Study Suggests Fukushima Disaster Caused Thyroid Abnormalities in U.S. Babies

Friday, April 05, 2013
Fukushima radioactivity map (graphic: Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

Thyroid abnormalities have shown up in American babies living along the West Coast, which researchers say was caused by radiation that leaked from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011.


Babies born in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington between one week and 16 weeks after the nuclear meltdown began in March 2011 were found to be 28% more likely to suffer from congenital hypothyroidism (CH) than children born in those states during the same period one year earlier.


The results come from a new study (pdf) conducted by researchers at the Radiation and Public Health Project. The findings were published by the Open Journal of Pediatrics.


According to researchers, “Fukushima fallout appeared to affect all areas of the US, and was especially large in some, mostly in the western part of the nation.”


CH occurs as a result of radioactive iodine building up in thyroids. The condition can cause stunted growth, lowered intelligence, deafness, and neurological abnormalities.


More than 40% of the Japanese children studied in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster exhibited evidence of thyroid abnormalities. Harvey Wasserman, founder of, called it an indication of a "horrifying plague."


The new report’s conclusions “suggest that Americans may have been harmed by Fukushima fallout,” said one of the project’s researchers, Joe Mangano. “Studies, especially of the youngest, must proceed immediately."

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman


To Learn More:

Fukushima Meltdown Driving Increased Abnormalities Among US Infants (by Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams)

Elevated Airborne Beta Levels in Pacific/West Coast US States and Trends in Hypothyroidism among Newborns after the Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown (by Joseph J. Mangano and Janette D. Sherman, Open Journal of Pediatrics) (pdf)

Fukushima's Fallout Is Already Harming Our Children (by Harvey Wasserman, Free Press)

Fukushima Radioactive Fallout Much Worse than Previously Reported (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Japanese Radiation Arrives at U.S. Airports (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Romana 5 years ago
My daughter was born at the tail end of this time frame. She has congenital hypothyroidism. It has caused tremendous worry in our house. Luckily, they test for this at birth in California and on her 8th day of life, she was already on medication. I am hoping that being on medication for the rest of her life and the inconvenience of blood testing quite often is the only way she will suffer because of hypothyroidism. I hope she will not develop thyroid cancer. Who can be held accountable for this?!?! Why does my daughter have to pay the price of compromised health because of this irresponsible manufacturing of energy. The sun seems to be a better source. For now, we are forced to pay for these blood tests while we hold our toddler down in order to get the blood. We have to pay for her medicine where the cost increases every 6 months. And we have to worry about the future effects of her exposure to the Fukushima power plant meltdown and a life of hypothyroidism.

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