One of the good things that the health officials are doing is keeping a check on the health of the 38,114 children from Fukushima Prefecture. In their recent scheduled checkup, around 13,460 children (35.3%) were found to have cysts or nodules of up to 5 mm (0.197 inches) on their thyroid glands. Although the growths are abnormal, the doctors insist that there is no link between the disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and the growths.
In any case most doctors are of the opinion that it is too early in the day to cite these abnormalities as the effects of radiation. Almost 0.5% or 118 children were reported to have nodules larger than 5.1 mm (0.2 inches), but these lumps or cysts are not cancerous. The cause for the lumps is not yet ascertained and since these tests are early tests, the effects of radiation exposure will be more evident after four or five years.
The local authority has put in place a long-term plan for the 38,114 children, who were under the age of 18 on March 11, 2011 hailing from Fukushima Prefecture. The first round of thyroid examination was conducted last year in October and will be repeated every two years up to the age of 20 and every five years for the rest of these children’s lives. In separate second report issued by Japan’s Institute of Radiological Sciences claims that some children living close to the plant were exposed to “lifetime” doses of radiation to their thyroid glands.