A new study carried out in Germany has concluded that parents who have been exposed to low-level sources of nuclear radiation give birth to more boys than girls.
Two German scientists have found a male-female gap associated with global nuclear fallout from atomic tests in the 1950s and early 60s, with the fallout spread across Europe by the Chernobyl disaster in Russia 25 years agto, and even with nuclear facilities in Switzerland and Germany that are considered to be operating safely.
Nuclear radiation has long been known to carry a risk of fetal deaths or birth defects. These new conclusions, however, suggest a more subtle long-term effect even on women who give birth to healthy babies.
According to a study (pdf) released a few months ago by the same researchers, “Man made ionizing radiation poses an ongoing increasing environmental and human risk underestimated and not yet fully understood.”
“Our results contribute to disproving the established and prevailing belief that radiation-induced hereditary effects have yet to be detected in human populations,” they conclude now. “We find strong evidence of an enhanced impairment of humankind’s genetic pool by artificial ionizing radiation.”