Fukushima Radiation Coming Soon to a Coastline Near You
It turns out the Japanese are not the only ones worried about radiation exposure one year after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plants flooded and melted down. Californians are now number two on the list.
Such worries have pushed many in Japan into the arms of hucksters pushing instant “cures,” so far debunked.
“Still, with elevated levels of radiation showing up in everything from beef and rice to fertilizer and concrete, anxious Japanese want to know what exactly is building up in their bodies”
A pair of new studies, from the National Academy of Sciences and the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, question just how dangerous the radioactivity is while simultaneously making clear that the impacts of the accident on human and marine life are spreading across the Pacific Rim.
Highlights from the two studies:
1. Scientists now say that concentrations of radioactive cesium in marine life are higher farther away from Japan’s coast than near it, by as much 100 to 1,000 times.
2. At the same time seaweed along California’s coastline is already measuring 500 times higher in radioactive iodine.
3. Government monitoring stations in Anaheim have recorded new highs of airborne concentrations of the same element.
4. Since the Japanese have burned much of the materials made radioactive by the meltdown, rather than disposing of or burying it, “radioactive rain” is already falling across the Pacific.
5. That giant mass of seaborne flotsam/jetsam resulting from the 2011 tsunami is said to be composed largely of non-biodegradable plastics that will most likely have longer-term effects on humans and the marine ecosystem than nuclear radiation.
While the NAS study, conducted by scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, found radioactivity in zooplankton, tiny crustaceans, shrimp, and fish, it says the levels were below what is allowed in food in Japan.
Its authors also suggest that the risk of swimming in the waters off the coast of Japan are extremely minimal given the evidence that artificially-produced radionuclides near the shoreline are no higher than the levels of naturally produced ones.
Still, with elevated levels of radiation showing up in everything from beef and rice to fertilizer and concrete, anxious Japanese want to know what exactly is building up in their bodies. A rash of curatives have found their way to the marketplace in Japan (coming soon to California!).
According to a story in The Wall Street Journal, many of these faux treatments are rightfully being questioned by authorities:
* One company claims that for $100 it can measure an individual’s internal radiation accumulation using a machine that reads “electromagnetic aura” from snips of hair.
* Another advertises a suit that can allegedly help wearers “sweat out” radiation; the government has dubbed the process “suspect.”
* Japan’s consumer-watchdog agency has also questioned bathtubs selling for $6,500 that propose to “suck radiation out.”
* A plethora of homeopathic remedies have been advertised, and questioned, as has the process of X-raying your drinking water. “X-rays are just light,” said one critic, “even after the process, what you’re left with is just…water.”