The Chernobyl Disaster: Influence on Human Health

1. Introduction

The Chernobyl Disaster is considered to be the worst nuclear accident in history. It occurred on April 26, 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. The explosion and subsequent fire released large amounts of radioactive materials into the environment. The accident had a significant impact not only on the environment but also on human health. There are few cases of health problems closely linked to the accident in Chernobyl. They are thyroid cancer, cataracts and leukemia.

2. The Chernobyl Disaster: Influence on Human Health

2.1. Thyroid cancer

There is a strong link between thyroid cancer and the Chernobyl disaster. In children exposed to high levels of radiation from the disaster, the risk of developing thyroid cancer is increased by about 10 times when compared to unexposed children (International Atomic Energy Agency, 2017). A large increase in thyroid cancer incidence was first observed among children who were exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl accident (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, 2000). As of 2005, more than 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer had been diagnosed in people exposed to radiation from the accident, with most cases occurring in people who were children or adolescents at the time of the accident (IARC, 2006).

2. 2. Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens and can lead to vision problems. They usually occur with age, but exposure to ionizing radiation can also cause cataracts (National Cancer Institute, 2016). A study of workers at Mayak nuclear facilities found an increased risk of nuclear cataracts among those who were exposed to high levels of radiation (Krivenko & Anspaugh, 2009). There is also evidence that people exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl disaster have an increased risk of cataracts (UNSCEAR, 2000).

2. 3. Leukemia

Leukemia is a type of cancer that starts in blood-forming cells in the bone marrow. Exposure to ionizing radiation is a known risk factor for leukemia (National Cancer Institute, 2016). A study of workers at Mayak nuclear facilities found an increased risk of leukemia among those who were exposed to high levels of radiation (Krivenko & Anspaugh, 2009). There is also evidence that people exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl disaster have an increased risk of leukemia (UNSCEAR, 2000).

3. Conclusions

The Chernobyl disaster had a significant impact on human health. There is a strong link between thyroid cancer and the Chernobyl disaster. A large increase in thyroid cancer incidence was first observed among children who were exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl accident. As of 2005, more than 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer had been diagnosed in people exposed to radiation from the accident. Cataracts and leukemia are also linked to exposure to radiation from the Chernobyl disaster.
References

International Atomic Energy Agency. (2017). Chernobyl: Summary of Health Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident. Retrieved from https://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub1227_web.pdf

United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. (2000). Sources and effects of ionizing radiation: United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. Retrieved from http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/publications/2000_1 Radiation_sources_and_effects_of_ionizing_radiation._report_to_the_General_Assembly.html

IARC. (2006). Chernobyl (Ukraine) Accident 1986. Retrieved from https://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol88/mono88.pdf

National Cancer Institute. (2016). Ionizing Radiation and Cancer Risk. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/ionizing-fact-sheet

Krivenko, K., & Anspaugh, L. (2009). Radiation cataractogenesis: a brief review of the recent literature with emphasis on risk estimates for low dose exposure. BMC ophthalmology, 9(1), 1-11. doi:10.1186/1471-2415-9-1

UNSCEAR. (2000). Sources, effects and risks of ionizing radiation: United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, 2000 report to the General Assembly, with scientific annexes A and B. New York: United Nations.

FAQ

The immediate health effects of the Chernobyl disaster were primarily skin burns and radiation sickness. In the long term, cancer rates have increased for those exposed to the disaster, as well as other illnesses such as thyroid problems.

The Chernobyl disaster has had a significant impact on human health in terms of cancer rates and other illnesses. It is estimated that there will be up to 4,000 additional cases of thyroid cancer and other cancers among those exposed to the disaster. There are also higher rates of leukemia, cataracts, and immune system disorders among those exposed.

There is some evidence that women may be more susceptible to the health effects of radiation than men, but this is not definitive. Children who were exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl disaster have experienced higher rates of thyroid cancer and other cancers, as well as birth defects and developmental delays.

There are ongoing health concerns for people who lived near Chernobyl or who were exposed to its radiation. These include an increased risk for cancer, Thyroid problems, and other illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. The immediate health effects of the Chernobyl disaster were felt by those who were exposed to the highest levels of radiation. These people suffered from a range of symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches. In some cases, these symptoms led to death. The long-term health effects of the Chernobyl disaster are still being studied, but it is clear that there has been an increase in cancer rates among those who were exposed to the most radiation. There have also been increases in other illnesses such as thyroid problems and heart disease.

The Chernobyl disaster had a significant impact on human health in terms of cancer rates and other illnesses. It is estimated that there has been a doubling of cancer rates among those who were exposed to the most radiation. There have also been increases in other illnesses such as thyroid problems and heart disease.