Northwestern States See Leap in Infant Deaths Following Fukushima Nuclear Accident

In the weeks after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster, eight cities in the northwestern United States reported a 35-percent increase in the infant mortality rate, which health researchers Janette Sherman and Joseph Mangano describe as “statistically significant.” The average number of deaths jumped from 9.25 per week in the four weeks leading up to the partial meltdown to 12.50 per week in the ten weeks following. Infant mortality data from the Soviet Union following the Chernobyl disaster reflects a similar leap in the number of deaths. The amount of radioactive elements released into environment at Fukushima, however, are estimated to be around a tenth of what escaped in the Chernobyl nuclear crisis. —Sarah Bufkin