Sunday, October 23, 2011

Japan's children, radiation and women, and Blind

The powerful sci-fi short film, Blind, posted below, expresses the terrible sense of anxiety and trauma that the Japanese are experiencing about the radioactive contamination in Japan after 3/11 and the Fukushima  nuclear catastrophe.  The focus of the film is clearly on children and mothers. 

Notably, this issue of how to protect children and mothers from the radioactive contamination is hitting the Japanese most forcibly.

It is well known that fetuses and children are the most vulnerable to the dangers of radioactive contamination. Ionizing radiation harms children more because: "first, smaller body mass results in a higher dose from a given level of radiation; second, since a growing child's cells divide rapidly, their DNA is more exposed and vulnerable to damage from

A recent study has found that women are 50% more susceptible to getting cancer from radioactive exposure than men. "The data is startling; the fact that it has been un-reported, including by the National Academy itself, is shocking. The data shows a consistent fifty percent higher cancer incidence and also cancer death in women compared to men. A disproportionate impact
at that level is stunning. More research is warranted and action is needed now to ensure that the vulnerable are protected," said Mary Olson, NIRS Staff Biologist. "Let us be clear: radiation causes disease and death in men; the same rate of exposure causes more harm to women. The Precautionary Principle dictates that we protect first, study second." 

So, the fear for mothers and children is a very real and frightening one.  

Of major concern: The Japanese government has raised the "acceptable" levels of radioactive exposure and so many families have not been evacuated from areas that are known to be highly contaminated.  300,000 children in the Fukushima area are attending schools that are contaminated.  Families that leave these areas are not compensated for their losses (homes and jobs) and so many cannot afford to do so--and they remain.  Communities and families are divided about what to do and how to survive.

Now many hot spots are being discovered in Tokyo, and the Japanese government has a plan to spread contaminated rubble by moving it to Tokyo and other locations, incinerating and dumping it in Tokyo Bay.  Japanese mothers are distraught by this new plan and have been staging protests.  One Japanese mother, Tomoi Zeimer, who is strongly opposed to the incinerating and dumping of rubble in Japan, has  created a petition to demand that the government give up their plan.  Zeimer, along with many other green activists, believes that spreading the rubble, burning and dumping it will cause further contamination and endanger even more children.  Please sign her petition here and pass this urgent petition on to others!

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