Saturday, May 28, 2016

the last book I ever read (Susan Southard's Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War, excerpt six)

from Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard:

Some diseases, however, were accurately ascribed to radiation toxicity, first by informal observation and later by documented research. After a period of latency, in 1947, physicians began observing increased rates of childhood and adult leukemia among hibakusha—and these rates swelled in the years that followed. Later studies confirmed disturbing figures: Depending on shielding, hibakusha exposed within three-quarters of a mile from the hypocenter were up to six times more likely to develop leukemia than those not exposed, and people exposed with a mile and a half of the hypocenter faced double the risk compared to those not exposed. At highest risk were children under ten within a mile at the time of the bombing, who developed leukemia at a rate eighteen times greater than the general population. Children ages ten to nineteen followed, with an incidence rate eight times higher than average. Autopsies continued to reveal the severe internal damages radiation had caused to survivors’ bodies. One young man, twenty-eight years old and healthy at the time of the bombing, became more and more sick in the years after the war and was eventually diagnosed with leukemia. He died in 1950. In their autopsy report, doctors described the man’s internal organs as “black and pulpy, like coal tar.”

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