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Frequently Asked Questions

What health effects have been seen among the children born to atomic-bomb survivors?
One of the earliest concerns in the aftermath of the atomic bombings was how radiation might affect the children of survivors. Efforts to detect genetic effects began in the late 1940s and continue. Thus far, no evidence of increased genetic effects has been found. This does not necessarily mean that no effects exist because some past studies were limited in their ability to detect genetic damage.

Recent advances in molecular biology make it possible to evaluate genetic effects at the gene (DNA) level. RERF scientists are preserving blood samples that can be used for such studies.

Monitoring of deaths and cancer incidence in the children of survivors continues, and a clinical health survey was undertaken for the first time during 2002 to 2006 to evaluate potential effects of parental radiation exposure on late-onset lifestyle diseases. To date, there is no radiation-related excess of disease in adulthood, but it will require several more decades to fully determine this, as this population is still relatively young.