The nuclear plant in Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu, India is making people sick in the surrounding villages up to 50 km away, Dr. Pugazhendhi believes. India's Atomic Energy Department says the radiation levels are too low to cause any ill effects, but the doctor argues that there is no safe limit.
He cites three different studies that found that the rates of cancer and autoimmune diseases were higher in the area, at rates that are statistically significant. In and around Kalpakkam, the rate of thyroid disease is 5 times higher than that in more distant villages, the rate of cancer 7 times higher, and the rate of developmental challenges 11 times higher.
Sangeetha, 32 years old, and her two children, ages 11 and 8, are three of the faces of those statistics. Her husband died suddenly of cancer at the age of 36 after the family's savings were decimated for his treatment.
Lavanya, a 17-year-old girl with severe mental challenges, is another example. Her father works in the nuclear plant. Lavanya was born healthy before having seizures a few days after birth, resulting in abnormal brain growth.
Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation helps families like Sangeetha's find work, pay school fees, and arrange childcare. HRAF also supports Dr. Pugazhendhi's local health clinic and helps pay medical costs for children like Lavanya. We are thankful our gifts for Mission & Service support this work.
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