Under normal conditions, her baby has a slightly higher chance of being a boy, but new research suggests that exposure to radiation unnaturally skews the sex ratio.
The Japan nuclear disaster confirmed what we already know for certain: radiation is dangerous to human populations. In particular, mutagenic effects have long been reported, and we also know that sperm that are exposed to radiation can result in a man having diminished sexual health and sperm viability. Now, new science illuminates additional surprises: the gender of an unborn child appears to be effected by radiation exposure.
In a synopsis of the research – published this month in Springer’s Journal of Environmental Science and Pollution Research – ScienceDaily.com explained the methodology of the researchers that led to their conclusions. Based on research conducted in the US and Europe of male-female birth gaps between specific years (associated with test bans and atomic bomb test fallout), they found significant increases in the number of boys versus girls born.
Under natural conditions, 101- 107 live males are born for every female live birth.
“Exposure to nuclear radiation leads to an increase in male births relative to female births, according to a new study by Hagen Scherb and Kristina Voigt from the Helmholtz Zentrum München.”(ScienceDaily.com)
Taken together these findings show a long-term, dose-dependent impact of radiation exposure on human sex odds, proving cause and effect. What is less clear is whether this increase in male births relative to female births is the result of a reduced frequency of female births or an increased number of male births. The authors estimate that the deficit of births and the number of stillborn or impaired children after the global releases of ionizing radiation amount to several millions globally.
Scherb and Voigt conclude: “Our results contribute to disproving the established and prevailing belief that radiation-induced hereditary effects have yet to be detected in human populations. We find strong evidence of an enhanced impairment of humankind’s genetic pool by artificial ionizing radiation.”
In the MENA region, nuclear capabilities are less developed than much of the world, though many nations including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and Syria either have nuclear facilities or are pressing ahead with plans to introduce the technologies into their countries.
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