Radiation from Fukushima is entering the U.S. food chain
Authorities in the U.S. insist that there is no danger to public health or the environment from the Fukushima nuclear crisis, and that levels of radiation that have been detected in water, air, soil and food in North America since the accident are in such minuscule quantities as to present little to no danger.
However, there is evidence to the contrary.
EPA discontinued its Fukushima radiation monitoring efforts, and FDA says there is no danger to our food or seafood and therefore testing is not necessary. There have been no calls since the accident for heightened nuclear safety inspections or to upgrade or decommission aging nuclear power plants in the U.S.
Yet, in limited testing conducted by states and independent labs since the accident, radioactive iodine and cesium – both toxic to human health – have appeared at elevated levels in milk and vegetables produced in California. Radiation has also been detected in milk sold in Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Vermont and Washington since the accident.
Elevated levels of radioactivity have also been detected in drinking water in numerous municipalities from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, and in soil samples tested in California. Fallout is blanketing America and will do so for a prolonged period of time until they can somehow stop the crippled reactors from leaking any more radiation into the environment – a formidable task.
On May 25, the University of California Berkeley Department of Nuclear Engineering (UCB) – one of the few organizations testing food, soil, air and water in the U.S – reported that it had detected the highest level of radioactive cesium 137 in nearly a month in raw milk samples taken from a dairy in Sonoma County where the cows are grass fed. UCB also reported elevated levels of cesium 134 and cesium 137 in pasteurized, homogenized milk samples with a “best by” date of May 26 from a Bay Area organic dairy “where the farmers are encouraged to feed their cows local grass.”
Iodine 131 in California milk suggests new fallout continues
The State of California reported on May 2 that it detected higher levels of radioactive iodine 131 in milk samples tested at CalPoly Dairy Farm in San Luis Obispo compared to milk tested at the end of March. Additionally, the new milk samples contained trace amounts of radioactive cesium 134 and cesium 137, which were not seen in the March samples. The presence of iodine 131, with a short half-life of eight days, in the new milk samples indicates that even now, nuclear reactions are occurring at the crippled Japanese plant, bringing fresh fallout on a daily basis to Asia, North America and around the northern hemisphere.
The UCB nuclear engineering department emphasizes that levels of radiation measured in food samples grown in the U.S. are very low, and that there is little threat to public health from the fallout reaching the U.S. Yet they continue to find radioactivity at heightened levels due to the Fukushima meltdown in food grown in northern California – their chosen area of testing near the university. Little to no testing is being done in the rest of the country.
Dairy farmers on the Big Island of Hawaii, on the other hand, are taking a preventive approach to some of the highest levels of radiation detected in the U.S., and are now feeding boron in the form of sodium borate to their cows and goats at milking times, along with kelp supplements as a way to help reduce elevated levels of radiation in milk. The dairy farmers are also considering applying boron to their pastures to mitigate radiation levels in the grass, reported Energy News on May 25. Boron is reported to act as a natural radiation absorber, and kelp may help prevent radioactive iodine from accumulating in the body.