In Small Doses

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Chernobyl, 26th April 1986. 70% of the fall-out from the accident fell on Belarus. 23% of the country, where 2 million people live, 500,000 of whom are children, has been durably affected. 30 years after, the population is still subjected to contamination on a daily basis, 80% of which is through food. Worn down by poverty, seen as pariahs in their own country, the inhabitants of these contaminated areas have no choice : they eat local food products which often have very high levels of radionuclides. The consequences on health of this chronic exposure in small doses, particularly on the development of children, is not recognised by international organisations. Yet 70% of the 2000 children checked in the extremely contaminated area of Gomel, suffer from heart pathologies. Increases in cancer, as well as various malformations and handicaps have also come to light. Funding in-depth research in this area is still not on the agenda, however. A lack of will shared by international organisations such as the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), and the authoritarian regime of Belarus’ president.