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Radiation in Our Food




Though the horrendous tsunami that hit Japan on March 12, 2011 seems like old news in the midst of today’s headlines, the crippled nuclear power plants at Fukishima Daichi continue to spew radiation into water, air and soil, with no end in sight.

Even as thousands of Japanese workers struggle to contain the ongoing nuclear disaster, low levels of radiation from those power plants have been detected in foods in the United States. Milk, fruits and vegetables show trace amounts of radioactive isotopes from the Fukushima Daichi power plants, and the media appears to be paying scant attention, if any attention at all. It is as if the problem only involves Japan, not the vast Pacific Ocean, into which highly radioactive water has poured by the dozens of tons, and not into air currents and rainwater that carry radiation to U.S. soil and to the rest of the world. And while both Switzerland and Germany have come out against any further nuclear development, the U.S. the nuclear power industry continues as usual, with aging and crumbling power plants receiving extended operating licenses from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as though it can’t happen here. But it is happening here, on your dinner plate.

Taking a page from the BP pubic relations handbook, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) and the Japanese government have downplayed the extent of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daichi, in which three of six nuclear reactors are in ongoing meltdown. According to Japanese nuclear engineer Naoto Sekimura, nuclear fuel rod meltdown at the damaged plants began only hours after the tsunami, and the situation has not been contained. There is still an ongoing threat of a total “China Syndrome” meltdown, and Japanese officials now say that the three damaged plants may possibly continue to emit uncontrolled radiation for another year.

According to Greenpeace, the ocean around large areas of Japan has been contaminated by toxic radioactive agents including cesium, iodine, plutonium and strontium. These radioactive agents are accumulating in sea life. Fish, shellfish and sea vegetables are absorbing this radiation, while airborne radioactive particles have contaminated land-based crops in Japan, including spinach and tea grown 200 miles south of the damaged nuclear plants. Meanwhile, on U.S. soil, radiation began to show up in samples of milk tested in California, just one month after the plants were damaged.

Radiation tests conducted since the nuclear disaster in Japan have detected radioactive iodine and cesium in milk and vegetables produced in California. According to tests conducted by scientists at the UC Berkeley Department of Nuclear Engineering, milk from grass fed cows in Sonoma County was contaminated with cesium 137 and cesium 134. Milk sold in Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Vermont and Washington has also tested positive for radiation since the accident.

Additionally, drinking water tested in some U.S. municipalities also shows radioactive contamination. Is the fallout from Fukushima Daichi falling on us? Yes, it is.

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Check out this article for natural ways to protect yourself from the harmful affects of radiation on the body.