The terrible World Wars marked humanity. Throughout the years, the development of industry, engineering, and techniques also allowed the development of weapon industry. This is how nuclear bombs appeared, and the impact of the events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki speaks for itself.
During World War II, the United States attacked two cities in Japan, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with nuclear bombs, killing almost two hundred thousand people. The victims died either because of the explosion itself or because of the side-effects, like radiation and poisoning.
Years after the events with the nuclear bombs, scientists and people alike though that the survivors and their families were still at risk because of the exposure to radiations. As a consequence, they were much more likely to get cancer or children to be born with malformations.
A new study, conducted by Bertrand Jordan, shows that this prediction might be wrong. The French biologist based the research on analyses on approximately 177,000 people affected by radiations, as well as on healthy people (20,000 of them). Comparing the two groups of people, Jordan observed that although the lifespan of survivors was meant to be shorter, they actually lived as long as any other healthy person.
The study was published this month in Genetics (journal). Jordan declared the following:
“Most people, including many scientists, are under the impression that the survivors faced debilitating health effects and very high rates of cancer, and that their children had high rates of genetic disease. There’s an enormous gap between that belief and what has actually been found by researchers.”
Bertrand Jordan’s intention is not to minimize the adverse effects of using nuclear bombs, but he also thinks that people should acknowledge the negative effects of other activities too, which often seem to be neglected:
“People are always more afraid of new dangers than familiar ones. (….)For example, people tend to disregard the dangers of coal, both to people who mine it and to the public exposed to atmospheric pollution. Radiation is also much easier to detect than many chemical hazards. With a hand-held geiger counter, you can sensitively detect tiny amounts of radiation that pose no health risk at all.”
Bertrand Jordan is very fond of concrete results and verified data, as he declares:
“I would prefer that people look at the scientific data, rather than gross exaggerations of the danger.”
Image courtesy of: Wikipeida