Asahi: People eating more radiation, but not in danger — 96% of Fukushima residents ingested cesium on Dec. 4, 56% in Tokyo area -Study

Published: January 19th, 2012 at 3:00 am ET


Title: Fukushima people eating more cesium but not in danger, says study
Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Date:January 19, 2012

The median daily intake of radioactive cesium from meals eaten by families in Fukushima Prefecture is more than 11 times the


level in the Kanto region near Tokyo but still well within safety standards, according to a study.

The median intake from three daily meals in Fukushima Prefecture, home to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, was 4.01 becquerels compared with 0.35 becquerel in the Kanto region around Tokyo, according to the joint study by The Asahi Shimbun and Kyoto University’s Department of Health and Environmental Sciences. […]

The Asahi Shimbun and Kyoto University conducted the study on the basis
of samples, provided by 53 households, of all food and drink items
consumed by a household member on Dec. 4. […]

However, there is currently no clear-cut boundary below which health effects from low radiation doses have been ruled out by scientists. […]

Akio Koizumi, a professor at Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Medicine who conducted the study

  • “Even the cesium level in Fukushima Prefecture is sufficiently low”
  • “It did not turn out to be so high as to give rise to concern about its health effects”
  • “The total cesium content in meals tends to be thinned out, because food ingredients circulating in the market come from a variety of regions”
  • “The latest figures are not so large that one should immediately review the choice of food ingredients”
  • “It is essential to have a well-balanced diet to disperse the risks”

According to the chart, 25 of 26 people in Fukushima ingested cesium, 9 of 16 in Kanto (Tokyo area), and 1 of 11 in Western Japan.

The test only looked at 3 meals eaten on Dec. 4, 2011.

It appears that the families knew of the testing before preparing their meals.

No mention of other radionuclides released from Fukushima, like strontium-89 or -90

Read the report here

Published: January 19th, 2012 at 3:00 am ET


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37 comments to Asahi: People eating more radiation, but not in danger — 96% of Fukushima residents ingested cesium on Dec. 4, 56% in Tokyo area -Study

  • pacific

    Just to recap,

    * * * It’s the math on the ‘internal’ exposure that magnifies whatever we eat/breathe so much. * * * Thusly,

    1 Becquerel is means one disintegration per second, one arrow of radiation coming out of a particle of cesium or whatever. If you take in material that’s putting out just 1 Bq and it stays in your body, it’s putting out a zap a second.

    But remember the number 32 million.

    There are 60x60x24x365 = about 32 million seconds in a year. Eat 4 Bq of radioactive cesium. As long as that 4Bq that stays inside you (and Cesium is one of the champions of radiation in terms of most of it being taken up into your body), then you’ve got not just 4 zaps of damaging radiation on a one-time basis, you’ve got 4 zaps every second, every day, ongoing.

    So, 4Bq/sec x 32 million seconds/year! means you’d have 120 million damaging zaps hitting you from the inside per year, ongoing.

    Remember the number 32 million.

  • arclight arclight

    why did they stop atmospheric testing??
    when will daichi stop “emmiting”??
    what about the cesium in the mountains?? whens that going to move??
    what about sea to land transfer??
    what about “normal emmissions from nuke power plants anywhere in the eastern pacific?

    “The science ministry conducted a similar study between 1963 and 2008. The median cesium content in the Japanese diet was 2.03 becquerels in 1963, because the United States, the Soviet Union and China were conducting numerous nuclear tests in the atmosphere in the 1960s. The figure from the latest study in Fukushima Prefecture is about twice that level.”

  • Human0815

    I really do not understand why the Government
    and the Japanese Agriculture Union do not stop
    the sale and production of Food from the highly
    contaminated Areas!

    They are planning to return to the pre-Fukushima
    Safety Levels but this is impossible with Food from
    Many parts of Fukushima-, Miyagi and Ibaraki Prefectures!

    Of course Tepco need to pay the Farmers for their financial damage!
    Already now not many People buy Food from there
    and the Farmer are angry and in a bad financial situation!

    • arclight arclight

      well said!! the lessons are there to be learnt by the catastrophies of chernobyl and belarus but the iaea and thier ilk have been busy covering up and manipulating statistics.. in the last 10 months i have discovered a veritable web of deciet concerning low dose models, bioaccumulation, icrp, public monitoring, waste disposal, allowable amounts,genetic damage, the toxic effects of cesium and bioaccumulation in body tissues..

      the universities have not done the proper research because the dose concept they use is wrong.. the “allowable diseases” detract from other health concerns.. and the use of statistical models for all of the above confuse and distort the reality on the ground.. science has been blinkered…

    • StillJill StillJill

      Human said:-“and the Farmer are angry and in a bad financial situation!” Yes, and they are also,….at the same time,…dying! And,…they know it. And,….nothing is being done! How do you suppose THAT feels?

      • Human0815

        StillJill do not know anything,
        the majority of F’Shima Farmers
        will die because of their Age,
        some will die because of the Pesticides
        and some will die by Radiation,
        from the Fertilizer!

        The average age of the Japanese Farmer is above 50,
        this Group is not sooooo vulnerable for Radiation

        • StillJill StillJill

          The human body should not die at 50! That is not natural death anymore!

          • Human0815

            Please read what i wrote,
            i never said that “they have to die” at the age of 50, i wrote they are less vulnerable for Radiation (like a Baby, Kid or Teenager)

            The majority will die because of their age “,”
            (comma)a few will die because of their overuse of Fertilizer, Pesticides and Herbicides!

            • jec jec

              “farmer” with pancreatic cancer-thats what is going to happen, luekemia, cancer like pancreatic,lung the 50 yr old farmers. loss, nausea, intestinal issues..guess a majority will least THAT statement is correct. Can’t figure out the comments in this string–any attempts to say the radiation is not any crazy. If not the humans, the environment as well. All the farmers should go to Tokyo, use the hotels, restrooms, trains..and see if shedding of THEIR radioactive contamination causes any concern. It should… None of this fallout from TEPCOs Nuclear plants are safe!

            • Tanuki San

              I agree with Human0815. I just saw the National Academy of Scientists cancer risk estimates, and the risk of cancer decreases significantly with age. If most of the farmers are older, they’re likely to die of causes other than cancer. The main concern should be for younger women and children still living in contaminated areas who are most at risk.

              • StillJill StillJill

                You ARE Human0815,…of course you agree with him/her! Duh!

                • Tanuki San

                  I am not that person, StillJill. Your accusation is rude and not appreciated. Why don’t you watch the lastest video by Fairewinds?


                  If you still disagree, fine, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Having an intelligent discussion is better than freaking out like a chicken with its head cut off.

                  • many moons

                    I think your point is lost due to volume….your ideas are based on limited exposures that are more significant to young developing bodies. However when the amount of exposure is so great…no one is left unharmed. Take for example the recent study done in Germany, the rates of cancer for individuals living near nuclear plants was 90 percent across the board. Everyone is effected becaus the amount is so high…just like in Japan right now, the levels are UNCOMPARABLE to past studies and therefore your point is invalid.

              • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

                Can you supply a link? The elderly are more likely to get cancer than everyone except babies in the womb, babies, and toddlers, and the very young.

        • jec jec

          @stilljill Hang in there. Yes, true older people may likely die of other disease..but some deaths may be due to the high radiation– heart infarc, heart/autoimmune disease and so on…we see that already in the population. Remember the ones who have just suddenly died with "Heart failure." The young runner, the decontamination workers, the students….. So while CANCER may not be the main killer in older populations, RADIATION exposure can ben the major agent of death..

    • midwestern midwestern

      Farmers in the Fukushima prefecture? It may seem cruel to tell farmers that remain in this region that they may not farm anymore, but isn’t it less humane to allow them to farm and then introduce their food into the marketplace for consumption…or then have it not purchased? Why are they being allowed to farm in that region at all? Well, I know the answer to this question, but it is not humane or okay from any perspective.

  • sebaschan

    this whole “each bq more then nil will threaten your life” story is far from being true. Of course cesium is man-made and each bq cesium you ingest is more than you usually would ingest, but don’t forget that there is about 4000bq in the human body. Just by natural radiation. Most of it is Potassium-40. According to actual data, with every kg of meat you eat, you also ingest up to 300bq of 40K (Potassium) on a regular basis.
    The thing is, 40K or C137… the impact on the body doesn’t differ much. For Infants 40K is even worse than C137:
    40K: 62 nSv/Bq
    C137: 21 nSv/Bq
    For 17 year old and older its the other way around:
    40K: 6,2 nSv/Bq
    C137: 13 nSv/Bq
    I’m not on the gov’ side and I also convict them for spreading false information, but spreading other false information won’t do any good either.

    So coming back to your maths… you are being attacked by 1,280,000,000,000 zaps every year even if don’t ingest cesium.

    • Mack Mack

      Once again:

      Potassium-40 cannot be compared to the manmade radionuclide Cesium-137, because the human body has had millions of years to adapt to potassium-40:

      “The human body is born with potassium-40 in its tissues and it is the most common radionuclide in human tissues and in food. We evolved in the presence of potassium-40 and our bodies have well-developed repair mechanisms to respond to its effects.”

    • pacific

      Hi Sebaschan, thanks for your comments, I should read up on the distinction you’re drawing – I don’t know enough to ‘compare and contrast’ naturally occurring radionuclides vs. manmade.

      What I think I’ve come across several times in looking for other radiation info, and definitely heard from trusted sources like Dr. Helen Caldicott: Potassium-40, a natural radionuclide, is practially benign compared to the manmade ones, including Cesium-134 and 137. Something about the type of radiation emitted, or the intensity.

      Also, I thought that any one exposure to radiation can damage cells, including damaging DNA to cause birth defects, cancer, etc. Most ‘zaps’ of individual radioactive particles/rays cause either death to cells or damage that can be repaired.

      But any one Becquerel zap, in any given second, could be the one that overwhelms the body’s ability to repair or resist, and results in a serious problem. That I’m sure of. So why eat/inhale any more of the stuff than we absolutely have to?

      Thankyou Mack, PureWater and rdklein for taking up the slack with your replies to Sebaschan!

    • pacific

      About the infants vs teenagers comparison, that’s why I like Becquerels. They’re the actual measured radiation coming off the material.

      Sieverts are a _estimation_ of the effect on the body, the ‘dose’, right, based on the original measured radiation coming off the material? I’m sure that’s valuable, but I do like the simple directness of thinking in terms of actual radiation coming off of food or water.

  • But there is a difference in the kind of particles and radiation emitted.
    For K40 around 90% is 1.3 MeV beta and 10% is 1.4 MeV Gamma (0.002% with 0.511MeV from the positron eletronc collisions)

    For CS137 you have many different types, for example 85% 0.661 MeV Gamma, then also lots of beta (0.513 MeV, 1.175 MeV), X-Rays (around 21 kEv) etc. This might react different on the body, at least the stronger gamma. For K40 the cells did get adapted of the years (we have it since the beginning of life) for CS137 it might be different and not good adapted.

  • gerryhiles

    As regards what’s happening in Japan generally, I just got an email from an Iranian rap artist, who I have admired for a few years … Salomealone.

    Weird connection? Don’t switch off too fast, because Salome has posted a video about children in Japan making paper cranes to try to ensure good luck:

    Pathetic? Well yes and no. Judge for yourself, especially in the light of Salome, herself, being an Iranian and having her country threatened with nuclear attack/total disaster, which she raps about with:

    Greetings to you folks who know me from when Enenews first began and know that I seldom post … well it has all been said by Arnie and many enlightened other people, so what can I add?

    In this respect I go along with Ecclesiastes (OT) who observed that there is nothing new “under the Sun”. Indeed there is not. The Sun and all stars have been performing ALL manner of nuclear processes for eternity … certainly billions of years before our species got to imagining that we could use and control everything.

    I will end with the Byrds rendition of Ecclesiastes:

  • LetThemEatYellowCake LetThemEatYellowCake

    “It is essential to have a well-balanced diet to disperse the risks”

    Thus, we’ll send most of our food to the Americans so in their grocery stores on the east coast they’ll now find new aisles in their stores stocked with chic new choices shipped directly from Japan. Gotta disperse the risks ya know..

  • Fudo

    This is not a scientific study.

    First of all. the supermarkets in Fukushima have much more stringent testing for radiation than the rest of Japan, so this skews the results for regional comparison. The Fukushima food is being shipped further away where awareness is lower. So, for the levels to be that high in Fukushima is not a positive.

    Second, the sample group and timeline are too small. One family in Tokyo can be buying food from Kagoshima and another from Tohoku, so one is measuring very low and another very high, and they give you the average to say it’s safe. Complete nonsense.

    The study was also tainted by informing the participants the nature of it which would have affected their buying pattern.

    The point is, the household with highest Cesium level in the group test should have been used to define the danger, not a median average.

    More bullshit from Asahi Shimbun. (whose largest advertiser is Tepco)

  • Fudo

    This is no different than the pretzel logic they’re using to burn radioactive waste.

    Mixing highly radioactive waste with non-contaminated waste to drop the emission average under the safety limit so they can still burn it.

  • kintaman kintaman

    No “immediate” danger anyway…

  • Tanuki San

    I didn’t think this article was thorough enough. It didn’t mention what types of meals the people cooked and whether or not they were trying to avoid potentially contaminated foods. It would have been more interesting if they had tested school lunches or bento meals from convenience stores. Even though people here seem to think the radiation levels the article mentions are high, it was a lot less than I was expecting. I’d guess that most people in Japan would agree with me on that. I think the aim of this article was to make people feel more secure and less worried about contaminated food. Europe was contaminated by Chernobyl and people have been eating the food there for years without questioning it much. I’m not confident that this article paints an accurate portrait of food contamination in Japan, but it was an interesting topic.

  • bleep_hits_blades


    It is well known and has been oft-repeated that the most at risk groups, when exposed to radiation, are the young, the old/elderly, and the infirm. Their immune systems are not functioning as well as are those of adults in the prime of life. Also the elderly have more toxins stored in their tissues and many have chronic degenerative illnesses.

    The additional 'insult' of radionuclide ingestion/inhalation can – and, statistically, does – bring about earlier death.

    I have many times and in many places read that the children (incl. in utero) and the elderly are in a higher 'at risk' category from radiation exposure. This is not really a point that is open to debate – it is known fact.