Japan finds radiation contamination of milk, spinach; water in Fukushima contaminated, Tokyo water shows trace


35 Responses to “Japan finds radiation contamination of milk, spinach; water in Fukushima contaminated, Tokyo water shows trace”

  1. JayByrd says:

    Food and water contamination opens up a whole new psychological ball game, particularly when “officials” have proven themselves untrustworthy.

  2. emmdeeaych says:

    Carbon Filters will remove Iodine (and Cesium, etc..) from drinking water.

    And you can make your own. Low tech accessible renewable solution.

    • Lynne says:

      We should be sure to tell all the homeless and the people in shelters to start making filters immediately – and maybe stop breathing for a while.

      • emmdeeaych says:

        fwiw, I would hold my breath before I would wield the moral authority of a group I wasn’t a member of.

  3. Bigol says:

    I’ve been thinking about how much the world is in a panic over the low doses to date (thank goodness they’re low, knock on wood and pray they stay low) and decided that a blog should be created on the hype and hysteria generated by much of the news today… and what would some of it look like if taken to its logical conclusion.

    First post: http://herbegerenews.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/sunday-20-march-2011/

    World News: In shocking news today the general public discover…

    For a great review on why I would not worry TOO much read this – http://wormme.com/2011/03/20/airborne-contamination-aka-the-plume-aka-fallout/

    I plan on starting some other headlines taking some of the current news taken to its most hyperbolic.


  4. pmark says:

    My counter shows higher readings of radiation (in Southern Ontario — .3 microSv/hr). Showing readings is useless without knowing the natural background radiation levels.

    Radiation is everywhere. Get used to it.

    • Jardine says:

      My counter shows higher readings of radiation (in Southern Ontario — .3 microSv/hr).

      OMG! I’m in Southern Ontario! We’re gonna die!

      • pmhparis says:


  5. Anonymous says:

    a_user ref #26 laughter is the best medicine

    • a_user says:

      are you saying I made a bon mot or that you think I misread phylace’s media mocking as genuine panic?

      Either way I agree with you.

  6. sworm says:

    In some areas of the UK it is impossible to build a nuclear power plant due to background radiation.

    The plant would exceed radiation limits before it was even built. Strictly speaking you’d have to remove the topsoil as radioactive waste.

    • Grumblefish says:

      Topsoil? You’d have to remove the *bedrock* as radioactive waste, because it’s the granite that’s causing it.

      • sworm says:

        That and radon.

        Radon is the leading cause of cancer in the US, yet no one panics about that. Hell some people are even too cheap to install a fan in their basement, in areas where it is deemed nessecary. People are stupid.

  7. cratermoon says:

    In related news, homeopaths report that the radiation now reaching California is so dilute it cures itself.

    • Anonymous says:

      You win a homeopathic dose of internet. Be careful though – you don’t want to start a new health craze…

  8. Anonymous says:

    “Small traces of new radioactivity have also been measured in tapwater in Tokyo and surrounding areas, but consensus at this time is that the levels do not pose an immediate public health threat.”

    How much “old” traces of radioactivity are currently in the drinking water of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and lets say Reno, Nevada?

    I’d like to see a map of all the different amounts of “old” radioactive material before I get worried about the “New” stuff.

  9. Thebes says:

    You can’t compare Bananas with Spinach or Milk.

    The problem is not only the amount of radiation but also the kind. In the case of radioactive iodine, for example, that gets taken up by the thyroid and stays there, posing perhaps the largest health risk from these meltdowns. Bananas don’t have the radioactive isotopes that are causing concern here.

  10. Anonymous says:

    finally some good news? XD

    …. kids dont have to eat spinach!!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Any amount of ingested radiation is potentially dangerous, even if the effect may not manifest for years or decades. There is no safe dose. Taking reasonable steps to limit exposure to radiation is prudent for all people. Isotopes known to have been distributed from the plant – iodine, strontium, cesium, etc. – bioaccumulate in internal organ and bones.

    People using Tokyo’s water supply should now drink bottled water, if possible.

    It is unclear whether the radiation detected on the spinach was topical or internal. If it is surficial, then washing/brushing might be able to remove some/most of the radioactive particles. If the radiation was taken up by the roots, then it cannot be removed.

    Public authorities, TEPCO and media outlets are downplaying the risks and incorrectly saying that the radiation is harmless or safe. Risks may be low or minimal, but not zero.

    • a_user says:

      Iodine-131 is rapidly absorbed by the thyroid gland and increases the risk of childhood thyroid cancer. Cesium-137 mimics potassium inside the body, seeking out muscle. Strontium-90 acts like calcium, attracted to bone. Plutonium-239 and other isotopes can stay in the body indefinitely, irradiating organs.


      As far as I can tell here it’s both external and internal, though given it’s only been a week, this may be attempting to give advice with an eye to the long term:

      Gakushuin University Professor Yasuyuki Muramatsu says it was predicted that high levels of iodine and other radioactive substances would be detected in spinach and other leafy vegetables, as well as grass.
      He says washing vegetables thoroughly will help to remove the radioactivity to some extent.


    • nemofazer says:


      This is a really informative BBC Horizon documentary about fatalities following Chernobyl. Absolutely fascinating and very relevant.


  12. tp1024 says:

    To put those numbers into perspective: Southern Germany had to deal with over 100.000 bq of Cs per square meter(*) after Chernobyl. Areas several hundred kilometers away from that reactor received almost a million bq.

    (*)That’s 10.000 bq per square foot. Just in case somebody from Liberia, Myanmar or that third country that’s still using those archaic units is reading this.

  13. phylace says:

    Hasn’t the food industry been trying to convince us that irradiated food is harmless and that we must accept it as a viable process??

    • Orky says:

      Irradiated food is food that has been exposed to radiation, which can kill bacteria in it, allowing the food to last longer. Not food that contains radiation-emitting particles. Those particles are dangerous, and that’s why the guy in the photo has his mouth covered.

  14. Anonymous says:

    “2.5 becquerels of iodine per kilogram of water” is one half of a billionth of a billionth of a kilogram (one femtogram) of I-131 per kilogram of water.

    “0.38 becquerel of cesium per kilogram of water” is one tenth of a millionth of a billionth of a kilogram (0.1 picogram) of Cs-137 per kilogram of water.

  15. Textuality says:

    How do those numbers compare to those seen in Bananas or Brazil nuts?

  16. taj says:

    a_user, could you have imagined a month ago, that we’d be going to the store and purposely choosing Chinese produce over Japanese, for safety reasons? (I’m not actually at that point yet,.. but the thought of it is giving me the willies.)

  17. Kerov says:

    Yeah, numbers do provide useful perspective here. WSJ is reporting that the legal limit is 200 bq per liter of dairy product, and 500 bq per kg of other products. The contaminated products were found to be “five times” the legal limit.

    The water in Tokyo was around 2-3 bq per kilogram.

    For reference, bananas have always been on the order of 20 bq each (about 160 bq per kg).

  18. Anonymous says:

    Not just in Japan, but radioactive contamination should be measure any where in the world where there are nuclear power plants. US is the countries with most nuclear power plants, there should be some measurement there as well.

  19. asuffield says:

    Any amount of ingested radiation is potentially dangerous, even if the effect may not manifest for years or decades. There is no safe dose.

    Rubbish. Bananas are radioactive. There is a safe dose.

    • a_user says:

      Still you do tend to find yourself trying not to get any. I’ve taken to wearing a mask and gloves when I go out and washing my hands when I come back in even though I live in an area well beyond the US 80 km zone.

      Tonight at dinner I found myself asking where the fish we were eating came from.

      • Anonymous says:

        Tonight at dinner I found myself asking where the fish we were eating came from.

        For what it’s worth, that’s always a good question to ask, radiation or no…

Leave a Reply