Friday, June 10, 2011

#Radiation in Japan: Date City in Fukushima To Fit Kindergarteners and School Kids with Dosimeter

They're going to fit 3-year-olds with dosimeter.

If the radiation is such a worry, shouldn't they evacuate small children out of the city first? Or are they planning something else?

From Nikkei Shinbun, quoting Kyodo News (6/10/2011):

福島県伊達市は9日、福島第1原発事故で子供がいる親の不安が高まっているとして、市内の小中学校と幼稚園、保育園に通う児童、生徒、園児約8千人全員に小 型線量計を配布すると発表した。7月上旬にも始める方針。福島県内では、町の一部が計画的避難区域となっている川俣町も小中学生と園児1500人全員に近 く線量計を配布する予定。

Date City in Fukushima Prefecture announced on June 9 that they will distribute portable dosimeters to all children in the city's elementary schools and middle schools, kindergartens and nursery schools to calm the fear of the parents of children in school age. There are about 8,000 such children. The program will start in early July. In Fukushima Prefecture, Kawamata-machi will also distribute dosimeters to all of their elementary/middle school children and kindergartners (1,500 children). Part of Kawamata-machi is designated as "planned evacuation zone".


Date City is adjacent to Iitate-mura, which is designated as "planned evacuation zone". Date City has so-called "hot spots" that show elevated level of radiation, and parents have been asking the city to come up with a system to monitor the radiation exposure for their children.


According to the city, dosimeters will be distributed to 6,000 pupils in elementary schools and middle schools, and 2,000 children in kindergartens and nursery schools in the city. They will wear the small dosimeters worn by medical practitioners.


The program details will be decided in discussion with the expert that the city hires as radiation advisor. The cost, including the cost to purchase dosimeters, will be about 30 million yen (US$373,000). The city will pay for the cost, but plans to bill TEPCO later.

I wonder who this "radiation advisor" is.


Antony said...

What are they going to do when some of the dosimeters start going beep, beep!?

Anonymous said...

So far as I can tell the dosimeters measure the radiation from outside the body. How are they going to measure the radiation inside the children's bodies? That is where cancer comes from, from radioactive isotopes inside the body.

Anonymous said...

@anon at 2:13PM, good point. Then, the officials and this expert to be hired would be using toddlers and small children as walking environmental radiation monitoring devices. Talk about "unconscionable".

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

First let me say children shouldn't be forced to go anywhere that requires a dosimeter. With that said we have to deal with the reality that Japan isn't going to foot the bill to perform a proper evacuation program. (It might give people the idea that something is wrong)

@ Anon 9:57

They'll probably turn off the audio alert function if they don't schools will sound like old video arcades. More than likely teachers will be put in charge of collecting dosage data and school officials will lose, ignore or downplay the data if it threatens a school closure. I doubt this will be a serious effort at safety unless parents educate themselves about the issue and press for transparency. A child's exposure level should be followed more closely than their grades. Parents groups would do well to buy a few private "control" dosimeters and secretly monitor the monitors. If the children or parents start exhibiting Chernobyl like symptoms they should be fully assayed to rule out radiation effects.

What to look for:

@ Anon 2:13

The short answer is they guess. Most likely they'll try to extrapolate internal dose from external exposure. If some of the children consistently read hotter than their classmates first their dosimeter should be checked for accuracy (contamination can give false readings). If the dosimeter checks out OK then they should have a FBC or a bio-assay to determine the exact level of total contamination. If they are found to be contaminated more than "normal" a study of their daily activities should be cataloged to determine the source of the problem. None of this will happen unless the parents raise a fuss for proper monitoring. They should try to ally with an NGO like Greenpeace to create a radiation safety education work shop for effected parents. An NGO like Greenpeace isn't going to hide the limits of dosimetery if the radiation safety workshop was web based it could reach a larger audience.

Another thing to keep in mind is most Dosimeters only detect gamma so it doesn't account for the most dangerous internal sources. If the recent emergency workers overdose shows anything it is that the internal dose can be many times higher than the registered external dose. I think the main problem they are going to have with young children is contamination of the meters. One good drubbing of radioactive dirt or water could make the meter useless. Eventually they may be resorting to TEPCO style dosimetery with the few meters left being used to guess all the children's doses.

@Anon 2:26

Unfortunately just about everything in the effected regions of Japan have become environmental radiation monitoring devices. The local forest industry in Japan is at a loss their trees may become a natural record of the contamination for years to come. Sewage plants across the region and beyond are also singing out an alarm. Even a simple car air filter can open a window most government officials would like to keep closed.

"Adding to the woes are concerns of severe soil contamination caused by radioactive materials, a probability which would impact the forest industry for some time to come. “Improving soil quality (in forests) is harder than it is for farmland. Even if the evacuation orders are rescinded, it may be a long time before radiation levels are low enough for workers to go in there,” Sagara added".

Top Dog said...

The first Infant Morbidity reports are in from the CDC.

8 Western Cities are posting 35% increases through May 28, not surprisingly. Sadly, these numbers are consistent with similar increases 30 days after Chernobyl

Dr Ernest Sternglass of University of Pittsburg presented the following infant mortality rate for the Pacific states, following chernobyl fallout in May 1986, just one month after Chernobyl:

* May 1986 54% increase infant mortality in Washington state
* May 1986 48% increase infant mortality in California compared to previous June
* June 1986 245% increase deaths per thousand live births in Washington state
* June 1986 900% increase infant mortality rate per live births in Massachusetts

Why have so few states reported?

There is a difference between external and internal radiation. Internal radiation absorbed by inhalation or ingestion becomes embedded in your cells, tissues and organs releasing destructive energy for the lifetime of the person, plant or animal.

Fukushima changed our lives on March 11, 2011. To what degree will depend much on our level of prevention and commitment to health.

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