Effects of Radioactive Contamination from the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site on Behavior Related to Food Choices: A Case Study of Kazakhstan
Tetsuya Nakamura*1,, Satoru Masuda*2, Akifumi Kuchiki*3, and Atsushi Maruyama*4
4158 Uchimaki, Kasukabe, Saitama 344-0051, Japan
*2Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
*3Nihon University, Kanagawa, Japan
*4Chiba University, Chiba, Japan
In this article, we analyzed the effects of radioactive contamination from the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site on food choices in Kazakhstan. Nearly 90% of citizens in Kazakhstan knew their health had been affected by radioactive material from the nuclear test site, with more than 50% of citizens still confirming the safety of foodstuffs regarding radioactive materials when purchasing food. However, citizens in the vicinity of the nuclear test site did not take countermeasures against internal exposure due to declining fear of radioactivity, despite refraining from purchasing food from near the nuclear test site. More than 80% of Kazakhstan understood that exposure to radioactive materials was both external and internal. Further, Kazakhs were more aware of the effects of internal exposure on the human body than either Ukrainians or Japanese. Elderly people who remembered the times when nuclear tests had been conducted were aware of radioactive materials in food. High-income individuals took measures to control radioactive contamination in consideration of their nutritional balance, while low-income individuals refrained from purchasing food from near the nuclear test site as a means of controlling potential contamination. In Kazakhstan, more than 60% of citizens did not take measures against internal exposure, but the number of citizens who were concerned about radioactive materials was much higher than in either Ukraine or Japan. In Kazakhstan, 30–40% of citizens, particularly women, would buy at least 20% more if foodstuffs with lower than the regulated level of radioactive materials were sold.
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