Tuesday, September 6, 2011

#Radioactive Leaf Tobacco, 217 Bq/Kg of Radioactive Cesium

If this doesn't deter the smokers from smoking, I don't know what will.

From TBS News (9/6/2011):


JT (Japan Tobacco Inc.) announced the result of the survey of leaf tobacco for radioactive materials and said "there is no problem". The harvest season for leaf tobacco will start soon.


The harvest season for leaf tobacco will start in October in earnest. JT conducted the survey of one type of leaf tobacco, dried, in 4 prefectures (Ibaraki, Tochigi, Chiba, and Shizuoka). Fukushima Prefecture was excluded as no leaf tobacco is grown this year.


According to the survey, radioactive iodine in all samples was below the detection level. However, the maximum 217 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was found.


There is no safety limit for the leaf tobacco. However, JT explained the level of radioactive cesium as "not a problem" because it was below the provisional safety limit of 500 becquerels/kg for vegetables. JT is going to conduct a sample monitoring of other types of leaf tobacco.

According to the press release by JT, no radioactive cesium was detected in leaf tobacco grown in Shizuoka Prefecture. But of 33 samples in the other 3 prefectures, 27 samples were found with radioactive cesium from the lowest 21 to the highest 217 becquerels/kg (both in Ibaraki).

JT says it will not purchase or use leaf tobacco that exceeds the provisional safety limit for vegetables (as there is no safety limit for leaf tobacco). In other words, all leaf tobacco that's been tested is good to be purchased and made into cigarettes and sold by JT.

JT was a government corporation, and the national government still owns 50.02% of the company. In exchange for the obligation to purchase all leaf tobacco grown in Japan, it is granted the monopoly of manufacturing cigarettes in Japan. It is very active in exporting the cigarettes and is the 3rd largest cigarette company in the world after Philip Morris and British American Tobacco.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm...how much Strontium-90 per kilo? Or other 'unfriendly' kinds of radiation?

Anonymous said...

I can already see the advert: 'JTB - A relaxing way to support the poor farmers from Fukushima and to help removing the waste from the disaster hit areas. Another great way to share the pain of the disaster all over Japan.' powered by J.Gov.

Another cost efficient way to spread Caesium and all the other radionuclides all over Japan. Not only via the expensive garbage burning facilities (who at least have filters), but much more efficiently. Little by little each cigarette will support the grand plan to establish the super healthy Japan, where every citizen gets up-regulated DNA repair mechanism for free.

Anonymous said...

Tobacco plants are similar to mushrooms in that they absorb a lot of radiation.Some people say that until nuclear testing started (which spread radiation world wide), smoking tobacco did not cause lung cancer.

Anonymous said...

The former US Surgeon General Everett C Koop the claimed back in 1990's that Po-210 in tobacco was a major cause of lung cancer.

"Lung cancer rates among men kept climbing from a rarity in 1930 (4/100,000 per year) to the No. 1 cancer killer in 1980 (72/100,000) in spite of an almost 20 percent reduction in smoking. But during the same period, the level of polonium -210 in American tobacco had tripled. This coincided with the increase in the use of phosphate fertilizers by tobacco growers - calcium phosphate ore accumulates uranium and slowly releases radon gas.

As radon decays, its electrically charged daughter products attach themselves to dust particles, which adhere to the sticky hairs on the underside of tobacco leaves. This leaves a deposit of radioactive polonium and lead on the leaves. Then, the intense localized heat in the burning tip of a cigarette volatilizes the radioactive metals. While cigarette filters can trap chemical carcinogens, they are ineffective against radioactive vapors.

The lungs of a chronic smoker end up with a radioactive lining in a concentration much higher than from residential radon. These particles emit radiation. Smoking two packs of cigarettes a day imparts a radiation dose by alpha particles of about 1,300 millirem per year. For comparison, the annual radiation dose to the average American from inhaled radon is 200 mrem. However, the radiation dose at the radon "action level" of 4 pCi/L is roughly equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes a day.

In addition, polunium-210 is soluble and is circulated through the body to every tissue and cell in levels much higher than from residential radon. The proof is that it can be found in the blood and urine of smokers. The circulating polonium -210 causes genetic damage and early death from diseases reminiscent of early radiological pioneers: liver and bladder cancer, stomach ulcer, leukemia, cirrhosis of liver, and cardiovascular diseases.

The Surgeon General C. Everett Koop stated that radioactivity, rather than tar, accounts for at least 90% of all smoking-related lung cancers. The Center for Disease Control concluded "Americans are exposed to far more radiation from tobacco smoke than from any other source."


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