Thursday, December 22, 2011

#Radioactive Nori in Tokyo Bay

Someone was tweeting that radioactive cesium has been found in dried sheets of "nori" (seaweed) made in Chiba Prefecture and Kanagawa Prefecture, on Tokyo Bay. So I looked for the original information, which I figured must have come from the Fisheries Agency.

And so I found it there.

The Fisheries Agency publishes the result of the survey of radioactive materials (iodine, cesium only) in marine products including seaweeds. In the latest result published on December 21 for the items reported since October, radioactive cesium has been found in dried "nori" in:

Kanagawa Prefecture - 1 sample, at 11 becquerels/kg

Chiba Prefecture - 6 samples, 11, 27, 25, 16.5, 5.6, 17.7 becquerels/kg respectively

Nori grown and harvested in Tokyo Bay, called "Edomae nori", commands super premium. One sheet of Edomae nori usually fetches over 10 yen a sheet at wholesale (US 13 cents), and used mostly in gourmet sushi restaurants.

The levels are not supposed to be causing negative effect on health as per the Japanese government; the government's provisional safety limit for radioactive cesium is 500 becquerels/kg.

By the way, this level is set to be lowered to 100 becquerels/kg on the April Fool's Day next year which is the first day of fiscal 2012 in Japan. Serious.

I've never seen the news of radioactive cesium detection in nori in the mainstream media at all. Without Twitter, I wouldn't have known about it. I'm curious to know how radioactive cesium traveled from Fukushima to Tokyo Bay. The government has claimed that the Kuroshio Current would prevent the spread of radioactive materials south of Ibaraki.

Judging by the reaction to my Japanese tweet, there are many others like me who didn't know about the detection.


STeVe the JeW said...

-- "Without Twitter, I wouldn't have known about it."


Stock said...

Rather than dumping waste/buildings/trash from Fukushima at Sea, or Burning all of it, they are using some of it to landfill in Tokyo bay in order to get around the restrictions of an international agreement about not dumping at sea

no6ody said...

Perhaps the Kuroshio Current is not as effective at containing the southward spread of radiation as the gov't would like everyone to believe; or perhaps the radioactive contaminants that spread through the air were washed down to the sea after falling onto the land. Of course, there is always the radioactive debris that the gov't is bringing to incinerators near Tokyo and other places.

It is ironic that seaweed is contaminated; since many people who could not find potassium iodide pills after The Accident bought iodine containing foods like nori instead. Thank you for informing us of your findings!

Anonymous said...

Considering there may be hot spots in areas such as Suginami-ku plus the burning of radioactive trash/dumping in Tokyo Bay and "loose" sampling method, this news is not really surprising.

Chiba and Tokyo are pretty much the same distance from Fukushima. I would say that Tokyo is "mildly" contaminated and expect something < 50 bg/kg soil and food contamination.

I.e. not at a level where people would abandon their "economic activities" outright.

Anonymous said...

I was in Hong Kong over the weekend and went to a grocery store where they were offering samples of food goodies. I didn't know what it was but it looked good and took a sample from the lady. I was really enjoying everything until the lady said it was mushrooms from JAPAN I had just sampled !!!! At least the lady was honest. Imagine all of the staples on the market that come with no warning. Can we trust folks to be knowledgeable honest about the origins of ingredients?

Anonymous said...

That's interesting Anonymous 1. I feel the same about food from China. A few years ago several people in Japan were poisoned by gyoza made in China. I know more than one person here in Japan who avoids the made in China label as much as the Fukushima label.

And no, I do not buy food from Fukushima.

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