via / March 3, 2013 /

It’s been almost two years since the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan, but a new report shows there may be some long-lasting consequences for the country’s youngest citizens. The World Health Organization finds babies who lived in areas affected by radiation may be slightly more likely to get cancer sometime in their life.

Japan’s massive earthquake in 2011 triggered a tsunami and severely damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant. Nearly 19,000 people were killed and 160,000 were forced to evacuate.

The new report says baby girls who lived in the hardest hit region have a 70 percent greater risk for developing thyroid cancer. Male infants have about a seven percent greater risk for developing leukemia.

But the agency says, in both cases, the overall risk of getting these cancers is still expected to be small. The report did not say how many people were exposed in the hardest hit areas.

Emergency medical teams compiled data that suggests few people had high radiation levels after explosions and leaks at the power plant.

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