Friday, May 18, 2012

Formaldehyde in Water Supply in Kanto Region, Water Intake Temporarily Stopped

If it's not radioactive cesium, it's something else like formaldehyde...

Authorities haven't identified the source of formaldehyde, but judging from the density they suspect straight formaldehyde liquid leaking from a plant somewhere in Tochigi Prefecture along the Tone River that runs through Gunma, Saitama, and Chiba Prefectures.

The safety limit for formaldehyde in drinking water is 0.080 milligram/liter.

From Japan Times quoting Kyodo News (5/19/2012):

Formaldehyde found at water plants in Saitama, Chiba

Saitama Prefecture said Friday night it has halted water intake and supply at one of its filtration plants after hazardous formaldehyde exceeding limits was detected in tap water there, while neighboring Chiba Prefecture said it has stopped water intake at two plants after detecting the substance.

The water at the plants was taken from the Tone River and one of its branches, the Edo River, the prefectural governments said.

According to the Saitama prefectural government, more than twice the amount of formaldehyde permitted under national water quality standards was detected in water at its plant in the city of Gyoda.

On Saturday morning, however, the Saitama government said it resumed water intake and supply at the plant after the figures for the substance dropped and remained stably below the standard set by the central government.

The Chiba prefectural government said Friday it has stopped intake at its plants in the cities of Noda and Nagareyama. Early Saturday, it also halted water intake at another plant in the city of Matsudo.

The local governments are now examining the water quality upstream of the Tone River with cooperation from Gunma Prefecture, where the upstream water is located, to identify the source of the contamination, they said.

Formaldehyde could be generated by a combination of organic substances included in the drainage from chemical plants and chlorine, according to the governments.

As with radioactive cesium in food, the Japanese authorities are repeating the mantra that "there is no effect on health" even if you drank the formaldehyde-laced water.

NHK Update: 68,000 households in Nagareyama City in Chiba Prefecture are without water to their homes, as of 2PM on May 19, 2012. 46,000 households in Noda City and 35,000 households in Abiko City in Chiba are also without water. The so-called "tokatsu" region of Chiba (northwestern corner of the prefecture) along the Tone River is hit hard.


Anonymous said...

Formaldehyde is not regulated under drinking water standards in the US. However, according to

"Formaldehyde dissolves easily but does not last a long time in water."

"The EPA recommends that an adult should not drink water containing more than 1 milligram of formaldehyde per liter of water (1 mg/L) for a lifetime exposure, and a child should not drink water containing more than 10 mg/L for 1 day or 5 mg/L for 10 days."

A recommendation is different from a standard. The same source says that formaldehyde does not bioaccumulate. Using Google translate from the second source, it appears as if the standard for Japan is 0.08 mg/l or 80 ppb (parts per billion). Combining with the first article mentioned, I would guess they found around 160 ppb or 0.16 ppm (parts per million), which is still well below the long-term recommendation from the EPA and insignificant compared to the short-term recommendation. I would suspect a problem at a fertilizer/pesticide facility. While the amount of formaldehyde detected is of no health concern, I would use it as an indicator of potential industrial contamination. There are so many possible contaminants in water that it is impossible to routinely test for all of them, so only indicator contaminants are routinely tested for. Even though the levels of formaldehyde are very low, I would agree that stopping the water plants until the source is found and corrected is the safe thing to do, as there may be other contaminants present that haven't been tested for yet. They appear to be acting appropriately, although the "no health effect" would be true only for formaldehyde. They may be misunderstanding the role of an indicator contaminant in identifying when other contaminants (for which there may be health concerns) may be present.

Anonymous said...

"it's elementary, watson!"

Anonymous said...

Definitely not radiation related.

Anonymous said...

First they tell not to even TOUCH fish in the Tone, and now they're saying the water's got formaldehyde in it. Sounds to me like a false flag to protect the nukes from the future increase in cancer.
I need a clean glass of water to take my paranoia medicine.

Chibaguy said...

Joyful Honda made a killing today as people from Kashiwa and Abiko bought up all the water. Apparently, the water is completely turned off.

Anonymous said...

No worries folks the people at JapanProbe will find a way to spin this positively..."Formaldehyde is good for you in Japan"...or some shit. So tired of the bullshit from JapanProbe, reddit/r/japan and some youtube gaijin (, and others) who refuse to believe anything bad is going on and chastise those who believe otherwise.

Janick said...

Getting worse today: 5 plants in 3 prefectures are having the problem... Gunma, Saitama, Chiba

Anonymous said...

JapanProbe are wankers , arse lickers , dont beleive their shit....

Anonymous said...

Why is this problem happening in so many plants simultaneously? (See comments of Janik above). Is this due to damage from aftershocks? Sabotage? Or? Is anyone giving any possible causes?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

River Tone runs through all these municipalities that take water from the river, purify it and provide as drinking water to residents. Cause still unknown.

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