Health Effects Of Chernobyl
On this date in 1986, one of four reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine melted down. The accident contaminated thousands of people with low-level radiation. The extent to which people were affected depended on where they were when the accident occurred, the prevailing wind, their eating habits and general health, and whether the person helped to decontaminate the area. The health effects of this disaster are still unfolding. The International Chernobyl Conference in April 1996 documented 800 cases of thyroid cancer among exposed children younger than 15 when their diagnosis was made. And those who chose to remain in the contaminated zone are dying at rates 18 percent higher than the national average. Also, 10 times as many people are getting thyroid cancer each year since the accident as were before it. Birth defects, as of yet, are not on the rise.
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