Why is the Beehive ‘radio inactive’?
Another chapter over Fukushima and fish.
Last year, a family concern was over packed fish and we wondered whether it came from questionable water sources in Asia. A fisheries importing executive assured me it wasn’t.
‘‘No, no. It’s actually processed in China – but probably netted by Russian trawlers in the northern Pacific.’’
Which didn’t allay my concerns.
A Canadian high schoolgirl got me worrying again.
Bronwyn Delacruz never imagined that her school science project would make headlines and cause me concern but that’s precisely what has happened.
Bronwyn used a $600 Geiger counter bought by her father to measure seafood bought at Alberta grocery stores for radioactive contamination.
Much of the seafood, particularly products processed in China, tested with very high radiation levels.
So is this being caused by nuclear radiation from Fukushima? Is the seafood, sourced in its wrapping to China, risking cancer and other diseases?
Bronwyn conducted her science project after the Canadian Government stopped testing imported seafood for radiation. She loves sushi but became concerned after learning how little food inspection actually takes place on some of its key ingredients.
She was shocked to discover that, in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency stopped testing imported foods for radiation in 2012.
She studied a variety of seafoods – particularly seaweeds – as part of an award-winning science project she will take to a national fair.
‘‘Some kelp I found was higher than what the International Atomic Energy Agency sets as radioactive contamination which is 1450 counts over a 10-minute period. Some of my samples came up as 1700 or 1800.’’
Samples that ‘‘lit up’’ the most were products from China bought in local stores. Question: Are they from the same sources that are in Auck- land freezers – ‘‘Product of China’’, but caught in the northern Pacific? And it’s not just China. In 2012, the Vancouver Sun reported that cesium-137 was found in a very high percentage of the fish Japan was selling to Canada:
73 per cent mackerel
91 per cent of the halibut
92 per sardines
93 per cent tuna and eel
94 per cent of the cod and anchovies
100 per cent of the carp, seaweed, shark and monkfish
From a recent EcoWatch article:
‘‘Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is an American private, non-profit research and higher education facility dedicated to the study of all aspects of marine science and engineering and to the education of marine researchers.
‘‘Scientists from the institute who have been testing waters around the reactors – as well as around the Pacific Rim – confirm the levels of Fukushima fallout,
of the especially of cesium.
‘‘The Japanese are testing off the coast of Japan and one fish recently caught off Fukushima was discovered to have 124 times the safe level of radioactive cesium.
‘‘A test in California discovered that all of 15 bluefin tuna tested were contaminated with radiation from Fukushima. Researchers say a plume of radioactive water has been moving from Fukushima toward the American west coast.’’
Are we waiting until fish glow in the dark before we set up testing what could be a potential source of radioactive cesium?
How long before New Zealand officials report on imported fish here?
Why aren’t they checking to make sure that this killer radiation is not getting into our food chain already?
Radiation testing: Must we wait for it to glow in the dark?