Risk Communication Strategies: Lessons Learned from Previous Disasters with a Focus on the Fukushima Radiation Accident
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Purpose of the Review
It has been difficult to both mitigate the health consequences and effectively provide health risk information to the public affected by the Fukushima radiological disaster. Often, there are contrasting public health ethics within these activities which complicate risk communication. Although no risk communication strategy is perfect in such disasters, the ethical principles of risk communication provide good practical guidance.
These discussions will be made in the context of similar lessons learned after radiation exposures in Goiania, Brazil, in 1987; the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, Ukraine, in 1986; and the attack at the World Trade Center, New York, USA, in 2001. Neither of the two strategies is perfect nor fatally flawed.
Yet, this discussion and lessons from prior events should assist decision makers with navigating difficult risk communication strategies in similar environmental health disasters.
KeywordsRisk communication Ethics Radiation Management Fukushima accident
Ichiro Yamaguchi reports grants from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) Ethics and Philosophy Committee has taken an active role in supporting ethical conduct and formulating ethics guidelines. The second revision to the Ethics Guidelines for Environmental Epidemiologists was adopted by the Governing Council of the ISEE in 2012 .
Conflict of Interest
Erik R. Svendsen, Ichiro Yamaguchi, Toshihide Tsuda, Jean Remy Davee Guimaraes, Martin Tondel declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •Of importance ••Of major importance
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