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Stress emerges as major health issue in Fukushima

4:19 PM, Mar 8, 2013   |    comments
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MINAMI-SOMA, Japan - Experts say that mental distress could be one of the biggest health problems to emerge from the nuclear disaster in Japan two years ago.

A tsunami swamped the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant on March 11, 2011, knocking out cooling systems and causing meltdowns and explosions.

The cancer risks from the radiation remain unclear, but the crisis is already exacting a psychological toll. A quarter of 35,300 respondents to a Fukushima Medical University questionnaire indicated they were experiencing high levels of stress or trauma.

Many families are split: The fathers are living at home for their jobs, while mothers and children have moved to temporary shelters or government-sponsored housing away from the radiation.

Mental distress was a significant health issue after Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986.

MALCOLM FOSTER, Associated Press

The Associated Press

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