Nuclear power? We don’t have a hope. These people are so far off the track they should be classified as stark raving lunatics. The population is not out on the street demanding the removal of all the lunatics? They must all be lunatics too.
— Tony Boys, nuclear crisis archive
Damnably unstable atoms have been carelessly released from the Demon From Hell Nuclear Reactor in Fukushima, Japan. That’s OK: a becqueral a day keeps the doctor away, but not the undertaker.
On paper, Japan has radiation exposure limits for food that are the same as the EU and stricter than the UN or the USA. Beginning on April 1, 2012, standards will become even stricter allowing for only 100 becquerals per kilogram (Bq/kg) in food. So those of us living in Japan will be pretty safe? Not so fast.
I recently came across a researcher named William Milberry whose Youtube site has a number of informative reports on the radioactive contamination levels in food and soil in Japan. In one video I learned of the following website that does independent testing and was not shocked to learn that much of the food in the northeastern and greater Tokyo region that is being produced has detectable levels of radiation.1 Even for those who cannot read Japanese: (Test results of radioactive materials in food) Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and opening subsequent links and pdf files there are lists of food by prefecture and at the far right of the chart you will see the English for Bq/kg and below that the numbers for cesium, 134 and 137. Entries are posted nearly everyday and I perused several, including one page that covered early March. The chart shows that a number of prefectures in the northeast of Japan including Fukushima have food products such as beef, eggs, soybeans and vegetables that contain cesium. What the tests do not measure, but we can suspect may be there as well, is strontium and other potentially harmful radio nuclides.
Many items appear to be eggs and meat, for example, and may have less than 20 bq/kg. It should be remembered that it is possible that small amounts of radiation may be detected due to background sources or from the atmospheric atomic bomb tests. On another page I discovered that in Fukushima prefecture 19,191 items were tested with 683 items above the 500 becqueral limit (therefore not sold), with most of those items being mushrooms or fish. Only two items of grain, wheat and brown rice, were found over the limit out of 1,847 grains tested. In other prefectures around Fukushima, there have been fewer tests and fewer items found to be over the safety limit. Certainly the lion’s share of radiation from the Fukushima blasts that did not go out to sea landed in that prefecture.
However, this data is contradicted by the following report:
The Fukushima prefectural government announced on January 27 that radioactive cesium exceeding the provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg) was detected from “mochi” rice produced by a farmer in Date City in Fukushima Prefecture. The density was 1110 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium. According to the prefectural government, 57.5 kilograms of this rice had already been sold by the first half of November 2011 at a direct sales depot in the city. The direct sales depot is calling for the return of the rice.
Therefore, while what appear to be fairly rigorous standards for independent testing of food items exists, there is still room for error, omission, or possible criminal negligence if suppliers are hiding facts about radiation in their products. These foods are being distributed around Japan as if they are safe to eat, but are they really? Given the choice between genetically modified or radioactive food versus GMO-free or radioactive-free food, which would you choose? Hmmm?
One acquaintance from Sweden told me “we should not get riled up” about the generally modest amount of radiation in Japanese food given they eat much higher levels in Europe and it is no problem. Reindeer meat in Sweden is sold at permissible levels of 1,500 becquerals per kilogram. But another fellow who used to work for the Canadian government as an environmental chemist warned me that “basically, no radiation should be acceptable other than background.” This report from the National Academy of Sciences finds that “there are no safe doses of radiation. Decades of research show clearly that any dose of radiation increases an individual’s risk for the development of cancer.”
Videos by Ian Goddard help to understand the science of risk assessment of radiation. In his description of the scientific method (beginning at 5:40 in the video) he uses a chart to explain how the pyramid of scientific evidence has nine levels of meaningfulness in terms of scientific validity. In the case he is citing the authors of a pro-nuclear paper try to show how radiation is essentially safe by only relying on the lowest level of evidence verification, yet passing it off as high quality research. Contrast this to Yablokov’s book which posits that about a million people have died from Chernobyl, a number that is vastly higher than what the nuclear establishment would have us believe. Yablokov and his team of researchers take into account complex epidemiological studies and evidence gathering involving case reports, systematic reviews and meta analyses of previous high quality data and studies.
Therefore, can we trust the establishment view that the levels of external and internal radiation in Japan (and Fukushima’s effects overseas) are safe? This is a long term science experiment to see what the threshold of cancer and other diseases will be over the next three hundred years, which is the time cesium remains radioactive. Remember, even if an adult were to consume a certain level of “safe” radiation in their food, that does not mean the DNA of a parent may not be adversely affected and their damaged DNA passed to their offspring. This is what scientists in the Chernobyl region are discovering twenty five years after that accident: species of insects and birds seem to be de-evolving toward a permanent die-off of the ecosystem.
I try to buy most of my food from other regions than the northeast by getting vegetables and rice from much farther southwest in the country. Although I tried to convince my wife otherwise, the rice she buys is organically grown but from northern Akita prefecture which is about 270 km to the north of the danger zone. Their website claims the rice has less than one bq/kg and that they abide strict standards.
Many people simply do not care about what is in their food, be it chemical agents in processed “food” to give it flavor, or unintentional amounts of pollutants from farming, nuclear accidents or industrial blow-off. I have heard many stories of spouses in Japan who have differing opinions on the radiation matter with one spouse very concerned while the other blurts out in frustration: “who cares, we have to eat!”
As the Ex-SKF blogger notes:
Who is going to eat Fukushima rice? Probably the same people eating it now, at schools, hospitals, at family restaurants, convenience stores. Oh and the increasingly unpopular prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, who demanded that the Japanese citizens eat Fukushima rice like he did every day.
The nuclear cartel is using the media to brainwash people to “shut up and eat” by pimping pop stars and flashing adverts at them. Richer and more educated people can buy their food from upscale markets where foods are imported from farther distances, and that cost more. The average people who can’t be bothered to worry or can’t afford it will eat the cheap rice ball from the convenience store. School children (in the less affluent districts?) will have the cesium laced rice served at their school lunches.
To make matters worse it has now been decided that Tokyo will will burn radioactive debris at the 23 wards in the city. It is reported that incinerators are rigged for household garbage and not industrial or radioactive waste. In Tokyo Bay radioactive ashes are being dumped without proper treatment, allowing the spread of cesium in the local environment (18). These kinds of sloppy practices are further evidence of a government that is short sighted, incompetent and dangerous.
Some people think “Japan is finished” or that “most of Japan is now uninhabitable” which is not true. On the other hand, it is still a very grave situation in Fukushima and the government’s attitude that anyone who is opposed to nukes is “as stupid as a monkey” is no laughing matter.
- National food survey data of radioactivity; Radioactivity in food inspection by date; Radioactivity in food inspection. [↩]