Publicatie Laka-bibliotheek:
Infant mortality changes following the Three Mile Island accident

Classificatie (VS - LOCATIES - HARRISBURG)

Uit de publicatie:

Dr. E.J. Sternglass
Department of Radiology
University of Pittsburgh
School of Medicine
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
January 1980

An examination of the monthly changes in infant mortality in Pennsylvania
and the nearby areas of Upstate New York as given in the U.S. Monthly Vital
statistics reports indicate that the mortality rate rose significantly shortly
after the Three Mile Island accident in the directions where the plume of radioactive
gases was known to have moved. The number of reported infant deaths per month rose
from a minimum of 141 in March of 1979 just before the accident to a peak of 271 in
July, declining again to 119 by August. This is an unprecedented and highly significant
rise of 92% in the summer months when infant mortality normally reaches its lowest
values. In the four month period following the accident, there were 242 deaths above
the normally expected number in Pennsylvania and a total of about 430 in the entire
Northeastern area of the United States. The hypothesis that this abnormal rise was
associated with the gaseous releases from Three Mile Island is shown to be
strongly supported by the follmving considerations. First, large amounts of
radioactive Iodine-131 were released from the plant, estimated by the utility's
own radiological consultants to have amounted to 14 curies, together with 10
million curies of other fission gases, most of the activity escaping in the first
two days before the order to evacuate pregnant women and young children was issued.
Secondly, infant mortality peaked three to four months after the initial releases
took place. This corresponds to the period required for infants to be born whose
thyroid glands were most active in taking up the radioactive iodine while producing
growth hormone when the accident occurred, thus explaining the large rise in the
number of immature and underweight infants that died of respiratory distress as
indicated by an examination of hospital records. Thirdly, the....