"radiation lurks in the water, the soil, and the food..."
Today, the threat remains. Caesium-137, a radioactive isotope that was released during the accident, has a half-life of 30 years and will actively trigger radioactivity in the region for decades to come. Fractures in the sarcophagus built around the reactor to confine the radioactivity have allowed the toxins to escape. Radiation lurks in the water, the soil and the food: fruits, vegetables, milk and meat in the region are contaminated and will remain hazardous for generations.
The Effects on Children Today
Radiation attacks developing cells and damages tissue, organs and bones. It weakens immune systems, leaving children vulnerable to an onslaught of infections and disease. Thyroid cancer, heart disease, genetic defects and weak immune systems define childhood for the people living in the contaminated regions. The rate of pediatric cancer in Belarus is 200 times the world norm. These children were born many years — some even decades — after the explosion.