Drawing Parallels on Human Health Impacts: The BP Oil Spill and the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster


Anyone wondering just how far the “official narrative” can stray from the truth might start with the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which is a clear case of industrial over-achievement on a truly grand scale.

It’s not a hypothetical exercise. We have the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history involving one of the largest and wealthiest corporations on the planet. Billions of dollars hang in the balance, and the forces of corporate “science” and government pressure can be expected to come into play.

It’s not a stretch to see Chernobyl as a cautionary tale.

While there is a lot of misinformation and deception surrounding environmental impacts, the real sleight of hand always plays most heavily on the single biggest issue – human health. So let us remember that the “official” United Nations report said that “up to 4,000” people could eventually die of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl disaster.

A group called the “Chernobyl Forum” issued a three-volume, 600-page report, incorporating the work of hundreds of scientists, economists and health experts. The report assesses the 20-year impact of the largest nuclear accident in history – and comes up with 4,000 as the death-toll ceiling. The Forum consisted of eight so-called “specialized agencies” of the United Nations, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), and the World Bank, as well as the governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

Of course, other independent groups put the Chernobyl death total much higher. Greenpeace says the number is in the hundreds of thousands and some estimates approach a million. Yet, again, the powers that be stick with “up to 4,000.”

When you see how drastically the “official” narrative differs from independent research on the BP spill, you begin to understand how the “Chernobyl Forum” came to its results.

Here’s a good file story on the issue, although there are many: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/mar/25/energy.ukraine

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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