Dr Mae-Wan Ho

Institute of Science in Society

Plume of airborne radioactive iodine arrival in the US correlates with increased rates of congenital hypothyroidism among the new born.

A new study finds congenital hypothyroidism in the US rising 28 % in the two and a half months after the arrival of the Fukushima fallout of radioactive iodine (I-131) [1]. Researchers and authors Joe Mangano and Janette Sherman from the Radiation and Public Health Project [2] have done a thorough job based on data from the US government.

Congenital hypothyroidism & prenatal exposure to radioactive iodine

The new born in developed countries have been routinely screened for congenital hypothyroidism (CH) since the 1960s in a simple blood spot test. CH results in stunted growth, lowered intelligence, deafness, and neurological defects, but can be effectively treated if detected early. Increased incidence of CH has been found over the past decades in US, Australia, Italy, UK and Greece. In the US, the rate increased 75.3 % from 1987 to 2002 [1]. One potential risk factor is prenatal exposure to radioactive iodine isotopes, which home in on the susceptible foetal thyroid gland and kill the cells. The thyroid is the first gland to develop in the human embryo and begins concentrating iodine to produce thyroid hormones by the 70th day of gestation. In the mid-1950s during the period of atmospheric nuclear weapons tests, I-131 produced by fission was detected in the adult human thyroid. But I-131 concentrations were about 10 times as high in the human foetal thyroid as in the human adult or pig thyroid, and maximum increases in foetal thyroids were detected approximately one month after nuclear explosions [3]. The main exposure path is via dairy products from radioactive fallout deposition on forage.

In the five areas closest to the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, the highest prevalence of hypothyroidism in children was found in Gomel, the area most heavily exposed. An examination of 160 000 local children exposed to the Chernobyl fallout before age ten found a link with I-131 exposure and risk of juvenile hypothyroidism (reviewed in [1] ). In Pennsylvania USA, the site of the March 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, 9 to 20 cases of CH were found in the downwind eastern area during the 9 month period before and after the event, compared with 8 to 7 cases in the upwind western area. The peak of I-131 from the Chernobyl fallout in May 1986 within the US was three times greater in northwest states than in southeast states, and the 1984-5 vs 1986-7 change in CH rates  was correspondingly +23.3 % in the northwest and -1.0% in the southeast. I-131 exposure due to releases from the Hanford US nuclear weapons installation was associated with a significantly increased number of preterm births, which are linked to risk of CH, although the CH rate closest to the Savannah River (US) nuclear weapons plant was not found to be elevated.

More recently, CH rates of four counties closest to the Indian Point New York nuclear plant are about twice that of the country as a whole, and especially high in the most recent period available; the 1979-1993 total airborne I-131 and particulates released by Indian Point was the 5th greatest of 72 nuclear plants.

Radioactive plume from Fukushima meltdown took just 4 days to cross the ocean

The plume of radioactivity released by the Fukushima meltdown arrived in the air above the US west coast states on March 15, only 4 days after the start of meltdown. US EPA (Environment Protection Agency) measurements of I-131 in air, water and milk were relatively few in number. Most I-131 readings were taken from precipitation: 77 reported from 22 March to 12 April 2011. Detectable levels of I-131 in precipitation largely disappeared after that.  The 77 measurements cover 30 sites, only 7 of them gave undetectable readings after Fukushima, the rest varied from just above zero to >100 pico Curie/L (1 Curie =  37 x 109 becquerels, 1 becquerel is one disintegration per second, and 1 picoC = 0.037 Bq), with 18 at 40 pCi/L or higher, at least 20 times above normal. The greatest concentrations were detected in Boise Idaho (242, 394, and 422) i.e., 121-211 times above normal. Boise is in northwest US, but the highest ten measurements included the East Coast cities of Jacksonville Florida (148) and Boston Massachusetts (92). These data support the conclusion that I-131 from Fukushima was deposited across the entire nation.

I-131 was measured in kelp on the California coast on 20 April 2011. The highest levels in the dry seaweed were found in Orange County in southern California, 250 times greater than before the accident, Santa Cruz in Northern California 100 times greater and Los Angeles County, 60 times greater. In New Hampshire close to the Atlantic coast, during the period March-May 2011, I-131 doubled from previous periods.

The National Geological Survey conducted a national study on concentrations of wet depositions of fission isotopes in soil across the US between 15 March and 5 April 2011. Results showed that the highest depositions of I-131 in Bq/ m3 occurred in northwest Oregon (5 100), central California (1 610), northern Colorado (833), coastal California (211), and western Washington (60.4). No other station recorded concentrations above 13. Similar results were found for radioactive caesium Cs134 and Cs-137.

Comparing most contaminated states with rest of US before and after fallout

For the study, airborne total beta radiation was compared between the most contaminated five Pacific and West Coast States – Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington – and the rest of the nation. The source of data is the US EPA’s twice-weekly measurements in nearly 100 US locations, creating a large sample of hundreds of measurements in the weeks after the Fukushima fallout arrived.

The other principal component in the dose response comparison is CH incidence. Each of the 50 US states maintains new born screening programme results, including CH cases. Because only annual data are made easily available on the internet, Mangano and Sherman conducted a telephone survey of states, requesting monthly numbers of CH cases for each month in 2010 and 2011, according to the date of the baby’s birth. Cases from births of 1-16 Mar and 17-31 March were separated to define the period after the arrival of Fukushima fallout in the US. Only confirmed primary CH cases were included, i.e., those testing positive for the condition and require therapeutic intervention to avoid adverse health effects. Transient or secondary CH cases are not recorded by all states.

A review of US EPA data measuring airborne levels of gross beta radiation was conducted to compare 2010 and 2011 levels. The EPA uses air filters to measure aerosols at points close to ground level, typically about twice a week for 69 US sites. At the time of the analysis, data were only available up to 4 October 2011, so results for the periods 1 January to 4 October were compared for 2010 and 2011. Beta measurements include a variety of radioisotopes, I-131 among them, so total beta is a proxy for relative exposure to the thyroid gland. The largest amounts of radioactive fallout in the US environment from Fukushima occurred in late March and all of April 2011, before declining to levels typically recorded in 2010. Thus, the 2010-2011 comparisons were made for two periods. The first was 15 March – 30 April, and the second was the remainder of the period 1Jan – 14 March plus 1 May – 4 October.

To identify the exposed populations, 18 EPA stations in the five Pacific/West coast states were selected for which at least 20 total beta measurements were made during both 2010 and 2011. Many stations had considerably more measurements, and thus a total of 1 043 and 1 083 measurements were used in the two years for the 18 stations.

A control group included the rest of the US: 31 sites were selected representing a wide geographic diversity. These sites recorded 59 to 70 airborne beta measurements each year for the period 1 January – 4 October. In all 2 211 and 2 057 measurements were included in each respective year.  The change in airborne total beta concentrations during the different periods are summarised in Table 1.

Table 1  Change in average airborne total beta concentration (picoC/m3 air) in exposed and control sites between 2010 and 2011 periods of high and low/no fallout from Fukushima

The data show that in the heavily exposed sites on the Pacific/West Coast states, total beta concentration in 2011 was 7.345 times that in 2010, while the concentration in the control site in 2011 was only 2.397 times that of 2011. For the rest of the year, there was little change between 2011 and 2010. In the Pacific/West Coast, the largest changes were in the California cities of Eureka at 38.264 times. Anaheim was 14.941 times and San Bernardino, 12.054 times. In the 31 control sites, the only increase above 4.2 times was in Tucson Arizona at 9.32, and Salt Lake City Utah at 7.879 times, both located in western US.

All US new born diagnosed with primary CH between 17 March and 31 December 2011 were exposed in utero to radioactive fallout from the Fukushima meltdowns. Data were obtained via phone calls for 41 of 50 states, representing 87 % of all US births. Included in the 41 states were all five Pacific/West Coast States. The results are given in Table 2.

Table 2   Confirmed primary congenital hypothyroid cases in exposed versus control states

Over the entire period 17 March – 31 December, the change for 2011 over 2010 is 1.16 times, significant at 3 % level. The change was more marked for the period 17 March – 30 June; a ratio of 1.28 and significant at 5 % level.

Data preliminary and partial

Mangano and Sherman stress that the findings should be regarded as preliminary, and require confirmation and expansion, including long-term follow-up of infants and other children. CH is only one indicator for the health impacts of the Fukushima fallout. Other indicators of foetal/infant health include foetal deaths, premature births, low weight births, neonatal deaths, infant deaths and birth defects; and those should also be monitored. While any adverse impacts would be expected to affect first the most susceptible foetus and infant, changes in the health status of older children and adults may also occur.

Sure enough, thyroid cancer among the young has shot up in Fukushima, and scores of US sailors exposed while performing rescue work near Fukushima in March 2011 have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, testicular cancer, leukaemia, and other illnesses [4] (Fukushima Crisis Goes Global, SiS 61).


  1. Mangano JJ and Sherman JD. Elevated airborne beta levels in Pacific/West Coast US States and trends in hypothyroidism among newborns after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. Open Journal of Pediatrics 2013, 3, 1-9.
  2. Biographical sketches of RPHP directors and associates. Radiation and Public Health Project, accessed 14 January 2014, http://www.radiation.org/about/bio.html
  3. Beierwaltes WH, Hilger MT and Wegst A. Radioactive concentrations in fetal human thyroid from fallout. Health Physics 1963, 9, 1263-6. doi:10.1097/00004032-196312000-00030
  4. Ho MW. Fukushima crisis goes global. Science in Society 61 (to appear).

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16 Responses to “Congenital Hypothyroidism and Fukushima Fallout in the US”

  1. I have a sister that has now stabilized from a thyroid issue, called mydxadena coma, and complicated by diabetes. Fortunately she’s expected to come out of the ICU soon. Having worked in the energy industry for 13 years I learned a great deal about the forms of generation. The entire industry is a huge scam since tier one science is kept from the world deliberately. There are only a few places I know of where the radiation issue is not being hidden or plain ignored. Nobody wants to take responsibility as with most things. See what you think of this discussion by those who are in the know and speaking the truth !
    http://youtu.be/-gjyvz41cPk You will find this also on my obscure blog, since this man ONLY TELLS TRUTH…PERIOD.

  2. James says:

    @ Emmett Grogan that’s great, so you may not want to quote WHO data and do your own research on their connection with a pro-nuclear organization, the IAEA. Because, even if the data is accurate, it will hold no water with those who understand their connection.

  3. Emmett Grogan says:

    James FYI: I have NEVER been pro-nuclear and am steadfastly against it. What’s your point anyway?

  4. Hello Barbara,
    Solutions… Cost for a 2×4 framed geodesic biodome is less than $1,000. Strongest design in existance, greater heat retention against maunder min/ ice age/ weather extremes. Minimizes exposure to nano self replicating synthetic (off world)life form smart like bees or ants, and the list of fungus found by Will Thomas causing Morgellons. My friend Dr.Mike Castle discovered the welsbach seeding. Work by Cliff Carnicom, N.D.Gwen Scott, Hildegard Staninger, first videographer Paul Grignon, published by Dr. Nick Begich. Nano tech pass blood/brain barrier, alters your DNA. Combines w/ psycotronic manipulation to SEPARATE from natural man, while calcifying & destroying the pineal gland to prevent spiritual communication. Use black magnitite sands to increase vertical organic growth by 10 fold over natural organic. Planetary magnetic field just like oxygen is being depleted naturally and un naturally. Top layer of oceans being destroyed by Fukushima,while many nuclear sites are placed on unstable tectonics. Barium over time degrades into radiation also. Use closed loop systems of aquaponics inside geodesic biodome. Magnitite structures water. Adya Clarity pulls out heavy metal toxins. A 51 degree angel pyramid is also a huge boost. See Dr. Milewski’s work on magnitite & advanced materials. Use a hydrogen generator for pure water,energy storage in liquid tanks. Generate by the small spinning solar collector, or can use DIY instruction for home made solar and small scale wind. All the industrial scale wind & solar is a complete scam. Use a clearfield plate from http://www.emfblues.com to correct stress & effects of the pollution from HAARP & the electronic cage designed to separate us from the schuman’s resonance. That separation will kill. There is so much more. Please see my obscure blog & perhaps comment on anything, and feel free to email me on anything.
    In service for others,
    david m

  5. CaptD says:

    More reason to question US food standards, especially for kids and young women:

    ===> American Radiation food safety limits 10x weaker than Japan’s, imports from Japan escalate http://shar.es/Uh9kJ

    With radiation in food safety limits 10x weaker than Japan’s, North American food and agricultural imports from Japan escalate
    With ranking of food radiation safety standards in countries representing half the global economy

    In the wake of the Fukushima Nuclear accident, it is interesting to note the differences between the permissible limits of radiation in food established by different governments. Knowing that governments set these standards, and with many nations seeming to act friendlier with businesses than with citizens, is there an argument to be made that low permissible levels of radiation incentivize import growth from markets where standards are higher? Let’s look into some of the players at Fukushima. Let’s also examine four markets representing approximately 50% of the global economy. Could radiation standards post-Fukushima be incentivizing trade flows?

  6. frank says:

    “The birds will migrate very soon and marine life for misuse of man technology will begin to disappear. The man will be victim of his own inventions and the transformation of creation, which will bring weeping and sorrow many nations. The technology of death will be reversed against mankind; the nuclear plants will be destabilized when the earth starts to moan like a woman in labor. O how much pain and death will bring to my creatures and my creation misuse of the human technology! ”


  7. CaptD says:

    Other studies your readers might be interested in:

    Another issue all together is the health impact of those that live near nuclear reactors, the NRC has just started a multi-year health study in the hopes of finding out more about this key issue, but others both in the USA and in Europe have already found that living close to a reactor does have impacts on health and especially on children’s health.

    Jan 11, 2012 – The study, conducted by the French health research body INSERM, … risk among young children living close to German nuclear power plants …


    In the most recent decade (1999-2009), the Orange County cancer death rate among children age 0-19 was 28% greater than the U.S. rate. This compares to just a 1% excess for the 30 years prior. A total of 312 Orange County children died from cancer in 1999-2009. The high rate in Orange County is statistically significant. While many factors can contribute to child cancer risk, radioactivity released into the environment from the aging San Onofre nuclear reactors should be considered as one potential cause.

    Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Wonder. http://wonder.cdc.gov/mortSQL.html

    NOTE: Any attempt by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s to conduct a study of cancer near nuclear plants represents a serious conflict of interest. For decades, the NRC ignored the health issue of cancer near nuclear plants in its decisions to grant new reactor licenses and extend existing ones, but it has consistently maintained that the relatively low levels of radioactivity emitted from reactors fall below federally-set limits, and are not harmful to the public. Thus, the NRC has demonstrated consistent bias on the health/cancer issue, and any study it commissions and manages will also be biased…


    Childhood Leukemia and Cancers Near German Nuclear Reactors:

    by RH NUSSBAUM – ‎2009 – ‎Cited by 26 – ‎Related articles the proximity of German nuclear power plants. (German acronym KiKK) found that children < 5 years living < 5 km from plant exhaust stacks had twice the … regarding the health impact of nuclear power genera- … nuclear plant Krümmel near Hamburg, Germany, …Significance, Context, and Ramifications of Recent Studies.


    Child leukaemia doubles near French nuclear plants-study | Reuters


  8. CaptD says:

    Why don’t we hear more about nuclear issues?


    A must read article: The Trial Of Minoru Tanaka: The high cost of investigative journalism in Japan & “the nuclear mafia”

    Is it also happening in the USA and other Countries because of Nuclear Payback*?

    * http://www.urbandictionary.com.....ar+payback

    Those that support nuclear power because nuclear power somehow supports them; no matter what the health implications or other “costs” are for others.

  9. CaptD says:

    Why can’t the UN get involved in radioactive issues,
    Here is the answer: READ and or watch the video: Nuclear Controversies

  10. Bill Jones says:

    Nuclear power needs to go and it needs to go now and the people demand we use hemp, magnets and HHO gas to power these power plants. Nuclear power should have never been approved. This technology came right out of war. But the same ones that give us war give us crap in our food. Now we got a Pacific Ocean destroyed and nobody should eat anything that comes out of that ocean. But they will have to find some kind of way to move that stuff. If Americans become educated something tells me that seafood will be sent to Europe or Africa.

  11. IMO, information is information, whether or not it is published by source A or source B. If source A is suspect, then the information needs to be verified by other sources that do not have the same affiliations as source A. If it can be verified in this manner, then the information stands alone irregardless of who (no pun intended) publishes it.

  12. James says:

    @ Emmett Grogan, nevertheless? says you. We’ll get our information from other sources, not those that are pro-nuclear protectionists, thank you very much.

  13. Emmett Grogan says:

    James, nevertheless it is true that most Americans, an estimated 95% (by Dr. Brownstein who tests all his patients for iodine deficiency – and other sources)of Americans are iodine deficient. It is also true that a lack of iodine in the mother can cause mental retardation in infants. This is fact, I don’t care who says it. If WHO doesn’t want to step on anyone’s toes and is willing to say this, it brings more validity to it, IMO.
    How about you look it up? I’ve done LOTS of research on the thyroid and on iodine; but you don’t have to believe me, do your own research.

  14. James says:

    @ Emmett Grogan WHO? Really? Do you know about their official agreement with the IAEA which precludes either organization from reporting any information publicly which could be considered harmful to the other without prior approval and that the IAEA is a promoter of Nuclear Energy? Why would we Trust ANYTHING coming from the WHO?

  15. Emmett Grogan says:

    It’s important to take iodine (potassium iodide and it comes in tablet form) to protect your thyroid from radiation exposure from Fukushima. It hits your thyroid first but the iodine will protect it and if you can fend it off at the thyroid, you’ll have far better chance of not getting sick. This works for radioactive iodine I-33. This has been well known for a long time and iodine tablets were given to the Japanese when the bombs were dropped on them in WW2. It saved alot of lives. You should take minimum 12.5 mg per day and should take 25 to 50 mg initially until you’ve detoxed the bromine from your body. Bromine takes up the iodine receptor and blocks it from the receptor until you take enough iodine to displace the toxic bromine.
    No less than the WHO (World Health Organization) has said that the #1 cause of infant mental retardation world-wide is iodine deficiency. About 95% of Americans are iodine deficient. You need minimum 12.5 mg iodine everyday, as every single cell in your body needs it. For more info about iodine read: “Iodine: What it is and Why Everyone Needs It” by Dr. Brownstein.

  16. Emmett Grogan says:

    No less than the WHO (World Health Organization) has declared that the biggest cause of infant mental retardation was from lack of iodine. It is estimated that about 95% of every American is iodine deficient. These facts came from Dr. Brownstein in his book “Iodine: What it is and Why Everyone Needs It”. Every cell of your body needs it.
    To protect yourself and your unborn child from radiation, take minimum 12.5 MILLIGRAMS (NOT micrograms as in the RDR. The first place it hits is your thyroid, which is why so many people develop thyroid cancer during radiation exposure. Every pregnant woman should take a minimum of 12.5 mg every single day to help the unborn child’s thyroid development. Iodine was given to every Japanese person exposed to radiation from the bombs dropped on Hiroshima, et al in WW2. Potassium iodide is what you need and you can find it in tablet form on the internet or possibly in a health food store. It’s very inexpensive but I highly recommend it. You can’t overdose from it and should take 25 to 50 mg initially to displace all the bromine (which is everything these days) from the iodine receptor so that the iodine will take up the receptor, not the bromine. You may feel a few flu-like symptoms initially but not to worry, this is simply your body detoxing from the toxic bromine. I’ve read about this extensively, as I have congenital hypothyrodism. Also, even the U.S. government has issued statements about this and used to tell people to take iodine if exposed to radiation but they didn’t when Fukushima occurred. Wonder why?