Rice grown in Miyagi contains more than double legal limit of radioactive cesium

SENDAI —

Rice grown in Miyagi Prefecture was found to contain more than double the legal limit of radioactive cesium, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced Friday.

The rice, which was grown on a farm in Kurihara last year, was found to contain around 240 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, over twice the legal limit of 100 becquerels per kilogram. Fuji TV reported that this is the first time rice grown outside Fukushima Prefecture has exceeded the legal limit.

The local government has requested farmers growing rice in the same ward as the affected farm to check each bag for radiation before shipping. It added that it will strive to carry out spot checks on rice from neighboring prefectures.

In order to quell public fears about rice already shipped from the farm in question, a ministry spokesperson said that spot checks had, until now, given no cause for alarm.

Japan Today

  • -15

    basroil

    The rice, which was grown on a farm in Kurihara last year, was found to contain around 240 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, over twice the legal limit of 100 becquerels per kilogram

    Well, considering Japan has radiation limits a tenth of the international recommendations, legal limit is pointlessly low. And considering Japan consumes around 60kg of rice per person per year, and the international radiation limits are based on 550kg per person per year, even this "above legal" amount is about 40 times lower than the lowest level of possible concern for infants or adults. This is just more propaganda caused by yellow journalism and government regulations not based on international standards.

    You can check World Health Organization's recommendations on contaminants here (page 34): http://www.codexalimentarius.net/download/standards/17/CXS_193e.pdf

  • 8

    smithinjapan

    I bet a lot of this kind of rice has already been shipped and even sold. "Spot checks" don't stop anything, especially when so many people with vested interests want to turn a blind eye. Was this found by a 'spot check'?

    STOP GROWING THINGS IN THE AFFECTED AREAS ALREADY!

  • -13

    basroil

    Proper use of fertilizers rich in potassium and clean water can reduce the intake of Cs137 by several fold. It's been shown to be effective with potatoes (even those grown in 1000bq/kg soil have well below legal limit in final produce), and rice is likely just as effective with the same growing techniques.

  • 5

    rickyvee

    are these farmers just dense, stubborn or crazy? why in the world would they grow rice, or any agricultural product, in a radiation contaminated area? no one in their right mind is going to buy anything from that region. they need to give it a rest.

  • 7

    soldave

    I'm guessing the farmers have just been assured they'll be able to relabel their rice as coming from somewhere else, or mix it with cleaner rice from another area so the average is below the legal limit, and then sell it.

  • 0

    tmarie

    In order to quell public fears about rice already shipped from the farm in question, a ministry spokesperson said that spot checks had, until now, given no cause for alarm.

    Riiiiight. Japanese people wonder why I refuse to knowingly eat/buy anything from Tohoku (Haha! As if that is possible with the labelling in this country!). Proven right yet again. Japan, stop screwing around with the public's health.

    What will happen with this? Nothing. Just like nothing happened with the rice, the beef, the fruit... all over the limit, relabelled.... Own worst enemy.

  • 0

    tmarie

    I'm guessing the farmers have just been assured they'll be able to relabel their rice as coming from somewhere else, or mix it with cleaner rice from another area so the average is below the legal limit, and then sell it.

    Which is exactly what happens to the milk here.

  • 7

    Yubaru

    In order to quell public fears about rice already shipped from the farm in question, a ministry spokesperson said that spot checks had, until now, given no cause for alarm.

    Quell fears? This makes things even worse. Why suddenly NOW does the radiation exceed national limits? What is the cause of the sudden rise?

    Oh and this IS the government speaking now. Like I understand it's their job to try to sugar coat problems to keep the sheeples in place, but really how can ANYONE trust them?

  • 14

    Onniyama

    basroil. Go ahead and eat it if it will make you happy. I am sure they would be happy to sell it to you a good price.

  • 5

    whiskeysour

    I would buy rice from Okinawa..........

    Hmmmmmmmm, I wonder is somebody mixing the rice with other prefectures to lower the radiation. I'm just making a statement.

    Eating rice can be hazardous to your health !!!!!!!

    I wonder about wheat, barley and other products are effected ?

    What about Japanese beer and saki ? Isn't that effected too ?

    What about bottled water, milk and etc ?

  • -7

    The passage

    basroil. Go ahead and eat it if it will make you happy. I am sure they would be happy to sell it to you a good price.

    basroil makes a very good point. And if you live in Japan or even eat food from Japan it is highly likely that you are eating food with elevated levels of radiation. The point is, that it is doing you no real harm, and the volume you'd have to eat in order to raise the chance of contracting cancer just 5% are enormous. The volume needed is so big that you would die of overeating first. Try and relax a little, as the elevated level got spotted, and is being dealt with (even though at this level you could argue it doesn't need to be "dealt with". But makes a good headline huh?

  • 3

    GW

    The lies get bigger & more widespread over time.........wtf!

    If places outside of Fukushima are showing higher levels of radiation I really wonder just how much radiation has not only fallen on crops/oceans BUT on the people of Tohoku! AND south of Tohoku, my gut says we all have been hit with a #$@% load more radiation than we know

    This is one of those times I wish I had fled these isles, I dread hearing about the sicknesses that will likely crop up in kids affected........................

  • 0

    Yubaru

    I would buy rice from Okinawa..........

    Hey don't knock it, shimagome is pretty darn good! Lol! Unfortunately there isn't enough to "share" even down here.

  • 2

    Disillusioned

    Yeah, so........ the Japanese government's safety zone and estimates of the spread of radiation have once again been proven to be bogus propaganda! Mind you, this is nearly two years after the event, which means last year's radioactive crop has already been consumed. It also means that any area between Kurihara and Fukushima dai-ichi and within the same radius has been exposed to large amounts of radiation. Nice work Japanese Government! Your cover-up is slowly being exposed!

  • 2

    Crazedinjapan

    Here's a good one, honestly the people spouting off about it being overinflated propaganda will be the first to reach for the other rice brand saying "grown in a safe zone"

    If you know where it's from it won't sit well with your conscience and you'll pass on it. Propaganda it may be but the people can't say they weren't notified about the levels.

  • -12

    basroil

    The passageJan. 11, 2013 - 04:48PM JST

    The point is, that it is doing you no real harm, and the volume you'd have to eat in order to raise the chance of contracting cancer just 5% are enormous. The volume needed is so big that you would die of overeating first.

    Yup. 550kg of 1000bq/kg rice is about 0.7mSv. That means about 3250kg of rice per 1mSv. 100mSv represents 0.5% chance in cancer (100mSv per year technically, but let's leave it at one time dose) so 5% ends up being 3250000 kg of rice, or about 50000 year's worth of rice.

  • -10

    Ah_so

    I'm guessing the farmers have just been assured they'll be able to relabel their rice as coming from somewhere else, or mix it with cleaner rice from another area so the average is below the legal limit, and then sell it.

    That actually seems like a good idea.

    The current "safe" and level in Japan is 100 becquerels per kilogram. By contrast, the maximum level agreed within the EU is 600.

    So which is "safe"? Well, a banana NATURALLY has 130 bq/kg. Brazil nuts have over 200 bq/kg.

    I cannot see anything dangerous about this rice if it is at the level stated. If you there are concerns, it sounds sensible to dilute it with rice from other areas, as you cycnically suggest.

  • -4

    basroil

    whiskeysourJan. 11, 2013 - 04:42PM JST

    Eating rice can be hazardous to your health !!!!!!!

    It can be, but for entirely different reasons. Did you know the level of arsenic and cadmium in Japanese rice is higher than the international recommendations, based on human consumption patterns? Those two are, like Cs137, toxic and carcinogenic. People always jump on one bad thing and forget the other dozen that are just as bad and perhaps worse.

  • -8

    basroil

    rickyveeJan. 11, 2013 - 04:03PM JST

    are these farmers just dense, stubborn or crazy? why in the world would they grow rice, or any agricultural product, in a radiation contaminated area? no one in their right mind is going to buy anything from that region. they need to give it a rest.

    All of Japan, and entire northern hemisphere for that matter, has been contaminated by Cs137since the 1940s (and much more so by 1980). When it comes to "radiation contamination", you have that since the beginning of time. That is why rules exist not on "contaminated or not" basis, rather on how much is present per unit material. All rice everywhere in the world is contaminated with Cs137, so it doesn't matter where the rice is from, it's all "contaminated", and has been since the 1940s.

  • 7

    zichi

    "Don't grow rice in contaminated areas"

    Well, how much does the gov't/local gov't know about which areas are contaminated? In Fukushima, at least in the East part, all rice is being tested but this rice was grown in Miyagi, so which parts of Miyagi are contaminated? Other areas too, like Gunma received high levels of radiation following the 3/11 nuclear disaster, also parts of Iwate. Are radiation levels in previously contaminated areas still being updated?

    In 2011/2012, contaminated tea and mushrooms were found in Shizuoka and Ibaraki.

    While some say the contamination of this rice is below EU/International standards, its above the Japanese ones. The rice was measured before going to market but its up to the farmers to destroy it.

    There are various radiation maps like the ones from Professor Yukio Hayakawa or Safecast but they aren't useful when it comes to buying food, Food grown in Miyagi will be labelled "grown in Miyagi" but not all parts of Miyagi, just like in Fukushima, were contaminated.

    Kurihara is quite far north, and further away from the Fukushima atomic plant than Sandai and other areas of Miyagi. Its the furthest north town in Miyagi.

  • 5

    Cricky

    It's grown in an area known to be above (++) average in man made isotopes produced in an artificial environment. The safety limit is to be taken as the same as mmmm, sorry about the lack of emergency accommodation? Sorry about the pathetic clean up? Sorry about the incident itself. Sorry about the building materials, sorry about the radiation miss readings, sorry about the workers, sorry about fishing, sorry about the food mislabeling, sorry about YOUR understanding

  • 6

    Cricky

    Sorry about the extra tax required, sorry about the on going costs to the economy, sorry about the cancer confusion, sorry about organized crime benefiting, sorry about jobs for the boys, sorry about not really being interested in people's long term welfare, sorry about the lax checks, sorry about lying to survivors and displaced, guess that insurance and international money got lost, sorry about that too.

  • 6

    zichi

    It is the first time that radioactive cesium above the limit has been detected in rice grown outside Fukushima Prefecture. The farm produced the rice for personal consumption, it was not distributed to the market, the officials said. http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2013011000693

    Most of the rice growing area in Miyagi was destroyed by the tsunami. What rice is being grown there is probably for personal use, or sold within Miyagi Prefecture. As of March 2011, the prefecture produced 4.7% of Japan's rice. http://www.nhk.or.jp/japan311/voices-b-rice.html

    Miyagi is known for producing high grade sake but the industry was badly damaged by the tsunami.

    According to previous gov't reports, about 400 sq km of Miyagi was contaminated. Miyagi is about 7,300 sq km.

  • 1

    YongYang

    Told you. If they lie about how the event unfolded, about what happened, about how much the catastrophe is STILL very much in progress, how they are 'cleaning' up then this is just 1+1=2. Money? ANYTHING to do with it? Well, you know the answer WAKE up and see it. We don't do any Japanese food stuffs or drinks. Not with three children to protect.

    http://safetyfood.co.uk/ja-JP/

  • 0

    billyshears

    I think you have to take it for granted that if you live in Japan, you'll be eating food contaminated with higher radiation levels than it used to have. Apparently, it's all "safe for consumption", but you have to wonder what the accumulative effects of ingesting a daily dose of cesium-137 will have on young children. "Cesium-137 has a half-life of approximately 30 years. That means that, even in 60 years, 25 percent of the original radioactivity will be present. And, once ingested, it does not stop delivering radiation to the body."

    Even California has been affected by the Fukushima meltdown.

    http://www.enviroreporter.com/2012/08/no-place-to-hide-fukushima-fallout-findings-widespread/all/1/

  • 3

    Charles M Burns

    Spot check, right. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil....

  • 1

    saitamaliving

    Those people who think Fukushima was not that bad should always be reminded, that 99% of the nuclear crap was blown out to the ocean. Japan should introduce another memorial day thanking the wind.

  • 2

    Rick Kisa

    Rice grown in Miyagi contains more than double legal limit of radioactive cesium....a ministry spokesperson said that spot checks had, until now, given no cause for alarm.

    People easily forget that the stricken nuke reactors are still spewing dangerous elements including ceasium into the ecosystem. Therefore, and needless to say, the readings are increasing with increasing accumulation of the substances over time . The readings may reduce when the situation changes....

  • -11

    basroil

    billyshearsJan. 11, 2013 - 07:16PM JST

    I think you have to take it for granted that if you live in Japan, you'll be eating food contaminated with higher radiation levels than it used to have.

    It's still less than a few decades ago actually. Far better control prevents other, stronger sources of contamination.

    Apparently, it's all "safe for consumption", but you have to wonder what the accumulative effects of ingesting a daily dose of cesium-137 will have on young children.

    No need to wonder, I've already posted the WHO listing on food contamination. Results are about a death per million extra, after eating a lifetime worth of rice at this level.

    "Cesium-137 has a half-life of approximately 30 years. That means that, even in 60 years, 25 percent of the original radioactivity will be present.

    Chemically true, but entirely irrelevant since that has nothing to do with biology.

    And, once ingested, it does not stop delivering radiation to the body."

    Yes it does. Caesium has a biological halflife of only 70 days within a year just 2.6% of it remains (in the 60 years you claim, it's 6.6e-93 %, which means you are more likely to win the lottery a few times in a row than find a single atom)

  • 3

    zichi

    These kind of problems and issues will most likely continue for decades.

  • 5

    Fadamor

    LOL the government can't win. If the government says testing has been negative, you accuse them of lying. If they report a farm is higher than the limit, you scream "Why are you just reporting this now?" It must suck to be a government official with you guys around.

    @basroil, while the biological half-life of caesium-137 in a human is only one to four months, that's assuming you only ingested ONE dose of caesium-137 and were "clean" for the rest of the one to four months. For a food staple like rice, you would be re-ingesting the isotope every day - therefore resetting that biological half-life timer back to zero EVERY DAY. In these cases, it makes more sense to pay attention to the actual half-life of the isotope (30.17 years for caesium-137) rather than the biological half-life.

  • 1

    Fadamor

    We're coming up on the second anniversary of the accident, meaning we're 1/15th of the way towards halving the seriousness of the caesium-137 pollution. Don't forget that the radiation doesn't cease when the half-life is reached, it is just reduced by half at that point. This "halving" is continuous, so that the radiation never actually ceases. For caesium-137, the initial half-life of 30.17 years and at that time the radioactive output is reduced by 50% compared to when the 30.17 year timer started. After the FOLLOWING 30.17 years, however, the radioactivity has only been reduced an additional 25% of the original value.

    It's like the old math problem: You are 3 meters from a door. If your normal stride is 1 meter and you decide on a whim to halve the length of each stride compared to the previous one, how many steps will it take to reach the door? The answer is you will never reach the door as long as each step truly is halved from the previous one. In the same manner, radioactive isotopes never actually stop emitting radioactivity - it's just greatly reduced in strength.

    Caesium-137 that's been injested can be treated with "Prussian Blue" - the blue pigment that makes blueprints the color they are. The pigment (when ingested) binds with the ingested caesium-137 and reduces the biological half-life of the caesium-137 to about a month. It makes it easier for the body to flush the caesium from itself. That's STILL a month of the isotope doing damage to cells in your body, though.

  • -5

    nigelboy

    These kind of problems and issues will most likely continue for decades.

    A decade maybe. Considering the fact that after the aftermath of Cheynobyl, most of Euro zone as far south as Italy's mushroom detected 418 bq/kg 17 years after the incident tells you that most of the Euro zone area consumed so-called "high levels" of contaminated foods for decade.

    http://www.mhlw.go.jp/houdou/0111/h1108-2.html

    Thanks again basroil to put some much needed "perspective" on the fear mongering journalism.

  • -6

    basroil

    FadamorJan. 11, 2013 - 10:57PM JST

    For a food staple like rice, you would be re-ingesting the isotope every day - therefore resetting that biological half-life timer back to zero EVERY DAY.

    I didn't know biology had a magical reset button!

    No, there's no "back to zero" going on. All amounts decay at the same rate, so the first day's amount is cut by half within 70 days, the next day is cut in half 70 days from the second day, etc. However, the amounts ingested at even 1000Bq/kg for 550kg, will give only 0.7mSv assuming equal distribution of food (rather than becoming really fat then going on a diet), which is 0.3 microSv per kg of this rice eaten (an hour of background radiation). You would need to eat more than ten lifetimes worth of rice to have a statistically significant increase in cancer even including bio-accumulation.

    In these cases, it makes more sense to pay attention to the actual half-life of the isotope (30.17 years for caesium-137) rather than the biological half-life.

    No, you look at both the physical and ecological half-life, which are both around 30 years. Even more than that, you need to take into account Cs134, which is counted with Cs137 for the purposes of the law. That only has a physical halflife of 2 years, and makes up about half of the total Cs137 and Cs134 found the fallout.

    Open MindedJan. 11, 2013 - 11:09PM JST

    I would be very interested in knowing more about contamination and equivalent-exposition.

    You'de be surprised at what you can find at your local university library (or at least their

    Are any trustable epidemiological studies on the consequences available?

    You can find some from military records on it, as well as some universities around the world. Since the dose levels, including even the highest ones found in food, are so low there's just not enough people die of cancer to know (and the fact that medical care has improved faster than contamination changes)

    Obviously other bad things exist in the world, but they never claimed as loudly to be safe, clean

    Oh, plenty of stuff actually, you here it all the time.

  • 2

    Open Minded

    Basroil: your optimistic statements are most likely true for adult Tokyo people. But I would be more cautious about children from the Fukushima area (highly affected areas by the plume) who have and are still daily accumulating a lot more daily radiation exposure and contamination. From the available controversial scientific documentation you can not affirm there is no significant risk.

  • 0

    Onniyama

    the passage. So, get eatin!

  • 1

    Onniyama

    Yes. WHO statements are too biased to be used in an argument.

  • 4

    YongYang

    @Basroil: Good eating then for YOU and yours. Not us and ours, son.

  • 7

    zichi

    @nigelboy

    A decade maybe. Considering the fact that after the aftermath of Cheynobyl, ....

    it was only in May last year, that the restrictions on 350 British farms was finally lifted, more than 25 years after Chernobyl. There are still restrictions in some of the other countries.

  • -3

    ushosh123

    Have fun being paranoid everyone, grow your own rice, build your own meter, verify all the labels, assess every risk!

  • -5

    nigelboy

    it was only in May last year, that the restrictions on 350 British farms was finally lifted, more than 25 years after Chernobyl. There are still restrictions in some of the other countries.

    Eurozone population ain't dying off so basically this article, as basroil states, is just some sensationalist crap that people continually buy into.

  • 5

    zichi

    @nigelboy

    Eurozone population ain't dying off so basically this article, as basroil states, is just some sensationalist crap that people continually buy into.

    I didn't mention Europe or Chernobyl, you did but I did comment and provide a link showing that this happened at one farm, and the rice was grown for personal use, so please, go and pick on another bone. I also pointed out that most of the rice growing in Miyagi was destroyed by the tsunami and that only 400 sq km out of 7,300 sq km was contaminated. I didn't make any negative points in my comments, so I didn't buy into sensationalist crap. So like I said, go and chew on someone else's bone.

  • 0

    Fadamor

    No, there's no "back to zero" going on. All amounts decay at the same rate, so the first day's amount is cut by half within 70 days, the next day is cut in half 70 days from the second day, etc. However, the amounts ingested at even 1000Bq/kg for 550kg, will give only 0.7mSv assuming equal distribution of food (rather than becoming really fat then going on a diet), which is 0.3 microSv per kg of this rice eaten (an hour of background radiation). You would need to eat more than ten lifetimes worth of rice to have a statistically significant increase in cancer even including bio-accumulation.

    I'm not quite sure what point you were trying to make, but the point I was making was that if you ate a rice grain containing caesium-137 every day for 70 days, you're STILL going to have to wait an additional 70 days before you've reduced caesium-137 from your system to the biological half-life level. The natural decay rate for caesium-137 is 30.17 years and the decay rate of the rice grains is using THAT value. The biological half-life doesn't actually change the decay rate of the isotope. It just takes into account at what point a body will normally excrete the isotope - ending the irradiation. The isotope from the rice is STILL running on that 30.17 year half-life clock, it's just that because about 70 days after ingestion it's now in the toilet, it's no longer affecting you personally. You've literally "passed it on" to the sewer rats and the sewage treatment plants. You'll note that at no time have I ever tried to muddy things up by throwing around microbecquerals. ALL half-life's are relative terms relating to when you start measuring. Whether the amount injested is safe or fatal is not relevant to my point. The simple fact is that paying attention to the biological half-life is irrelevant if you're going to keep re-introducing the radioactive element into your body on a daily basis. Everytime you do, that resets the clock back for when you can consider yourself free of the isotope.

  • -2

    nigelboy

    I didn't mention Europe or Chernobyl, you did but I did comment and provide a link showing that this happened at one farm, and the rice was grown for personal use, so please, go and pick on another bone. I also pointed out that most of the rice growing in Miyagi was destroyed by the tsunami and that only 400 sq km out of 7,300 sq km was contaminated. I didn't make any negative points in my comments, so I didn't buy into sensationalist crap. So like I said, go and chew on someone else's bone.

    Well, if you are going to state that it's going to take "decades", there must been some precedence you went by so the obvious comparison to Chernobyl is only natural. On the other hand, for a person that's concerned such as yourself should know that MAFF specifically has a section on each prefecture which will lead you to the actual prefecture website where it displays the thousands of test results sorted by regions and products so why aslk "Well, how much does the gov't/local gov't know about which areas are contaminated? "

    Also, other sources site that the rice was harvested from a plot of land that was fallow during and after 3/14 and was full of weeds when he worked on planting last spring. Hence, it's no surprise that this particular lot had some contamination to the levels of 2011. (Still less than 500 bq/kg provisional permissible limit).

  • -2

    uzneko

    Thank you basroil, I live in Fukushima and it means the world to me to see at least one person intelligently defending the region in regards to "contamination"

  • -3

    basroil

    Open MindedJan. 11, 2013 - 11:51PM JST

    optimistic statements are most likely true for adult Tokyo people. But I would be more cautious about children from the Fukushima area

    That's a common misconception actually. The radiation levels are so small that they are considered safe for infants. You would have to eat four tons (literally ton, as in 1000kg) of rice each year to have a statistically significant (but still less than half a percent) increase in cancer risk. Even Japanese adults only eat 60kg of rice a year, so you have a fairly sizable margin of safety.

    FadamorJan. 12, 2013 - 06:00AM JST

    The biological half-life doesn't actually change the decay rate of the isotope. It just takes into account at what point a body will normally excrete the isotope - ending the irradiation.

    Did you really need to hide that inside a padded post? You are agreeing that the biological half-life is the only thing that matters for human consumption. And the law is based on human consumption, not some mangy rats, so everything else is pointless. The law is there to prevent harm to humans, and it does that to a far higher level than necessary even. There's other laws covering trash and water, but those are irrelevant to this case.

    uznekoJan. 12, 2013 - 09:20AM JST

    I live in Fukushima and it means the world to me to see at least one person intelligently defending the region in regards to "contamination"

    Good to see someone in the region not succumbing to the hateful words of people who know too little about magnitudes of safety. Not necessarily defending all cases though, some places and products are still quite dangerous to people. But almost products and places do less harm to you in a year than a single hour at an izakaya will. Here's a little article that can help put things into perspective if you are concerned about health impacts, and it uses older information for comparisons that are far higher than the current readings (even from greenpeace propaganda): http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444772404577589270444059332.html

  • 3

    zichi

    @nigelboy

    what I stated was,

    "These kind of problems and issues will most likely continue for decades."

    There will be contamination problems for decades and while the gov't's are trying to make as many radiation readings as possible it still does not cover all areas. Even at a monitoring point, the level 50 steps away could be higher which has been reported on posts here on JT.

    The nuclear disaster is the second biggest in the history of using nuclear energy and the problems it has created won't disappear after a couple of years and not even after a couple of decades.

    Regardless of the level of contamination in foodstuffs, the stone was cast from the beginning to cause mistrust in what the gov't stated and that too will take could take years or even decades to recover from. It will be decades before people will trust foodstuffs from Fukushima.

    The problems at the Fukushima atomic plant will take many decades to solve and it continues to release radiation into the environment and the ocean. It's something of an unknown factor until all the nuclear fuel is removed from the plant.

    Well, considering how far the farm mentioned in the post is from the Fukushima plant it was a surprise to know that the soil was contaminated. The limit is 100 bq/kg, not 500 bq/kg.

  • 1

    YongYang

    @Basroil: Over the long term the acceptability of radioactively contaminated food products and soil has to be based on an estimate of lifetime health risk and the number of persons likely exposed, rather than a safe/not safe concentration threshold. The latter implies that there is a concentration below which there is no concern for future risk from exposure, regardless of the number of people involved. The excess lifetime risk from exposure to ionizing radiation is known to vary considerably with the dose, age at time of exposure, and gender. I believe that informed decisions would be more appropriately based on a discussion of the health risks from potential exposure to radiation rather than a simple comparison to a regulatory concentration threshold.

  • -4

    basroil

    nigelboyJan. 12, 2013 - 06:47AM JST

    (Still less than 500 bq/kg provisional permissible limit).

    The trigger happy bureaucrats got their way as of April 2012, the new limits are five times more stringent than past limits, and a whole ten times more stringent than needed. Back when they did have 500Bq/kg though, the actual amount should have been 1000 Bq/kg according to their own math (equal to WHO recommendations, lower than in many other countries).

    http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/2011eq/dl/new_standard.pdf

    From that PDF, you can see that the new levels they suggest are ridiculous at best, you'll end up with a 10% increase in radiation from food (about 1% from all sources) eating only legal limit contaminated food and water (which isn't going to happen).

  • 1

    kurisupisu

    What other radioactive isotopes are present? No word on that doesnt mean absence does it?

    And we all know that radioactive isotopes are absorbed by the body don't we?

    Since the figures for radioactive contamination have only partially been disclosed and there is little expertise available to diagnose radioactive contamination then how do we really know what is dangerous or not?

    All I know is that I will try to avoid any food from the Tohoku or Kanto areas.....

  • 0

    kurisupisu

    @zichi

    Considering that high levels of contamination have also been found in Kanagawa (unexplained) and radioactive animal feed has been sent to the Chugoku area of Japan it is evident that it is impossible to trust the government. It behoves us to make the right choices regarding our health.

  • -1

    basroil

    kurisupisuJan. 12, 2013 - 12:49PM JST

    What other radioactive isotopes are present? No word on that doesnt mean absence does it?

    At this point in time Cs137/134 contain 99% of the radioactivity of the fallout. They are also the most effectively digested fallout isotopes after iodine, far more gets absorbed than heavier elements like plutonium. You can safely use the amount of Cs137 to estimate risks due to radiation.

  • 2

    nigelboy

    " The limit is 100 bq/kg, not 500 bq/kg."

    Yes. I know. That's why I mentioned " provisional" and 2011. If the farm is fallow in 2011 and was not plowed until 2012, it shouldn't be a surprise that the crops will yield 2011 numbers.

  • 2

    zichi

    The majority of Miyagi rice farmers aren't struggling with radiation contamination but with salt water contamination from the tsunami, and like thousands of others they also lost their homes and communities with 350,000 living in temporary accommodations.

    The reconstruction work seems very slow, and for many of these people, dead slow. Hundreds of thousands in hundreds of occupations are trying to rebuild their lives and restore their business loss. We are coming up to the second anniversary and there's still no light at the end of their tunnel.

  • 2

    zichi

    @nigelboy

    most of the radiation monitoring points are 80cm to 100cm above ground level and don't measure what level is on the ground, which can be higher nor does it measure the amount in the soil.

    Probably, the mountain areas received the highest levels of radiation which is true in Fukushima so is likely in the other prefectures too. The mountain areas are not being decontaminated, and in some areas, they are off limits. The leaves absorbed high levels of radiation which in their natural cycle fell to the earth. The rain and wind can move the radiation off the mountains and down to the lower lands and rivers which can happen even after the decontamination of an area.

  • 0

    Frenchy92

    @Basroll : And considering Japan consumes around 60kg of rice per person per year, and the international radiation limits are based on 550kg per person per year, even this "above legal" amount is about 40 times lower than the lowest level of possible concern for infants or adults

    .I am not sur this indicator is sufficient to conclude there is no danger for populations. The activity in Bq is one thing, but what is more relevant in the absorbed dose in mSv which take into consideration the actual effect on living tissues. And if the Cs is cumulated in the body which is probable, the absorbed dose in increasing day after day significantly (exponentially ?) when the quantity of Cs in adding up each time you will eat rice. Conclusion : more in depth analysis is necessary before concluding it is safe.

  • -3

    basroil

    Frenchy92Jan. 12, 2013 - 04:31PM JST

    I am not sur this indicator is sufficient to conclude there is no danger for populations. The activity in Bq is one thing, but what is more relevant in the absorbed dose in mSv which take into consideration the actual effect on living tissues. And if the Cs is cumulated in the body which is probable, the absorbed dose in increasing day after day significantly (exponentially ?) when the quantity of Cs in adding up each time you will eat rice.

    I'm 100% sure you didn't read the links I provided though. The Cs137 recommended rates take into account lifetime risk of ALL radioisotopes with longer half lives. The amount of Bq in the food is all you need because it represents a maximum exposure limit assuming you ingest all the Cs137 directly into your body, and that level is almost indistinguishable from the total radiation due to manmade radioisotopes (and far less than K40 and C14 naturally present). Much more brilliant minds than you or I came up with the original recommendations, and according to their documentation they already accounted for all your complaints.

    As for the quantity of Cs137, it surely does increase, but for you to have even 1mSv as a result of it (ignoring biological half-life) you need to eat nine years worth of rice. For a statistically significant increase in cancer you are looking at several lifetimes worth of rice to say you have even just 1% chance to get cancer. The levels in this sample are 100% safe, and well within international regulations. In fact, they can legally export the rice to any one of the 20 something EU members and it would be cleaner than anything they grow themselves.

  • -1

    doramafan

    basroll, I think you may find this video by Michael Crichton to be of interest. He died in 2008 before the Fukushima disaster of 2011. But I think his comments on Chernobyl and fear of radiation are relevant. In fact some have argued that fear of radiation (and stress) was more deadly than the radiation itself in Chernobyl

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qtgQXtrl4Q

  • -2

    EastAsiaForeigner

    "Have fun being paranoid everyone, grow your own rice, build your own meter, verify all the labels, assess every risk!"

    Have fun eating it. Believe the lies that your government feeds you.

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