Health effects and epidemiology
Main article: Three Mile Island accident health effects
In the aftermath of the accident, investigations focused on the amount of radiation released by the accident. According to the American Nuclear Society
, using the official radiation emission figures, "The average radiation dose to people living within ten miles of the plant was eight millirem
, and no more than 100 millirem to any single individual. Eight millirem is about equal to a chest X-ray
, and 100 millirem is about a third of the average background level of radiation received by US residents in a year."
Based on these emission figures, early scientific publications on the health effects of the fallout estimated one or two additional cancer deaths in the 10 mi (16 km) area around TMI.
] Disease rates in areas further than 10 miles from the plant were never examined.
Local activism in the 1980s, based on anecdotal reports of negative health effects, led to scientific studies being commissioned. A variety of studies have been unable to conclude that the accident had substantial health effects.
The Radiation and Public Health Project
cited calculations by Joseph Mangano, who has authored 19 medical journal articles and a book on Low Level Radiation and Immune Disease
, that reported a spike in infant mortality in the downwind communities two years after the accident.
Anecdotal evidence also records effects on the region's wildlife.
For example, according to one anti-nuclear activist, Harvey Wasserman
, the fallout caused "a plague of death and disease among the area's wild animals and farm livestock", including a sharp fall in the reproductive rate of the region's horses and cows, reflected in statistics from Pennsylvania's Department of Agriculture, though the Department denies a link with TMI.