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Dr. Tsubokura's Radiation Lecture Vol.148

Author: Masaharu Tsubokura M.D., PhD.

Editors: Akihiko Ozaki M.D.,PhD., Yuki Senoo MUDr.

295.No increase in the frequency of low birth weight or congenital deformity among newborns in Fukushima

Previous studies have indicated that prenatal radiation exposure (radiation exposure of a fetus in the mother’s womb) can cause altered organ and mental development. However, such genetic effects do not occur below a certain level of radiation.

The investigation of atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki demonstrated no detectable genetic effects, such as increased risk of cancer and other diseases, among the survivors’ offspring (the second generation exposed to radiation).

Regarding birth outcomes after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, a survey of pregnant and nursing mothers was conducted via the comprehensive prefectural Fukushima Health Management Survey after the accident. According to this survey, the rates of preterm birth, low birth weight, and congenital malformations in newborns in Fukushima Prefecture after 2011 were almost the same as the general standard and those at the national level.

The results obtained from the pregnancy and birth survey showed no variation according to the foreknowledge of radiation effects. The health risk of radiation exposure is not solely determined by radiation alone. However the scientific knowledge regarding radiation and actual data obtained from the survey support that the magnitude of radiation contamination caused by the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant accident was not at a sufficient level to cause concern about genetic effects on a fetus at the time of the accident.

296. The prevalence of depression among pregnant women declined to 20%

As I have repeatedly mentioned, based on the scientific knowledge about radiation at the time of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Powerplant accident, the magnitude of radiation contamination was not at a sufficient level to cause concern genetic effects or radiation risks to a fetus.

In addition, the survey on pregnant and nursing mothers in Fukushima Prefecture, one of the prefectural health surveys after the accident, demonstrated that the prevalence of premature births, babies of low birth weight, and congenital malformations in the prefecture were the same as those of the national survey and general standard.

On the other hand, this survey also revealed that the number of pregnant and nursing women experiencing symptoms such as depressed mood or loss of interest and pressure immediately after the accident was slightly high, at a little less than 30%. Furthermore, at the time of the accident, the most common concerns brought up by pregnant and nursing mothers with the telephone consultations service were related to radiation health risks.

However, the depression rate among pregnant and nursing mothers has gradually decreased over time, and in 2018, it declined to less than 20%. Moreover, most of the medical consultation services for pregnant and nursing mothers are no longer related to radiation effects, instead of becoming focused on parenting or mothers’ physical and mental condition.


The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, on 13th 20th September 2020 was reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.


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