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Radioactive strontium detected in 10 prefectures

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Radioactive strontium, thought to have been released following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster last year, has been detected in 10 prefectures across Japan, the government said Wednesday.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology confirmed that small amounts of radioactive strontium have been detected in Akita, Iwate, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa Prefectures, as well as in Tokyo, Fuji TV reported.

The ministry said that the highest detected level was in Ibaraki where readings of 6 becquerels per square meter were detected. A ministry spokesman was quoted as saying that radiation at this level has a negligible effect on human health, Fuji reported.

The government's findings come weeks after the Tokyo Shimbun reported the Koto Association for the Protection of Children held a press conference in the Tokyo metropolitan government building on June 7, to announced the results of a survey it carried out, which showed high levels of radioactive cesium in an athletic ground near the Tobu sewage sludge processing plant in Tokyo.

The research, carried out by the association and Professor Tomoya Yamauchi of Kobe University, found cesium levels of 230,000 becquerels per square meter, an amount six times higher than the limit set for material leaving the radiation exclusion zone in Fukushima, Fuji reported.

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Remember people the government is only testing food for cesium!

9 ( +14 / -5 )

A ministry spokesman was quoted as saying that radiation at this level has a negligible effect on human health, Fuji reported.

If it really has a negligible effect, why even report it? People will get more scared than they already are. Way to instill paranoia!

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

Anyone know where the Tobu sewage sludge processing plant in Tokyo is actually?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

A ministry spokesman was quoted as saying that radiation at this level has a negligible effect on human health, Fuji reported.

A negligible effect. Wow thats really reassuring there. Not no effect but negligible, feel sorry for anyone that happens to suffer from these negligible effects

Cant wait for our resident nay sayer to come and critisise these findings. Floors open Basroil

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Too late, ms Alexander

No-one trusts the government or the nuclear industry AT ALL now. If they found it and didn't report it, what do you think would happen? Their best bet is to be open about any and all tiny details relating to this disaster and also get outside independent bodies/ ppl to confirm any finding or analysis they make whenever possible. Like a dog with his tail between his legs. Otherwise things will just get worse.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

If it really has a negligible effect, why even report it? People will get more scared than they already are. Way to instill paranoia!

Because if they do not report it and it comes out as a piece of news in a newspaper someday everybody will be saying that they have yet again hidden important information - regardless of the fact that it is a small amount and probably do have negligible effects on human health.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Anyone know where the Tobu sewage sludge processing plant in Tokyo is actually?

@gogogo

It's in between Kasai Rinkai Kouen, and Shin Kiba.

Address: 東京都江東区新砂3-8-1

6 ( +7 / -1 )

6Bq per m2 for strontium is not a whole lot. But strontium is a bone seeker where it gets absorbed and can be pretty nasty. I think the main concern would be the possibility of absorption and concentration in growing crops.

230 000 Bq /m2 for cesium is alarming. (But article does not say where)

0 ( +7 / -7 )

The ministry said that the highest detected level was in Ibaraki where readings of 6 becquerels per square meter were detected.

The Japanese law (which was there since long ago) on Strontium-90 states 0.03Bq/cm^3, or 300Bq/m^2 per cm of soil. This reading is 50 times smaller than the legal limit, and probably near the detection capability of the scintillator tubes. Luckily it is a beta emitter with practically no gamma component, so not as dangerous as other isotopes.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki should still have higher levels of strontium though, 20% of the strontium from nuclear bombs should still exist there.

0 ( +16 / -16 )

Note to self: do not live near sludge treatment plants in Tohoku or Kanto

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Radioactive strontium is hazardous only when taken into the body, where it lodges primarily in your bones, so as long as you haven't eaten food or ingested liquids in the last year and a half, you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Plus, the reading of radioactivity is low, and as long as the geiger remains in its lead-lined holder, it should remain low. Nah, seriously, it probably IS low, but internal radiation isn't a happy thing at any level, even if it's "negligible."

7 ( +12 / -5 )

I remember reading about cesium, strontium and plutonium being released from Fukushima in this old article:

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/AJ2011100112896

So... now we have seen recent news about cesium and about strontium. Maybe in another few months we can hear about plutonium?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Here we go... another reason to say I TOLD YOU SO. Last week I went with my family to Ibaraki, Oorai and I was right. I feel good that I didn't get in the water. I feel sorry for all the people who were at the beach. So now this is being reported..ok SO what is the truth? Where is it safe to go in Kanto? Is it too late to panic? I am disgusted...with these findings.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

A ministry spokesman was quoted as saying that radiation at this level has a negligible effect on human health,

Well, that's got to be good enough for me. Who could doubt a ministry spokesman, after the exemplary job they've done thus far?

17 ( +22 / -5 )

FarmboyJul. 25, 2012 - 03:08PM JST

Radioactive strontium is hazardous only when taken into the body, where it lodges primarily in your bones, so as long as you haven't eaten food or ingested liquids in the last year and a half, you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Plus, the reading of radioactivity is low, and as long as the geiger remains in its lead-lined holder, it should remain low. Nah, seriously, it probably IS low, but internal radiation isn't a happy thing at any level, even if it's "negligible."

Good one.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

FarmboyJul. 25, 2012 - 03:14PM JST

So... now we have seen recent news about cesium and about strontium. Maybe in another few months we can hear about plutonium?

You can just read the reports and know that there is plutonium, but so small of amounts that most low end sensors can't even detect it.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

SquidBertJul. 25, 2012 - 02:56PM JST

230 000 Bq /m2 for cesium is alarming. (But article does not say where)

Most tests by the government and TEPCO use 50cm, so we have about 500-750kg of topsoil (loose topsoil is about 1.2 times water density). That means it's between 460 and 300Bq/kg, well under the legal limit. If they only used 10cm of topsoil for the sample instead though, then you have very close to the limit (2500Bq/kg x2, since Cs-134 makes up half the radiation and limit is based on both), but still under it. Interestingly, the alarmists in other articles always used a very value of 53kg/m^2, which ends up being less than 5cm. Using that then you get 4100Bq/kg, which is above the legal limit for another three decades without accounting for biological removal.

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

radioactive strontium have been detected in Akita, Iwate, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa Prefectures

What about Fukushima?

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Basroil,

I have checked the original report, and they do not state the depth of the sample (as far as I could understand the Japanese).

But the article clearly states

University, found cesium levels of 230,000 becquerels per square meter, an amount six times higher than the limit set for material leaving the radiation exclusion zone in Fukushima,

So let's just agree for once, that it is not good.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

SquidBertJul. 25, 2012 - 05:03PM JST

So let's just agree for once, that it is not good.

Definitely not good for whoever is in charge.

I think the author here is mixing and matching units that should never be mixed. All government limits are in Bq/kg, not Bq/m^2, so if there is six times higher, they better explain how they got from kg to m^2 in the first place.

The "same as trash" limit is 8000Bq/kg, which has nothing to do with soil, and would come out to about 29kg/m^2 measurement, or about 2cm of dirt at the site. With only that depth, they might as well just plow it over if the rain doesn't wash it out first.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

SquidBert if you continue to quote facts I will be foced to post a dazzling array of statistics and links and also use a condeseding tone not once but many times over several posts, please refrain from using facts and you concerns as they contradict my point.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology confirmed that small amounts of radioactive strontium have been detected in Akita, Iwate, Yamagata,

A lot of the country`s rice supply come from these prefectures.

Radioactive strontium is hazardous only when taken into the body, where it lodges primarily in your bones, so as long as you haven't eaten food or ingested liquids in the last year and a half, you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

If you've eaten rice from these areas, how are you supposed to know whether or not you've also eaten some amount of strontium? Can the government guarantee this rice is safe for daily consumption? Does saying that such amounts "have a negligible effect on human health" also take into consideration the accumulative effects of these negligible amounts when consumed on a daily basis (especially for the young)? I think these are the questions that the public want answers to...not a lot of statistics that are meaningless to the average person.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

As usual: "...a negligible effect on human health..." And I say bah humbug.

Don't trust anything the government of Noda the clown tells you. This coming from the national government arm of the nuclear mafia. Trust your geiger counter. And trust foreign news media and independent experts more than anything you hear from paid "experts," politicians and the capitalists.

The nuclear mafia wants to ram nuclear power down your throat and then "gain the public's understanding" after that.

Look at the number of prefectures that are contaminated in some way and then consider the number that are left. Fact is that Japan cannot afford another nuclear accident. We just don't have that much land to waste.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Cricky,

I am sorry that was unfair of me. :)

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Me wonders why Fukushima not mentioned in the list of prefectures :-/. ?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

WHERE ARE THE MAPS? Just stating an entire ku as "contaminated" is worse than useless. As we all know by now, the radiation clouds followed the valleys and winds. Should we just simply overlay those maps with these statistics? Where is the factual, illuminating journalism?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Yeah... What's are the results for Fukushima...anyone knows?..or are they too bad to publish?...

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The mismanagement and the negligence which happened during the disaster, i think it is still continue. we need a comprehensive picture of the events from an independent body, which could be trusted.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

While releasing this story tends to aggravate those already gripped by mortal fear of radiation (radiophobia), it is something that recieves Press-pop from other media outlets. Thus, Japan Today is merely doing what is good for business. However, it should be noted that 6 Becquerels/meter is about half the radioactivity in one banana, a bag of potato chips or a helping of broccoli from naturally-occurring potassium-40. K-40 is also a so-called bone-seeker. The bottom line is this...just because Sr-90 is detectable, does not mean "dangerous". In fact, 6 Bq/m wouldn't hurt a bacterium. This is a detectable, but biologically innocuous level.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

it should be noted that 6 Becquerels/meter is about half the radioactivity in one banana

So 230,000 becquerels per square meter amounts to just a truck load of bananas?

6 ( +10 / -4 )

The radiation was there before 311. The series of open air atomic tests in China is the reason. The Chinese and Russians set off some really large ground burst atomic bombs. The 2 American bombs were air burst over their targets and would not have created as much fallout.

This article is more fear mongering in the push to scare Japan STUPID.

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

This article omits the fact that the level was 1/60 that recorded during the 60s.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

While releasing this story tends to aggravate those already gripped by mortal fear of radiation (radiophobia), it is something that recieves Press-pop from other media outlets. Thus, Japan Today is merely doing what is good for business. However, it should be noted that 6 Becquerels/meter is about half the radioactivity in one banana, a bag of potato chips or a helping of broccoli from naturally-occurring potassium-40. K-40 is also a so-called bone-seeker. The bottom line is this...just because Sr-90 is detectable, does not mean "dangerous". In fact, 6 Bq/m wouldn't hurt a bacterium. This is a detectable, but biologically innocuous level.

Well, this is what I found on the net. The old banana story appears to be something akin to an urban myth.

Strontium (chemical symbol Sr) is a silvery metal that rapidly turns yellowish in air. Strontium is found naturally as a non-radioactive element. Strontium has 16 known isotopes. Naturally occurring strontium is found as four stable isotopes Sr-84, -86, -87, and -88. Twelve other isotopes are radioactive. Strontium-90 is the most important radioactive isotope in the environment, although strontium-89 can be found around reactors, and strontium-85 is used in industry and medicine. trontium-90 is chemically similar to calcium, and tends to deposit in bone and blood-forming tissue (bone marrow). Thus, strontium-90 is referred to as a "bone seeker." Internal exposure to Sr-90 is linked to bone cancer, cancer of the soft tissue near the bone, and leukemia. Risk of cancer increases with increased exposure to Sr-90. The risk depends on the concentration of Sr-90 in the environment, and on the exposure conditions. The nuclear apologists who try to confuse people by saying low level radiation is not dangerous are trying to tell you that potassium is the same as radioactive cesium, radioactive strontium, radioactive uranium, radioactive plutonium, radioactive iodine, etc.. These are all POISONS, compared to potassium in a banana.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Bananas are radioactive because they contain some Potassium-40. So do many things. But the reason this idea (that the dangers of radioctivity can be measured in bananas) is absurd is that different radioisotopes exist which have different biological affinities. Potassium is uniformly distributed in the body and so can be compared with external radiation. Not so substances like Strontium-90 and Uranium 238 or Plutonium 239 which have high affinity to DNAS and so can deliver their energy where it is effective in causing mutation. Almost all of the potassium 40 radiation is wasted.

Prof Chris Busby, Aberystwyth

This article (same as the one above), while somewhat informative for the uninitiated, is rather misleading from a scientific perspective. The "banana equivalent dose" is frowned upon by radiation protection specialists like me. While it's true that bananas contain potassium and, by extension, radioactive potassium-40, humans don't simply absorb all of the radiation that the potassium-40 emits. The body keeps a more or less constant inventory of all the potassium it needs. When you ingest potassium, some of it is retained and the extra potassium is excreted. As a result, some of the "banana equivalent dose" is not retained in the body but passes right through. Because this amount also differs from person to person, it's not a good method of comparison. Comparing it (the danger to humans from radioactivity) to a known quantity, such as a chest or dental x-ray, would be more scientifically accurate while allowing you to make the same point to your readers.

John Harvey PhD, Atlanta, Georgia, United States

1 ( +3 / -2 )

A ministry spokesman was quoted as saying that radiation at this level has a negligible effect on human health, Fuji reported.

That is false. Low level radiation in man it continuously damage to health. That is more terrible than outside higher radiation level.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It is rather alarming that the real numbers are not being reported! Where and how are Japanese officials measuring these samples? Certainly, nobody is being told how it is that radiation is so widespread in Japan nor why there are hotspots with thousands of becquerels per kilogram in their backyards. Chiba,Saitama and Tokyo have all shown high concentrations in drains,car and air conditioning filters etc. Exported Japanese cars have been refused clearance in various countries due to this.

Anyone, worrying or unsure about their own immediate environment should remove the air conditioning filter in their dwelling and have it tested for contamination......

3 ( +5 / -2 )

butakunJul. 25, 2012 - 11:41PM JST

This article omits the fact that the level was 1/60 that recorded during the 60s.

And that during the 60s, worldwide deposition of Sr90 was that much a year. Considering the half life of Sr90, there should still be 25% of that Sr90 somewhere in the ecosystem. Sr90 is released mainly by atomic bombs, not by reactors. Neutron flux needed for formation (without destroying it) doesn't occur in reactors so the amounts are quite small.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

billyshearsJul. 25, 2012 - 11:44PM JST

low level radiation is not dangerous are trying to tell you that potassium is the same as radioactive cesium, radioactive strontium, radioactive uranium, radioactive plutonium, radioactive iodine, etc.. These are all POISONS, compared to potassium in a banana.

Well, think of it this way then, the energy from Sr-90 is 0.5MeV or so, beta only. Potassium on the other hand releases 90% beta radiation at 1.3MeV and 10% gamma radiation at 1.5MeV, so per Bq Potassium is far more dangerous. Since potassium is evenly distributed, it can cause cases of hard cancer more readily than specific upticks, but for strontium, it will only affect up to 3.5mm of bone and 6.5mm of tissue, assuming it is at the bone surface. 3.5mm bone is not enough to worry about leukemia for surface only , which is why Sr90 is considered far worse for children than adults.

Strontium is not poisonous at low levels, and has been linked with bone strengthening at natural levels. Cesium is actually not a poison biologically, and you would need to put about 2.3g of cesium salt per kg body weight to be toxic (equivalent to about 10% of the Cs-137 released from fukushima). For you to get poisoned by either of these, you would first have to survive massive radiation burns that pretty much turn you into a pile of goop.

Plutonium is also less toxic than caffeine, even counting radiation. It has a very long half-life, and like Strontium, goes largely to bones. However, as an alpha emitter with practically no gamma component, the radiation will not leave the bone structure. Plutonium in the liver is a larger concern, and of course inhalation of large particles.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

I think we need more international, private investigators to find the TRUTH of the matter,because as we are slowly seeing, slowly but sure there a cover up after another cover up, so we do not panic here in Tokyo??

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Basroil states ( 25, 2012 - 11:44PM JST),

Plutonium is also less toxic than caffeine, even counting radiation.

Strontium is not poisonous at low levels, and has been linked with bone strengthening

Cesium is actually not a poison biologically,

Fine by me, from now on I will drink 6 cups of strong coffee (In fact I have 20 something years head start) every day. And you, basroil, can get behind your words and drink 6 cups of strontium/ plutonium/ cesium tincture every day.

Deal?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

This discussion has been much more rational and well placed compared to some others regarding this topic. Also, many have contributed meaningfully researched data which helps to bring the level of knowledge and understanding of the problems related to radioactivity and health. For that I extend my Thanks to you all.

After all this, it must be said that regardless of the finger pointing at the government, the government has been keeping up with the necessary research and data gathering to assure the safety and health of the people. It does not matter for now if the details of the report has not been reported in this news article. News are but simple summaries hopefully properly and meaningfully prepared by the reporters and allowed to be printed by the editors. The fact is, the people and the government has some of the information, however limited, but needed to make better decisions

Let's hope everyone concerned makes good decisions.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"the government has been keeping up with the necessary research and data gathering to assure the safety and health of the people."

That's a good one, mate! The government has known about the strontium for over a year and has waited until now to mention it. And as many have mentioned, nobody, least of all the government, is testing for strontium in food. The only thing the government has shown interest in assuring is the profitability of the utilities operating nuclear plants. A quite unusually high percentage of children in Fukushima have thyroid tumours. Nobody, least of all government officials, seems to know why this is so and the government's man on the spot for Fukushima public health ordered physicians not to look into them. That is your "keeping up with necessary research to assure safety and health?"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is why I left Tokyo last year. I knew that over time worse information would come to light. What of other radionuclides (uranium, plutonium, americium, etc)? Are these being checked for? Just wait another 5-10+ years and we will see the real results of this horror show.

My rationale for leaving was that I would always have the option to return. But if I made the mistake to stay and later became ill it would not be reversible. This made the choice to leave the only realistic choice.

I hope that people do not get ill in the future due to the contaminants but I must say that it is likely inevitable. We have all been lied to to lull us into not leaving so as to prevent the Japanese economy and country from collapsing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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