Tuesday, April 19, 2011

#Radiation in Japan: Government "Notice" to Scrub Vegetables Before Testing for Radiation

Professor Kunihiko Takeda of Chubu University says in his April 19 blog post that:

after the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident the government suddenly changed the procedure to measure the radiation level in vegetables, and issued a notice that "the vegetables to be analyzed for radioactive materials should be taken out of the boxes, washed carefully under running water, and then analyzed."

Professor Takeda continues (my quick translation, not necessarily literal):

That caused the total loss of confidence in the safety of the vegetables.

The reason? It is easy to remove the radioactive materials on the vegetables when they are about to be shipped, soon after having been harvested. By the time they reach the consumers, it would be difficult to remove the radioactive materials as they stick fast on the surface or have penetrated inside the vegetables.

You can't trust the radiation level numbers on vegetables and other farm produce announced by the government.

There are people from Fukushima near the nuke plant coming to Tokyo and sell their vegetables saying "see how fresh they look!" That contributes to further loss of confidence.

Why? Because vegetables contaminated with radioactive materials can be very fresh, but being fresh doesn't mean being safe. In the case of mercury poisoning in Minamata, the contaminated fish were consumed as "fresh".

Municipalities are issuing a "declaration of safety" on certain farm produce like vegetables after they scrub them clean. Don't trust the farm produce from the municipalities that have issued such a "declaration".

I receive emails from conscientious farmers who have grown vegetables that people can consume without safety worries but are now at a loss how to find out whether their produce is safe.

It's a serious business for both producers and consumers.

It is the government who's creating and spreading the "baseless rumors" by issuing the guidance "to wash vegetables under running water before analyzing".

Professor Takeda's blog continues, and I will post as I finish translating.


netudiant said...

Classic bureaucratic edict.
The person who wrote this notice has probably never washed a vegetable in his life, nor been near a harvesting/packaging facility.
So he is writing from total ignorance, compounded by his unfamiliarity with any of the aspects of radioactive contamination.
Eventually, the bureaucracy will learn and improve.
Too bad the learning comes at the expense of the Japanese people.

Anonymous said...

This stuff is ridiculous if you could easily wash radiation out of vegetables the USA wouldn't have problems with the repatriation of Bikini islanders. The US has tried many different and expensive methods to stop the uptake of dangerous radionuclides in produce grown on the island with no success. The latest efforts are hampered by the fact the islanders want the entire island scraped clean to a depth of 15 cm while US scientist insist on sowing large amounts of potassium into the existing soil to block cesium 137 uptake.

In the 1970's the AEC declared Bikini island safe ...oops.


Other Bikini stories:




Latest info on the cleanup:

"At this time the people of Bikini remain scattered throughout the Marshall Islands and the world as they wait for the cleanup of Bikini to begin in earnest, mostly due to the fact that the money they have received from the U.S. government is not adequate to fund a full radiological cleanup of the entire atoll."


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