Journal Article Bipolarization of Risk Perception about the Health Effects of Radiation in Residents after the Accident at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant

Orita, Makiko  ,  Hayashida, Naomi  ,  Nakayama, Yumi  ,  Shinkawa, Tetsuko  ,  Urata, Hideko  ,  Fukushima, Yoshiko  ,  Endo, Yuuko  ,  Yamashita, Shunichi  ,  Takamura, Noboru

10 ( 6 )  , p.e0129227 , 2015-06-09 , Public Library of Science
The late health effects of low-dose rate radiation exposure are still a serious public concern in the Fukushima area even four years after the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP). To clarify the factors associated with residents' risk perception of radiation exposure and consequent health effects, we conducted a survey among residents of Kawauchi village in May and June 2014, which is located within 30 km of FNPP. 85 of 285 residents (29.8%) answered that acute radiation syndrome might develop in residents after the accident, 154 (54.0%) residents responded that they had anxieties about the health effects of radiation on children, and 140 (49.1%) residents indicated that they had anxieties about the health effects of radiation on offspring. Furthermore, 107 (37.5%) residents answered that they had concerns about health effects that would appear in the general population simply by living in an environment with a 0.23 μSv per hour ambient dose for one year, 149 (52.2%) residents reported that they were reluctant to eat locally produced foods, and 164 (57.5%) residents believed that adverse health effects would occur in the general population by eating 100 Bq per kg of mushrooms every day for one year. The present study shows that a marked bipolarization of the risk perception about the health effects of radiation among residents could have a major impact on social well-being after the accident at FNPP.

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