Friday, July 25, 2014
Fukushima nuclear disaster’s latest fallout. Monkeys are found with abnormal blood!
This new study by researchers at Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University in Tokyo finds out that Japanese monkeys' abnormal blood is linked to Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011. The Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata), that were studied, had low white and red blood cell levels and low haemoglobin, and are more prone to infectious diseases. In fact this study could help in finding similar impacts of the radioactive elements on human health.
Japanese macaque perched on a tree. Photograph: Renee Lynn/Corbis (published in www.theguardian.com)
As reported by the Guardian, the scientists compared 61 monkeys living 70km (44 miles) from the the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant with 31 monkeys from the Shimokita Penisula, over 400km (249 miles) from Fukushima. The Fukushima monkeys had low blood counts and radioactive caesium in their bodies, related to caesium levels in the soils where they lived. No caesium was detected in the Shimokita troop. Professor Shin-ichi Hayama, at the Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University in Tokyo, told the Guardian that during Japan’s snowy winters the monkeys feed on tree buds and bark, where caesium has been shown to accumulate at high concentrations.
“This first data from non-human primates — the closest taxonomic relatives of humans — should make a notable contribution to future research on the health effects of radiation exposure in humans,” he said. The work, which ruled out disease or malnutrition as a cause of the low blood counts, is published in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports.