Consequences of Chernobyl catastrophe for public health

criticism of the IAEA/ WHO position - Conference “Vivre Tchernobyl ” Lyon April 15, 2008
(Alexei Yablokov
Docteur es Sciences Biologiques
Membre de l’Académie des Sciences de Russie)

† Alexey Yablokov

Only the objective estimation of Chernobyl catastrophe should be the basis for development of measures on mitigation of its consequences. Estimations of the “Chernobyl Forum» report (2005) totally consisting that the additional death rate caused by the Catastrophe will about 10 thousand person, and the general number of additional diseases (including a thyroid cancer and the cataracts) will some tens thousand in Byelorussia, Ukraine and Russia (including the liquidators nowadays living in other territories) are biased as do not take into account a number of the facts, among which:

  • the total amount of the radionuclides dropped out on Byelorussia, Ukraine and European Russia has made all about 43 % of all Chernobyl fallout;
  • here was an irreversible falsification of the medical data for the first years after the Catastrophe;
  • correct reconstruction of individual dozes is impossible in view of impossibility of the account of action of the basic dose-forming nuclides in the first days, weeks and months after the Catastrophe, the account of influence of “hot particles» and influence of spotted fallout;
  • insufficiency of modern knowledge on specificity of action even the main dose-forming radionuclides on an organism, their combinations, as with each other, and with other factors of an environment, influence of ultra-small dozes and influences incorporated radionuclides.

The requirement of “significant correlation» between always indirectly calculating level of irradiation and exact caught infringements of health (frequency of disease, death rate), as vital proof of connection of disease with a Chernobyl irradiation, is methodologically wrong. Objective revealing of the Catastrophe on the public health is possible by the several ways, including comparisons:

  • morbidity and mortality for the territories, identical by geographical, social and economic conditions, and differing only by the radionuclides’ level and composition (such comparison of the same groups during the different periods after the Catastrophe - longitudinal study - will be especially indicative);
  • health of the same persons (or genetically connected individuals - parents - children, brothers, sisters) on infringements of health which influences an irradiation but which are not connected to age and sexual changes (for example, stable chromosomal aberrations);
  • amount of the incorporated radionuclides inside a body (especially effective for children who have been born in some years after the Catastrophe);
  • pathological changes of concrete organ/tissues with amount of the incorporated radionuclides. Application of these approaches shows (Yablokov et al., 2007), that the consequencies of Chernobyl catastrophe for public health made in the “Chernobyl Forum» report (2005) thousandfold are underestimated.