Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Levels of mutation in radioactively contaminated areas.

A new Study shows increased levels of mutation in barn swallows living in radioactively contaminated areas near Chernobyl.

The evidence found by French scientists proves that low intensity radiation has a strong, damaging effect on genes.

Exposure to radiation may reduce levels of chemicals used for DNA repair, and this reduction may account for increased levels of mutation.

Antioxidants in blood, liver and eggs of the barn swallow Hirundo rustica was reduced in Chernobyl, Ukraine, compared to an uncontaminated area, and levels of antioxidants correlated negatively with levels of background radiation.

The frequency of abnormal sperm was negatively related to antioxidant levels in blood and liver.

This is consistent with a hypothetical link between radiation and individual levels of antioxidants, suggesting that levels of mutation differ among individuals due to individual differences in abundance of antioxidants.



According to Greenpeace, radioactivity from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster may cause as many as 100,000 more cancer deaths than earlier predicted.

Greenpeace says the International Atomic Energy Agency's prediction of just a few thousand casualties grossly underestimates the effects of the radioactive particles released by the explosion, which spread across a large part of Western Europe.

Several million people still live in contaminated areas.

Greenpeace says that radiation affects the immune, circulatory and respiratory systems, and causes an increase in fetal abnormalities and birth defects.

Dr. Oxana Lozova, who works at a children's hospital about 190 miles west of Chernobyl, said, "I think the fallout from Chernobyl has affected the immunity of those who were young children at the time of the disaster.

"We now have to deal with people who are a lot weaker than their fathers and grandfathers were. They're falling ill at an age when they really should still be quite fit."


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