Hawaii dairy farmers fight radiation by feeding boron to cows, goats

Published: May 25th, 2011 at 4:44 pm ET


Big Island Dairy Farmers fight radiation with Boron, Milk and Honey Farm, May 10, 2011:

An open letter from dairy farmers on the Big Island of Hawaii shares some solutions for working with radiation problems in milk.

Dear Milk Share Members,

Our goal to offer high quality safe food to our community has recently been challenged in the reality of the radioactivity being released into our environment. In the past weeks radioactive levels have increased in Hawaii, with high spikes and a more current leveling off of radiation levels. […]

We have begun feeding our cows and goats sodium borate at milking times, as well as adding it to free choice kelp and water troughs. In the past years we have monitored boron and other minerals in the soil and have added as necessary to bring levels up to recognized healthy levels. As a safety measure we are planning to implement a boron dosage to all of our pastures, as well as neighboring pastures. […]

In these tenuous times it is all we can do to be honestly informed of the situation at hand and act accordingly. We are doing our best to protect our soil, animals and bodies from the elevated levels of radioactivity, and hope that you will also. […]

Britton & Shekinah
Milk and Honey Farm
Pahoa, Big Island Hawaii

h/t bakrad

Published: May 25th, 2011 at 4:44 pm ET


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227 comments to Hawaii dairy farmers fight radiation by feeding boron to cows, goats

  • anne

    We hear about narrow windows in which one might act. The nuclear window is very narrow indeed.

  • Sorry I have to mock it:

    Radiation hitting the west coast is so diluted, farmers are seeking extreme counter measures to decontaminated their livestock…

  • Dr. Strangleglove

    These folks have been drinking too much fluoridated water.

  • 24/05/2011 Scientists surprised at upgradation of Fukushima to INES 7

    **** Mumbai, May 23 (PTI) The scientific community has expressed surprised with Japan upgrading the recent Fukushima nuclear accident to level 7 of the INES, the same as the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, even though the nuclear leak from Fukushima was just 10 per cent compared to that in Ukraine.
    “Though Fukushima reactors had serious accident involving meltdown of reactor fuel, it was a surprise to know that they are classified in International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) 7 level equivalent to Chernobyl,” said Pradeep Kumar, Head, Emergency Response and Methods section, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre here.
    “This kind of upgradation may not be agreed by many experts as evident by interaction among them through internet,” Kumar, who was heading the Radiological Emergency of Mayapuri in Delhi last year, said yesterday at a day-long seminar on ”Nuclear Energy in India”.
    According to Kumar, the estimated release of radioactive material to the atmosphere from Fukushima Daiichi NPP as per the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan was 10 per cent compared to that of Chernobyl.*****


    • Vivvi

      scientists will say anything for money. rather like politicians. and CEO’s of big business.

      • charlie

        those scientists are very slow at reacting to the old news that the Japanese had raised the threat level to 7.

  • Mark V

    they have time machine I’m sure…good to them…on another note, I find “Traumschiff – Surprise” (2004) to be very funny and tasteful parody of Star Trek. Not sure whether it is translated into english.


  • Bernhard Dirichs

    Dear Naturopathics,

    following the latest prophecy the apocalypse in U.S.A. will happen on October 21st this year.
    There’s a lot of time to spend on high spiritual and low radiation levels.
    Don’t worry, be happy!

  • I’ve been following this disaster closely from the first time I seen the white “vapor??” rising from reactors 1 and 3 on 3/12/11. Being in my mid 20’s during the Chernobyl event, watching it on the news daily and appreciating the gravity and devastating potential, suddenly all my family recreation plans for spending this summer on our sailboat in Lake Tahoe fell to the background. As the event progressed in severity, desperately I scoured the internet for more and more information to help guide my to figure out what to do for my family… yet less and less was becoming available. I was nervous and felt confused. I’m a problem solver kind of guy but this was too big for me. I shared my concern with my wife but she dismissed the event as slightly more than routine and became annoyed with my “obsession” of it. Mr. Obama vowed to our nation that there was no danger. Suddenly this was the chant in my home. I was scolded by my wife and inlaws for fearmongering and portrayed a doomsdayer. I was mocked while I read a 121 page report on radiation recovery and detox so I could have some idea on how to protect myself and my family, the very same people that declared me sadly paranoid and obsessive. I went to the health food store and bought all of the items I discovered may help. My wife refused to take the kelp, sea vegetables, antioxidans and refused to provide them to her daughter. She continued buying milk and mocking me while they drank it. Seriously, this issue has destroyed my home life. I’m convinced the danger is far from over but I get no cooperation from my family or friends. American Idol is more important than this event. I’m labeled at work as a nutjob and no one will discuss this issue with me any longer. The day I estimated the most concentrated plume to arrive in California from the explosion at reactor 3, March 21, my wife was at the Santa Cruz boardwalk with our daughter riding the rollercoaster over and over because President Obama said there is…

    • charlie

      bigshark, we’re all in the same boat – i have ONE other person who is willing to discuss this and who follows developments in Japan.
      I’m sure as events unfold, more and more people will become aware of the crisis, whether they like it or not.

    • Bigshark I agree, unfortunately people dont often think of their health untill its gone, and cancer takes time… Some people just dont want to know.

    • SomethingRandom

      Do you have a link to that 120 page report? I’d like to read that myself.

      I think most people here probably know what you mean about not being taken seriously. Remember that there was a lot of brainwashing about the “peaceful and friendly atom” in the 1960’s and 70’s. Many people don’t want to examine what they’ve been told, or look for information and draw their own conclusions. Just do what you can without ranting about it. Hey, someone accused me of wearing a tin-foil hat at work after a very short discussion about the topic. After that I shut up about it because they obviously don’t want to know what’s happening.

    • 8th and Lamar

      Hang in there! It IS maddening.
      I’ve adopted a “tell them once and move on” policy. It just hurts too much (with flash-backs of trying to motivate medical students back in the 80s)!
      After the “tell” if the individuals aren’t joinin’ up or helping out, I take an action in a manner that the “told” can join up at a later date. Any action that helps YOU get below the equator can help them later.
      Peace, love, and understanding!!

    (from Nuclear Engineering Dept UC Berkeley)


    How long will these isotopes be in our environment?

    The short answer: the radioactive isotopes from Japan may no longer be strong enough for us to measure by approximately mid-April, depending on atmospheric transport. They are already at safe levels for the public.

    The long answer: As soon as the earthquake hit Japan, their reactors were scrammed or shut down. This means that the nuclear fuel was no longer burning and the isotopes we are measuring were no longer being produced by the fission process.

    All radioactive isotopes decay, which means that they eventually die away into non-radioactive nuclei. This decay rate is different for different isotopes, quantified by the so-called half-life. After waiting one half-life, half of the radioactive nuclei will have decayed away, often into stable (non-radioactive) nuclei. The half-lives of the radioactive isotopes we are measuring from the Japanese reactors are listed in the table below:

    Isotope Half-life
    I-132 2.3 hours*
    Te-132 3.2 days
    I-131 8.0 days
    Cs-134 2.06 years
    Cs-137 30.07 years

    * I-132 has a very short half-life (2.3 hours). We are able to measure it because it is the decay product of Te-132, so its presence is tied to the presence of Te-132.
    So by considering the effect of radioactive decay alone, after waiting a few weeks the only isotopes we should be able to measure are Cs-134 and Cs-137.

    However, these are both already very close to our minimum detectable levels. Effects other than radioactive decay will also come into play — namely, the dilution of these isotopes in the soil and groundwater. We expect this to happen in the course of days to weeks. Please continue checking the levels on our website for current information.

    • Poor Daddy

      Hey, PU. You think they got an axe to grind over there at Berkely Nuclear Engineering?

      • Heart of the Rose

        I do…I have issues with those that keep knowledge from the People.
        U. of Berk. is an institutional traitor to our country…along with all those paid lab-rats that were bought off by BP to hide the true condition of the GOM.

    • 8th and Lamar

      Is it possible that PU239 got hijacked? The comment seems so disconnected esp. given the board’s long term shift towards dealing with obvious ongoing accumulation???
      Aye,is to be expected.
      P.S. love the Kansas City riff….I can hear the guitar.

      Gotta go….fighting a bad cold P and L

  • glenn

    Like some of the other posters on this topic I can’t see how feeding boron to animals is supposed to somehow ‘decontaminate’ them. Boron is useful in the runaway reactor because it absorbs neutrons that otherwise might split a uranium or plutonium nucleus, creating daughter nuclei like radioactive iodine, cesium, and strontium that are dangerous to living organisms. Boron does nothing to stop the alpha and beta particles, or the gamma rays that damage living tissue. Nor does it purge radioactive contamination from the body. There is no chemical difference between non-radioactive and radioactive iodine, so no chemical reaction can distinguish between the two. The chemical properties of calcium and strontium are so similar that the body treats them identically when forming bone tissue. Heavy metals like uranium and plutonium are, like lead, are only slowly removed from the tissues, because there are no biochemical ways to deal with these atoms. If the source of contamination is stopped, the amount of radioactive substance will decrease depending on the half-life of the isotope, and by gradual dilution as the isotope is excreted (in milk, say).
    Frankly the only way to stay uncontaminated is to move to a region that is little affected, like somewhere in the southern hemisphere. Otherwise the only thing you can do try to minimize your contamination by not walking in rain, avoiding local fresh produce, drinking water from deep aquifers, eating food imported from uncontaminated countries, and other common sense measures.

    • Jean Tanner

      “Frankly the only way to stay uncontaminated is to move to a region that is little affected, like somewhere in the southern hemisphere. Otherwise the only thing you can do try to minimize your contamination by not walking in rain, avoiding local fresh produce, drinking water from deep aquifers, eating food imported from uncontaminated countries, and other common sense measures.”

      Good advise there.

    • Novamind

      @glenn I feel that at about a third of the way through you post you lost the true picture, please due some reading on past nuclear events in history and repost, Peace.

  • mikael

    In ares like Hawaii, and North Western parts of USA, my atention would be on the Insects and small creatures. Spiders(like the myriade of webs spunn over your lawn in the morning) and moskitos, see for your self.
    And compare it over time.
    And if/when they are starting disapeare, then you should be considering to get away from that area. Then the radiation is starting to affect the life that surounds us, the best alarm system we have.

    The senario is getting realy bad, and I belive its to late for anything else than a “controlled” meltdown, as it has been doing for over 2 months. Also because of rad. levels surounding the reactor sites, its starting to hinder work on the sites, and thats the senario nobody wanted to see, and now it happens.

    We are way past Tjernobyl on this one, we are on a far woursh level than that, this is Tabula Rasa. From now on, its all about protecting one self, and my deepest fears goes to the people of Japan, and people in the Western Parts of the Nort American continent.

    • Novamind

      @mikael Your post has many worthy points of truth to it. Insects can take much more radiation than man or other warm blooded creatures can this is true ,alas this does not mean that their normalicys will not change abruptly, continue to notice out of place happenings, and please post.

    • 8th and Lamar

      One last thing:
      Spring flowers daff.s,iris, blue-eyed grass etc., seem to be drying/dieing/wilting much sooner although we have more moisture and cooler temps than usual(middletown,CA)aaand have done so much more rapidly during the projected higher fallout days……just sayin’-I’m a retired tech writer so I tend to do the fancy math in my head…
      P and L

  • Bob Hardin

    Suppose you knew that all life on Earth would be destroyed within 30 to 40 years, and that nothing could be done to prevent it. And now suppose you were in charge of things. How would you handle the situation? Would you tell the public the whole truth as soon as you knew it?

    • USA

      Yes, I would provide full disclosure! And I would go all out to avert that prediction, regardless of the odds, expense, or blood sacrifice required!!!!! (maybe I should move to Russia? They got the second part right!)