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VIOLA's Plans for Novozybkov 2008

VIOLA, the environmental NGO founded by biologist Ludmila Zhirina, reports a discovery recently made public by medical researchers. In the western part of the Bryansk region, in and around Novozybkov, studies of soil and water reveal an abnormal and serious lack of iodine, fluoride, and selenium. These elements normally protect tissues from radiation; their absence makes people yet more susceptible to thyroid and bone cancers, mental disabilities, and early mortality.

To Ludmila and her VIOLA team these findings help explain the morbidity they continue to see in and around Novozybkov. In response they are undertaking bold, new plans for 2008.

They will now establish an educational center on ecological medicine in Novozybkov. Here programs and teaching materials will alert the population to the problems caused by lack of iodine, fluoride and selenium, and undertake remedial projects.

These include cost-free seminars with medical doctors, exhibits of iodine-treated staples (salt, bread, milk, water, a porridge) as well as products naturally high in iodine (seafood, kelp, certain plants), and a wide array of posters and maps showing sources of these essential but depleted elements.

To extend the center's outreach, a mobile van will carry these exhibits into the neighborhoods and outlying districts of the city. On the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, April 26th, 2008, the VIOLA team inaugurated this program by organizing an Ecological Day of Health for the people of Novozybkov.

At the same time, VIOLA will continue its program of furnishing families, teachers, and farmers with radiation monitors, as well as in how to use these instruments for understanding and protecting against contamination.*

VIOLA will also continue to distribute its unique teaching materials and its new book Living with Radiation. * The first Russian language book of its kind, it counters efforts at all levels of government to deny that radioactive fall-out from Chernobyl is dangerous to public health, or a possible deterrent to construction of new nuclear reactors.

* For provision of radiation monitors, as well as publication of the book Living with Radiation, we thank the many contributors who heard the story of Novozybkov in connection with the Elm Dance. Thanks also to Living Earth ( P.O. Box 86960 , Portland , OR 97286.) that has faithfully served as link and tax-free conduit to Ludmila Zhirina's work.