I realize many journals and on-line publications need sensational headlines to attract readers. It seems necessary in these times of social media and 24-hour news cycles.
But it becomes unethical to push bad science without doing at least a little due diligence. I understand anti-nuke ideology cares little about science and is never held to any technical standard, but in some cases reporting bad science hurts people who need good science to make personal decisions for themselves and their families.
James Conca explains in depth why the latest instance of media fear mongering is a “textbook case of this malfeasance is the Fukushima-induced thyroid scare in Japanese children”.
Since few in the public read peer-reviewed journals or have the patience to plow through jargon-filled papers, it is the responsibility of scientists to communicate clearly and for journalists to have reputable sources.
Ironically, it has repeatedly been shown that the worst health effects from Fukushima have come from the fear of radiation and the forced evacuations, not from any radiation effects (Gaji 2013;Japan Daily Press; WHO Report; NYTimes). Not one person has, or likely will, die from Fukushima radiation. But many people have died from the forced evacuations, fear and depression resulting from both well-intentioned and politically-motivated ignorance on radiation doses and effects following the accident.