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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 397; doi:10.3390/ijerph14040397

Towards a Long-Term Strategy for Voluntary-Based Internal Radiation Contamination Monitoring: A Population-Level Analysis of Monitoring Prevalence and Factors Associated with Monitoring Participation Behavior in Fukushima, Japan

1
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK
2
Department of Global Health Policy, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
3
Department of Radiation Protection, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, 2-54-6 Takami-cho, Haramachi-ku, Minamisoma, Fukushima 975-0033, Japan
4
Department of Surgery, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, 2-54-6 Takami-cho, Haramachi-ku, Minamisoma, Fukushima 975-0033, Japan
5
Department of Health Risk Communication, Fukushima Medical University School of Medicine, 1 Hikarigaoka, Fukushima, Fukushima 960-1295
6
Radiation Medical Science Center for the Fukushima Health Management Survey, Fukushima Medical University, 1 Hikarigaoka, Fukushima, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan
7
MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK
8
Department of Health Informatics, School of Public Health, Kyoto University, Yoshida-Konoe, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan
9
Department of Radiation Protection, Soma Central Hospital, 3-5-18 Okinouchi, Soma, Fukushima 976-0016, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 March 2017 / Revised: 28 March 2017 / Accepted: 6 April 2017 / Published: 9 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Abstract

Following Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear incident, we assessed voluntary-based monitoring behavior in Minamisoma City—located 10–40 km from the Fukushima nuclear plant—to inform future monitoring strategies. The monitoring in Minamisoma included occasional free of charge internal-radiation-exposure measurements. Out of around 70,000 individuals residing in the city before the incident, a total of 45,788 residents (female: 52.1%) aged ≥21 were evaluated. The monitoring prevalence in 2011–2012 was only 30.2%, and this decreased to 17.9% in 2013–2014. Regression analyses were performed to estimate factors associated with the monitoring prevalence and participation behavior. The results show that, in comparison with the age cohort of 21–30 years, the cohort of 71–80 and ≥81 years demonstrated significantly lower monitoring prevalence; female residents had higher monitoring prevalence than male residents; those who were living in evacuation zones at the time of the incident had higher monitoring prevalence than those who lived outside any of the evacuation zones; for those living outside Fukushima and neighboring Prefectures post-incident monitoring prevalence decreased significantly in 2013–2014. Our findings inform the discussion on the concepts of radiation risk perception and accessibility to monitoring and societal decision-making regarding the maintenance of the monitoring program with low monitoring prevalence. We also stress the possibility that the monitoring can work both to check that internal contamination levels are within acceptable limits, and as a risk communication tool, alleviating individuals’ concern and anxiety over radiation contamination. View Full-Text
Keywords: Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear incident; voluntary internal radiation monitoring program; monitoring behavior Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear incident; voluntary internal radiation monitoring program; monitoring behavior
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Nomura, S.; Tsubokura, M.; Ozaki, A.; Murakami, M.; Hodgson, S.; Blangiardo, M.; Nishikawa, Y.; Morita, T.; Oikawa, T. Towards a Long-Term Strategy for Voluntary-Based Internal Radiation Contamination Monitoring: A Population-Level Analysis of Monitoring Prevalence and Factors Associated with Monitoring Participation Behavior in Fukushima, Japan. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 397.

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