An Alameda Garden: Radioactive Spinach in Japan

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Radioactive Spinach in Japan

I've been wondering all week about the food safety issue in Japan as they've struggled to contain the myriad problems at the Fukushima nuclear power plants. There has been very little discussion in the media of the potential effects of radiation on the food supply but this morning the New York Times reports that higher than normal levels of radiation have been found in milk and spinach in the area near the plants.

As it stands right now, the amount of radiation found in spinach in the amount consumed by the average Japanese person in a year would equal the same amount of radiation in a CAT scan. That doesn't sound too scary, but nobody seems to talk about the cumulative effect of all this radiation--if you get a little from the air, a little from the water, a little from food, what does it all add up to? And if there is radiation in spinach after just one week of exposure, how much will be in crops grown in soil and water with longer or higher rates of exposure? Nobody's saying.

Here are some specifics from the article:

"Food safety inspectors said the amount of iodine-131 found in the tested milk was five times higher than levels deemed safe. They said the iodine found in the spinach was more than seven times higher. The spinach also contained slightly higher amounts of cesium-137.

Iodine-131 and cesium-137 are two of the more dangerous elements that are feared to have been released from the plants in Fukushima. Iodine-131 can be dangerous to human health, especially if absorbed through milk and milk products, because it can accumulate in the thyroid and cause cancer. Cesium-137 can damage cells and lead to an increased risk of cancer."
 I know Ann Coulter says radiation is good for you, but she's, well, a liar and an idiot. This is a serious concern for the people of Japan.

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...