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A Ukrainian family examines its harvested crops.
A Ukrainian family examines its harvested crops.

Continued: Chernobyl

Only in recent years have the data collected from the NCC been available to healthcare providers and scientists who are studying the risks of long-term exposure to low levels of radiation, Svendsen said. This is the first data set that has been analyzed by Arnold School and USC researchers.

The data for the Arnold School study came from 1993–98 and represented 415 children from 29 Narodichesky villages – most born after the 1986 Chernobyl accident. Among the most frequent diagnoses were goiter, dental problems, chronic diseases of tonsils and adenoids, fatigue, enlargement of lymph nodes, acute colds, and inflammation of the bile duct.

“This is one of the most comprehensive studies to date to examine the specific non-cancer health problems of people living in areas affected by the meltdown of the nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant,” Svendsen said. “These findings are an important step in our understanding the health risks that are part of Chernobyl’s aftermath.”

The study points to the need for further public-health surveillance, continued environmental remediation, dietary intervention and better risk communication among those living in the affected areas, he said.

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