Health consequences after Chernobyl disaster are less than fearedBMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7516.534-b (Published 08 September 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:534
- Susan Mayor
More than 4000 people could eventually die of radiation exposure from the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in 1986, but the long term health effects have been less than originally feared.
A report published this week by an international team of scientists, Chernobyl's Legacy: Health, Environmental, and Socioeconomic Impacts, found that fewer than 50 deaths so far could be directly attributed to radiation from the disaster. Nearly all of these were in rescue workers, who were exposed to high levels of radiation. The report predicts a further 3940 deaths from radiation induced cancer and leukaemia in the 200 000 emergency workers who were in the area in 1986-7, 116 000 evacuees, and 270 000 residents of the most contaminated areas, based on estimates of the radiation doses that they received. This is far lower than …