A United Nations human rights investigator has called for more intensive cancer screenings in Fukushima, the site of one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents in recent times. Thyroid screenings done in the disaster-hit region has resulted in 75 residents with potential cancer.
UN special rapporteur and civil rights attorney from New Delhi Anand Grover urged the prefectural government of Fukushima to broaden the scope of testing in the area. He noted that thyroid cancer tests conducted in Fukushima show a narrow understanding of the health effects of radiation and has cited the case of the Hiroshima bombing in 1945 which had other consequences that could not be detected by thyroid tests alone. “Why don’t we have a urine analysis, why don’t we have a blood analysis,” asked Grover, who also suggested expanding the area where tests are conducted to outside of Fukushima. He said that it’s better to “err on the side of caution” especially since expanded testing will relieve the parents of children who worry about undetected illnesses in their children. Out of the 254,000 Fukushima residents aged 18 or under, 75 had results that were definitive or suspected of having cancer. However, Hokuto Hoshi, a doctor engaged in the testing in the prefecture, shrugged off the number as it didn’t seem to be connected to the nuclear accident due to the short period of time that elapsed from the incident until the testing.