The Psychological Consequences Of The Chernobyl Accident--Findings From The International Atomic Energy Agency Study
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The Psychological Consequences Of The Chernobyl Accident--Findings From The International Atomic Energy Agency Study

  • 03/01/1993

  • Source: Public Health Rep. 108(2):184-192
Filetype[PDF-1.75 MB]

  • English

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      Public Health Rep
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      In October 1989, more than 3 years after the nuclear power plant accident at Chernobyl, in the Ukraine, the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics requested that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) evaluate the medical and psychological health of residents living in areas identified as being contaminated with radioactive fallout. The IAEA designed and conducted a collaborative study to examine whether there were any measurable effects of exposure to the low levels of ionizing radiation resulting from the accident. The study, using structured interviews and IAEA laboratory equipment, collected data on more than 1,350 residents of 13 villages. IAEA clinical staff members concluded that they could not identify any health disorders in either the contaminated or nearby (uncontaminated) control villages that could be attributed directly to radiation exposure. The clinical staff, however, did note that the levels of anxiety and stress of the villagers appeared to be disproportionate to the biological significance of the levels of IAEA-measured radio-active contamination. Almost half the adults in all the villages were unsure if they had a radiation-related illness. More than 70 percent of persons in the contaminated villages wanted to move away, and approximately 83 percent believed that the government should relocate them. The IAEA effort indicates that the villagers need to be educated about their actual risks, and they need to understand what types of illnesses are, and are not, associated with exposure to radioactive contamination. Unfortunately, the villagers' needs may exceed the available resources of their local and central governments.
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