Health checkups to be pursued for second-generation A-bomb survivors

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

On July 7, the Scientific and Ethics Committee for the Clinical Study of the Second-Generation (F1) Offspring of A-bomb Survivors, which is a third-party committee of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) in Minami Ward, Hiroshima, set up in order to conduct follow-up surveys on second-generation A-bomb survivors, approved its plan, including survey items. RERF will initiate the plan as early as October.

The meeting of the committee was not open to the public. Of the 14 committee members, 11 attended the meeting. A health effects study on second-generation A-bomb survivors was conducted from 2000 to 2006. In the following year, RERF released a report saying that they could not obtain evidence showing the increased risk due to radiation exposure of the subjects' parents. Now that these subjects, whose average age was 48.6 as of the previous survey, have reached the age when they are prone to develop lifestyle-related diseases, the committee recognized the need for a follow-up survey. There were reportedly few objections against the plan, including the survey period and target diseases.

Except those who have died or whose addresses have been unknown since the previous survey, 12,458 people will be surveyed. RERF will spend about four years conducting the health checkups, examining the state of development of such diseases as high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, strokes, ischemic heart diseases, cancer and other disorders related to kidneys and thyroid glands, and shedding light on the links between these diseases and radiation exposure of the subjects' parents.

RERF's chairman, Toshiteru Okubo, commented at a news conference after the meeting: "If possible, we would like to continue follow-up surveys further, not ending them with this round. We hope to consult continuously with the Second Generation A-bomb Victims Liaison Council."

(Originally published on July 8, 2010)