This article describes the nutritional measures introduced to protect health after the Chernobyl accident, and the associated costs. The total value of the reindeer meat, mutton, lamb and goat meat saved as a result of such measures in 1987 amounted to approx. NOK 250 million. The measures cost approx. NOK 60 million. The resulting reduction in the radiation dose level to which the population was exposed was 450 manSv. In 1988, mutton/lamb and goat meat valued at approx. NOK 310 million was saved from condemnation by similar measures, which cost approx. NOK 50 million. The resulting dose level reduction was approx. 200 manSv. The relationship (cost/benefit ratio) between the overall cost of the measures taken to reduce radioactivity levels in food and the dose level reduction achieved was acceptable.
The outcome of pregnancies in six countries in Norway has been studied during 12 months prior and subsequent to the Chernobyl accident. The accident took place in a period with an annual increase of births of approximately 3%. However, the year after the accident a decrease of 0.7% was observed with particularly low numbers during February--April 1987. Concomitantly, the miscarriage fraction of all pregnancies increased by 16.3% and particularly during November 1986--January 1987. The same pattern was found when observations from Haukeland Hospital were analyzed separately. When the time of conception was taken into consideration we found that conceptions during the period May--July 1986 ended more often as miscarriages. We have no explanation of the observations. The external radiation exposure seems too small to have produced these effects. The internal radiation from food may have played a role. People may also have changed their food intake, using less vegetables, due to fear of these being polluted by radioactive fallout.
Accidents and disasters involving ionizing radiation are rare. Such accidents may occur not only at nuclear power stations but also in medicine and in industry. Only fairly large radiation doses can give acute medical effects. Symptoms and signs depend on the actual dose, and on what parts of the body are irradiated. In connection with a radiation accident, the main points are to recognize in the first place that radiation may be involved, and to have some knowledge of the actual source. Risk of localized irradiation from industrial sources, especially of hands, is a problem that is often overlooked. The paper reviews the principles for action by local health officers, the pathogenesis of radiation injury and early medical management. Some information is also given on the Norwegian system of contingency preparedness against nuclear accidents.
The outcome of pregnancies in the county of Sør-Trøndelag, in Norway, during the 27 months preceding and 21 months after the Chernobyl accident has been analysed on the basis of time of conception. The analysis showed a significant decrease in the number of conceptions during the three months immediately after the accident (April-June 1986). This finding can be interpreted to mean fewer "planned" conceptions. The Chernobyl accident did not seem to have had any impact on the proportion of conceptions ending as spontaneous abortions or ectopic pregnancies. There was a significant drop in the proportion of pregnancies ending as induced abortions during the year after the accident compared with the year before. However, due to some variation during this year it is difficult to draw any definite conclusions concerning the impact of the accident on induced abortions in this county. The proportion of pregnancies ending as births increased significantly during the year after the Chernobyl accident compared with the year before.