A new study released on December 19 by Joseph Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project, claims that 14,000 U.S. deaths can be tied to radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power accident. Dr. Robert Emery, vice president for safety, health, environment and risk management at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, disputes the claims in the study:
“We aggressively monitored for the presence of environmental radioactivity in Houston following the Fukushima event and worked closely with local public health authorities in the event we detected any threat to public health. We never detected any elevated radiation levels. I don’t see any evidence to support the assertions made by this report that the additional 484 deaths in Houston in 2011 could in any way be related to radioactivity from Fukushima – we never detected any.
“Moreover the study bases its conclusion on the comparison of data from deaths in the U.S. in 2010 and 2011. Using this method you really can’t determine the specific cause of any increase in deaths over the two years. Perhaps the most important question is: what did the 148,395 U.S. citizens die of in 2010, the year before the Japanese earthquake? Most likely the overwhelming causes were heart disease, cancer, and stroke. I believe this is likely the case in 2011 as well. I also believe our finite public health resources are better spent on the issues we know are causing people to die rather than being diverted to explore hypothetical projections.”
Dr. Robert Emery is vice president for safety, health, environment and risk management at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He has over 25 years of experience in health and safety matters indigenous to educational and healthcare institutions. Read his full biography here.