Children at Risk-Radioactive Contamination Levels High in Europe-West Coast US

31 posts / 0 new
Last post
Jager06's picture
Jager06
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 2 2009
Posts: 395
Children at Risk-Radioactive Contamination Levels High in Europe-West Coast US

I wanted to make this a new thread to ensure it got some responsible reviews.

This was posted in a reply on Zero Hedge today. I was hoping some of the responsible, knowledgable folks here might be able to comment on it's veracity.

I am building a greenhouse tomorrow to avoid the contamination buildup within my garden, but all of our local water supplies, including my well, are from runoff and reservoirs. My emergency SHTF well is about 80 years old, hand dug to 22 feet, and about 25 feet from a year round stream. The well on my parents property is tapped into an underground river comprised of runoff snow melt.

Obviously we will be drinking our stored SHTF water, using powdered milk stored over 2 years ago and avoiding vegetables and fruits grown on the west coast that have been exposed to rain.....at least until I get an all clear from someone as reputable as DIAP.

http://www.euractiv.com/en/health/radiation-risks-fukushima-longer-negli...

 

Radiation risks from Fukushima 'no longer negligible' [fr]

Published: 11 April 2011
Printer-friendly versionSend to friend share

The risks associated with iodine-131 contamination in Europe are no longer "negligible," according to CRIIRAD, a French research body on radioactivity. The NGO is advising pregnant women and infants against "risky behaviour," such as consuming fresh milk or vegetables with large leaves.

Background

After the radioactive cloud emanating from Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant reached Europe in late March, CRIIRAD, a French research body on radioactivity, an NGO, said it had detected radioactive iodine-131 in rainwater in south-eastern France.

In parallel testing, the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), the national public institution monitoring nuclear and radiological risks, found iodine 131 in milk. 

In normal times, no trace of iodine-131 should be detectable in rainwater or milk.

The Euratom Directive of 13 May 1996 establishes the general principles and safety standards on radiation protection in Europe.

More on this topic

In response to thousands of inquiries from citizens concerned about fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Europe, CRIIRAD has compiled an information package on the risks of radioactive iodine-131 contamination in Europe.

The document, published on 7 April, advises against consuming rainwater and says vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid consuming vegetables with large leaves, fresh milk and creamy cheese.

The risks related to prolonged contamination among vulnerable groups of the population can no longer be considered "negligible" and it is now necessary to avoid "risky behaviour," CRIIRAD claimed. 

However, the institute underlines that there is absolutely no need to lock oneself indoors or take iodine tablets.

CRIIRAD says its information note is not limited to the situation in France and is applicable to other European countries, as the level of air contamination is currently the same in Belgium, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, for instance.

Data for the west coast of the United States, which received the Fukushima radioactive fallout 6-10 days before France, reveals that levels of radioactive iodine-131 concentration are 8-10 times higher there, the institute says.

Rain water and tap water

According to CRIIRAD, a huge proportion of the inquiries it has received concern the risks associated with rainwater and drinking tap water.

The institute stresses that there is no risk whatsoever, even for children, of standing in the rain without protection. But consumption of rainwater as a primary source of drinking water should be avoided, particularly among children, it said.

As for tap water, underground catchments or large rivers should not present any problem. But the institute suggests that the situation of water from reservoirs that collect rainwater from one or more watersheds, such as hillside lakes, should be examined more closely.

As for watering one's garden with collected rainwater, CRIIRAD advises watering only the earth and not the leaves of vegetables, as absorption is faster and more significant on leaf surfaces than through roots.

Food chain

Spinach, salads, cabbage and other vegetables with large surface areas are among those food products that are particularly sensitive to iodine-131 contamination, if they are cultivated outside and exposed to rainwater. Washing vegetables does not help, as iodine-131 is quickly metabolised by the plants, CRIIRAD notes.

Fresh milk and creamy cheeses, as well as meat from cattle that have been outside eating grass, are categorised as foods that may have been indirectly contaminated and must also be monitored. Contamination of milk and cheese from goats and sheep may be of a greater magnitude than that of produce from cows.

Level of a risky dose

The Euratom Directive of 13 May 1996 establishes general principles and safety standards on radiation protection in Europe.

According to the directive, the impact of nuclear activity can be considered negligible if doses of radiation do not exceed ten micro sieverts (mSv) per year. Beyond this value, possible measures should be considered to reduce exposure, it says.

While radioactive iodine-131 is mostly present in the air in the form of gas, CRIIRAD notes that in the case of the Fukushima fallout, the main issue is to limit ingestion of iodine-131.

CRIIRAD notes that the amount of iodine-131 capable of delivering a dose of 10 mSv varies greatly depending on the age of consumers. Children up to two years old are the most vulnerable and ingestion of 50 becquerel (Bq) is enough to deliver to the body a dose of 10 mSv, according to the institute.

If the foods (leafy vegetables, milk etc.) contain between one and 10 Bq per kg or more, it is possible that the reference level of 10 mSv may be exceeded within two to three weeks, the institute added.  

Radioactive iodine-131 values measured by the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) in recent days show the following, varying levels of contamination: 0,08 Bq/kg in salad, spinach and leeks in Aix-en-Provence, 0,17 Bq per litre in milk in Lourdes and 2,1 Bq per litre in goats milk in Clansayes.

Contamination to continue over coming weeks

CRIIRAD notes that "huge amounts of radioactive material have been released by the Fukushima Daiichi plant since Saturday 12 March 2011. On Tuesday 5 April, 24 days after the accident, the releases continue. This means that the contaminated airborne masses in Europe will last just as long, with a delay linked to the movement of radioactive aerosol gases over some 15,000 km."

It also cited a technical report from the operating company (TEPCO) and the Japanese nuclear safety authorities (NISA) which "fear releases over several more days, even weeks".

If more fires are reported or if the operators are forced to release more steam in order to prevent hydrogen explosions, new massive waste releases will occur, the institute warned.

Links

EU official documents

Governments

NGOs and Think-Tanks

Press articles

Best wishes,
Jager06
Jager06's picture
Jager06
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 2 2009
Posts: 395
More Data

Ok...looks like there is more coming out where this came from.

Fukushima just got upgraded to a Nuclear Emergency Category 7.

Hawaii Milk radiation concentrations 2033% above Federal Drinking Water Standards. Full page story and data at the link.

http://theintelhub.com/2011/04/11/japan-nuclear-radiation-in-hawaii-milk...

Japan Nuclear Radiation In Hawaii Milk A Total Of 2033% Above Federal Drinking Water Limits

The Intel Hub
By Alexander Higgins - Contributing Writer
April 11th, 2011

Editors Note: We are well aware that the EPA levels are gauged for yearly exposure but the idea that it is somehow safe to be way above accepted levels for at least 2 weeks is ludicrous.

New EPA milk samples in Hawaii show radiation in milk at 800% above limits for C-134, 633% above limits for C-137 and 600% above EPA maximum for I-131 for a total of 2033%, or 20.33 times, above the federal drinking water limits.

New readings have also been posted for Phoenix AZ with milk being above the federal limit and Los Angeles with milk being slightly below the limit for Iodine.

Montpelier VT milk has tested positive for radioactive CS-137, above about 2/3rds the EPA maximum and Spokane WA milk testing less than half the limit for i-131.

A reader of my blog recently posted a YouTube video of my article on food contaminated with Japan nuclear radiation being sold on store shelves in California stores.

Japan Nuclear Radiation Found In Food Being Bought In California Stores

As reported live last night on the Intel Hub radio show and again today on The Alexander Higgins Show, Japan nuclear radiation including i-131, Caesium 134 and Caesium 137 are now being detected in a wide variety of foods being bought on store shelves in California. In the first food chain tests made public radioactive contamination was found in spinach, strawberries, topsoil, grass, and milk.

Of the isotopes detected, radioactive iodine has a half-life of 8 days outside of the human body and 100 days inside of the body. The C-134 ha a half-life of 2.0652 years and the c-137 has a half-life of 30.17. C-135 with a half-life of over 2.3 million years is not reported as detected.

http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2011/04/08/japan-nuclear-radiation-food-boug…

Radiation in Milk in USA
http://opendata.socrata.com/Government/Milk-RadNet-Laboratory-Analysis/pkfj-5jsd

Out of curiosity, I followed the link on the Radiation in US milk to see what the latest milk samples from the EPA contained and found the following.

Japan Nuclear Radiation In Hawaii Milk 2033% Above Federal Drinking Water Limits

Japan Nuclear Radiation In Hawaii Milk 800% Above Federal Drinking Water Limits

The Federal drinking water limit is 3 pCi/l and the data clear shows the new Hilo, Hawaii milk simple contained radiation at the following levels:

Isotope Half-life % Above Federal Drinking Water Limits
Cs-134 2 years 800%
Cs-137 30 years 633%
I-131 8 days (100 days inside the human body) 600%
Total: 2033% ABOVE EPA MAX
Jager06's picture
Jager06
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 2 2009
Posts: 395
Another Confirmation of Seriousness

http://enenews.com/japan-officially-raises-fukushima-to-level-7-same-as-...

 

At this point I am about ready to pack up my sh!t and head south. I could endure another hyperinflation in Argetina without the radiation contaminant buildup.

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 2606
Homework.........

I have some more reading to do before I get back to you. Initial "quick look" thought is that the article is erring on the side of caution - almost too much caution. Your new data notwithstanding.

I reserve the right to change my mind to be more in line with the article after going through your links.......

jumblies's picture
jumblies
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 13 2010
Posts: 244
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/wor

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12954664

Tepco says the low-radioactive water it is deliberately releasing into the sea has iodine-131 levels that are about 100 times the legal limit.

But it stressed in a news conference on Monday that if people ate fish and seaweed caught near the plant every day for a year, their radiation exposure would still be just 0.6 millisieverts. Normal background radiation levels are on the order of 2 millisieverts per year.

If normal background is radiation is 2mSv then how can eating contaminated seafood just be 0.6mSv? And surely eating radioactive fish means the radioactive particles are now in your body causing constant near-field radiation. Or did I misunderstand something?

Can this radioactive seawater be dispersed globally via rainfall? We've already seen it reach Ireland before this weekend's pump 'n dump and with a half life of 8 days it has plenty of time to circulate (8 days to reduce to 50 times legal limit, another 8 days for 25 times...etc).

Why don't they send over a bloody great big oil tanker and store it in there?

 

Jager06's picture
Jager06
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 2 2009
Posts: 395
Thanks Dogs!

I have forwarded the news to the "teams" and will be forwarding your data assesment as well. I appreciate you like you don't know brother!

Best Wishes,

Jager06

elsur's picture
elsur
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 10 2008
Posts: 49
How Can We Test?

Thank you Jagar and PIAP - this is some serious business.

As we all come to grips with what this means, does anyone know how we can each individually test our own home-grown food such as milk from our own goats, cows, etc., garden fruit and veggies, eggs, water from our catchment systems or wells, etc...?  Is there a simple way to do this on a regular basis?

We heard from a Acupuncturist friend that after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was survivors from one particular hosiptal who lived and thrived.  That hospital served only macrobiotic food:  miso, shoyu, kombu and wakame seaweeds, brown rice, pumpkins, green beans, etc.  If contamination continues on such a global scale, we may all need to give up dairy, leafy greens and other foods for a while.

Thank you so much.

Elsur

 

 

 

Jager06's picture
Jager06
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 2 2009
Posts: 395
The Side of Caution

OK....So while we wait for confirmation we have bagun using our stored water and opened a box of powdered milk. Just a few observations...

Powdered milk ain't that bad....just make sure you mix it in a glass container and keep it pretty cold. We are checking sources for fruits and vegetables, looking at the little sticky labels on the apples. We have sufficient canned supplies to choose from, and dehydrated foods, fruits and vegetables. Our beef/ pork supplies were raised last year, and put on ice the first week of March....so no contamination there. I dont know about the eggs from the chickens, but since they are on laying mash right now, and have been inside the coop/ run which has complete overhead cover, I am going to say they are ok for now.

Water source is going to have to be from the old well for now. I am going to set up a solar water still on the roof of my shop. I figure and old Wal Mart kiddy pool and a tomatoe grow frame with some visquine plastic should do the trick. A pot will sit in the wire frame with the excess visquine wrapped into a point and low enough to drip the distilled water into the pot.

In the meantime we will hang out for some solid numbers. I do not think temporary numbers now are going to be so very good a week or two months form now though. With the steam continuing to be released, reports of a new fire and the increasing odds of another hydrogen explosion due to the uncontrolled fuel that has been spread by previous explosions and the the leaks in the reactor units themselves.

How long can this go on? And at what point is the beaten path of the fallout going to be equal to or greater than the hotspots around Chernobyl?

Unless I miss my guess, the fallout will continue until the plant is buried, which cannot happen until the water leaks and uncontrolled melt of fuel under the reactor can be stopped. Does this mean it has to be dug up before it can be buried? I don't know. But it sure will be a while before adequate resources and materials can be brought to bear and this can be brought under control. This is ignoring the potential for further damage that may render additional areas in Japan uninhabitable. My worst case scenario is that the newly contaminated, uninhabitable areas include other reactors that may not be inadequately shut down or simply abandoned by frightened people who currently operate them. How many more meltdowns can result from this type scenario? 10 reactors? Could anther aftershock or earthquake add insult to the injuries? So, thinking out loud, I am finding that my worst case scenario may in fact be enough to contaminate the Northern Hemisphere to some degree. Continuous fallout of a low quantity over time becomes a large quantity and enters the food chain.

Diaspora?

Jager06

elsur's picture
elsur
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 10 2008
Posts: 49
Video of Fallout April 11-13 in California

Here is video of potenial fallout happening now on the west coast of the US.

 

http://enenews.com/cesium-137-forecast-shows-high-altitude-radiation-clo...

 

Thank you again Jagar for your comments.  Your still idea is very good!

 

Take care,

Elsur

sheryl909's picture
sheryl909
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 15 2010
Posts: 10
Just as the snow has finally

Just as the snow has finally melted and the weather turned nice enough for my little ones to go outside, I can't help but look up at the beautiful blue sky and wonder if I am slowly poisoning my children.

My husband is a Family Doc...  the pharmacist informed a colleague this morning that the "US Government has seized all the potassium iodide".

Nice.

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 2606
Jager06 wrote: I have
Jager06 wrote:

I have forwarded the news to the "teams" and will be forwarding your data assesment as well. I appreciate you like you don't know brother!

Best Wishes,

Jager06

Jager -

Okay, a couple of thoughts from two approaches.

We knew there was going to be detectable activity in the US. Cs-137, I-131 and Te-132 came through Virginia on 24 March at very low levels - just above the detectable threshold.  Intuitively, you would expect levels on the left coast to be higher.  The question comes down to the levels.  Anyone can put together a website and post information that may or may not be accurate.  The tricky part is sorting through everything and figuring out which is accurate and unbiased and to formulate a plan based on good info.  If I lived where you are I would not be doing anything differently except making sure my leafy greens get rinsed thoroughly.  What is being detected is in all likelihood deposited on the surface of the leaves.  I haven't been able to find much reliable info on how long it takes something to get deposited on the ground, get worked into the soil by water, make it to the vicinity of a plant's root complex, get picked up by the root complex and transported into the leaves of the plant.  Regardless, whether or not the contaminated particles are in or on the leaf, the levels are very low - and if it was me I wouldn't worry about the current levels.

That said, any level of radioactivity exposure poses "some" risk, so there is nothing wrong with taking a conservative, precautionary approach like you guys are doing.  I would be monitoring the levels for increases, just to make sure the levels aren't increasing.

For now it seems like the big airborne releases have been largely controlled so I would expect that the levels here in the US would begin to decrease as the material is further dispersed or decays in the case of I-131.  All of that depends on the dynamics at Fukushima Daiichi.  I still don't think the teams have fully defined the scope of what exactly has happened to what extent in each of the plants.  At this point, I am leaning towards most of the release being concentrated in the immediate area, but depending on what they find in the next few weeks that could certainly change.  Your thoughts about the Northern Hemisphere being contaminated to levels of real concern aren't realistic - based on what has been measured outside of Japan so far.  Looking at the table on Higgins' site, I would expect to see detectable activity distributed more widely across the US than Hawaii, California, Alaska, Arkansas and Vermont.  I'm not dismissing your concerns, just telling you that based on my experience and subject to the accuracy of the information reported to date, I would not be concerned about the levels here in the US.

Now, stepping back some......

I would seek information from someplace other than Alex Higgins' site.  His scientific methodology is unsound.  I spent about two hours poking around his site and follwing various links and watching the videos.  It is clear to me that Higgins has an agenda so that immediately calls into question the objectivity of the material put together on his site.

The first thing that jumped off the page was the screaming for attention "LEVELS 2033% ABOVE LIMITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  He added percentages.

He added the percentages?

He added the percentages???????

You don't power sum percentages like sound pressure levels. 

The only takeaway of significance was that some radionuclides were between 600% to 800% of EPA limits.  Or were they?  I backtracked one of his threads for a couple of days and some of the earlier posts initially stated that the levels of I-131, Cs-134 and Cs-137 had increased 600%-800% over previously measured activity levels.  Today, those posts are gone - or I can't find them.

So the question remains - were the levels 600% of the EPA limit or were they a 600% increase over previously measured levels?

Also note that these are the levels for drinking water, and the samples were of milk in Hawaii. 

That said, contamination released from Fukushima Daiichi is being detected here in the US.  In some cases the reports are clearly alarmist and/or incorrect (e.g. 2033% above limits).  Other reports and survey results appear to be at or above levels of concern, e.g. the I-131 in milk and some of the rainwater levels, so a little precaution is a sound approach.  Under normal circumstances, you wouldn't expect to find any I-131 in milk, so the fact that it is being detected confirms what we have suspected all along.  It all boils down to the accuracy of the information.  Are the levels anything to be concerned with?  For most of the levels being reported, the answer is no.  For some of the levels there is cause for concern - and going with powdered milk and stored water is a reasonable, conservative approach.

The next few weeks will bear out whether or not the concern was warranted as more samples and surveys come in.  I'd stick to the more mainstream sources though.  You could certainly accuse both sides of harboring an agenda, but there were enough inconsistencies and inaccuracies on Higgins' site to make me think his objectivity was somewhat clouded by his axe grinding.

nickbert's picture
nickbert
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2009
Posts: 1207
milk in the freezer

Just a thought.... sometimes we freeze a few gallons milk if there's a sale and we happen to buy extra.  Wouldn't keeping it in the freezer for a month or so eliminate most of the risk from any trace amounts I-131 in the milk?

- Nickbert

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 2606
nickbert wrote: Just a
nickbert wrote:

Just a thought.... sometimes we freeze a few gallons milk if there's a sale and we happen to buy extra.  Wouldn't keeping it in the freezer for a month or so eliminate most of the risk from any trace amounts I-131 in the milk?

- Nickbert

Yup.  After 40 days, 97% of the activity from I-131 is gone.  In the industry, we use 5 half-lives as a planning factor for determining when the activity from a radionuclide has decayed away to zero, or at the very least, such a level where the risk is minimal.

rocketgirl1's picture
rocketgirl1
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 230
I just can't thank you

I just can't thank you enough Dogs. 

Jager06's picture
Jager06
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 2 2009
Posts: 395
More Commentary

And a good excuse to buy that greenhouse you have had your eyes on...

http://www.naturalnews.com/032050_radioactive_food_nuclear_radiation.html

Aussie's picture
Aussie
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: May 12 2009
Posts: 25
So, keeping milk in the

So, keeping milk in the freezer for 40 days, means it's lost it's I-131.  Does this also mean that if you have a huge vege garden, you could dehydrate, can, or freeze your above ground produce for 40 days, and then it will be ok to eat?  Assuming you only have I-131 to worry about.

Living off your food storage while waiting for your own produce to be ok could work.

Kiera

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 2606
5 Half life thumbrule....
Aussie wrote:

So, keeping milk in the freezer for 40 days, means it's lost it's I-131.  Does this also mean that if you have a huge vege garden, you could dehydrate, can, or freeze your above ground produce for 40 days, and then it will be ok to eat?  Assuming you only have I-131 to worry about.

Living off your food storage while waiting for your own produce to be ok could work.

Kiera

Kiera -

That is correct.  Regardless of the radionuclide, after 5 half lives have elapsed, 97% of the original activity level is gone - near enough to zero from an exposure risk standpoint. 

A couple of things to be aware of though - you have to be sure that the radioactive material is no longer being deposited, otherwise you have to reset your clock each time you put food or milk in storage.

Do a little research to find out if any of your veggies uptake Cs-137.  Simply covering them with a lightweight tarp similar to those used for freeze protection will keep most particulates off the plants and reduce the amount getting to the soil near the plant's root complex.  I've read reports that spreading potassium in the gardens will help since the plants will uptake K before Cs (according to the reports - I have no experience with this)

switters's picture
switters
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 19 2008
Posts: 744
Would love your opinion on this recent data DIAP

It's been a very long time since I posted here.  Perhaps some of you remember me, perhaps not.  Hello again in any event!

I'm concerned about the radiation levels in CA.  My wife is 6 months pregnant.  We buy raw milk from a local farmer, and he recently had it tested by the UC/Berkeley Radiological Air and Water Monitoring team (BRAWM).  They're solid scientists and they've been doing most of the testing out here.

The data that came back were somewhat alarming, based on my limited understanding.  Here they are (units in Becquerels/liter):

I-131: 2.92 +/- 0.29

Cs-134: 0.40 +/- 0.04

Cs-137: 0.41 +/- 0.04

According to this article on Forbes, the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for I-131 is 700 pCi per year.  27 pCi = 1 Becquerel.  This means that drinking just 8.9 liters of milk would exceed the safe yearly limit.  For us, that wouldn't take long.  We drink a lot of raw milk and we make yogurt, kefir and cheese with it. 

My wife is 6 months  pregnant, and I know that developing fetuses and infants are at the highest risk, so obviously we're even more concerned than we otherwise might be.  I also know there's been a lot of unwarranted hysteria and unreliable information out there, but I trust the data coming out of BRAWM.  

Spinach turned up with I-131 at 1.3 Bq/kg, wild mushrooms were at 8.4 Bq/kg and strawberries were at 0.34 Bq/kg.  See here.

Based on this data, is it wise to avoid dairy products, leafy green vegetables and fruits like strawberries until the radiation levels drop?

switters's picture
switters
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 19 2008
Posts: 744
Just wanted to add

That advisory agencies in the EU are being much more conservative in their recommendations.  They're suggesting pregnant and nursing mothers avoid dairy, leafy vegetables and fruits.

http://www.euractiv.com/en/health/radiation-risks-fukushima-longer-negli...

switters's picture
switters
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 19 2008
Posts: 744
A response from a former Harvard astrophysicist

Well, a Becquerel is a really small amount of radiation – 1 decay per second. 3 Becquerel is a very low level.

The trick here is that what matters for health is the total radiation load (rad, rem, Sieverts are units). To convert that you need to know how long the exposure lasts and how long the radioactive iodine atoms are in the thyroid.

One thing to keep in mind is that the half-life of iodine 131 is 8 days. So wherever it is, half of it disappears every 8 days.

Also remember that the iodine is generated only when fission is actively occurring. The Japanese reactors have been shut down since the earthquake, with minimal uncontrolled fission. This means the amount of iodine 131 at the reactors is being cut in half every 8 days. As long as they don’t have some uncontrolled fission event, the iodine danger is going to be steadily diminishing. So whatever the iodine level in California food is right now, you can expect it to be steadily diminishing in the weeks to come. So the risk is diminishing with every week that passes. Because of the 8-day half-life, if your farmer gets his milk tested again in 8 days, the level will be about 1.5 Becquerel/liter; 0.75 Becquerel/liter in 16 days; and so forth.

Now let’s look at how much your wife may be getting. Suppose she drinks a liter of milk per day. After 9 days at 3 Becquerel per day, the iodine-131 in milk she drank 9 days earlier will have decayed or been excreted, so her exposure will exactly equal the EPA’s MCL rate. But the MCL rate is calculated so that there is minimal danger with continuous exposure for a year or more. Your wife has only gotten a week’s exposure, so she’ll be at least 1/50 the lowest dangerous dose according to the EPA MCL.

Since iodine-131 radiation getting into California milk is halving every 8 days, her total expected exposure over the course of her pregnancy would be double that, or 1/25 the lowest dangerous dose by EPA standards.

However, this too is an over-estimate. Iodine-131 is only dangerous if the decay occurs in her thyroid. If she gets natural iodine from any source, there will be competition and only a fraction of the radioactive iodine will be able to reach her thyroid.

I believe the iodine content of milk is around 150 mcg/liter. So if she gets  1 mg iodine per day from non-radioactive sources, the I-131 in the milk will be diluted 8-fold. Thyroid uptake is somewhere below 100 mcg/day, so her thyroid gland dose would be diluted 10-fold, or to about 1/250 the EPA MCL level. If she takes 10 mg iodine her thyroid would be at 1/2500 the EPA MCL.

You can also let milk or other products sit in the refrigerator for 8 days before drinking. This will cut iodine radioactivity in half.

The difference between the EPA MCL and FDA DIL is based on time of exposure. The EPA MCL is concerned about total dose with a year of exposure. The FDA presumably is concerned with total dose over some shorter exposure period, thus the higher allowed dose.

Similarly, the MCGL is calculated assuming an exposure period of 70 years. The appropriate exposure time for the Japanese I-131 is something under a month.

The risk from cesium is really inconsequential in California. It has real implications for farmland in Japan, but cesium is not very dangerous compared to iodine and isn’t a risk in California.

Probably the EPA limits are very cautious – they don’t account for the body’s ability to do DNA repair effectively at small damage levels. There’s even a belief that hormesis occurs and small radiation damage causes repair not only of the radioactive damage, but also of other damage from carcinogens and so on. So reaching the EPA MCL limits for a month or so probably isn’t dangerous at all.

So my conclusion would be that Elanne and the baby are totally safe as long as she is supplementing with 1 mg/day iodine (putting her probably at at most 1/100 the EPA MCL level), and probably very safe even if she isn’t, though with all other food sources she might start approaching the EPA MCL level of intake, but probably not for long enough to produce any significant radiation load, and probably not anything beyond her body’s natural ability to repair.

Your other questions:

1)      The radiation from an airplane flight is vastly higher than the radiation she’ll be getting from I-131, but it isn’t from iodine and isn’t concentrated in the thyroid. So it’s not really comparable. Still, it’s probably true that the cancer risk from an airplane flight is probably much larger than the thyroid cancer risk from I-131 tainted food, water, and milk.

2)      Remember that Curies and Becquerels are units of decay events per second. Rad is energy received per gram of tissue; rem or Sievert is rad adjusted for tissue absorption efficiency. To convert Becquerel to rad/rem/Sievert, you have to multiply by how much energy is transmitted in each decay, divide by the amount of receiving tissue, and multiply by the length of time of the exposure. So, you can get very different results with different assumptions, e.g. (a) what if the time of exposure to I-131-tainted milk is one month, but the time of a cross-country flight is 6 hours; or (b) what if the tissue exposed to flight in radiation is the whole body, but you assume that I-131 is concentrated entirely in the thyroid, which is much lighter. You can easily see how these assumptions can make big differences in the calculation.

I don’t see any real cause for concern. But you can take simple precautions:

1)      Supplement with at least 1 mg/day iodine for a 90% exposure reduction, or 10 mg/day for a 99% exposure reduction.

2)      Wash vegetables, since most of the I-131 will be in fallout in the form of dust on the surface. This might reduce the vegetable radiation 80% or more.

3)      Keep foods in the refrigerator for a  few days before eating them. This might reduce exposure 50% with an 8-day delay or 12% with a 2-day delay.

If she hasn’t been supplementing iodine, I would advise starting with low doses. Messing up thyroid function would probably be more dangerous than the I-131, so don’t double the dose in less than 2-3 weeks.

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1891
Pasteurized versus Ultra-Pasteurized Milk

Of course just because Iodine-131 is negligible after about 40 days, don't forget that Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30.17 years. Strontium-90 has a half-life almost as long: 28.8 years.

That said, I recently bought some ultra-pasteurized organic 2% milk (like Horizon Organic) with expiration dates of around May 10 or earlier. Basically I was looking for milk produced and packaged before March 11. They do keep a longer past expiration date in the refrigerator as long as you don't open them.

"'Pasteurized' means that the milk has been heated to a minimum of 161°F for a minimum of 15 seconds or 145°F for 30 minutes (for equivalent kill of bacteria), and packaged under clean and sanitized conditions."

"'Ultra-Pasteurized' means that the milk is heated to a minimum of 280°F for a minimum 2 seconds. This temperature and time combination is much more lethal to bacteria, killing virtually all of concern in milk. Ultra-pasteurized milk is also packaged under near sterile conditions,
which makes recontamination with spoilage bacteria unlikely and rare. The average shelf-life of Ultra-Pasteurized milk products is 30-90 days when held under refrigeration...
"
Source: http://foodscience.cornell.edu/cals/foodsci/extension/upload/CU-DFScienc...

I'm hoping what I've purchased will last my wife for at least another month. (I'm just being ultra-precautious here since our babies' milk supply is from her. I know the amount of Fukushima radiation detectable in the dairy milk isn't that big a deal, really.) But beyond that little bit of ultra-precaution (along with trying to find butter and cream cheese that is packaged earlier, in order to delay by a month or so the ingestion of post-March-11 dairy, I'm not sure what else we can do since the "negligible" radioactive shit from Fukushima keeps coming over the Pacific and the half-lives of Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 (amongst other fission byproducts) are so long anyway. Heck, we all still have bits of Chernobyl in us. :P

Poet

sheryl909's picture
sheryl909
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 15 2010
Posts: 10
milk options

Last time at the store I bought coconut milk and chocolate almond milk for my boys to try.  They liked them both.  Does this seem like a good option? 

I don't know anything really about how either of them are processed or packaged, but at least they are not concentrated like cow's milk. 

I also bought up a bunch of cheese and frozen oj with calcium right after things got obviously worse in Japan.

What other tips do folks have?

Jager06's picture
Jager06
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 2 2009
Posts: 395
Tips...

Our family has made quite a few changes in the last few weeks.

We luckily ordered our meat supply just before the earthquake. The meat butchered from local stock the week of the earthquake in Japan.

Our milk supply is now completely from powdered (food storage). No isotopes there. We are using our year supply of food to buy us time as we look to other sources, besides here in California, and by extension the US.

The reactor cores have melted down in at least three of the units. I am neither a cheerleader, nor a greenie when it comes to nuke power, but until there is a sarcophogus over the Fukushima nuclear power facility, or what remains of it, there is going to be continued leakage and contamination, no matter how small. With the longer half life isotopes, there will be a continued buildup contamination and travel through the food chain. Period, no two ways about it, and we are already seeing it.

So, for longer term food sourcing, we are moving into a much more self reliant phase. A greenhouse will supply a substantial amount of food. Well water will be dripped directly to the soil level, and primary sources of soil amendments will be potassium rich. Potassium seems to be taken up preferentially to Caeseum in most plants. I do not remember where I heard tis, or if it is even accurate, so do not quote me. Our compost pile has been covered.

The food from the greenhouse will be frozen or canned for 40 days to allow the iodine to reach safe levels, and then we will consume it. When the reactor is buried, we will be more inclined to eat fresh stuff from the greenhouse. Inside the house we are getting some sprouting jars set up for additional nutrition. The greenhouse obviously protects the plants from the overhead source of the particulate fallout.

The meat should last us for a year, more if we are carefule. We will not be supplementing with deer/ pig/ bird hunting or fishing this year. So that leaves the food storage. If there is nothing to worry about, fine. But this gives us an unparalleled opportunity to see how well we can use our stored supplies and rotate those supplies with alternative sources that are not being contaminated just yet.

Water sourcing is the only issue right now, as all of our water supplies are reliant on snow pack and runoff. We do have access to a well, but I am not sure how long it will be before the contaminants reach the water table. We may try a roof top solar distillery, but I really do not know if that will be enough to seperate the water from the isotopes effectively. It certainly will not be able to provide enough water to garden with, but should be enough for the animals, including the family.

4 kids between the ages of 3 and 13 are counting on it.

If things look to get really bad, then we will be heading to South America and learning Spanish.

Best WIshes,

Jager06

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1891
Evacuation To The Southern Hemisphere?
Jager06 wrote:

If things look to get really bad, then we will be heading to South America and learning Spanish.

Jager06

I suggest checking in with Dogs_In_A_Pile. But personally, my opinion is that, if you didn't escape because of Chernobyl, you shouldn't escape to South America because of Fukushima. Besides: if you have the resources, it appears Australia or New Zealand would be a better bet, being in the Southern Hemisphere and English-speaking.

Poet

Jager06's picture
Jager06
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 2 2009
Posts: 395
Poet...

I was 14 for Chernobyl....not a lot of choices for me then. It is my kids that I am most concerned about. And DIAP and I have conversed, both here and on the phone.

South America is awash with firearms, and relatively stable. Australia confiscated their citizens firearms and enjoyed a 400% spike in armed robbery and homicide involving a firearm. I will take care of myself thanks, with my own personal protection. Us cops only get to decide who the victim is, we are usually the first ones on the scene AFTER the crime has been committed and reported.

By the time I finished NZ prerequisites, I might be dead of old age anyway.

Many other reasons for my decision, like natural resources, climate, arable land ratios etc.

Best Wishes,

Jager06

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1891
Uhoh...
Jager06 wrote:

I was 14 for Chernobyl....not a lot of choices for me then. It is my kids that I am most concerned about. And DIAP and I have conversed, both here and on the phone.

Okay. Now you've got me more worried.

Poet

Jager06's picture
Jager06
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 2 2009
Posts: 395
Worry...

Poet,

I will not speak for DIAP but he did a great job of breaking this down to bite size information bits and letting folks make their own decision.

For me it comes down to an analogy he made on the phone. If you go to the beach and stand in the sun all day without any sunscreen, clothing or shade, that is going to cause a problem right?

But, how is it going to affect your health going forward? There are so many variables, and so many different genetic possibilities, that a single sunburn probably cannot be the specific cause for anything.

But would you knowingly do that to your children? I won't.

Now using my own bit of logic, mixed with analogy. With the reactors still uncovered, evidence of criticality, and small continuous releases, at what point do you think you might want to come in and get out of the sun on the beach?

Knowing the affects of exposure are cumulative, why would I allow my kids to start collecting Cs-134 and 137 that will be unsafe emitters inside their bodies for another 100 years after they die of old age?

Finally, right now this very instant, if I screw up and find a total flaw in my resilience preperations, I can step out of that self sufficiency bubble and fix it. This event is a great opportunity to live the plan for a little while and fix any problems. I cannot think of a more challenging environment than a contaminated on to try to exist within. Well, a contaminated environment in the lidst of a war would really suck. But for now...we are living out the holes in our preperations and fixing them as they become obvious.

Self sufficient in an environment where food and water from normal sources is tainted or unavailable? Check.

Best Wishes,

Jager06

Jager06's picture
Jager06
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 2 2009
Posts: 395
More data sources

Here are some more links to different weather pattern and fallout predictors, as well as some testing done by UC Berkely on food stuffs and the comparable amounts of radiation within the food chain.

Note that some of the danger zones require drinking 1,900 liters or more of milk to reach the level of a single transcontinental airline flight. I do not think it is that big of a deal, until you figure that the contaminants will not go away until the reactor is buried and emission stop. And that once your body absorbs one of these bits of radiatoctive material, it will be with you for as long as you live. It's like having a get out of jail free card, should you use it now? Or wait until later in the game when you might really need it?

http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/node/2174

http://transport.nilu.no/browser/fpv_fuku?fpp=conccol_Xe-133_;region=DMANC1

Best Wishes,

Jager06

 

Saffron's picture
Saffron
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 29 2009
Posts: 250
miso and seaweed

Sorry if this has been posted already ... I haven't seen much talk about seaweed and miso as protection but then it's hard to keep up with everything:

At the time of the atomic bombing,  Tatsuichiro Akizuki, M.D. was Director of the Department of Internal Medicine  at St. Francis's Hospital in Nagasaki and he fed his staff and patients  a strict diet of brown rice, miso and tamari soy soup, wakame, kombu  and other seaweed, Hokkaido pumpkin, and sea salt. He also prohibited the  consumption of sugar and sweets since they suppress the immune  system.

By imposing this diet on his staff and  patients, no one succumbed to radiation poisoning whereas the  occupants of hospitals located much further away from the blast incident  suffered severe radiation fatalities.

I was sent this in an email and apparently the info came from this site:

 <http://www.radiationdetox.com/> 


Saffron's picture
Saffron
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 29 2009
Posts: 250
coconut milk

sheryl909,

you can find out about how coconut milk is made here:

http://www.wildernessfamilynaturals.com/category/coconut-products-coconu...

They also sell coconut powder which I use and currently plan to purchase again ... I'm pretty sure it prices out better than buying the actual milk and of course, like powdered milk, it can be stored for long term.

~ s

oh, yikes ... looks like they are out of the powders ... oh well ... this gives you the info and hopefully they won't be out for long.

Woodstacker's picture
Woodstacker
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 2 2010
Posts: 1
Butter source

I'm pleased to see this discussion here as I like to err on the side of caution.

Butter:  Kerrygold is from Ireland, I think it's only made  during the summer. It freezes nicely, and since it's pasture raised, is a premium source of fat soluble vitamins, bioavailable iodine and you know where it comes from. 

Aged cheese.  Most cheddars are aged, the stronger/sharper tasting have been aged longer (dunno about Brie). Cheese freezes well, as does butter.   Costco (Cali) sells large wedges of a nice hard italian sheep cheese called "pecorino romano", it's reasonably priced, well aged, packed well for freezing and predates fukushima by a long shot. Also consider yoghurt. Plain yoghurt is acidic enough to last through lots of half-lives in the fridge, with nothing worse than the occasional surface mold colony that can be simply scraped off.

 We raise dairy goats and are ultra cautious because goats are accumulators- even more-so than cows, and a large part of our diet is based around rained on West coast pasture.  Factory farmed foods have virtually no risk of contamination (this time!), it's the pastures &  lettuce fields that got rained on not last years wheat, corn and soy fields.   More than a little ironic that those eating local and unprocessed food are the most at risk in this round of food contamination.  Devastating for the rural Japanese. 

Nothing to be done about most of it, but we are reducing our exposure to I-131 by freezing our milk and garden greens, pickling our eggs to age them, remembering to eat kelp.  FWIW, Goat producers routinely use kelp as a mineral/iodine source, so dried/ground kelp can be had thru most livestock catalogues, Jeffer's vet/equine/livestock or Caprine supply, Hoegger's goats, perhaps Nasco etc. should sell Thorvin kelp or just kelp which is usually a combo of many other dried/ground sea vegetables.  We often use it (rehydrated in hot water) in most any dish as a garnish/vegetable or salt substitute.   It hides equally well in stir-fry, chili or brownies! 

Woodstacker's wife. 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments