Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Study Suggests Link Between Fukushima Radiation and Japanese Monkeys' Low Blood Count

In addition to the area residents, cleanup crew members and consumers of regional seafood, monkeys have also suffered health issues likely attributable to the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011.

In the case of the Japanese macaques, the radioactive material spewed by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has led to abnormally low white and red blood cell levels and low haemoglobin. The findings, published Thursday in the Scientific Reports journal, show that the low counts make the monkeys more susceptible to various diseases.

The blood count of Japanese macaques was likely impacted by the 2011 Fukushima disaster, a new study suggests. Photo credit: SITS Girls/Flickr Creative Commons

“This first data from non-human primates—the closest taxonomic relatives of humans—should make a notable contribution to future research on the health effects of radiation exposure in humans,” Professor Shin-ichi Hayama, of the Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University in Tokyo, told The Guardian.

One of the study's 11 authors, Hayama said that the monkeys were likely exposed to radiation from feeding on tree buds and bark that accumulated radioactive caesium from the power plant explosions. The researchers examined wild monkeys who were 43 miles away from the plant reactors in the forest area of Fukushima City. Their counts of white and red blood cells, as well as hemoglobin, and hematocrit, were much lower than those of monkeys about 250 miles away in the Shimokita Peninsula in the Aomori Prefecture.

Hamaya would not make a definitive claim that caesium caused the low blood counts, despite the suggestive findings and the inability to find any other cause.

“The low haematological values in the Fukushima monkeys could have therefore been due to the effect of any radioactive materials,” he said. “We did not conclude the low-blood cell counts are caused by caesium but so far we cannot find other reasons except radiation.”

Professor Geraldine Thomas of Imperial College in London didn't believe the study at all.

“Unfortunately this is yet another paper with insufficient power to distinguish real effects and relevance to human health,” she said. “We know that one of the most damaging health effects comes from fear of radiation, not radiation itself.”

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A woman walks to her train in Grand Central Terminal as New York City attempts to slow down the spread of coronavirus through social distancing on March 27. John Lamparski / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

A council representing more than 800,000 doctors across the U.S. signed a letter Friday imploring President Donald Trump to reverse his call for businesses to reopen by April 12, warning that the president's flouting of the guidance of public health experts could jeopardize the health of millions of Americans and throw hospitals into even more chaos as they fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
polaristest / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

Over six gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of wine. "Irrigation, sprays, and frost protection all [used in winemaking] require a lot of water," explained winemaker and sommelier Keith Wallace, who's also a professor and the founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, the largest independent wine school in the U.S. And water waste is just the start of the climate-ruining inefficiencies commonplace in the wine industry. Sustainably speaking, climate change could be problematic for your favorite glass of wine.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pixabay

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Spinach is a true nutritional powerhouse, as it's rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Jeff Turrentine

From day to day, our public health infrastructure — the people and systems we've put in place to keep populations, as opposed to individuals, healthy — largely goes unnoticed. That's because when it's working well, its success takes the form of utter normalcy.

Read More Show Less
Spring Break vs. COVID19: The Real Impact of Ignoring Social Distancing

By Eoin Higgins

A viral video showing cell phone data collected by location accuracy company X-Mode from spring break partiers potentially spreading the coronavirus around the U.S. has brought up questions of digital privacy even as it shows convincingly the importance of staying home to defeat the disease.

Read More Show Less