Experts: Fukushima can’t be excluded as factor in sea stars turning to goo along West Coast; It hasn’t been ruled out — They’re “particularly proficient” at absorbing radioisotopes; 1,000 times more plutonium than fish (AUDIO)

Published: December 28th, 2013 at 2:05 am ET
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The Oregonian, Dec. 27, 2013: Starfish [...] are dying on the West Coast in big numbers, wasting away, losing arms and simply turning to mush [...] colonies of starfish quickly die and disintegrate into white goo. Deaths have been confirmed from Alaska to Southern California. [...] Pete Raimondi, chairman of UC Santa Cruz’s ecology and evolutionary biology department [...] doesn’t believe the die-off is connected to any toxins in Japanese tsunami debris or radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, but he said those sources haven’t been ruled out either.

Earthfiles, Dec. 20, 2013: Radioactivity [didn't] seem to be a problem from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plants in Japan. The Washington State Health Department and other agencies tested West Coast fish and have so far not found elevated radiation levels. Further if Strontium-90 and Cesium-137 contamination was a factor, many other marine creatures would be dying, not only sea stars. [...]

More on the radiation ‘tests’ by the State of Washington:

  • The Olympian, Nov. 24, 2013 (emphasis added): The [Washington] Health Department has test [sic] albacore tuna caught in the waters off the Pacific coast, one from before the Fukushima disaster and one caught after. In addition, the department has tested one salmon, one steelhead, as well as razor clams and other shellfish after the Fukushima disaster. [...]

The problem with extrapolating radioactive contamination of fish to sea stars:

  • Oceanus Magazine, May 2, 2013: Marine invertebrates, such as bottom-dwelling starfish and sea urchins, are particularly proficient at absorbing a wide range of ingested radioisotopes [Fowler] said.
  • Scott W. Fowler, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University, Nov. 12, 2012 (at 8:00 in): Species dependent uptake of plutonium from sea water by various marine organisms [...] There’s a huge difference in what these types of organisms accumulate [...] Fish aren’t particularly sensitive to plutonium, you can see the concentration factor is extremely low [Starfish have a concentration factor ~1,000 times higher than fish].

“Other marine creatures would be dying, not only sea stars”:

  • Heal the Bay: This year’s epidemic began in Washington in June; since then at least 12 different species of sea stars and even some purple sea urchins have been found as victims of the wasting disease. [...] [Sea stars are the] top predator from intertidal ecosystems [...]
  • Metal and radionuclides bioaccumulation in marine organisms, October 2002: “Biomagnification” of metals and radionuclides in aquatic organisms refers to an increase in tissue concentration of a given element in higher [...] levels of a specific food chain.
  • WAMC Radio, Dec. 4, 2013: “The absence or decline of a single species can alert us to a problem that deserves closer attention.”

Ian Hewson, Ph.D., Asst. Professor of Microbiology, Cornell University, Dec. 20, 2013: We’ve had a lot of questions about whether it is related to radiation from Fukushima. We can’t completely exclude that possibility, but at the same time when you examine sea stars on the Japanese side of the Pacific, they are not dying, as far as we know. And it’s very unlikely that is the source of the problem. [...] it’s probably something in the water. Something in the water could be either chemical, it could be combined chemical and biological [...] I’m very surprised when I hear about 100% death rates of any organism when you are talking about a disease. It is not in nature, for example, for a pathogen to wipe out your entire host population. [It] has to have something to survive in.

Listen to Hewson’s interview here

Published: December 28th, 2013 at 2:05 am ET
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Related Posts

  1. NBC Nightly News: “Another highly troubling report about what’s going on in the Pacific” — Millions of starfish ‘melt away’ from Alaska to California — Expert: Fukushima radiation ‘not ruled out’ as factor in epidemic — Very, very different than anything seen before (VIDEO) December 1, 2013
  2. Alaska Professor on Radio: Fukushima fallout a suspected factor in ‘unusual mortality’ of seals and walrus — We couldn’t test for plutonium (AUDIO) January 28, 2014
  3. Nuclear Expert: Plutonium in water leaking into ocean is “the most dangerous thing” at Fukushima, it can be carried around world and end up on a beach or in fish — Researcher: Plutonium contamination “a serious threat to environment and human health” (AUDIO) December 9, 2013
  4. Scientist: Leading edge of Fukushima plume is now showing up on West Coast — Fish Market Owner: My customers have a lot of concerns about the nuclear contamination, they’re very smart and educated… I didn’t expect this much concern (AUDIO) November 29, 2013
  5. NPR: Starfish epidemic “moving fast” — Turning into ‘goo’ in Washington, not just Canada — “Virus, bacteria or something else entirely”? “Will it spread to other sea life and other parts of West Coast?” (AUDIO) October 14, 2013

72 comments to Experts: Fukushima can’t be excluded as factor in sea stars turning to goo along West Coast; It hasn’t been ruled out — They’re “particularly proficient” at absorbing radioisotopes; 1,000 times more plutonium than fish (AUDIO)

  • Mark Wonclunker

    Hewson: "it’s probably something in the water"

    This fella is REALLY bright.


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    • Starfish filter water through their whole bodies, which is a big sieve of carbonate. What effect does plutonium have on calcium carbonate if it gets lodged in it?

      Probably like bone, where the plutonium radiates everything around it and turns it into a bloody mush.

      Since starfish have no blood, they just turn into mush and dissolve.

      Sounds like the plutonium and all of the rest of it just arrived officially.

      The plutonium welcome wagon is out..

      One tester got 500 CPM on the beach sand right below SF a week ago


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    • unincredulous unincredulous

      "The [Washington] Health Department has test [sic] albacore tuna caught in the waters off the Pacific coast, one from before the Fukushima disaster and one caught after. In addition, the department has tested one salmon, one steelhead, as well as razor clams and other shellfish after the Fukushima disaster. [...]"

      Well worth the money the taxpayers dished out. BRILLIANTLY though out study. And they were able to get 18 holes in the same day.


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  • Ontological Ontological

    Been thinking the same about attacking microbes never cleaning out entire populations. They are too smart. Humans are the only species that clean out entire populations with no thought whatsoever of the consequence.
    Most of this entire population is scrounging the fish flopping on the endless stretch of beach ahead of them going out to sea. They gather the fish greedily scarfing all of the fish ever travelling further out. Too stupid to see the oncoming 300 foot tsunami roaring towards them.
    Like a runaway bulldozer that threw its operator off the drivers seat in a forest, the crowd boldly stands directly in the path of destruction watching the rouge machine drop trees like blades of grass ahead of it, convinced even though no one can; that someone will stop it before any damage to them has been done.


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  • Sickputer

    Just keep on reassuring folks about the massive die-off of West coast North American wildlife…I really detest crowds at the bottled water aisle and South American foods.

    Good job government and fishing industry folks! Hope you have a snappy rejoinder for the Chinese ban on all North American shellfish. Need to work on that one I guess.

    Joe Six Pack and the family is having a nice holiday season On the Beach. Only 45 days or so to the Daytona 500. Fred Astaire would have loved it.

    Slap one of those yellow salmons on the grill and chug down a few quenching drinks. Maybe they can add some food coloring or label them Atlantic salmon. Oh wait…they already do that. Thanks local, state, and government leaders. I really hate scientific warnings that might cause house values to plummet. Just tell me what I need to hear to keep the economy on track. I don't like bad news so just keep it under wraps as long as possible.


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    • OldFool

      The virtually total news blackout in the US about the Chinese ban on US shellfish has been absolutely amazing. It should have been reported loudly in every US paper. The Chinese have probably decided the radiation levels will reach dangerous levels long before any public warning is made, if ever. But the US could have rightfully blocked all Chinese food imports on safety concerns with even far greater justification. But the US government says nothing, does nothing. Totally gutless and brainless at every single level. Just like the officers of the USS Reagan. Might as well make a total unconditional surrender to the Chinese before the war even officially starts. What a disgrace.


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      • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

        Sheep and cattle's main purpose is to eat fodder/consume fodder/pass fodder waste..nothing more.

        They must be kept in/controlled inside corrals and then constantly fed fodder on a regular basis..

        Some call this something similar to representative of lots of shopping..


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      • OldFool

        Concerning the Japanese sea stars -
        If they actually were dying in huge numbers on the Japanese coast (I strongly suspect that they actually are), I Really Doubt that the Japanese government and its controlled media would ever allow it to be reported. Anyone who did would soon be found dead in a park with a plastic bag over their head, and the police would instantly call it a suicide (this actually happened to one guy in the Tohoku who was reporting his high Geiger counter readings in 2011 or 2012 to the irritation of several).
        Concerning the lack of testing -
        Waving a Geiger counter over sea stars is not going to prove much, the flesh needs to be tested with special equipment. Why isn't somebody doing this? If they had been able to find a special pathogen or chemical, they would have shouted it from every rooftop. So they did Not find any special pathogen or chemical cause. This implies death by radiation and/or immune system destruction.


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  • wetpwcas1 wetpwcas1

    A PH D, Person Highly Dangerous! A person who acts on un-proven complete control of any thing that might go wrong based on old data, false data, any data to be rich! They sell shit daily on TV & never fix what they broke. FUKUSHIMA, HANFORD< OAK RIDGE & every nuke plant & its waste that will last a billion years after we are long back to dust!

    Oh, what is the use if the whole world does not back no nukes, well if one life is saved that is a win!


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  • lickerface lickerface

    I don't like the direction this is all going. Researchers are simply not being scientific about testing for isotopes nor are they willing to go the extra mile to rule out radiation. Them simply saying "it's not radiation", yet saying "but we won't rule it out" is not comforting. It feels like a dead end – they are wanting to side with "it's not radiation" while just saying the other part just to make it appear as if they are doing more. I bet these researchers have no marine life pre-2011 to even compare against. "Scientists" has become a word that means "unprofessional" to me.


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  • Sol Man

    Humans are the only species that will engage in behaviors that can destroy all other species and their collective home, air, water, food, children, and future.


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    • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

      "The known history of collective humanity offers a distinct
      behavior pattern …We will continue down a destructive path
      until we paint ourselves in to a corner where we are left
      with 2 choices…change or die."
      R. Buckminster Fuller (paraphrased)


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  • deaddolphins simonhhh

    Its a case of minimization, rationalization, reductionism and denial…we can't rule it out but we can't rule it in…maybe, potentially, quite possibly and plausible deniability…no conclusive research or deliberate lack of research…is "good" research [sic]…keep their fund packages, cushy little jobs and retirement packages…in their white coats, look busy coming out with lame/ bullshit statements and deliberately "don't rock the boat"…
    It's criminal and will kill a whole lotta life with the planet going to HELL in a hand basket…

    Scientists?? indeed…


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  • lovE lovE

    "whether it is related to radiation from Fukushima. We can’t completely exclude that possibility, but at the same time when you examine sea stars on the Japanese side of the Pacific, they are not dying, as far as we know. And it’s very unlikely that is the source of the problem. [...] it’s probably something in the water."

    Good point about starfish on Japanese side. His qualifier, "as far as we know" needs further clarification.

    In any event the ocean as sewer cannot go on forever. It is already on its way to becoming a dead zone.

    Too many humans nest-shitting it seems to me. Let's limit human population so that other species can also live.


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    • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

      @lovE: nice catch! I was wondering if any else was thinking on that statement, that the starfish aren't dying on the Japanese side. If true, it's an important question and you're correct to what's known.

      Love that nest thing! All your thoughts were spot-on…


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      • pinksailmatt pinksailmatt

        "when you examine sea stars on the Japanese side of the Pacific, they are not dying, as far as we know."

        So this Cornell University shill is pointing the finger at someone else to examine the sea stars…ie YOU…comes to the conclusion that the sea stars are not dying…I guess based on "YOU", and then disclaimers it by saying "as far as we know".

        Wow…I wish I could say them kind of words in the business I'm in.


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    • Ontological Ontological

      Limit population, great idea LovE, too late tho. Was 2 billion not quite when I was a lad. People treated each other with respect. kindness, and understanding. The was no overcrowding, schools were 16 to 20 kids a class. The system worked as we were getting ready to land of the Moon. Then things changed. Too many kids in school, too many animals in the urban jungles, too many corporate accidents.
      Then along came the nuclear news. Many fought nukes, both bombs and NPP. We little people lost as the evil grew. TMI, Chernobyl, Gulf War DU all over the world in ammo, food utensils. Endless war with countries we have no business in whatsoever.
      Tiny minds with unlimited bank accounts, are the rule now as we peak to 7+ billion people. Do we have to tolerate 500 or so money grubber families on the planet controlling 7 billion people!? Someone mentioned the fact they tell us the Earth can handle 20 billion easy. BULLSHIT this poor overspent world cannot handle 4b if they all have to own a house, car, boat, toy haulers, and the frigging works for electronic crap. 8 billion in just a few more years, is inexcusable. Mindless breeding has lead to this impossibly stupid situation were all in today.


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  • charlie3

    There's far more pollution on the west coast of north america where it builds up than in japan where it originates.


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Scientists of the world, we're in this mess because of you, and your creepy employers. You need a new career, something that respects and understands nature.


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    • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

      those on the other end of the spectrum, are equally responsible for their lack of spiritual guidance. Had our religious leaders done more than worry about filling the pews with dumbed-downed cowards, perhaps we'd have been more successful in avoiding this horrendous endgame…


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      • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

        The science community .. near complete abandonment of scientific ethic.
        Thinking nothing of diluting fact and reality.. for profit.

        The religious community even worse.. they play with people's souls like pawns.. spiritual fodder.
        The religious communities are going to let the people take a 'blindside'..as the profit is in the supposed relief from suffering.
        Big profits to be gained soon.

        That would bring into question the concept of false prophets..
        (Lol..I'm not going there…)


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        • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

          there's a few (far too few for my liking) on both sides of the spectrum that are good and willing to speak truth to power. I have to agree with your take that the religious community has seriously let us all down. Seems those who were supposed to carry the light of truth, were all-too quick to cover it up. And that applies to the scientific community, as well. If anything, they were supposed to be objective in their work, but like you've pointed out, it's all about the cash…


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          • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

            Almost nothing to work with… looking out..as far and as wide as the Earth itself.
            Who would have thought…


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            • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

              Oh..and the media.. almost all journalistic integrity..gone.
              Doing their bit for 'lock down'..

              Greenwald: US, British media are servants of security apparatus
              Dec 27 2013

              http://rt.com/news/greenwald-snowden-nsa-hackers-conference-889/


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              • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

                "I just cannot believe that you would suggest that senior officials, generals in the US and the British government, are actually making false claims to the public," was the response from the BBC reporter to Greenwald. Which explains why I haven't bothered to use the BBC as a news source, for the last four years…


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            • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

              suppose that's why, one must look within…


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              • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

                True.
                Must say for me ..it isn't hard..
                It's always been just me and the prairie winds.


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                • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

                  …and though you hate to hear it, that's one of the reasons I admire you. You are an amazing thinking machine…


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                • unincredulous unincredulous

                  I've seen enough movies where the prairie winds lead to insanity. I need to find a recording of these winds. Insanity is just one step saner than where the nuke have my soul now. If I could just get a prairie breeze. A fart from the Rose is worth 100 million megawatts from GE. Sorry, been drinking.


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                  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

                    You have been drinking…lol.
                    I did read a book once..called the "Wind".
                    And auto-biography.
                    It was the constant companion of a woman.. that was stuck out in a soddy with a grouchy husband and 6 kids.
                    She had the wind.. and the prairie flowers in Spring.
                    The wind bothered her.
                    Me not so much..it frees and emboldens.. my spirit.
                    And on cold nights like tonight.. purple black..one contemplates.. beyond the violet draw.


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                    • unincredulous unincredulous

                      Glad the wind doesn't bother you, was a bit concerned when I read your post the other night. I saw that movie.

                      Yup. I was a bit toasted a couple of nights ago…

                      I wish I could go back in time to a day when the sun was shining, a storm was coming. the wind was blowing pretty good. I climbed a 60 foot maple tree. Holding onto the branches at the top of the tree, where the branch diameter was about 2 inches around, I was swinging with the wind. Blown about 2 feet either way. I feel that way when I am on this website, way down inside. Like the people on the ground don't even know what is coming. I'm up here in the wind. Without the advantage of youth, It's making me a bit seasick


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                    • unincredulous unincredulous

                      Just looked at the date. That was just last night? My how time flies. Not. I guess it is from taking multiple naps. Seems like a week ago. But even now seems like a week ago. My sense of time is screwed up. I ordered some reishi mushrooms and some Chaga mushrooms this week. The reishi, because I first read that it opens up your spirit. After ordering it, I read of the other benefits. Between the Chaga, and the Reishi, or Ganolderma, or Lingzhi, and all, I should be able to withstand a full frontal assault from a howitzer, from the sounds of it . Maybe I'll be climbing a tree next, with a little help from my friend , Jack Daniels.


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  • underfish

    I live and love the ocean, I surf, alot up and down the cali-coast, all year, for the last 4 yrs….and this year I have ssen the dead seastars…the most I saw was in Humboldt Harbor mouth on the North Jetty, not many maybe 6 along a 3/4 mile jetty but I would see them alomst everyday and dot sure if they were the same ones…no birds were eating them…I have been to other areas and have not seen dead "stars"…but I have seen mass die off of other life (locolaized) but I can not make any connections to Fukushima…I read somewhere that a person or website was saying that the "tide pools on the coast are dead and that the rocks are bare" I think it was from infowars…VERY WRONG and misleading info…the rocks are still covered with sea-life up and down the coast


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    The star fish are within the 'area of concern'.
    The forward edge of the radioactive aquatic plume is to arrive in 2014.
    (Why that's next week..)

    Considering the projection is late and only based on an accident at Unit 1.. as all are.. I think it is safe to assume..it has arrived.

    Aquatic Fukushima Radiation Plume to Reach West Coast in 2014
    Aug. 29 2013

    http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/3726/20130829/aquatic-fukushima-radiation-plume-reach-west-coast-2014.htm

    Link to the study:

    Multi-decadal projections of surface and interior pathways of the Fukushima Cesium-137 radioactive plume

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096706371300112X

    We all know the rest of the isotopes are coming with…
    Star fish have tremendous absorption rates.

    No wonder it looks like disintegration.


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  • safelyiniowa safelyiniowa

    Look closely at the graph. Vertical axis is logarithmic. Starfish absorb plutonium at 1000 times the rate for bottom fish.


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  • Crash2Parties Crash2Parties

    "can't" be ruled out?

    Really? This is from a scientist?

    Try testing for it.


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  • tbg

    I dont actually believe for one second that all starfish in Japan are OK, this guy is giving us double-speak lies like every other Japanese official, is that better or worse than the US where they say Nothing? Somehow I think if they Looked, they would find Some that are not OK, but every japanese official I have seen is a liar, watch them talk. It is too bad for the world the japanese people are supplicants, and unwilling to raise a fuss, many they feel there is much more respect in being quiet and toeing the line, much like the US. Fuku isnt going away but it could be much better, but the people would need to rise up and thats not happening, the emperor is a useless figurehead and the diet is bought by organized crime, but corruption goes all the way up in many japanese companies. Too bad they wont secret execution the board of tepco, or better yet put it on pay-per-view TV, Id pay.

    But the real reason the starfish are dying here and not there is that the starfish deaths are from plutonium and other insoluable particulate, which blew out of reactors, and were blown away from Japan. To the west coast… Its not a riddle. They know this, for all my mockery Washington has some of the most advanced nuclear sciences in the world, but you notice there's no comments on here from nuke industry insiders shooting down our "theories". They cant talk, but they can test for Pu/alpha in starfish.


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    • OldFool

      80% of the fallout went east over the Pacific Ocean. Double dose for the West Coast – fallout in the ocean And fallout that landed on the North American land mass also got washed into the ocean from every rain and snowfall.


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  • VyseLegendaire VyseLegendaire

    Bucky-Balls ain't chewing candy folks.


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  • Bucky balls is boing boo buck everyone up..


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  • name999 name999

    …Niagara Falls of radiation heading for the West Coast…abandonment of scientific ethic…journalistic lock down…

    We begin by identifying and naming what harms us. It is an honor to be in the company of the hearts and minds that post on this site. Fellow travelers and truth seekers.

    I do believe that if we are all persistent with our attention and sharing what we know it will continue to have an impact. It will show what human beings can do with commitment, love and constructive anger. Go out with a bang rather than a whimper…


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  • Socrates

    If the disease goes from one species to another, it behaves more like a virus – caused illness. Japanese stars are not diseased. Prior die-offs on East Coast of US tend to point to other factors.

    On the other hand, China found arsenic in.US fish and clams

    Arsenic increases sensitivity to ionizing radiation. Stars are top predators that bioaccumulate heavy metals and plutonium.

    Radiation might have something to do with lowered immunity.


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  • jump-ball

    Since our politicized top state and federal regulatory, scientific and educational agencies refuse to address Fuku contamination levels, and particularly the growing west coast marine morbidity and unusual near-shore herding behavior patterns, they pay the price of allowing private citizens to analyze the situation and possibly provide an answer, and I'll reference the "Allegedly Apparent" blog of Michaël Van Broekhoven, and his observations from his Nov. trip to Fuku-Iwaki, where his Inspector GC indicated lower onshore rad readings 'due to tides and wind', which conditions may relate to the historically unseen swarming of several marine species to possibly lower radiation shores of left coast u.s.:

    "Gamma radiation level came back down closer to the beach…", and

    "Then, on the beach (15 miles south of Fuku), as soon as I entered the area that gets tides, radiation would drop, off and on, to levels that used to be normal there. It had just rained in the previous days, so the air was relatively clear. The wet sand and water dilutes and shields the radiation, and a light breeze was blowing from inland to the sea. So right there, in that moment, it felt fine to take my mask off."

    And whales, seals, anchovies and the other species herding unusually near west coast shores, may have been, and may still be having, that same safe, near-shore, feeling:

    http://allegedlyapparent.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/a-visit-to-fukushima-cut-short-with-photos-and-reflection


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  • I'm calling it what it is… BS.

    This guy's words are like somebody shaking their head 'yes' while telling you 'no'.

    Did he or did he not examine Japanese stars?
    - no

    Did he actually talk to someone about it?
    - don't think so

    "…when you examine sea stars on the Japanese side of the Pacific, they are not dying, as far as we know." – Ian Hewson, Ph.D.

    He 'pretty much' excludes radiation as a source and then focuses on chemical and biological.

    "…it could be combined chemical and biological", he says.

    How about combined radiological, chemical and biological???

    Why is his 'speculation' any better than mine?
    - it's not

    IMO – One would have to be an absolute idiot or a liar to not think for one second that the starfish in Japan are in any way okay.


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  • Lilith

    A report on sea lions on the Oregon coast to point toward the fact that all is not well..
    Sea Lion Caves in Florence, Oregon is home to the LARGEST NON MIGRATORY species of sea lion living along the Pacific Northwest coast with pre fuku populations numbering in the many hundreds to thousands permanently, with additional sea lions arriving in winter from other places such as California and Seattle. I witnessed these HUGE populations many times in the past..
    My son took his daughter to the coast in October (yikes! he told me after so I would not try to stop him) and came back reporting that Sea Lion Caves was offering discounted rates since there were NO sea lions in the caves!! I googled and discovered that Sea Lion Caves had been offering the discount rate since at least June 2012, stating that the sea lions were simply off hunting until after thanksgiving. Really? Non-migratory animals migrate for several months?? I think not!! My husband called them up and asked them if the sea lions had come back after thanksgiving, and they said yes they had, so my husband asked them how many had came back and he stated about 30!!
    Sea lion populations in the past were so thick it was like a brown blanket with green fringe from all of the poop!!
    It does appear that the coast is indeed NOT lively..
    Sorry no pix, I am staying inland..


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  • Lilith

    Of course! Had to cut their vacations short due to budget constraints ;) Nothing to see here folks.. Now go shopping.. Don't forget to treat yourselves to crab and yummy sushi ;) sigh..


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