Evidence of disease and birth defects in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and other territories affected by the Chernobyl disaster in 1986
page 17

PECULIARITIES OF BIOLOGICAL ACTION OF LOW IRRADIATION DOSES AND THEIR PROBABLE RELATION TO THE HEALTH STATE OF PARTICIPANTS OF CHERNOBYL ACCIDENT LIQUIDATION Burlakova E B et al. Inst Biochem. Phys. RAS Moscow
Taken from (mostly) the same authors' chapter in "Consequences of the Chernobyl Catastrophe: Human Health" (op. cit). Low dose and low dose rate irradiation affects living systems via newly described mechanisms which change cell metabolism. In the opinion of these authors the majority of effects are not induced directly by radiation but indirectly thorough the regulation system, through alteration of the organism's immune and antioxidant status. They note that similar patterns of change were observed in the blood of liquidators and in experimental animals. There were similar characteristics in dose dependency and identical systemic multifactorial responses. Many references, mostly in Russian.

CHERNOBYL ACCIDENT: RADIATION PROTECTION OF POPULATION. Nesterenko V B. Limited Liability Publishing Company "Pravo i economika" Minsk 1997 ISBN 985-442-011-6
Contains a wide ranging review of studies, many of them already summarised in this LLRC publication. The National report of Belarus shows contaminated regions suffering elevated levels in children of anaemia, lung disease, hypertension, stomach and duodenal ulcers, ischaemic heart disease and immune disorders. By 1992 infant mortality in Gomel a heavily contaminated area, compared with relatively clean Grodno showed more than double the infant mortality despite almost identical provision of health care. Between 1988-1996 across Belarus child cancers have multiplied 2.4 times, malignant tumours 13 times, endocrine system diseases 4.5, nervous and sense organs 3.5, blood circulation 4. Mortality under the age of 14 from respiratory disease multiplied by 2.5.
Concludes that there is a continuous growth in disease rates, especially in children, with no sign of stabilisation. "Therefore it seems impossible to speak about any rehabilitation period." Criticises the anomalousness of measures intended to protect health which involve allowing people to live in contaminated territories although the absence of adequate countermeasures means that children will be subjected to doses well above those stipulated by law in the affected countries.

CHERNOBYL ACCIDENT: REASONS AND CONSEQUENCES: THE EXPERT CONCLUSION. Nesterenko V. B. Chairman of United Expert Committee, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Science of Belarus; International Association for Restoration of the Environment and for Safe Living of People "Senmurv", United Expert Committee (Minsk, Moscow, Kiev). "Pravo i economika" Minsk 1997 ISBN 985-6194-99-7
Much of this 440 page volume confirms the range and dynamics of disease already seen in other studies summarised in this LLRC publication. We can only attempt a disconnected and very incomplete summary, but we have drawn out a few aspects which may not be so apparent in the other studies
In a randomly selected (i.e. not necessarily sick) group of mothers and children 32% of the children and 45% of the women had some change to the thyroid gland.
It is recognised that the impact of radiation increases the risk of ... lymphoproliferative diseases. ... The data confirm a high risk in children in the contaminated territories, although according to official statistics no tendency to its growth was registered so far.
The conclusion on child health is that observations confirm the incompetence of [official] conclusions about the absence of health consequences. The frequency of innate anomalies of strict control in the [contaminated territories] definitely higher than before the accident... Increasing rates of congenital defects such as cleft palate, doubled kidneys and urethras, additional fingers and anomalies of the development of nervous and circulatory systems is one of the most terrifying symptoms present throughout the contaminated regions. By 1994 in parts of Gomel rates were more than 6 times higher than in 1986. An interesting question is whether this is known to the Radiation Hygiene Institute in St Petersburg and the World Health Organisation, which insist on denying the correlation between Chernobyl radiation and the occurrence of congenital defects.
The reliability of data for blood diseases is emphasised. Research institutes for haematology and blood transfusions had initiated a survey co-ordinated by the Russian Academy of Medical Science in Moscow several years before the accident, verifying and registering every case. Rates were therefore well defined, corresponded well with levels in most developed countries, and were stable for seven years before the accident. Across three contaminated territories rates of Hodgkin's disease and acute leucosis remained stable for two years after the accident, but chronic forms of leucosis increased in the older age groups. No dose dependent relationship was observable.
The change in health status of populations in contaminated territories has been disputed, partly on the grounds that intense scrutiny after the accident distorted the picture. However, the Russian region of Tula was representative of the general effect but was not subject to "distorting" scrutiny as it was not at first included in lists of contaminated territories.
Questions of non linear dose response relationships and variability of radiation sensitivity are addressed and lessons are drawn from chemical toxicity, where in most cases a dual-hump bimodal dose-effect curve was observed, often accompanied by a change in the sign .... In studies of blood composition after Chernobyl and experimental work, effects could be very heterogeneous ... and the higher the exposure dose, the lower is the heterogeneity.
General conclusions: Analysing the materials of various medical institutions and statistical data of the ministries of health of Russian Federation, Belarus and Ukraine, all-Union and republican registers, we can state the fact of negative impact of the disaster .. on the health of people who live in contaminated territories and who participated in eliminating the consequences ... An increase in the general disease rates and - for a number of diseases - an increase in the relative rates, decrease in the number of people considered healthy, change in the complex of symptoms of disease, increase in the [severity] of diseases, their [persistence and] low sensitivity to the impact of medicines was registered. ... significant growth in the number of diseases of blood and blood forming organs, endocrine, gastrointestinal and urinogenital systems, and nervous and psychic disorders. In many cases there was a dependence noticed between the number and the gravity of diseases and the exposure dose. ... definite growth registered in number of oncological patients due to the increase in the frequency of ... thyroid cancer, lympholeukosis and non Hodgkin lymphomas.
...levels of chromosome aberrations in liquidators and people living in contaminated territories ... several times higher than "clean" areas and definitely correlated with exposure dose and dose rate. A tendency to a growing level of chromosome aberrations in time among children permanently living in the territories with a high level of radiation ... [these phenomena] prove a genetic effect on cells ...
A growing number of miscarriages in the contaminated territories ... most of them with a genetic ethyology.
A decrease in numbers of new-borns was recorded as far away as the USA in regions where concentrations of radio iodine on milk increased after the passage of the Chernobyl cloud. It therefore appears that many thousands of women aborted as a result of the radioactivity.
A significant part of damage ... is expected to be revealed among descendants of afflicted people in the form of multifactoral hereditary diseases that can be revealed during the whole period of life of people, mainly in old age.

In respect of accelerated ageing, it is noted that in children in the contaminated territories the epithelium of the digestive tract is similar to that of elderly people, while the biological age of liquidators is on average 11 to 15 years more than their actual age.
It is noted that in 1975 ornithologists near San Francisco USA had begun recording reproductive rates in 51 bird species, and observed a 62% decline among some species in the ten years after Chernobyl. The probability that the observed infant mortality and declining birth rate among birds is a mere coincidence is close to zero. A thorough and complex study of live organisms in the contaminated areas was completed recently. The morphogenetic, cytogenetic, and immunological evaluation of two types of plant, two types of fish, two types of amphibians and six types of mammals reveal a close correlation between the level of radiation and the deterioration of the examined organisms.
Chernobyl-type disasters pose a profound danger to global stability. In short, human civilisation has become hostage to the vagaries of nuclear technology.

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