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Preventive behaviours against radiation and related factors among general workers after Fukushima's nuclear disasters

Abstract

Background The nuclear power plant accidents in Fukushima resulted in a widespread release of radioactive substances in the Fukushima prefecture.

Aim To clarify what factors led to precautions among general workers who displayed preventive behaviours against radiation following the nuclear disasters in Fukushima.

Methods Descriptive study of preventive behaviours among general workers 3–5 months following the nuclear disasters. The subjects were 1394 regular workers who took part in radiation seminars conducted by the Fukushima Occupational Health Promotion Center between July and August 2011. Of 1217 responses, 1110 eligible responses were included in this study. This anonymous questionnaire survey was asking for characteristics and questions on preventive behaviours following the nuclear disasters. The authors assessed the contribution of each variable by a logistic regression analysis.

Results Keeping track of environmental radiation levels and washing hands and gargling were significantly more frequent among female subjects, older age and workers residing up to approximately 80 km away from the power plants. Washing hands and gargling were also related with living with children. Wearing a mask when leaving home and buying bottled water were significantly more often observed with female subjects and workers residing up to 80 km. Refraining from going outdoors was positively associated with workers residing up to 80 km and workers living with children.

Conclusions These results provide information that may help with the targeting of health information after a nuclear disaster. This may contribute to determining an order of priority when distributing information after a nuclear disaster.

  • Epidemiology
  • environmental medicine
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