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WHO experts say cancer risk from Fukushima radiation very low, AP reports

TOKYO (AP) — World Health Organization findings released Thursday show the risk of developing cancer for people living in the areas most heavily exposed to radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accident is quite small, Associated Press reported the newly released study as saying.

An international team of scientists estimated those at the greatest risk, children, who were most exposed  to radiation from the March 11, 2011, disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Daiichi nuclear power plant face just a one percentage point increase of developing cancer over their lifetime compared to the general population, the study said, according to AP.

“On the basis of the radiation doses people have received, there is no reason to think there would be an increase in cancer in the next 50 years,” AP cited Professor Wade Allison from Oxford University, who worked on the report, as saying. Another professor who helped author the study said “It’s more important not to start smoking than having been in Fukushima.”

For people living in areas not exposed to radioactive fallout, the projected cancer risk fell even more “dramatically,“ one expert said.  Japan’s normal lifetime risk for developing cancer is 41 percent in men and 29 percent for women, according to the news agency.

The AP cited one critic, Professor Gerry Thomas, from Imperial College London, and an expert in molecular pathology, as saying the WHO study is flawed, is probably erring on the side of caution and may still overestimates the risk of developing cancer.

Source: Associated Press

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