by William Thomas
TEPCO’S RADIOACTIVITY GOES GLOBAL
Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia have banned imports of vegetables and fruits harvested in five quake-
stricken prefectures in Japan. Singapore has also suspended imports of milk and milk products, seafood and
meat from those areas.
Air freight landed in Chicago, and air breathed in Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver, Canada have all
registered above background radiation levels.
Echoing radiation levels detected in Los Angeles and Seattle, small amounts of radiation from the wrecked
Fukushima reactors have been picked up 4700 miles away by radiation monitors in British Columbia.
“These amounts are negligible and do not pose a health risk to British Columbians. These are not cause for
concern, and are smaller than the normal day-to-day fluctuations typically seen in BC,” the BC Centre for
Disease Control has reported. There is no need for people to take potassium iodide, which should only be
taken when recommended by medical professionals.
The amount of radiation detected so far in B.C. is 0.0000005 millisieverts – much less than background
radiation from rocks and soil, ultraviolet radiation from the sun and cosmic radiation from space. [Vancouver
Sun Mar 22/11]
Named after Rolf Sievert, the basic unit for radiation effects is the sievert. Much smaller background
radiation doses are expressed in millisieverts (mSv). One millisievert is one-thousandth of a sievert.
“A chest X-ray can expose a patient to an estimated 0.1 millisieverts of radiation. An abdominal CT scan
gives a radiation exposure dose of about 10 mSv,” soothes the Vancouver Sun. [Vancouver Sun Mar 22/11]
In other words, here’s the biggest nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl and nobody’s really getting hurt!
This “proves” that even wrecked nuclear plants are “safe”.
At least, this is what the North American corporate media and the U.S. nuclear industry wants you to
swallow – along with a “little” strontium-90.
In fact, “low” radiation from CT coronary scans statistically causes cancer in one of every 270 40-year-old
women who receive the scan. Twenty-year-olds have double that rate. Annually, 29,000 cancers are caused
by the 70 million CT scans done in the USA. “Low-dose” dental x-rays more than double the rate of thyroid
cancer. [Inhal Toxicology May 27/10; Critical Care Medicine Apr/09; Internaitonal Journal Epidemiology 2010;
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Nov/10; JNCI Journal National Cancer Institute Volume102; Archives Internal
Medicine Dec 14-28/09; International Commission on Radiological Protection; truthout.org Mar 24/11]
NO BIG DEAL?
So far, airborne radiation levels around Japan have not spiked drastically. Even the two top readings in
Ibaraki and Toshigi prefectures near Fukushima are well below what's considered dangerous to humans and
have fallen in recent days. [CNN Mar 19/11]
Authorities everywhere insist that radioactive fallout – the gift that keeps on giving – poses “little risk”.
They’re right. At least on a one-shot, single low-dose exposure basis. Chronic exposure to low-level
radiation in air and water, and bio-accumulating radioactive particles in plants, livestock and sealife can lead
to a range of health problems, including lowered immunity and cancer.
“The danger posed by low-level radiation and the possibility of cancer and other chronic illnesses [is] down
the road from this episode,” Dr. Ira Helfand of Physicians for Social Responsibility told Democracy Now!
“The radioactive material coming out of the plant is made up of about 200 different radioactive isotopes, and
particles of these radioactive materials can travel great distances with the wind it is important to emphasize
that there is no safe level of radiation – any radiation exposure increases your risk of cancer.” [Democracy
Now! Mar 18/11]
“Administration spokespeople continuously claim ‘no threat’ from the radiation reaching the US from
Japan, just as they did with oil hemorrhaging into the Gulf. Perhaps we should all whistle ‘Don't worry, be
happy’ in unison,” writes MD Brian Moench.
“The Japanese reactors hold about 1,000 times more radiation than the bombs dropped over Hiroshima.
Every day, the jet stream carries pollution from Asian smoke stacks and dust from the Gobi Desert to our
West Coast, contributing 10 to 60 percent of the total pollution breathed by Californians, depending on the
time of year. Mercury is probably the second most toxic substance known after plutonium. Half the mercury
in the atmosphere over the entire US originates in China. It, too, is 5,000 miles away. A week after a nuclear
weapons test in China, iodine 131 could be detected in the thyroid glands of deer in Colorado, although it
could not be detected in the air or in nearby vegetation.
“Epigenetic changes can be caused by unimaginably small doses - parts per trillion - be it chemicals [in
plastics, for example], air pollution, cigarette smoke or radiation. Furthermore, these epigenetic changes can
occur within minutes after exposure and may be passed on to subsequent generations.
“Low doses may even exert more potent effects than higher doses. Many epidemiologic studies show that
extremely low doses of radiation increase the incidence of childhood cancers, low birth-weight babies,
premature births, infant mortality, birth defects and even diminished intelligence.
Just two abdominal x-rays delivered to a male can slightly increase the chance of his future children
“Even properly functioning nuclear plants emit a steady stream of radiation into nearby water and
atmosphere, which can be inhaled directly or ingested from soil contact, plants or cows milk. Many studies
confirm higher rates of cancers like childhood leukemia, and breast and thyroid cancer among people who
live in the same counties as nuclear plants, and among nuclear workers.
“By damaging proteins anywhere in a living cell, [low level] radiation can accelerate the aging process and
diminish the function of any organ. Cells can repair themselves, but the rapidly growing cells in a fetus may
divide before repair can occur, negating the body's defense mechanism and replicating the damage.
“When low risk is accepted for billions of people, there will still be millions of victims.”
[Inhal Toxicology May 27/10; Critical Care Medicine Apr/09; Internaitonal Journal Epidemiology 2010; Cancer
Epidemiology Biomarkers Nov/10; JNCI Journal National Cancer Institute Volume102; Archives Internal Medicine
Dec 14-28/09; International Commission on Radiological Protection; truthout.org Mar 24/11]
This page is being folded into a new Fukushima Fubar eBook
with all my Fukushima posts. Please proceed to updated