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Radium bottles in Setagaya home may have been there for over 50 years

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Radium-226 has a half-life of about 1600 years. According to NHK tonight, anyone could buy radium in Japan until the law was changed in 1958.

On NHK it also said that the radiation level on the surface of the bottles was about 600 microsieverts per hour (over 5000 millisieverts a year), which is well within serious danger levels and is likely to kill. I would imagine that anyone who has spent much time in that house would want to be checked out.

Of course, the radiation drops dramatically with distance, and the bottles were under the floorboards, but Japanese people do tend to sit on the floor...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Needs to be verified/duplicated by atleast 3 independent sources.

Less is just hearsay and scare-mongering. Sad but true.

No rationally thinking person will act and make decisions on hearsay/unverified sources.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

I dont know if I entirely believe this. Mysterious bottles of radium under a floorboard is the cause of radiation? How about the more plausible nucleur plant which exploded about 6 months ago. Media literacy people!!!

-6 ( +6 / -11 )

YankeeeX.

All emissions(radiation, etc) got a signature(call it DNA). How else could sites across the world claim to have been affected by fukushima radiation months ago?

And if there is no signature how could ANY hot-spot be tied to 3/11, unless you truly belief that NO hotspots existed before 3/11 anywhere.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

30 microsieverts per hour—an alarming level.

Incredible how ppl were able to live in that house without dropping dead. Wonders never cease in Japan!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Radium 226 is also used for medical purposes, he said.

Past tense - big time. Not sure if "he" (the identity of the individual wasn't mentioned in this article) is talking about what folks used to use this for back in the 1900's (everything from toothpaste, skin ointments, to glow in the dark watch dials), or early cancer treatments. Cobalt-60 has since been used for aggressive cancer treatments for quite some time now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wonders never cease in Japan!

true, they might say these bottles were left by US forces 65years ago...can they defuse like dead bombs left behind by US forces? no, they may recycle and reuse.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I dont know if I entirely believe this. Mysterious bottles of radium under a floorboard is the cause of radiation? How about the more plausible nucleur plant which exploded about 6 months ago. Media literacy people!!!

Yep the same as the mysterious figure on the grassy knoll, and aliens at rosewell.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I dont necessarily trust the government, but in this case I think the cause is entirely plausible. Pictures of the bottles have been seen all over the news, and as many have pointed out, it would have to take an extremely vivid imagination to come up with 50 year old bottles, fill them with radium and plant them beneath floorboards!

Sometimes if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it really actually is a duck - much as some would love to believe its a wild goose catapulted from Fukushima!

10 ( +9 / -0 )

finding dozens of old bottles of radium powder likely used for luminous paint.

As an artist, I've never heard of this concept...

I wonder if the artist who lived at this house will now have his paintings "unearthed"...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"The hotspot in western Tokyo was first discovered by a civil group measuring radiation levels in the capital..."

Isn't that how most things work here? The government can't do their job so it's up to the locals?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

While I personally hope this is true, it does no good to anyone to not have it verified by outside sources to hopefully ease some of the tensions people already have about radiation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I always go to the radium hotsprings, both natural and artificial in Kanagawa. They're good for you.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I' ve heard some kind of old nuclear experts are still keeping radium for many purposes in their houses in secret. Most put it in very safe containers but they might forget it for many years.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Seems as if some people who post on Japan Today will never admit they're wrong. It's always has to be the worst case scenario irregardless how the facts unfold.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Meanwhile, NHK on Friday reported that a citizens’ group in Funabashi City in Chiba, east of Tokyo, had detected radiation levels of up to 5.82 microsieverts per hour at a local park, compared to official readings of 1.55 microsieverts per hour at the site.

And why isn't this bigger news? This is in my neck of the woods. My friends and I were joking about this a bit last night, but it's not really funny,

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Luminous paint simular to that found under the house floorboards used to be the material for painting dials on clocks and compasses

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Media literacy people!!!

Watch the news, any channel, even use the little button on the remote to watch in English if you want!

paulinusa, facts? Since when do hard-core conspiracy theorists need of facts? They just need those conclusions they come to in their gut based on their feelings about something. Science and hard facts just aren't necessary!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Not too sure what to make of this news, I hope their is no national cover up, or some kind of international cover up.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

pamelot

The luminous paint was used to coat watch dials so they would be visible in the dark. The radium is combined with a fluorescent salt, kind of like what they coat florescent bulbs with, so the radiation from the radium becomes visible light when the fluorescent salt is struck by the radiation from the radium.

A long time ago it was found that radiation sickness was causing deaths in workers that painted watch dials with radium paint. An investigation showed that the people painting the dials would use their lips to form a sharp point on the paint brush so they could get the paint on the tiny dials and numbers more accurately. The painters were not aware of the hazards they were exposing themselves to.

Luckily radium coating of watch dials is no longer needed with digital watches in fashion.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

QUOTE:

"The hotspot in western Tokyo was first discovered by a civil group measuring radiation levels in the capital..."

Isn't that how most things work here? The government can't do their job so it's up to the locals?

UNQUOTE

I do agree that I think that the government could do much more to verify safety in their respective areas, but it really is unreasonable to expect them to cover every single square inch of land. I am grateful that locals are finding and drawing attention to speciic areas missed by the government.

I am also VERY interested in the Chiba hotspot(s) that are not hitting the news. I sincerely hope that because this one place in Setagaya has turned out to be unrelated to Fukushima, that other areas dont get the attention they need because the hotspots are definitely out there and need sorting out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Blarggh! What is with my grammar these days??! I sincerely hope that other areas DO get the attention they need!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@pamelot

finding dozens of old bottles of radium powder likely used for luminous paint.

As an artist, I've never heard of this concept...

I wonder if the artist who lived at this house will now have his paintings "unearthed"...

Never heard of it and never even looked it up? The fact that it has been outlawed for over 35 years might be why you haven't heard of it? Or are you happier to have controversy around this story?

Google-> radon 226 paint

top article http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/rp/factsheets/factsheets-htm/fs29ra226.htm

The woman who lived in this house until earlier in the year was 90 years old.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Let's review the government bodies that were involved in this recent incident.

Setagaya ward officials, Metropolitan Police Department, and Monkasho who tested the bottles. The ministry that is responsible for Fukushima Daiichi is NIISA which is under METI. The Ministry that is responsible for health and well being of the citizens are MHLW.

Setagaya Ward top is Hosaka who had in April told in public that Japan should move towards removing nuclear power. Right after that, Ishihara, went on to ridicule Hosaka's said statement. Bear in mind that Metropolitan Police Department is under Ishihara. On top of that, Ishihara is well known to criticize the Ministries in Kasumigaseki. Finally, it is also common knowledge that each ministries aren't very fond of each other for they would would like to see them fall flat on their faces.

Hence, if this was indeed a coverup as some people here have suggested, Hosaka, Ishihara, Monkasho, METI, And MLHW are in on it.

-1 ( +0 / -2 )

Nicky: "I do agree that I think that the government could do much more to verify safety in their respective areas, but it really is unreasonable to expect them to cover every single square inch of land."

I said 'how most things work here', and it's 100% true. The government will talk about making this and that law and depend on locals to basically enforce them, encouraging patrols (where the people are actually powerless to do anything aside from observe). It would be ridiculous indeed to expect the government to test every square inch of land in the nation, but not in the areas affected by the nuclear plants emissions or for a vast area surrounding, including Tokyo. After all, the government admitted (Kan) that they imagined Tokyo having to be evacuated due to a meltdown.

Anyway, my point still stands -- actual action is carried out here more by local groups than by politicians and their laws. As with you, I'm glad these locals found the radation and reported it so the government WOULD do something. My concern is that if the radium was there for FIFTY years, how many people have been affected by it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Christina O'Neill, and dzimmerm56:

Thanks for your info on radium in luminous painting...

I've heard of hazardous paints with cadmium in pigment, but that's a whole different issue...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Dear Moderator,

This is the right thread and relevant, as I explain why the world doesn't believe this perceived garbage the Japanese authorities are dishing up, with this discovery in a 'vacant house' in Setagaya you mentioned.

However, maybe it is true, but due to constant lying and deception to date, from the Japanese authorities, tourism confidence is reflectively down 36% in the last year, resulting in the numbers below, you have previously presented on your webpage. I am relying on your statistics for accuracy though...

If someone challenges your point of view, is not like 'big brother' to remove, when relevance to the topic can be shown? Thank you for not removing?

This is to inform you that your message on JapanToday.com has been removed for the following reason: Off Topic

"Dear Moderator, what is a 'fact' is that tourism to Japan in the last year is down 36%, because the rest of the world does not believe a single word the Japanese government says about this issue. Maybe they have issue more than 10,000 free tickets and start telling the truth?

Moderator: You're on the wrong thread."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Anyway, my point still stands -- actual action is carried out here more by local groups than by politicians and their laws.

That's the way it SHOULD be everywhere. Concerned citizens doing what's best for their community. Why wait for some bureaucrat to decide to do something?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Does that now mean the 'stringent tests for Tokyo' are off?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ gyouza:

The woman who lived in this house until earlier in the year was 90 years old.

Yes, but her artist/ lab technician husband also lived there, and as stated, it's entirely possible he used and stored the radium...

Or are you happier to have controversy around this story?

I have no stake in this one way of the other.

An unknown artists work, possibly unearthed through this controversy, is interesting...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The government will talk about making this and that law and depend on locals to basically enforce them, encouraging patrols (where the people are actually powerless to do anything aside from observe). It would be ridiculous indeed to expect the government to test every square inch of land in the nation, but not in the areas affected by the nuclear plants emissions or for a vast area surrounding, including Tokyo. After all, the government admitted (Kan) that they imagined Tokyo having to be evacuated due to a meltdown.

Dont disagree with you at all, although personally I do still feel covering every inch of even Tokyo is a bit much to expect the authorities to be able to do. This is one occasion where I am grateful for the action of people at "ground level". "Vigilante scientists" I think one poster called them. I actually think this is a pretty good term for them! I am impressed that once the hotspot was discovered and reported the authorities were swiftly on top of it (could be something to do with Setagaya being the "posh" end of Tokyo??!) and I hope they give the same due diligence to places like the hotspot in Chiba.

Believe me, I can bash Japan as much as the next man when I think they are screwing up, but this is one such incident where i am happy and relieved to give credit where it is due - they did get on top of it quickly.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sorry, not against local actions.

But who verifies their actions, readings, equipment's, etc This days anyone can post anything on the net and is it accurate/made up/etc nobody knows nor do we know who the poster is.

Heck we can have realistic dinosaurs/etc walking across our cinema screens now and yet we trust an unknown with radioactive measurement data.

Something got lost in translations here, ditto for any other info posted online.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Smith,

If you're worried about the long term health effects, Setagaya is 16th in terms of average life expectancy.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

When I saw the workers unmasked coming out of the house with the bottles,I knew this story was the biggest fairytale since Adam hooked up with Eve.

-5 ( +1 / -5 )

some14some; dead bombs

acutually, there are thousands of unexploded bombs, which were dropped all over japan in 1945 and still remain unnoticed. they are certainly much more dangerous than these old bottles of radium.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

nigelboy: Smith, If you're worried about the long term health effects, Setagaya is 16th in terms of average life expectancy.

yeah, the 90-year-old Genki lady, who had lived in this radium house for half a century, is a typical Obaachan of Setagaya.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Interesting enough, is that this place of high radiation with people living in such proximity of it, and no deaths to be spoken of. Hmm. Food for thought. peace

1 ( +3 / -2 )

But who verifies their actions, readings, equipment's, etc This days anyone can post anything on the net and is it accurate/made up/etc nobody knows nor do we know who the poster is.

This is my big issue too. There was a situation recently where someone had posted a link to data from a guy in Yokohama who claimed there was a gajillion zillion becquerels/kg (or something like that!) of cesium on his rooftop. Now, Im not necessarily saying that it isnt true, but I cant start packing my bags and moving out on the basis of the data of someone who calls his blog "black cat nonsense" and has no independent verification of his results. This is nothing more than scaremongering to me.

However - in cases such as these where the data is passed on to the authorities/independent experts who then re-test it themselves and verify the results - THEN I start sitting up and taking notice. In this case in Setagaya, the source has become clear. I am still waiting to hear what is going on with the Yokohama rooftop - or rooftops I believe as there seems to be more than one blogger claiming contamination right now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When I saw the workers unmasked coming out of the house with the bottles,I knew this story was the biggest fairytale since Adam hooked up with Eve.

Why? Seriously - why do you think that? Do you think the authorities planted the bottles to avoid having to evacuate a small section of Setagaya? Its not as if this level is all over the ku, so why go to all the trouble of planting radioactive bottles, calling in the media, making it open and obvious to everyone who watches TV exactly what is going on, if in fact it is all a big cover up? Seems like more trouble than evacuating a few houses to me, if even that was necessary. I dont mean to diss your opinion in any way, I am just genuinely interested in why you think this is a cover up of some sort. I am wondering if I am missing something!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nicky.

We agree. Not saying there is no worry and I also took steps for me and my son. Also checking local station(Uni) for readings, etc careful of what I buy. But so far all seems within limits(and I recall chernobyl well as it hit us way too closer than the UK).

Son is fully informed and agrees that there is a heightened risk that can be offset with a good diet, etc and which we should have be doing from the word go.

In the end the cancer as has been posted is a lottery and there are many factors that cause it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The radioactive bottles are not the important part of this article. It is the private community groups exposing 'hot spots' that the J-Gov has been downplaying for too long. It is good to see the J-people calling the J-Gov's bluff. However, on the other hand, I know the community group checking radiation levels in Ibaraki is mostly foreigners and not Japanese.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

With all the technology available these days why can't the government supply the general public with actual footage of the whole investigation at the house from start to finish? It would be much more convincing than releasing obscure bottle images that have had all of their metadata removed...

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

"Hot spots" is quite funny because it's being overblown by the media and people who think that it's a vast government conspiracy.

No matter where you go in the world, if you take a radiation instrument with you and look around, you'll eventually stumble across something that's above what the background for that area normally is. http://www.nature.com/news/2011/111014/full/news.2011.593.html

3 ( +2 / -0 )

In 1943, Dr.Yoshio Nishina, the head of Japan's atomic program during WWII, told a Japanese Army Major General that radium might be used to initiate a fission reaction in uranium. I wouldn't be surprised if the radium belonged to Nishina who was using it to test his theory.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So the people complaining that the government didn't find it first are complaining about what? That the government doesn't have as many people in a prefecture as there are residents? If you assign the number of government employees monitoring radiation as a and the number of citizens out doing radiation checks as b, I'd be willing to bet the equation would be somewhere around 10a=b. If I'm close, then the residents are 10 times likely to find a hotspot than the government will.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Grrr. That should be a=b/10

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When I saw the workers unmasked coming out of the house with the bottles,I knew this story was the biggest fairytale since Adam hooked up with Eve.

What I saw on TV was workers carrying sealed** drums labelled radioactive waste. I'm no expert, but I would have assumed there was no more need for masks if the drums are sealed.

In any case I'll say it again- the idea that various authorities would collaborate to come up with a story like this to cover up a Fukushima-related hotspot in Setagaya is about the most ludicrous conspiracy theory I've ever heard. I have a question for those who think it was a lie- why did the levels of radiation in the area drop so sharply after the bottles were removed? Presumably the groups who alerted the authorities to the have also checked it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

*to the hotspot

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If it's a "conspiracy" it will be known soon enough if the levels at that spot don't go down.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Radium bottles found in Setagaya was located in a BASEMENT 2 METERS AWAY from the reading point of radiation dose with WALLS between it. Does this make sense? Also, the Setagaya hotspot was measured TWICE and it was decontaminated in the FIRST attempt. How could decontamination affect the reading to DECREASE by almost 2 microSv/hr if radium contiued to emit past those walls, 2 meters away, from a basement? The media is omitting vital info on this Fukushima-origin-diffusing reports. We need to remain attentive to these omitted facts.We need to be vigillante.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Actually, radium causes lung cancer, so I avoid radium hot springs. When radioactivity was first discovered, there were people who believed it might actually be good for health. Until scientists and watch dial painters started dying. The belief in radium hot springs seems to be a folk myth legacy from these early beliefs and void of any scientific rigour. I once proof-read a set of papers for a radium hot spring conference. They were nonsensical, nothing statistically substantiated. The conclusions were "People say they feel good when they take a bath in a radium hot spring."

If there is no concrete slab, just a wood slat floor and tatami, and the walls of the house are merely wood, then I would expect the reading two meters away to remain fairly strong. But if decontamination reduced 2 microSv, they had some problems in addition to the old paint, I would say.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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