No major impact on health from disaster

Forest School Leaders Dawn White and Sue Evans with their pupils outside the school

Picture: Habibur Rahman (180146-338)

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AN INTERNATIONAL expert on nuclear accidents has said that the health risk for people living close to the site of the Japanese disaster in 2011 is less than that from passive smoking.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) released the results of a comprehensive assessment by international experts on the health risks associated with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster.

Professor Jim Smith, professor of environmental science at the University of Portsmouth, said: ‘The report has found that the additional health risk to the most affected population at Fukushima is very much less than health risks of smoking or being very overweight.

‘The additional radiation risk is also likely to be lower than the health risk from passive smoking, or living in a city with relatively high levels of air pollution.’

According to the WHO, for the general population inside and outside of Japan, no observable increase in cancer rates are expected.

Professor Smith’s experience studying the impact of the Chernobyl accident, and how to apply the lessons from this to Fukushima, means he has a substantial reputation.