Study: Radiation Levels Off Japan Not Dangerously High


A study of fish and plankton collected from the Pacific Ocean near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant finds higher levels of radioactive material in the organisms, but not high enough to threaten public health, CNN reports.

Three months after the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, level of Cesium-137 were 1,000 times higher than usual in water off Japan -- sounds like a lot, perhaps, but it amounts to a fractional increase in the radiation the fish in these waters are exposed to from naturally-occurring potassium.

Nicholas Fisher, a marine science professor at New York's Stony Brook University, said that "The total radiation in the marine organisms that we collected from Fukushima is still less than the natural radiation background that the animals already had, and quite a bit less. ... It's about 20%."

Although these results are heartening, Fisher cautioned that "There's a lot of key missing information about the sediments." For instance, when they did their tests in June 2011, scientists were not allowed within 19 miles of the plant, a perimeter mandated by authorities in the week after the disaster.

As to whether radiation is reaching American shores, the USGS says you can rest easy. According to a new report: "Fallout amounts measured in precipitation by NADP were similar to amounts measured by other organizations, which were determined to be well below any level of public health concern."

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