The 2011 Fukushima disaster was incredibly devastating, but the event’s full impact may not be realized for years to come. According to a recent report from the World Health Organization, people living near the site of the accident have a higher risk of developing certain cancers. Women are particularly vulnerable, and female infants have a 70% higher risk of developing cancer.

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The cancer risk for people evacuated quickly remains relatively low, but it’s higher for emergency workers and those who remained in the area for months after the accident, according to the report. Thyroid cancer represents the most significant risk, since the thyroid is where radioactive particles concentrate. The WHO also found an increased risk for leukemia, breast and general cancer, with men at a 7% risk for leukemia and women at a 6% higher risk for breast cancer. In all cases, the risk is greatest for those exposed as infants.

Risk is determined by a variety of factors, including the amount of exposure, age at time of exposure, and sex. The WHO estimates that exposure during the first year of the disaster ranged from 12 to 25 mSv, which is about the same amount of radiation one receives from a full-body CT scan.

Via The Guardian

images from Paul J Everett and Nomad Tales