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Low blood cell counts in wild Japanese monkeys after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster via Nature

In April 2012 we carried out a 1-year hematological study on a population of wild Japanese monkeys inhabiting the forest area of Fukushima City. This area is located 70 km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), which released a large amount of radioactive material into the environment following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. For comparison, we examined monkeys inhabiting the Shimokita Peninsula in Aomori Prefecture, located approximately 400 km from the NPP. Total muscle cesium concentration in Fukushima monkeys was in the range of 78–1778 Bq/kg, whereas the level of cesium was below the detection limit in all Shimokita monkeys. Compared with Shimokita monkeys, Fukushima monkeys had significantly low white and red blood cell counts, hemoglobin, and hematocrit, and the white blood cell count in immature monkeys showed a significant negative correlation with muscle cesium concentration. These results suggest that the exposure to some form of radioactive material contributed to hematological changes in Fukushima monkeys.

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