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Fukushima Fallout Not Affecting U.S.-Caught Fish

Bluefin tuna is among the species that have been found to contain trace amounts of radioactive particles from teh failed nuclear reactors at Fukushima. (Photo by Stewart Butterfield)

Bluefin tuna is among the species that have been found to contain trace amounts of radioactive particles from teh failed nuclear reactors at Fukushima. (Photo by Stewart Butterfield)

This article was originally published by the Center for American Progress.

In recent weeks, there has been a significant uptick in news from Fukushima, Japan. Officials from the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, admitted that radioactive water is still leaking from the nuclear plant crippled by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The new revelations about the amount of water leaking from the plant have caused a stir in the international community and led to additional scrutiny of Pacific Ocean seafood. Last week, South Korea announced it had banned all imports of Japanese seafood from a large area around Fukushima. And Al Jazeera reported that the cost to the region’s fishing industry over the past two years exceeds $3.5 billion.

Now, fears are mounting that the radiation could lead to dangerous contamination levels in seafood from more of the Pacific Basin. Numerous blog posts and articles expressed concern about the potential for higher concentrations of radioactive particles, particularly in highly migratory species such as tuna that may have encountered Fukushima’s isotopes—including highly dangerous and toxic materials such as cesium-137, strontium-90, and iodine-131—on their transoceanic travels.

Amid alarmist outcry and opposing assurances that the radiation levels in fish are no more harmful than what’s found in the average banana, I decided to dig a little deeper, and a few weeks ago, I posted a brief analysis on Climate Progress. After reading the comments on that piece, it became clear I needed to do a bit more homework.

I began by going straight to the source: Dr. Ken Buesseler, senior scientist in marine chemistry and geochemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. When I reached Dr. Buesseler by email, he was literally on his way out the door for a flight to Japan, where he is currently continuing his research on precisely this issue. But he took a moment to read my post and respond. His reaction:

Mike-
I like [your] line
Let’s be clear: leaked radiation is bad. This is a problem that needs urgent, international attention. But at least for now, I’m happy to reassure Joe Romm and all the parents of Facebook: your fish are not glowing with Fukushima radiation. Eat up!

Dr. Buesseler also pointed me to a Fukushima FAQ page on his department’s website that he set up to answer the influx of questions he has received on this particular issue.

In the context of seafood consumption, the most important thing to determine is the potential degree of harm that can come to someone who eats fish that may contain higher-than-normal quantities of potentially dangerous isotopes. This begs a few specific questions:

1. How much radiation is out there?
2. Where is it?
3. What concentrations are harmful to humans?

And of course:

4. Seriously? Radioactive bananas?

How much radioactive water are we talking about?

Last month, the Japanese government reported that the Fukushima plant was leaking approximately 300 tons, or 71,895 gallons, of contaminated water each day. That’s a lot of water—except when you compare it to the Pacific Ocean, which is estimated to contain 187,189,915,062,857,142,857 gallons. That’s 187 quintillion for those counting at home. So as a quick comparison, even if the site continues leaking 72,000 gallons per day for 10 years, the total amount spilled would be 262.8 million gallons. This is a tall drink of water to be sure, but it is still just .00000000014 percent of the volume of the Pacific Ocean. Of course, any amount of leaked radiation is bad, so we’ll get to the part about exactly how bad this stuff is in a minute.

It’s also likely that additional water could seep, or is already seeping, from various other containment devices—hence the news that Japan will construct ice dams or other containment structures to help hold back the radioactive flow. In short, this kind of engineering nightmare makes BP’s months-long struggle to plug the Macondo oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 look like a People magazine crossword puzzle (13 across: Skywalker pal Han ____).

Containing Fukushima radiation is not likely to be resolved anytime soon, so:

Where is the radiation going?

According to Dr. Buesseler’s FAQ:

The spread of cesium once it enters the ocean can be understood by the analogy of mixing cream into coffee. At first, they are separate and distinguishable, but just as we start to stir the cream forms long, narrow filaments or streaks in the water. The streaks became longer and narrower as they moved off shore, where diffusive processes began to homogenize and dilute the radionuclides.

Dr. Buesseler and others have suggested that radionuclides will reach U.S. shores “some time in late 2013 or 2014” but that “at the levels expected even short distances from Japan, the Pacific will be safe for boating, swimming, etc.”

Some studies predict that over the next 5 to 10 years, concentrations on the North American Pacific Coast could actually be higher than those off Japan, but the total amount of radioactivity will be well below the current levels near the crippled nuclear plant because of dilution throughout the Pacific Basin.

Should we be worried about the quantities found in our fish?

It goes without saying that we should monitor our seafood and water quality with extreme care. As for the specifics of what to look for, we turn again to Dr. Buesseler:

Seawater everywhere contains many naturally occurring radionuclides, the most common being polonium-210. As a result, fish caught in the Pacific and elsewhere already have measurable quantities of these substances. … cesium [forms] a salt taken up by the flesh that will begin to flush out of an exposed fish soon after they enter waters less affected by Fukushima. By the time tuna are caught in the eastern Pacific, cesium levels in their flesh are 10-20 times lower than when they were off Fukushima.

Cesium will still be more concentrated in larger, carnivorous fish higher up the food chain, such as bluefin tuna than in smaller fish with diets consisting more of plankton and algae, but because it will “flush out” of the fish’s flesh, concentrations will not necessarily mount over time.

An area of greater concern to Buesseler is the increasing quantity of strontium-90 detected in the waters near Fukushima. Unlike cesium, strontium accumulates in bone rather than muscle, and it is not rapidly flushed from the fish. The good news here is that aside from consumers of small fish such as sardines, which are eaten bone-in, most diners will not be eating strontium.

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.”

How does nuclear waste differ from the radiation from a banana?

Nuclear radiation exists in many places in our daily lives. Perhaps the most commonly cited example is the average, everyday banana.

Bananas have enough naturally occurring radiation that science communicators developed a metric called the Banana Equivalent Dose, or BED, as a means of explaining in user-friendly terms how much radiation a given thing emits. The BED represents the amount of radiation the body receives from eating one banana and roughly equates to 0.1 nanoseiverts. A seivert is the unit used to measure exposure. An arm x-ray is equivalent to 10 BED. A flight from New York to London: 400 BED. A chest CT scan: 70,000 BED. A fatal dose is roughly 80 million BED. Most of the radiation in bananas comes from potassium-40, which is processed naturally by the body, but some of it arrives in the form of polonium-210, the isotope used in a massive dose to kill former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

Of course, the radiation in bananas is different from what’s in leaked nuclear wastewater. For starters, while bananas’ radioactivity occurs naturally, nuclear waste contains isotopes, including cesium-137, which are exclusively and deliberately generated by human activity—specifically, the process of nuclear fission.

Radiation released in the decay of radioactive isotopes is classified in three types—alpha, beta, and gamma—and each type has different strengths and properties. Banana radiation—potassium and polonium—is alpha radiation, while cesium and strontium fall in the strongest category, gamma rays. The radioactive particles also have different half-lives—a half-life is the amount of time it takes for 50 percent of a given compound to decay. The half-life of cesium-137 is 30 years; for polonium-210, it is 138.4 days.

So while eating a serving of Pacific bluefin tuna will expose someone to roughly one to five BED, according to a paper Buesseler and his colleagues published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in late 2012, that does not mean the potential harm is the same as eating a handful of bananas. But so far, according to Dr. Buesseler and the FDA, we have no reason to fear the amount of radiation in domestically caught fish.

Recall that cesium-137 and other affiliated nasty particles have been part of our lives in varying quantities since the first nuclear tests occurred in the 1940s and ‘50s. While the Fukushima release represents a major influx of the material to the natural environment, when it comes to ocean contamination, it still represents little more than a drop in the proverbial bucket. At least for now, except for fish from the immediate area around the Fukushima plant, Pacific Ocean seafood remains safe to eat.

Michael Conathan is the Director of Ocean Policy at the Center for American Progress.

Comments

  1. Alex
    Pacific Islands
    January 7, 7:03 am

    You know.. Oceans are my life. I dive every day, a lot of it in the Pacific Islands, from Micronesia to Indonesia. I see the populations of fish and all marine creatures decimate by the week. And I can’t help thinking WE DID THIS. And there is no stopping it. So maybe things like tsunamis and earthquakes that damage our nuclear plants are Mother Nature’s way to control the HUMAN POPULATION. Ever look at yourselves and think.. ‘crap, we’re the bad guys on this planet’? We beat every other thing Earth had on us,we’re even getting better at battling cancer. But we just don’t give a shit about anything else.
    I agree with Mike, the plankton will go first. Without plankton all of fish in the ocean will die, radiation or not. Without plankton the oxygen levels will drop and we will die. Harsh isn’t it? Well, suck it up. We did this to ourselves.

  2. Bet Young
    January 6, 3:53 pm

    It is always reassuring to say let’s eat unfortunately it is also a cliche. I like the comment the writer wrote saying this is serious. Let’s expound on that. Let’s hear from some West Coast scientists as well on what we don’t know and if we are wrong what are the consequences. A friend recently said she had 4 friends die of cancer. I know it is not connected, and also know this is our concern esp for infants, etc. While saving face let’s continue to do research and be preventative and cautionary.

  3. Michelle
    West Coast
    December 29, 2013, 12:32 pm

    Does anybody have a solution? Like what can be done to support your health or the health of others? Dwelling in the problem only grows the problem. We are so quick to disagree. I found this post looking for a solution. I suggest aquaponics initially. Now what natural support can I use to help my body deal with the neo-environmental state. All the talk about corporate greed, do you use a bank? How are you supporting the current economic system. Look within family of man…

  4. Chris
    California
    December 28, 2013, 1:09 am
  5. procomptor
    Oregon
    December 21, 2013, 7:36 pm

    I THINK THE BIGGEST QUESTION TO ASK HERE IS; Why was the acceptable level of radiation to the human body recently raised?

    It is my understanding that after the accident the US government had these acceptable levels raised. ALSO. WHY IS THERE NO TALK HERE ABOUT THE RADIATION NOW IN RAIN WATER, SNOW AND THE AIR WE BREATH.

    Must think people are stupid. Pacific ocean water no matter where it is located condenses to rain and those clouds are carried hundreds of miles before they dump (usually along the coast and inner valleys. What about the radiation in all this???

  6. archie
    bewildered
    December 18, 2013, 7:59 pm

    Am I on the wrong comment page?? Where the dillio are all ‘a the folk with words of “praise the fishies and hallelujah, Lets Eat!!”?? Am I missin somethin here??
    ;)

  7. Rosa
    Georgia
    December 17, 2013, 12:37 am

    It will kill plankton and that’s just the beggining

  8. mike
    Fremont CA
    November 12, 2013, 11:51 pm

    I am so glad that you all are on to the scam perpetrated by these ‘scientists’ what with their PhD’s and their other elitists titles. Why, everyone knows that radiation is bad for you, and if some egghead does a bunch of so-called research and tries to arrive at a reasonable conclusion based on the data available, and then tries to communicate that conclusion to the public in terms that a third grader could understand, and that scientist’s conclusion doesn’t corroborate your deepest fears, then he/she must be in on the conspiracy. I bet all those so-called ‘scientists’ own stock in fishing boats, or they are getting paid off by the gubmint to spread propaganda, or well… something, because everybody knows that radiation is bad, even those of you who don’t know what radiation is specifically. It’s just bad OK, and you don’t need any freshman physics to know when you are being lied to. Seriously, I love sushi, and I hope all you ill-informed goobers succeed in driving the price down to the point I can poison myself silly with cesium 137.

  9. Giovanni
    Alameda, California
    November 6, 2013, 4:43 am

    NatGeo has sponsors just like the dishonest network news.
    The world oceans have been used as a toilet for too many centuries. I hope that the extraterrestrials that have been visiting Earth can teach we children not to play with technologies that we haven’t mastered.
    Giovanni
    Indeksolar

  10. RC
    US
    October 30, 2013, 9:56 am

    The media, governments and Tokyo Energy are all lying in regards to the safely of the radiation in the Pacific and the life forms that live there. The deaths of sea animals washing up on the US shorelines is proof of the dangers lurking in the pacific for all life forms.

    Shame on THEM for misleading humanity for greed and power sake. Human lives and the lives of all wild species in the sea are far more important than a companies bottom line!

    Interesting to see the spin occurring the disinformation people.

  11. patie millen
    ashland, oregon
    October 28, 2013, 2:04 am

    Bravo people on not buying this rubbish. I am so relieved when i see that all but two posters know this is completely false reporting. Stay safe people.

  12. Greg Kellett
    England
    October 23, 2013, 8:13 pm

    Well this has made for a very worrying yet interesting read and I was wondering if any official spokesman for NatGeo had anything to say on this matter?

  13. Peter Koedyk
    Illinois, USA
    October 23, 2013, 12:38 am

    When we eat bananas the radioactive potassium is flushed out by our bodies. When we ingest strontium 90 it accumulates in our bones and organs, transmitting radiation at 20 million times the rate or radioactive potassium while it remains in our body, exposing us to the high radiation on a daily basis for the rest of our lives.. so yes this is a big thing.. and the same counts for cesium, although the body does flush out this element to a certain extend. Anyway, just a tiny bit of strontium 90 or cesium 134 or 137 will do harm to your DNA in the long run..

  14. PJK
    October 22, 2013, 1:52 am

    YOU ARE PRINTING LIES…….THE OCEAN AND THE FISH ARE RUINED AND YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT???? HOW DARE YOU NOT REPORT FACTS……..GREED AND MONEY OWN EVRYTHING.

  15. Dan
    Kansas
    October 9, 2013, 4:04 pm

    I actually think this is great. It should lower the demand for blue fin tuna & help the population recover.

  16. Hillary
    Manhattan Beach, CA
    October 7, 2013, 4:48 pm

    I really want there to be a non-profit, pro-people agency that will monitor all food sources for Fukushima contamination so that those interested or concerned can actually find correct and non-bias info about what is safe and not safe for consumption. I will dream on…

  17. admin
    October 7, 2013, 3:07 pm

    thank you all for not buying the propaganda, sham on you nat geo you crony kissers, wonder who runs this mag and what are the connections???

  18. Jessica
    Hillsboro
    October 3, 2013, 12:08 am

    So with the Government shut down . If its the Federal Government that test our seafood. Wonder if they are going to shut that down. They have already shut our national state Parks down. A change needs to be done to protect our American dream, The land of the free.

  19. Erik S.
    October 1, 2013, 8:13 pm

    The whole banana comparison thing is completely false… humans can naturally offset this type of radiation but the hot particles being released by Fukushima are deadly to humans… this article should be retracted… what a joke!

  20. dj
    oregon
    September 18, 2013, 11:44 pm

    nice attempt to cover up. It’s appalling Nat Geo would print this misinformation. this is the biggest on going tragedy of our time and totally suppressed information. It’s not just the killing of people, as if that is not bad enough….but killing the planet. hopefully someone will learn from our mistakes.

  21. Parajumpers Portland Jacken
    http://www.parajumperssonlineshop.com/Parajumpers-Portland-Jacken-Online-1_2_14/
    September 18, 2013, 10:53 pm

    Thanks be given to you in search taking the experience to broadcast this advice vastly productive!
    Parajumpers Portland Jacken http://www.parajumperssonlineshop.com/Parajumpers-Portland-Jacken-Online-1_2_14/

  22. Not Feeling Ya' ...
    September 18, 2013, 7:38 pm

    Can’t say how proud I am of the readers on this article. These people think we’re really stupid. Which just means they’re really stupid.

    Only idiots think other’s are as stupid as they are.

  23. Rick
    Hawaii
    September 17, 2013, 2:36 am

    If radiation in our food is not such a big deal as the article states, we should all go to Japan and eat their tuna. After all, if the Japanese don’t get this under control, the Pacific Ocean will just will just continue to get polluted with radioactive material.

  24. Joanna Corbin
    USA
    September 16, 2013, 9:48 pm

    I can’t even believe I am saving my money to buy a scintillator . My husband thinks I have gone crazy but I know this is going to have crazy long term effects on my children’s future. I can’t believe that our news stations do not cover this regularly . Instead we find out that Lohan’s mother was arrested for a DWI! Hello life as we know it is going to be forever changed. I can’t even enjoy sushi any more . My two sons will never know the joys of trusting food sources, the media , the government and leaders of corporations …. Sadly stupidity , greed and ignorance rule. I can’t believe I have children … I am so sorry boys….

  25. New Yorker
    USA
    September 15, 2013, 3:41 pm

    How accurate are the radiation detectors, and around what types of radiation? Was the F plant upgraded, and had different types of radioactive material, and can the detectors measure it all? Supposedly, in USA smoke detectors (made in China usually) have different sorts of radioactive materials with up to 80% being unidentified–that does not include Americ… that is tested. Tainted radioactive fish and furniture were said to wash ashore in Canada, according to one radio news cast. The general media does not cover environmental issues much–what about the currents (wind, ocean), bioaccumulation, and not just what the pollutants might do to us or the food chain, but to nature, in general? Supposedly, a top physicist is in hiding in Russia because he knows how lousy the F situation is. Are these energy problems due to immaturity of leadership?

  26. dalilas
    September 15, 2013, 2:12 pm

    Why would National Geographic have this particular guy, who is not even a marine scientist, write this article? Michael Conathan is a career politician who now works for a political think tank. Why isn’t National Geographic providing an article on this very important situation by a leading expert in the field of marine radiation?

  27. goldenboy
    September 15, 2013, 11:50 am

    Why are you people worrying.In another several years the human race will destroy itself with all sorts of poisons,but not to worry the Earth will still be here and another type of life form will emerge as what happened after the death of the dinosaurs.So just lay back and enjoy what is left of your life.

  28. Symbolset
    September 15, 2013, 12:23 am

    Yet.

  29. Ronnie D.M.C.
    Frakel City, Texas
    September 14, 2013, 7:20 pm

    Sorry, it does not look like everyone is buying it. It’s too bad that many people just take these news reports at face value. The amount of posts here indicates the popularity of this story in the main stream news media, I am glad to see those who did post are aware of how things work in today’s society for the most part.
    I am far from knowing the mathematics behind all of this, not to mention all of the dynamics surrounding the source of all of the radiation. This is going to affect countless lives for quite some time.
    I will not consciously eat anything from the pacific ocean or the pacific northwest for the rest of my life. Not that it matters with what we have to choose to eat from anyway.
    We can only hope that the remaining fuel rods are removed safely before another earthquake or disaster takes place, there in Japan and everywhere that there are similar nuclear power plants.

  30. George
    San Francisco
    September 14, 2013, 12:50 am

    You eat it.

  31. Scott Bryson
    United States
    September 13, 2013, 11:58 pm
  32. G.R.L. Cowan
    Ontario, Canada
    September 13, 2013, 10:16 pm

    John Lennen is correct.

    Potassium-40 is a beta emitter, and also a gamma emitter, like barium-137m. Buesseler probably mentioned Madigan, Baumann, and Fisher, who have published two sets of measurements of the gamma ray output of Pacific bluefin tuna. While most of this output is from potassium-40, a small but detectable percentage was identifiable as coming from Fukushima radiocesium.

    Small in 2012 (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/05/22/1204859109.full.pdf ), smaller in 2013 (http://blogs-images.forbes.com/monteburke/files/2013/02/EST_2013_DJM.pdf ).

  33. jaybird
    not japan
    September 13, 2013, 6:33 pm

    You are basing your whole article off of what the japs are telling us is the amount leaking. And Iam quite sure they are telling us the truth. We are too smart for our pwn good.

  34. Steven Starr
    Columbia, Missouri
    September 13, 2013, 6:07 pm

    The banana comparison is another fraud created by those seeking to minimize the dangers of man-made ionizing radiation, such as radioactive cesium and strontium. The naturally occurring radioactive potassium-40 in a banana has a specific activity (radioactivity per unit mass) of 71 ten-millionths Curies per gram, whereas the nuclear fission product cesium-137 has a specific activity of 88 Curies per gram and strontium-90 is 140 Curies per gram.

    This means a microgram of cesium-137 is 12 million times more radioactive than a microgram of the potassium-40 that it is being compared to in a banana; likewise, strontium-90 is almost 20 million times more radioactive than potassium-40. Which one of these would you rather have in your foods?

  35. jack Work
    norcal
    September 13, 2013, 1:53 pm

    I no longer have faith in the “information” coming from any organization which has the word “national” in it’s name.

  36. moogle
    September 13, 2013, 1:27 pm

    any kid with common sense KNOWS that the whole circle is affected
    all seas are connected ,,water vaporises ,becomes rain,gets transported by wind
    gets in the groundwater ,and affects not only fish ,but crops on the land
    how can National Geographic allow such a rubbish article to be published ? bribes ?

  37. Gabby Johnson
    Montana
    September 13, 2013, 1:02 pm

    TEPCO and the world’s nuclear industry have successfully rounded up the usual suspect — cesium and strontium and iodine — but what about the other isotopes in the witches’ brew that exists under three melted down reactor cores. One of them was fueled with MOX, which included plutonium from recycled Soviet warheads. Every day the leaks continue the odds increase that that fish sandwich your granddaughter gets from Mickey D’s in 20 or 30 years will wind up killing her.

  38. Luanne
    Prince Rupert
    September 13, 2013, 12:57 pm

    I think one thing to remember when deciding about this is that the bluefin tuna which did have a small amount of contamination, were animals which actually came from the waters off Japan and swam to the US westcoast. North American salmon do not swim anywhere near Japan, I think the closest they come is still 2000 km away and most never get anywhere near that close.

  39. Not Feeling Ya' ...
    September 13, 2013, 7:14 am

    Yea I just looked you up, CFAP, and see you’re a lobbyist for alternative energy. You’re not even a reporter. GTFO here.

    http://www.thenation.com/article/174437/secret-donors-behind-center-american-progress-and-other-think-tanks-updated-524#

  40. Tim McNamee
    Illinois
    September 13, 2013, 3:04 am

    Valerie price and the rest should take a step back and double check yourselves. The broad majority of the global scientific community agrees that the Linear No Threshold model is not an accurate reflection of reality by a long shot. Even those who would like to keep the model strictly as an overkill safety precaution are changing their stance as more data shows that the primary health risk associated with radiation exposure is psychological. Corporate agendas aside, when I see and hear such lunacy and fear mongering from those who I think would side with me on most political and social issues I have to hang my head. Like the dude in the article said, any radiation leakage or accident is not good, but you have to put it in perspective — work with the facts and live with the truth.

  41. Mike R.
    Pasadena
    September 12, 2013, 6:20 pm

    Thanks for this well-written and researched piece. It appears that much of the panic about Pacific Ocean fish can be traced to a blog post on a website called “Collapsing into Consciousness.”

    There’s almost no merit in the original post, and I wrote a debunking of it for Skeptoid
    http://skeptoid.com/blog/2013/09/02/are-your-days-of-eating-pacific-ocean-fish-really-over/

  42. DoYouKnow
    USA
    September 12, 2013, 4:28 pm

    (1) The FDA relies on Japan’s testing of food to decide whether or not to ban it from import to the U.S.

    Can you say “fox watching the hen house?”

    (2) It is completely disingenous to compare nuclear radiation to radiation from a banana.

    Bananas contain Potassium-40 which has been around for millions of years and the human body is adapated to.

    Man-made nuclear radiation has been around for 70+ years and is detrimental to human health and DNA.

    Google and read: “Nuclear Radiation: There is No Safe Dose”

    (3) A new scientific study said the radiation in the Ocean will concentrate 10X by the time it reaches the U.S. West Coast.

    In other words, the radiation is NOT diluting in the ocean; it is concentrating.

    Fish and seaweed will bioaccumulate radiation.

    (4) The FDA allows high levels of radiation in food, so if they call a food item with radiation “safe for consumption” you may want to take that with a grain of salt.

  43. Joshua Lago
    September 12, 2013, 10:44 am

    I noticed what looks like a typo in the caption for the photo of marked tuna, in which the word “the” appears to be spelled “teh.”

    Just in case that wasn’t known, already.

  44. S S
    USA
    September 12, 2013, 9:03 am

    You might want to double-check your sources.

    “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.”

    June 20, of what year? It doesn’t say.

    Going back to the link you posted refers one to an Excel document listing data that appears to be no more recent than 2012.

    It appears that NO testing of seafood is currently being performed by the government, or they are choosing to not release the data.

  45. Not Feeling Ya' ...
    September 12, 2013, 6:57 am

    You’re also basing your whole piece interviewing a guy from an organization whose Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Newton P.S. Merrill, a former banker …

    … donated to John G. Rowland – who stole taxpayer money to fix his home and used it for bribery & George Pataki – who fully supports NYC’s unconstitutional stop and frisk program … among others.

    I’m not saying this whole piece isn’t trustworthy. I’m just saying, meeeeh.

  46. Valerie price
    usa
    September 12, 2013, 6:56 am

    There is no threshold below which any amount of ingested or inhaled radiation does not have measurable negative health impacts. This is know to the medical community. All the propaganda being put out by industry hacks is based on single burst bomb fallout, neither inhaled nor consumed. If you believe the nuclear industry, you eat the fish. Fukushima is the single greatest threat life on Earth has ever faced. Reporters playing this game of deceiving the public to protect the nuclear industry are delaying the help of public outrage and by the time you realize your mistake, it may be too late to change the outcome. It may be too late already.

  47. Not Feeling Ya' ...
    Earth
    September 12, 2013, 6:35 am

    Also – you talked about imports and fish off the coast … are they testing both fish and import?

    A lot of sushi restaurants in the US get their tuna flown in from Japan. What’s a flight from Tokyo to Chicago?

    49485957398759843 Hand Bananas?

  48. Not Feeling Ya' ...
    Earth
    September 12, 2013, 6:30 am

    Remember how DEET was conveyed to the populations as safe and great? Or how they still dump fluoride in our water like that’s not actually poison.

    Anyway … all the news sites talk about “dilution” but they never talk about some concerns I’ve read about iodine in the water prolonging half lives of some of these particles. Other scientists say there’s no diluting some of what’s being spilled.

    And I know I’ve looked for FDA information about if, or if they didn’t, test for radiation and hadn’t seen anything, but now Nat Geo says they tesed in July? Why would they just sitting on this information?

    And 300 times? What does it even mean? I don’t know why I bother asking the FDA to test the food anyway. They wouldn’t give us any useful/safe exposure levels. Fluoride wouldn’t even be in our water and GMOs would be illegal “if they knew what they were doing.”

    I’ve read articles that say flying is an equivalent of 10 chest X-rays, I’ve read articles that say it’s an equiv to 150 μSV … do a search – no one agrees. So apparently no one really knows. Comforting.

    Lastly you wrote, “Recall that cesium-137 and other affiliated nasty particles have been part of our lives in varying quantities since the first nuclear tests occurred in the 1940s and ‘50s”

    Funny … according to public cancer rates – that’s when cancer jumped quite significantly in human beings. “From 1950 to 2001, the overall incidence rate for cancer increased by 85 percent…” (- Living Downstream: An Ecologists Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment)

  49. Karl
    www.falloutphilippines.blogspot.com
    September 12, 2013, 6:15 am

    Another website comparing banana doses again. BED’s have been established as bad science and used by the nuclear industry to mislead the public. If you want to be taken seriously about this issue, stop doing this please.

  50. gary
    Hawaii
    September 12, 2013, 4:26 am

    Thanks for your efforts, Michael!

  51. Shara Lynn Mills
    Seattle
    September 12, 2013, 1:20 am

    Now add to that the radiation from other nuclear facilities that are leaking, Taiwan for instance since it was built, the badly broken big San Onofre Nukes in San Diego, How many more? This whole article is BS then isn’t it. And we haven’t even counted the industrial waste with it’s unknown medical waste. Yeah, C-.for you.

  52. Right
    September 12, 2013, 1:13 am

    So the fda has not, is not, and will not be consistently monitoring Pacific Caught and farm raised seafood for dangerous nuclear by-products? Instead they respond that everything is fine and even if there are radioactive isotopes in the fish it is just a little bit. Sorry but I have no faith in our leaders to look out for the best interests of the people. We still have no idea how much of and for how long radio-isotopes have been leaking into the ocean. As for myself and my family we will noblonger consume Pacific sourced fish.

  53. Paul Senyeri
    Akron OHIO
    September 11, 2013, 8:06 pm

    Solving The Fukushima Radioactivity Problem: Dump It All Into The Ocean!

  54. Paul Senyeri
    AKRON OHIO
    September 11, 2013, 8:01 pm

    Maybe they’ should try Some French Fisherman!
    Anyone That Has ever had a Fish Tank, know’s a few Drops of most any Under the Sink Items Would Kill Most all Life in the Tank!

  55. imagoddess2
    September 11, 2013, 7:22 pm

    I thought this was a free country? My comment is awaiting moderation? Wow, thanks…

  56. imagoddess2
    September 11, 2013, 7:16 pm

    THIS IS A BIG FAT LIE! IT HAS AFFECTED EVERY TUNA TESTED ON THE WEST COAST. IT IS IN OUR DAIRY PRODUCTS, OUR FOOD. IT IS IN OUR CHILDREN AND WILL BE IN THEIR CHILDREN, AND THEIR CHILDREN! DO NOT EAT THE KELP. DO NOT EAT THE SUSHI, NO MUSHROOMS, NO TUNA..NOT EVER AGAIN IN OUR LIFE TIMES! FUKUSHIMA IS STILL OUT OF CONTROL! INTERNATIONAL HELP IS NEEDED! DO NOT LET THE MEDIA BASTARDS LIE TO YOU AND TELL YOU THIS IS SAFE, BECAUSE IT SIMPLY IS NOT TRUE. THEY ARE LYING. THEY LIE ABOUT EVERYTHING. WE ARE A COUNTRY OF COVER-UPS!

  57. John Lennen
    September 11, 2013, 6:11 pm

    “Banana radiation—potassium and polonium—is alpha radiation, while cesium and strontium fall in the strongest category, gamma rays.”

    That is all wrong. Potassium-40, the one contained in bananas, is a beta emitter, and cesium and strontium are also beta emitters (with Strontium-90 being a pure beta only detectable after chemical separation and cesium-137 decaying into Barium-137, which “has a half-life of about 153 seconds, and it is responsible for all of the emissions of gamma rays.”)