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Danger to health Professor Steve Wing, an epidemiologist from the University of North Carolina, points out that any amount of radiation is dangerous, though the symptoms of damage will depend on the radiation levels.

"At high levels, the workers [on the scene] could experience acute symptoms, such as burns or nausea, vomiting, hair loss—those kinds of things. And at lower levels, they will experience future risk of cancer… any amount increases risk of cancer," he told RT.

Wing explains that pregnant women (and their fetus) and children are particularly susceptible to damage from radiation. Also, he continued, there is a spectrum of types of radiation that are being emitted now at Fukushima Daiichi which pose a different threat.

"Some of the radiation emissions from the reactors and the fuel pools have very short half lives. They will disappear; they will decay away – minutes, hours, days. Other types of radionuclides… will last for years, hundreds, thousands of years," Wing explained.

However, the Japanese government insists that the radiation levels more than 30 kilometers away from the plant are not immediately threatening. Wing notes that this statement is only plausible if there is an absence of acute symptoms.

"It doesn't mean that there won't be risks to the populations that are exposed that will play out over the rest of their lives, because even after the radiation is gone, the genetic damage could lead to cancer many years later," he stated.

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