Unbelievable: US Government Promotes Fish Consumption by Pregnant Women and Children
O’Connor, Anahad (2014, June 10). Health Officials Call for More Fish in Diets of Children and Pregnant Women. The New York Times, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/10/updated-advice-on-eating-fish-during-pregnancy/?_php=true&_type=blogs&emc=edit_th_20140611&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=32962000&_r=0 [Excerpted] Federal officials on Tuesday announced that they would recommend for the first time that women who are pregnant or breast-feeding and young children eat a minimum of two servings of low-mercury seafood every week for their health. The recommendations represent a significant shift for the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, whose previous seafood advisory in 2004 set only an upper limit on the amount of fish that these groups should eat. The proposed advisory, which will enter a public commenting period, recommends a weekly limit of 12 ounces — or about three servings — of low-mercury seafood like salmon, shrimp, cod, tilapia and light canned tuna for the women… Majia here: Shrimp, tuna, and salmon all present significant risks for contaminants.
Although there are many sources of contamination for fish, Fukushima-caused radionuclide contamination will be a persistent risk for decades:
25,800 Becquerels of Cesium Detected in Fish Caught Off Fukushima’ (21 August 2012), Jiji Press, http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2012082100864
Radiation 258 Times Legal Limit Found in Fish off Fukushima’ (22 August 2012), The Asahi Shimbun, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201208220077, date accessed 23 August 2012.
Fukushima-contaminated tuna were found in the US in 2011:
CNN: All 15 bluefin tuna samples off California had Fukushima radiation… back in AUGUST 2011 — “This year’s fish are going to be really interesting” says Stanford scientisthttp://enenews.com/cnn-all-15-bluefin-tuna-samples-off-california-had-fukushima-radiation-back-in-august-2011-this-years-fish-are-going-to-be-really-interesting-says-stanford-scientist/comment-page-1#comment-255225
Source article: http://www.kvia.com/news/31122533/detail.html Ocean kelp along the US Pacific coast was found contaminated in 2011 from rain made radioactive by Fukushima atmospheric emissions (from the March 2011 explosions).
Researchers from Cal State Northridge found a high of 40 MBq 131I , or 40,000,000 Bq/kg of Iodine-131 in one bed of Macrocystis pyrifera off the coast of Southern California in the summer of 2011. Most all kelp they tested was contaminated with radio-iodine. They did not test for cesium. Here is their publication:
S. Manley and C. Lowe (6 March 2012) ‘Canopy-Forming Kelps as California’s Coastal Dosimeter: 131I from Damaged Japanese Reactor Measured in Macrocystis Pyrifera’, Environmental Science & Technology, http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es203598r?journalCode=esthag
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ALLOWS contamination in our food and is now promoting consumption of potentially contaminated seafood (which isn’t being routinely tested) by pregnant women and children!
Yes, the FDA allows radionuclides in our food. The specific FDA Derived Intervention Levels are here: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm250779.pdf
The specific “FDA derived intervention level or criterion for each radionuclide group” are as follows “for all components of the diet” for the following:
Sr-90 160 Bq/kg
I-131 170 Bq/kg
Cs-134 + 137 1200 Bq/kg
Pu-238 + Pus 239 + Am 241 is 2 Bq/kg
Majia here: However, the permissible dose is NOT ‘the safe dose.’ There is NO safe level of exposure to radionuclides and toxic metals.
The permissible dose concept was a compromise position between Atomic Energy Commission scientists and early geneticists who argued any additional increase in radionuclide exposure creates additional risks, especially for the youngest among us.
Government protective action guidelines are compromises and their very constitution is shaped with ambiguity that allows for considerable discretion in application and interpretation.
In the case of Fukushima contamination, the US government is stating publicly that expected levels of contamination pose NO problems (meaning contamination won’t exceed the permissible dose), yet is UNWILLING TO FUND ACTUAL TESTING.
It is instructive to note that even the most stringent regulatory standards are often based on risk coefficient tables that presume risk can be predicted on the basis of exposure to a single radioactive isotope. For example:
For both internal and external exposure, a risk coefficient for a given radionuclide is based on the assumption that this is the only radionuclide present in the environmental medium. That is, doses due to decay chain members produced in the environment prior to the intake of, or external exposure to, the radionuclides are not considered.[i] This model of dose-effects taken from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assumes a vacuum where exposure is limited to a single radioisotope. The model’s predictions for dose-effects do not incorporate cumulative and synergistic effects.
Real world chemical and radiation effects for flora and fauna are impacted by bioaccumulation and exposure interactions.
Bioaccumulation is ‘the biological sequestering of a substance at a higher concentration than that at which it occurs in the surrounding environment or medium.’[ii]
Biomagnification is defined as ‘the sequence of processes in an ecosystem by which higher concentrations of a particular chemical, such as the pesticide DDT, are reached in organisms higher up the food chain, generally through a series of prey-predator relationships.’ Biomagnification results from bioaccumulation and biotransfer whereby ‘tissue concentrations of chemicals in organisms at one trophic level exceed tissue concentrations in organisms at the next lower trophic level in a food chain.’[iii]
REAL WORLD CONTAMINATION LEVELS MAY POSSIBLY EXCEED the FDA’s Derived Intervention Levels.
The EPA recently changed its Protective Action Guidelines for radionuclide exposure in radiological emergencies. The EPA’s highly relaxed levels of exposure in air and drinking water may be matched by complementary FDA highly-relaxed exposure levels for food and milk. Read about how the EPA recently raised its acceptable exposure levels:
Michael Collins, the Enviroreporter has a very informative story here: http://www.enviroreporter.com/2013/07/epa-nukes-radiation-rules/all/1/ Helen Caldicott also has an excellent review and critique of the new guidelines: Caldicott, Helen (2013) Obama Approves Raising Permissible Levels of Nuclear Radiation in Drinking Water. Civilian Cancer Deaths Expected to Skyrocket’, Global Research, http://www.globalresearch.ca/obama-approves-raising-permissible-levels-of-nuclear-radiation-in-drinking-water-civilian-cancer-deaths-expected-to-skyrocket/5331224 It may be that we are being “allowed” by policy to consume relatively high levels of contaminants, including radionuclides, whose bio-magnification in human bodies poses health and reproductive risks.
Women and children should not be eating seafood unless said seafood is tested for elements such as mercury AND radioactive elements, especially tritium, iodine, cesium, strontium, and uranium.
On May 26, 2011 Greenpeace criticized Japan’s inadequate radiation monitoring of “serious marine contamination” http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/Greenpeace-Fukushima-radiation-research-reveals-serious-marine-contamination/
July 2011: China Detects Radiation In Ocean at 10 to 300 Times Normal Levels From Fukushima Nuclear Accident Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 03:23 PM http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/07/31/1001231/-China-Detects-Radiation-In-Ocean-at-10-to-300-Times-Normal-Levels-From-Fukushima-Nuclear-Accident
Record cesium level found in groundwater beneath Fukushima levee February 14, 2014 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201402140041
Record-high tainted water leak at Fukushima plant (2014, February 20). NHK, http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20140220_22.html
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says 100 tons of water containing record high levels of radioactive substances overflowed from a storage tank. Tokyo Electric Power Company officials on Thursday said workers on patrol found the leak in one of the tanks located on the mountain side of the Number 4 reactor building late Wednesday night. They said the leaked water contained an extraordinarily high 230-million becquerels per liter of beta-ray emitting substances, consisting mainly of strontium 90. The level is about 7.6 million times the government’s permissible standard for the nuclide level of water allowed to be released into the sea.
Pynn, L. (2014, March 12). Troubled waters: Nuclear radiation found in B.C. may pose health concerns. Discovery of Fukushima radioactivity raises concerns for local marine life, and the effect it may have on humans. Vancouver Sun, http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Troubled+waters+Nuclear+radiation+found+pose+health+concerns/9606269/story.html#ixzz2vlXdiMR6
RELEVANT BLOG POSTS
[i] Environmental Protection Agency (1999) Cancer Risk Coefficients for Environmental Exposure to Radionuclides: Federal Guidance Report No.13, http://www.epagov/radiation/docs/federal/402-r-99-001.pdf, date accessed 25 November 2012.
[ii] U.S. Geological Survey (2011) Bioaccumulation, http://toxics.usgs.gov/definitions/bioaccumulation.html, date accessed 2 August 2012.
[iii] U.S. Geological Survey (2011) Biomagnification, http://toxics.usgs.gov/definitions/bioaccumulation.html, date accessed 2 August 2012.