Health Effects of Radiation:
5 Themes
Effects on Fetuses and Hereditary Effects

(i) Assessments by international organizations related to the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)'s Fukushima Daiichi NPS

What kind of viewpoints have international organizations expressed on the health effects of radiation exposure resulting from the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)'s Fukushima Daiichi NPS?

Assessment of the Effects of Atomic Radiation by the United Nations Scientific Committee (UNSCEAR)

  • It is not likely that any significant changes attributable to radiation exposure due to the accident would arise in future cancer statistics.
  • There is the possibility that thyroid cancer risks may theoretically increase among the group of children whose estimated exposure doses were at the highest level. Therefore, their situations need to be closely followed up and assessed.
  • Congenital abnormalities and hereditary effects are not detected.

Also, the evaluation states no increase in spontaneous abortion, miscarriages, perinatal mortality, congenital effects, or cognitive impairment is expected following exposure during pregnancy, and no increase in heritable diseases is expected among the descendants of those exposed to radiation as a result of the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)'s Fukushima Daiichi NPS.

For more information about the UNSCEAR 2013 Report, see page 194 of Vol. 1, FY2017 edition.

Source: Fukushima Prefecture resident health survey results

What has become clear from survey of expecting and nursing mothers

Radiation effects on newborn babies had been worried about, but percentages of premature births, low birth-weight babies, and congenital abnormalities or anomalies in Fukushima Prefecture after the earthquake were found to be almost the same as generally available data, including Vital Statistics collected nationally.

For more information about pregnancy and birth surveys, see page 146 of Vol. 2, FY2017 edition.

Findings related to childhood thyroid cancer

Although internal exposure dose due to radioactive iodine is said to be at a lower level than Chernobyl in Fukushima Prefecture, thyroid examinations have been continued under the framework of the Fukushima Health Management Survey with the aim of ascertaining children's current thyroid status and promoting their health into the future. As of October 2019, no correlation between radiation exposure and diagnosed cases of thyroid cancer has been identified.

For more information about surveys related to thyroid cancer in children, see page 116 of Vol. 2, FY2017 edition.

Health Effects of Radiation: 5 Themes