Japan's new normal in radiation exposure is getting ridiculous almost every day, particularly in Fukushima Prefecture.
Fukushima City announced the result of the readings of the glass badges worn by children and pregnant women in the city for the month of September, and the highest reading was 1.7 millisievert external radiation exposure in one month for a 3rd-grader in an elementary school. Her two brothers were also found with high radiation reading off their badges.
The city says, "That level of radiation does not affect health".
1.7 millisievert per month x 12 months = 20.4 millisieverts per year of EXTRA external radiation on top of the natural (pre-Fukushima) external radiation (Japan average) of 0.59 millisievert per year, and EXTRA internal radiation from inhaling and ingesting Fukushima-origin radioactive materials on top of natural internal radiation exposure of 0.86 millisievert per year.
The current (soon to be revised, supposedly) provisional safety limits for food for various radionuclides are designed to add up to 17 millisieverts per year radiation if one eats food that tests at the maximum upper limit of the provisional safety limits.
Well, by now we know that the Japanese officials truly think that "it does not affect health" as long as one dies of acute radiation poisoning.
From Mainichi Shinbun (11/1/2011):
On November 1, Fukushima City disclosed the result of the readings for the month of September from the glass badges distributed to 36,989 children and pregnant women in the city. The maximum reading was 1.7 millisievert from a girl in the 3rd grade of an elementary school. Her three brothers also tested between 1.4 and 1.6 millisievert. There is a high radiation "hot spot" near their house, and they have since moved out of Fukushima. The city official says "It is not the level that affects health."
The city had the glass badges collected from 36,478 people and had them analyzed. [Aside from the girl and her brothers] there was no one whose radiation exposure exceeded 1 millisievert. The result [excluding the 4 children] was:
Less than 0.1 millisievert: 16%
0.1 millisievert: 64%
0.2 millisievert: 17%
0.3 millisievert: 2%
0.4 millisievert: 105 people [0.29%]
0.5 millisievert: 25 people
0.6 millisievert: 6 people
0.9 millisievert: 1 person
The city continues the monitoring in October and November, and will evaluate the radiation effect after 3 months worth of data are collected.
Why bother "evaluate"? It sure looks like a foregone conclusion that "there is no effect on health", probably up to 100 millisieverts per year...