Share This Article:

Changes in confirmed plus borderline cases of congenital hypothyroidism in California as a function of environmental fallout from the Fukushima nuclear meltdown

Full-Text HTML Download Download as PDF (Size:157KB) PP. 370-376
DOI: 10.4236/ojped.2013.34067    10,005 Downloads   21,203 Views   Citations


Radiation exposure has been linked to increased risk of congenital hypothyroidism (CH) for decades. CH is a relatively uncommon condition, occurring in about 1 of 2000 US births. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) levels for each child born in California permitted an analysis of combined confirmed and borderline CH cases. Borderline/confirmed CH cases are more than seven times greater than just confirmed cases. Airborne levels of gross beta nuclear radiation in the US were elevated in the period starting several days after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, especially in west coast states like California. The borderline/confirmed CH rate for newborns during the last 9.5 months in 2011 (exposed to Fukushima in utero) vs. births during other periods in 2011 and 2012 (not exposed) was significantly elevated, suggesting that adverse health effects to the newborn thyroid were not restricted to just a small number of confirmed CH cases. The sensitivity of the fetus to radiation exposure, plus the presence of thyroid-seeking radioiodine, suggest further analysis of Fukushima’s potential to cause adverse health effects in newborns is needed.

Cite this paper

Mangano, J. , Sherman, J. and Busby, C. (2013) Changes in confirmed plus borderline cases of congenital hypothyroidism in California as a function of environmental fallout from the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. Open Journal of Pediatrics, 3, 370-376. doi: 10.4236/ojped.2013.34067.


[1] Cronkite, E.P., Conard, R.A. and Bond, V.P. (1997) Historical events associated with fallout from Bravo shot—Operation castle and 25Y of medical findings. Health Physics, 73, 176-186.
[2] Cronkite, E.P., Bond, V.P. and Conard, R.A. (1995) Medical effects of exposure of human beings to fallout radiation from a thermonuclear explosion. Stem Cells, 13, 49-57.
[3] Van Middlesworth, L. (1956) Radioactivity in thyroid glands following nuclear weapons tests. Science, 123, 982-983.
[4] Comar, C.L., Trum, B.F., Kuhn, U.S., Wasserman, R.H., Nold, M.M. and Schooley, J.C. (1957) Thyroid radioactivity after nuclear weapons tests. Science, 126, 16-18. 126.3262.16
[5] Beierwaltes, W.H., Cranae, H.R., Wegst, A., Spafford, N.R. and Carr, E.A. (1960) Radioactive iodine concentration in the fetal human thyroid gland from fall-out. JAMA, 173, 1895-1902.
[6] Beierwaltes, W.H., Hilger, M.T. and Wegst, A. (1963) Radioactive concentrations in fetal human thyroid from fallout. Health Physics, 9, 1263-1269.
[7] Williams, D. (1996) Chernobyl and hypothyroidism. Lancet, 348, 476. 1016/S0140-6736(05)64570-9
[8] McLeod, G. (1982) A role for public health in the nuclear age. American Journal of Public Health, 72, 237-239.
[9] McLeod, G.K. (1981) Some public health lessons from Three Mile Island: A case study in chaos. Ambio, 1, 18-23.
[10] US Environmental Protection Agency (2003) Assessing cancer susceptibility from early-life exposure to carconogens.
[11] Mangano, J.J. (1996) Chernobyl and hypothyroidism. Lancet, 347, 1482-1483. 10.1016/S0140-6736(96)91716-X
[12] Mangano, J.J. (2009) Newborn hypothyroidism near the Indian Point nuclear plant.
[13] Mangano, J.J. and Sherman, J.D. (2013) 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, 3, 1-9.
[14] US Bureau of the Census State and County Quick Facts. http://// states/06000.html
[15] US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Births.
[16] California Department of Public Health (2013) Genetic disease screening program.
[17] Levitssky, L.L. and Straussman, S. (2012) Congenital hypothyroidism—Monitoring thyroid function in infants. European Endocrinology, 8, 53-56.
[18] Langham, S., Hindmarsh, P., Krywawych, S. and Peters, C. (2013) Screening for congenital hypothyroidism: Comparison of borderline screening cut-off points and the effect on the number of children treated with levothyroxine. European Thyroid Journal, 2, 180-186.
[19] US Environmental Protection Agency. Environmental Radiation Ambient Monitoring System (ERAMS).
[20] Arey, L.B. (1954) Developmental anatomy. W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia, 237-238.
[21] Howdeshell, K. (2002) A model of the development of the brain as a construct of the thyroid system. Environmental Health Perspectives, 110, 337-348.
[22] Rosenthal, H.L. (1969) Accumulation of environmental strontium-90 in teeth of children. Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Hanford Biology Symposium at Richland Washington, Washington DC, 5-8 May 1969, US Atomic Energy Commission.
[23] Rytomaa, I. (1972) Strontium-90 in deciduous teeth collected in northern Finland from children born in 1952-1964. Acta Onkologica Scandanivia, 30, 219-233. 357208997461
[24] Aarkrog, A. (1968) Strontium-90 in shed dedicuous teeth collected in Danmark, the Faroes, and Greenland from children born in 1950-1958. Health Physics, 15, 105. 4032-196808000-00001
[25] Kulev, Y.D., Polikarpov, G.G., Prigodey, E.V. and Assimakopoulos, P.A. (1994) Strontium-90 concentration in human teeth in South Ukraine, 5 years after the Chernobyl accident. The Science of the Total Environment, 155, 214-219.
[26] Stamoulis, K.C., Assimakopoulos, P.A., Ioanides, K.G., Johnson, E. and Soucacos, P.N. (1999) Strontium-90 concentration measurements in human bones and teeth in Greece. The Science of the Total Environment, 229, 165-182.
[27] Mangano, J.J., Gould, J.M., Sternglass, E.J., Sherman, J.D. and McDonnell, W. (2003) An unexpected rise in strontium-90 in US deciduous teeth in the 1990s. The Science of the Total Environment, 317, 37-51.
[28] O’Donnell, R.G., Mitchell, P.L., Priest, N.D., Strange, L., Fox, A., Henshaw, D.L. and Long, S.C. (1997) Variations in the concentration of plutonium, strontium-90, and total alpha-emitters in human teeth collected within the British Isles. The Science of the Total Environment, 201, 235-243.
[29] Fukushima Medical University (April 2012 - January 2013) Thyroid screening results: Cysts.
[30] Matsuda, T., Marugame, T., Kamo, K-I., Katanoda, K., Wakiko, A. and Sobue, T. (2011) Japan Cancer Surveillance Research Group. Cancer incidence and incidence rates in Japan 2005: Based on data from 12 population-based cancer registries in the monitoring of cancer incidence in Japan (MCIJ) project. Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology, 41, 139-147.
[31] Japan Daily Press (2013) Six more young people from Fukushima diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
[32] Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation, National Research Council (1990) Health effects of exposure to low levels of ionizing radiation (BEIR V). National Academy Press, Washington DC.
[33] Committee on the Biological Effects of Radiation, National Research Council of the National Archives (2005) Health risks from exposure to low levels of ionizing radiation (BEIR VII). The National Academies Press, Washington DC.
[34] Stewart, A. (1956) Malignant disease in childhood and diagnostic irradiation in utero. Lancet, 2, 447.
[35] Stewart, A., Webb, J. and Hewitt, D. (1958) A survey of childhood malignancies. BMJ, i, 1495-1508.
[36] MacMahon, B. (1962) Prenatal x-ray exposure and childhood cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 28, 1173-1192.
[37] National Cancer Institute (1997) Estimated exposures and thyroid doses received by the American people from iodine 131 in fallout following nevada atmospheric nuclear bomb tests: A report from the National Cancer Institute. US Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda.
[38] Institute of Medicine and National Research Council (1999) Exposure of the American people to iodine-131 from Nevada atomic bomb tests: Review of the National Cancer Institute Report and Public Health Implications., National Academy Press, Washington DC. openbook.php?isbn=030906175X

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2017 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.