Physical, Mental Toll of Japanese Nuke Plant Meltdown Assessed

Residents living near doomed reactor showed relatively low radiation exposure, study found

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In a commentary in the same journal, Hanfling wrote that large-scale disasters such as the Japanese tsunami, the Haitian earthquake and Hurricane Katrina offer a stark reminder of how vulnerable the United States and countries around the globe are to catastrophic events.

Large-scale events, whether natural or man-made, can quickly overwhelm emergency response and the health system's ability to handle it, Hanfling said. Far more needs to be done to plan for such events and to coordinate efforts among health care workers' federal, state and local governments; emergency responders and the public.

"Yet, despite the importance of developing well-coordinated plans, few communities have the level of integration necessary to provide oversight and care for an overwhelming number of victims and survivors," he wrote.

More information

The Health Physics Societyhas more on radiation.

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