Several recent studies suggest a slight increase in the incidence of leukemia among emergency workers, but not in children or adult residents of contaminated areas. A slight increase in solid cancers and possibly circulatory system diseases was noted, but needs to be evaluated further because of the possible indirect influence of such factors as smoking, alcohol, stress and unhealthy lifestyle.
Have there been or will there be any inherited or reproductive effects?
Because of the relatively low doses to residents of contaminated territories, no evidence or likelihood of decreased fertility has been seen among males or females. Also, because the doses were so low, there was no evidence of any effect on the number of stillbirths, adverse pregnancy outcomes, delivery complications or overall health of children. A modest but steady increase in reported congenital malformations in both contaminated and uncontaminated areas of Belarus appears related to better reporting, not radiation.
Did the trauma of rapid relocation cause persistent psychological or mental health problems?
Stress symptoms, depression, anxiety and medically unexplained physical symptoms have been reported, including self-perceived poor health. The designation of the affected population as "victims" rather than "survivors" has led them to perceive themselves as helpless, weak and lacking control over their future. This, in turn, has led either to over cautious behavior and exaggerated health concerns, or to reckless conduct, such as consumption of mushrooms, berries and game from areas still designated as highly contaminated, overuse of alcohol and tobacco,
Source:International Atomic Energy Agency