Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fukushima Fallout Not Affecting U.S.-Caught Fish

While this was published on the National Geographic website, it's written by a regular writer on the Think Progress website.  Both are highly trusted sources.

He starts by noting the extreme fear stories that were published in August/September 2013.  Those were based on reports from TEPCO of several accidents and on-going releases of radioactive water into the ocean.  It looks like an untenable situation, because they have an ever-growing need to store radioactive water that comes from having poured water onto the radioactive pile to keep them cool.  Since this will be what they're doing for the next 40ish years required for the decommissioning, we all wonder just how they're going to store 40 years worth of water?

Anyway, he went to Dr. Ken Buesseler, senior scientist in marine chemistry and geochemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for some hard data.  Their FAQ page is downplaying the risk of radiation in the ocean from Fukushima - - not because they're closing their eyes to the potential, but that they've tested samples in their lab and on ships at sea including close to the site, and are not finding dangerous levels of radioactivity. 

How is the federal government testing Pacific Ocean seafood?

The lead U.S. agency testing seafood for contamination is the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. As of June 20, the FDA has tested 1,313 samples of food imported from Japan, including 199 seafood samples. Of those, just one—a sample of ginger powder—exceeded the level considered safe for consumption.

When contacted about its testing of domestically caught seafood, an FDA spokesman responded in an email, saying that “the FDA is not aware of any evidence suggesting that the domestic seafood catch contains harmful levels of radiation.” He further referenced a 2012 study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which found levels of cesium-137 and cesium-134 in bluefin tuna to be, according to an email from the FDA, “roughly 300 times lower than levels that would prompt FDA to investigate further to determine if there were a health concern.”


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