Fukushima Fallout: Low Levels of Radiation in US Milk, Contaminated Marine Life in Japan

Low levels of radiation have been found in milk in Washington and California, says the Daily Mail. The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it is increasing its monitoring of radiation in milk, rain and drinking water, but the levels of radiation found do not seem to pose any dangers to public health.

Says the New York Times:

Radioactive materials in liquids are measured in pico-curies per liter, and the sample, taken March 25, showed a reading of 0.8 pico-curies, the agency said. Those numbers, it said, would have to be 5,000 times higher to reach the “intervention level” set by the Food and Drug Administration.

“These types of findings are to be expected in the coming days and are far below levels of public health concern, including for infants and children,” the environmental agency said.

Levels of iodine 131 entering the air can be very diluted, but if the iodine is deposited on grass eaten by cows, the cows will reconcentrate it in their milk by a factor of 1,000. This is mainly a concern with fresh milk, not for dairy products that are stored before consumption.

Iodine 131 has a half-life of eight days: after eight days, it loses half of its strength. So, iodine 131 from the Fukushima reactors (which were shut down on March 11) has already been through two half-lives, and “could easily be halved once or twice more again before the milk is consumed as cheese or yogurt.”

While milk products in the US seem to be safe, high levels of radiation have been detected in the waters off the coast of Fukushima, raising concerns about harm to marine life and the contamination of fish, shellfish and seaweed. Says that Guardian

Tests on seawater near the nuclear power plant showed that levels of radioactive iodine reached 3,355 times the legal limit on Monday, one of several peaks in recent days that have fallen rapidly as radioactive substances decayed and were steadily diluted and dispersed by ocean currents. 

Officials are watching levels of iodine-131 in seawater because although it has a half-life of eight days, meaning it is half as radioactive after that time, the substance builds up in seaweed, a common food in the Japanese diet. If consumed, radioactive iodine collects in the thyroid and can cause cancer. 

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), iodine-131 in seawater would soon be “of no concern,” provided that no more contaminated water is released into the sea water.

Also according to the IAEA, Japanese authorities have announced their first analyses of fish which were caught at the port of Choshi, in Chiba prefecture south of Fukushima. One out of five fish was found to be contaminated with a detectable level of caesium-137, which is a “far more persistent radioactive substance, though at a concentration that was far below safety limits for consumption.” A number of countries including Britain have started radiation testing on fish, shellfish and other fresh produce from Japan, or have imposed more extensive bans on products from the region.

The Daily Mail also reports that radiation from the Fukushima leak has been detected in 15 US states. Earlier this week, the EPA confirmed that radiation was found in air filters in Alabama and in rainwater in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

In other words, we are all going to be living with the fallout from the Fukushima leak for some time.

Previous Care2 Coverage

FDA Blocks Import Of Japanese Milk And Produce


Photo by Muffet.


Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Celine V.
Celine V6 years ago

Thank you...

Valerie G.
Valerie G6 years ago

Thanks for taking the time to post this.

Christa Deanne
Oceana Ellingson6 years ago

The whole thing is just sad. Even if there isn't a lot of radiation in our milk, we still don't know what the outcome of how dangerous it really is will be.

Mad M.
Mad Milker6 years ago

Kristina....not to worry...Mother Nature is looking over US.

Brenda Gilbert
Brenda Gilbert6 years ago

I would like to echo what Masaru Emoto was suggesting we all do - send a message to the waters of Fukushima to help in the healing process.

"Waters of Fukushima nuclear plant, we are sorry for your suffering. We love you and are grateful to you" Say this 3 times with heartfelt intention to change the vibration of the water.

This is something so easy and so powerful that we can all do.

If you are sceptical please look up Masru Emoto's work and studies of the effects of thought and words on water.

Bon L.
Bon L6 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Alicia F.
Alicia F6 years ago

There needs to be some due diligence in reporting radiation levels in milk in Washington. Anyone ever heard of Hanford Nuclear Reservation? Or the releases of radiation by Hanford? Those could easily account for the traces of radiation. And there has been no testing of radiation levels in *anything* in Washington since those releases, so there's been no baseline established. The same can be true for California; there are several nuclear power plants there that are just as old as Hanford.

Then there's the question of how accurate the equipment being used is. Has it been calibrated recently, or did they just take it out of storage without calibration?

Hope S.
Hope S6 years ago

What took them so long to release the information regarding the radiation in sea water; my family and friends knew this was happening when they used sea water to cool the reactors down.

What did surprise me was that Pennsylvania has radiation in rain water. We already have radiation in our rivers from fracking. Also surprised me that air filters in Alabama have

The planet is being poisoned in additional ways
so maybe we are going into "the end times." Should make the Republicans happy. :-(

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L6 years ago

Not concerned.