Linda Walker: It is hard to know where to begin in responding to the Podium headlined ‘Cast aside your fear and embrace nuclear energy’ (Gazette July 13th). Dr Brooks states that there was no risk to the population after the accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Since the Fukushima disaster in 2011, 99 children have developed thyroid cancer and been operated on to remove their thyroid glands. In Britain this disease is extremely rare in children – around one case per million children. 300,000 children were examined near to Fukushima and almost a hundred of them had thyroid cancer! It was thyroid cancer which was the first disease to emerge in children after Chernobyl and many thousands of children developed the disease as a result of ingesting radioactive iodine. Initially there were many who tried to ascribe the health issues in Belarus to ‘radiophobia’ as Dr Brooks has done. But this cruel dismissal of the genuine fears of parents was soon shown to be wholly unjustified. There have been many other health problems in the population in Belarus, the country worst affected by Chernobyl, rises in many other types of cancer, heart disorders, bone diseases, cataracts, blood diseases in children which are usually only seen in the elderly, diabetes and many children born with disabilities and genetic defects. Today, many of those who were young children at the time of the accident have children of their own. Babies are being born with leukaemia or other cancers, or with genetic disorders. As the director of a Chernobyl charity, I meet many of the young mums in the cancer hospital, and we invite them out for recuperation in the UK with their child if their treatment is successful. And we have a hospice team who support families at home, many of whom have babies born with genetic disorders, Not all will be as a result of Chernobyl but undoubtedly many of them are.
Radiation Free Lakeland 7th Aug 2017 read more »