Breast cancer patient delay in Fukushima, Japan following the 2011 triple disaster: a long-term retrospective study
After radioactive incidents, the exposure risk in daily activities among children is a major public concern. However, there are limited methods available for evaluation of this risk, which is essential to future health risk management. To this end, this study assessed the relationship between behavioral patterns of school children and radiation exposure for a period of 18-20 months following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear incident. The assessed population comprised 520 school children from Minamisoma city, located 20 km north of the nuclear plant. Data for the doses were obtained using individual dosimeters and from results of a behavior survey administered by the City Office. The mean value of the doses in the study period was 0.34 mSv, with a standard deviation of 0.14 mSv, indicating an annual dose of ∼1.36 mSv, which includes doses from natural sources. Our results showed that behavior with respect to outdoor activities had no statistically significant relationship to the dose. A 0.1 μSv/h increase in the air dose rate at home was associated with a 10% increase in the dose; however, a 0.01 μSv/h increase in the air dose rate on the school grounds was associated with a 2% increase in the dose. This study indicates that the air contamination levels at the places where children spend most of their day are the significant predictors of the dose, as opposed to the levels at those outdoor locations in which short periods of time spent.