetal harm from Fukushima may have occurred in western U.S. states." [http://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=54828#.VQtsu47F9Ai]

The PDF of the article contains the following [http://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperDownload.aspx?paperID=54828]

The Authors looked at a list of particularly gruesome birth defects and anomolies:
Anencephaly,
Cleft palate or cleft lip,
Down syndrome,
Gastroschisis,
Omphalocele,
Spina Bifida/meningocele

Their hypothesis:

"is that the 2010-2011 rate change of these five anomalies increased more sharply in the five Pacific/West Coast states than the rest of the U.S., based on the presence of elevated levels of fallout from the Fukushima meltdown in the period following March 2011, and the well-documented pattern of risk to humans irradiated in utero." [http://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperDownload.aspx?paperID=54828]

There was no question for them that we were hit with considerable fallout:

"The only measure of radioactivity with large numbers of measurements in the period just after Fukushima, when environmental radiation was highest (March 15-April 30, 2011), along with the prior year, is not a specific isotope, but airborne beta emitters, or “gross beta”. During this 47 day period, well over 1000 samples with detectable concentrations were collected by the EPA at over 100 U.S. stations."

And note this is a proxy, but under-reports radiation exposure. And they present the statistics in a table:

They then note about the first table:

"For most of the period January 1 to October 4, the ratio of 2011 to 2010 beta averages was similar across the U.S. (0.983 for 18 sites in the western states, 1.018 for 31 non-western U.S. sites). But in the period March 15 to April 30, immediately after Fukushima fallout arrived, the 2011/2010 ratio for the 18 sites in the western states (7.345), was considerably higher than the 31 non-western U.S. sites (2.397). Although this is not a comprehensive assessment of dose by geographic area, it supports the belief that the greater exposures from the meltdown occurred in the five western states, using a broad measure of radiation such as gross beta. Appendix 1 shows the radiation measurement sites used. The group that will be most susceptible"

Again the wiggle words, imposed on scientists due to the confidential nature of their sources and the clamp of top security placed on all things nuclear, including those things that affect whether we know they are killing us, damaging our babies before they are born, or not.

Then they provide associated rates of Birth rates, before and after, in a second table as a baseline:

This allows them to use reported birth defect data and correlate it against the period April to November 2010 and 2011. They measured:

"A 2010-2011 increase in birth defect rates was observed for each of the five states, including Alaska (+69.52%), California (+11.88%), Hawaii (+3.90%), Oregon (+8.87%), and Washington (+15.53%). Compared to the −3.77% decline for all other U.S. states, only the California increase achieved statistical significance (CI0.001 - 0.167, p < 0.05), as 58% of the birth defects in the five states occur to California residents. The unusually large rise in Alaska is countered by the small number of cases (10 and 15 for each year), rendering the change not statistically significant."

But here's the thing. They make claims of statistical correlation and then discount them for Alaska as "not statistically significant" for lack of numbers. This may be valid scientific-speak. But if someone observes a 69% increase in incidents of birth defects even in a small population I'm not sure the validity of the math they are using. But you see that all over science from this subject. They'll deny significance of data at the drop of a hat. They weren't forced to do that in this case. The overall evidence is "statistically significant." I'm just surprised they were allowed to publish the report. And more importantly they were allowed to admit that.

They conclude:

"Our hypothesis that areas in the U.S. which received elevated levels of environmental radioactivity from the Fukushima meltdown are at risk for increased birth defects is based on the documented evidence of cellular damage from radiation exposure, the particular sensitivity of the fetus to radiation, and numerous reports of elevated congenital anomaly rates after exposure to fallout from atomic bomb detonations and nuclear reactor meltdowns.

And the report sustains that hypothesis:

"We find a consistent pattern of excess 2010-2011 increases in birth defect rates in the five West Coast/Pacific states, compared to the rest of the U.S., for the eight-month period April-November. The April-November 2011 birth cohort was exposed to Fukushima radioactivity while in utero."

So the truth comes out, with buzzwords, weasel words, and caveats. But the truth always comes out.

Source: http://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=54828#.VQtsu47F9Ai

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