Almost a month after reports surfaced that workers at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were told to use lead covers in order to hide unsafe radiation levels, a team of Japanese researchers has published an article in the Journal of the American Medical association, revealing that 47% of participants having taken a survey given to workers at Fukushima Daiichi had experienced severe psychological distress.
The team lead by Jun Shigemura, M.D., Ph.D., from the National Defense Medical College in Saitama, Japan, had studied the psychological status of Fukushima workers 2 to 3 months after the disaster for symptoms of general psychological distress (nervousness, hopelessness and depression), including posttraumatic stress response (PTSR), and included all full-time workers from the Daiichi plant. Just under one-third of Daiichi workers had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
The biggest reason for the feelings of mental anguish was verbal or physical abuse, such as receiving strong insults and being targeted by thrown objects, according to the report.
A separate report in the August 15th issue of JAMA lead by Masaharu Tsubokura, M.D., of the University of Tokyo, researchers studied the amount of internal radiation exposure among residents of Minamisoma, a city north of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. In total, 3,286 individuals (or 34.6%) had detectable levels of cesium, including 235 children (16.4%) and 3,051 adults (37.8%). In children, the concentration ranged from 2.8 to 57.9 Bq per kg, while for adults the range was 2.3 to 196.5 Bq per kg.
The tests were done between September 2011 and March 2012. The researchers note that partially due to the voluntary nature of the screenings, and also because this screening program started 6 months after the nuclear power plant disaster, higher exposure levels might have been detected earlier.
Source: JiJi Press