Tuesday, December 6, 2011

#Radioactive Baby Formula from Meiji: "No Effect on Health", Ministry of Health Assures Parents

The Ministry of Health and Labor, one of whose mandates is to protect consumers, quoted from Asahi Shinbun (12/6/2011), in a typical bureaucratic convolution:


The person in charge [at the Ministry of Health and Labor] says about the safety of the powdered milk that has been found with 30 becquerels/kg [of radioactive cesium], "It will be further diluted when consumed. It can be said that there will be no effect on health."

Oh is that so? Are you sure?

Here's a log-scale chart of daily radioactive cesium intake from 1974 to 2002 per person in Japan. A slight spike after the Chernobyl accident, but it has been the steady trend downward from max 1 becquerel/person/day in 1974 to max 0.1 becquerel/person/day, with minimum close to 0.01 becquerel/person/day. (The chart is from @tomynyo.)

A 6-month old baby drinks 4 cans of powdered milk per month, I was told. The net weight of a can of Meiji Step milk is 850 grams, so the baby would consume 3.4 kilograms (850 grams x 4) of the powdered milk per month. 3.4 kilograms of the powdered milk would contain 102 becquerels of radioactive cesium (30 becquerels/kg x 3.4). The baby would be fed with 3.4 becquerels of radioactive cesium per day.

That would be 34 to 340 times more than the pre-Fukushima accident level of radioactive cesium intake per person per day.

But bureaucrats at the Ministry of Health are confident. No effect on health. One expert chimes in with his tweet, saying "We shouldn't be hurting the feelings of mothers who have fed their babies with this formula by making a big deal out of it. We shouldn't make them feel worried or regret". He continues by implying the amount of radioactive cesium is too small to cause any effect.

(UPDATE: Infants at one nursery school in Utsunomiya City in Tochigi Prefecture have been fed with this contaminated milk, according to the city. If you read Japanese, here's the link to Yomiuri Shinbun Tochigi local version.)


Anonymous said...

Got to love these Japanese. They would die for the country in 2 sec if required..while the guy who is responsible for this gets rewarded with a nice bonus.

Anonymous said...

The MHLW is a joke. They revised PAL so that they do not have any accountability whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

The only way to eliminate regret period is to stop using anything from potential risk areas and have stringent checks before shipping. Yes, this cost money, but this is the right way of not having regrets.

I.e. no regrets because you have tried everything. Not the lip service "no immediate effect" or "we tried our best".

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

They haven't even "tried their best". Their mantra is "Who could have known?"

Mauibrad said...


Anonymous said...

They've lost all honor now that they are killing children.

Their souls are damned

Anonymous said...

I think your prior post does provide 'science' that supports keeping the limits as low as possible:

First the scientists makes the point that children are far more sensitive to radiation compared with adults. THEN he says this:
Dr. Shoji Fukushima from a national institution called Japan Bioassay Research Center, which researches health effects of chemical compounds, has been studying diseases involving urinary tract since the Chernobyl accident.

Dr. Fukushima and doctors in Ukraine studied parts of bladders removed during more than 500 cases of prostatic hypertrophy surgery. They found out that in the highly contaminated area where 6Bq/liter was detected in urine, there was a high frequency of mutation of p53 though 6Bq may sound minuscule."

Anonymous said...

Let the clown at Ministry of Health and Labor who says there is no danger for infants to drink formula with cesium drink it himself or shut the f--- up. Before that person makes a public statement like that he should be require to drink four cans of formula every month for 9 months and then open his ignorant mouth. Better yet, because he is adult he should drink a can a day .
What kind of fools are working in these ministries. Sick people spiritually, they are.These liars can kill themselves and do the world a favor.

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