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Alvarez writes: "Radiation from Fukushima spread far and wide. Like American hydrogen bomb testing, the Fukushima nuclear accident deposited cesium-137 over 600,000 square-miles of the Pacific, as well as the Northern Hemisphere and Europe."

Bluefin Tuna. (image: WikiMedia Commons)
Bluefin Tuna. (image: WikiMedia Commons)



Nuclear Tuna and NPR's Trivialization

By Robert Alvarez, IPS

01 June 12

 

esterday, National Public Radio (NPR) ran a story asserting that cesium-137 from the Fukushima nuclear accident found in Bluefish tuna on the west coast of the U.S. is harmless.

It's not harmless. The Fukushima nuclear accident released about as much cesium-137 as a thermonuclear weapon with the explosive force of 11 million tons of TNT. In the spring of 1954, after the United States exploded nuclear weapons in the Marshall Islands, the Japanese government had to confiscate about 4 million pounds of contaminated fish.

Radiation from Fukushima spread far and wide. Like American hydrogen bomb testing, the Fukushima nuclear accident deposited cesium-137 over 600,000 square-miles of the Pacific, as well as the Northern Hemisphere and Europe. With a half-life of 30 years, cesium-137 is taken up in the meat of the tuna as if it were potassium, indicating that the metabolism holds on to it.

According to a previously secret 1955 memo from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission regarding concerns of the British government over contaminated tuna, "dissipation of radioactive fall-out in ocean waters is not a gradual spreading out of the activity from the region with the highest concentration to uncontaminated regions, but that in all probability the process results in scattered pockets and streams of higher radioactive materials in the Pacific. We can speculate that tuna which now show radioactivity from ingested materials have been living, in or have passed through, such pockets; or have been feeding on plant and animal life which has been exposed in those areas."

In 2001, the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry noted that "...concentrations of cesium within muscle tissue are somewhat higher than the whole-body average. Cesium has been shown to cross the placental barrier of animals..."

There are several reasons why it's not advisable to eat Bluefin tuna:

  • Cesium-137 adds to the contaminant risk of harm to humans eating the Bluefin tuna, especially pregnant women and infants, who are the most vulnerable, and will for some time to come.
  • Bluefin tuna is an endangered species because of over-fishing and contamination.
  • Bluefin tuna accumulate other contaminants such as mercury from sources such as coal-fired power plants.

If NPR had been around in the 1950's, would it also have trivialized the impacts of open-air hydrogen bomb testing?

 

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+42 # Feral Dogz 2012-06-01 11:45
In defense of NPR, they stated that the level of radiation in the tested tuna is harmless, not that cesium 137 is harmless. All the stories I've seen or heard present the same info, so I don't understand why NPR is singled out here. Imperfect as NPR might be, they are still the best source of broadcast news and are continally endangered by "conservatives" bent on the proliferation of ignorance.

Bluefin tuna is not an "endangered" species, but certainly has been over-fished. Almost all commercially exploited fish stocks are threatened by modern, rapacious fishing techniques as well as environmental degradation.

All large, predatory fish at the top of the food chain, including swordfish and shark are contaminated with heavy metals that accumulate in tissue. I avoid them all.
 
 
+70 # Vardoz 2012-06-01 14:57
Dr. Micho Kaku went out west where they did the above ground testing with a Geiger counter and video taped the ground showing that to this very day it is still highly radioactive. Using uranium and Plutonium for heating water in insane. These substances are lethal and last for generations! Just imagine if we had a series of earth quakes here. Between global warming and radioactivity we will all roast in a radioactive soup. I'm sorry but the entire Fukushima catastrophy has been played down or totally blacked out all over the media. They don't want us to know how bad it is. Just like with global warming. The fate of the Earth is in the hands of mentally ill polluters.
 
 
+37 # readerz 2012-06-01 16:51
NPR is certainly culpable, because it is one of the few big media sources left that many people will listen to. They are wrong to say that tuna is harmless; a small amount of cessium or other poisons can cause leukemia.

And Dr. Michio Kaku is certainly more reliable than a report from NPR. I totally agree Vardoz; I hit the wrong button on this.

We do not have to "imagine" earthquakes: if the New Madrid fault moves on schedule (and it hasn't; at least a relatively small 6.0 or 6.5 quake is due there), the shock waves spread out much further than a California quake, and do a lot more damage; a "small" quake worse than what happened in Washington D.C. spread out to 1000 miles away. The last "big" quake (not measured) was in 1811; the next "big" one is due in about 2300, but... any nuclear power plant from Arizona to Boston will be in serious trouble. In 1811, chimneys fell in Boston and Washington D.C. from the New Madrid quake.

It is mentally ill to vote for any Republican, but because the polls show them doing well, even the Democrats play nice to poisons, and they shouldn't. If every person doesn't vote out the neo-conservativ es, it will just get a whole lot worse.
 
 
+2 # austxjr 2012-06-03 19:27
"Using uranium and Plutonium for heating water in insane. These substances are lethal and last for generations!"

First of all, no one uses plutonium for heating water. Are you talking about heating the water in the reactor to run turbines or generating electricity to heat water in your home? Second, if we do it right and use uranium, plutonium and later thorium in Gen III+ and Gen IV reactors that are completely passively safe, then we can use up the weapons grade radioactive materials we have to store now and can turn them into low level and small amounts of waste. What is insane is to use uranium in old style plants that use water for cooling and power generation because that design really can't be passively safe and generates lots of waste.

"Just imagine if we had a series of earth quakes here."

With a nuclear plant designed to be passively safe an earth quake that shuts down the electricity just causes the plant to shut down. Yes, it can (and should) be done because we have thousands of tons of radioactive waste and weapons grade waste to get rid of and it is safer to use it up in a plant than to try to store it for millennia.
 
 
0 # austxjr 2012-06-03 19:30
"Between global warming and radioactivity we will all roast in a radioactive soup."

We are already roasting in "radioactive soup" and have always been since the earth and the universe are partially made of radioactive isotopes. How to do you think archaeologists and historians do carbon dating? Radioactivity is a natural process going on all around us and radioactive elements, such as uranium, thorium, potassium, carbon (yes carbon), bismuth, radon, and strontium exist pretty much everywhere all over the earth. Get used to the idea and how it can be understood and used to the benefit of mankind rather than misunderstood and fear-mongered. Yes, excess radiation is usually bad and often dangerous (and should be avoided), but not all radiation is bad or dangerous. Ignorance is.
 
 
+5 # RLF 2012-06-04 04:52
Surely you don't think fracking up a shale layer deep under the earth will cause any problems with earth quakes. Broken up shale is stable...Right?
 
 
+5 # mjc 2012-06-02 07:16
I would vouch for NPR as the single best source of broadcast news as well but there have been and still are individuals, perhaps it is a management problem, who downplay the more woeful elements in the news and on the planet. It also seems as if the problems Feral Dogz mentioned...ove r-fishing, rapacious fishing techniques, in particular, may rid the planet of many of our prize fish.
 
 
+3 # RLF 2012-06-04 04:50
Well,not in defense of NPR, this kind of trivialization has become epidemic...alon g with never asking conservatives hard questions or they might get mad and attack NPR financing. The slow creep toward the right at NPR is sickening! They should move out of DC!
 
 
+1 # Feral Dogz 2012-06-04 09:22
RLF,

Apparently you haven't listened to Dianne Rehm. Quoting RLF:
Well,not in defense of NPR, this kind of trivialization has become epidemic...along with never asking conservatives hard questions or they might get mad and attack NPR financing. The slow creep toward the right at NPR is sickening! They should move out of DC!


Apparently you don't listen to Dianne Rehm, who knows the difference between talking points and actual answers to questions. Many stories on NPR that are critical of right wing positions or corruption are unable to elicit any response from parties involved.
 
 
+9 # Feral Dogz 2012-06-01 11:53
I am disappointed in RSN for running this particular story, as the headline and closing sentence paint NPR as misleading and cavalier in reporting this story, neither of which is true. Would the author and RSN prefer that NPR engage in fear mongering? If I want that I can go to Fox.
 
 
+24 # John Locke 2012-06-01 14:54
Feral Dogz: I'm disappointed that you take the position that the level of radiation is harmless!

Radiation is accumulative in human tissue! IT is NOT harmless! The more fish we eat today the more we place ourselves at risk! To deny this is foolish!
 
 
+28 # readerz 2012-06-01 16:55
Linus Pauling proved that leukemia went up around the world after the nuclear tests of the 1950s and 1960s. I know three people who died in the last few years of leukemia; they were all under 60, one was in her 20s. It is a horrible, painful death.

Can we put a piece in the news about the torture and murder of citizens by some foreign corrupt government, and ignore the torture death of people exposed to cancer-causing radioactive substances? If Charles Taylor can be tried in the International Court, what about TEPCO for design flaws in their nuclear plant, next to a fault, next to the ocean, in a place where known tsunamis occur, no backup on coolant, and on and on. NPR is very quick to air stories about foreign corrupt governments. I'm waiting for their honest stories about Japan.
 
 
+1 # John Locke 2012-06-02 14:14
readerz: I would suggest their could be several causes of action (i) Product liability, (2) Negligence, and (3) strict Liability, however their defense would be interveining natural events, blaming God for the damages not their product...again however should the high magnitude quake have been forseen, I would argue with the type and magnitude of quakes in the region yes! It would be an interesting Lawsuit, I would love to take part in it...
 
 
+7 # Feral Dogz 2012-06-02 10:29
@John Locke,

My point is not that radiation is harmless. My point is that this article is bad journalism and singles out NPR for stating what other sources also stated, which is scientifically accurate.

We are constantly bombarded with radiation. The universe is full of it. The level found in the tuna is only significant in that we can trace it to Fukushima. It also highlights how good we are at detecting low levels of radiation. There are better reasons for not eating tuna.

Any increase in exposure to radiation increases risk, but avoiding radiation completely would require leaving the universe, which is not consistent with living. We will all die from something someday.

I am much more concerned with the loss of what I believe is a reliable (if imperfect) news source.
 
 
0 # austxjr 2012-06-03 19:36
Yes, radioactive elements can accumulate, but they also are often flushed by the body (depending on what kind). You are bombarded daily by "natural" radiation of all kinds some harmful, most not so harmful. The more fish we eat the more danger we are probably in from non-radioactive heavy metals than from radioactivity. Radioactivity is NOT always dangerous, but ignorance is. Educate yourself please before exposing your ignorance in public. You sound as bad as Faux News.
 
 
+46 # paulrevere 2012-06-01 12:45
NPR was taken over in the late 90's. The George Will and whining rightwing led elbowing into NPR/CPB programming and board membership cast a foul film of caution to all of their broadcasts...of particular note are the corporate and 'think tank' sponsorship dominance.
 
 
+27 # RMDC 2012-06-01 15:51
No one needed to take over NPR. It has always been National Propaganda Radio. All of its presidents have come from the US Information Agency, the State Department agency that runs Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Chian, and the rest of the foreign propaganda organs. NPR is the USIA's internal propaganda organ.

Chomsky tells the story of the creating of PBS and NPR. The Carnegie Foundation did a study that discovered that educated americans were not getting news from TV and Radio (already totally corporate controlled). They were actually reading. It recommended the creation of a public broadcasting system that would mimic the BBC. Its status as a "public broadcasting system" would appeal to liberals. The style of reporting would be seductive of the emerging yuppie class. but the content would be just as propagandistic as any commercial news outlet.

NPR and PBS have been quite successful in propagandizing white yuppies.

This article is exactly right -- one of NPR's main tactics is to trivialize important news.
 
 
+16 # readerz 2012-06-01 17:01
The only addition I would make is that even the NYT sometimes does that. Stalin did kill millions of people in Ukraine, even though they never reported that when it happened. The NYT also did not report on any local news; in the 1980s, there were marches demanding that schools be built in neighborhoods where 60 students were stuffed into a class, but the only larger newspaper that covered it was El Diario La Prenza, a local paper. Big media, radio, TV, or print, is owned by big corporations, and has an agenda.
 
 
+43 # stonecutter 2012-06-01 12:53
After Fukushima, I switched to canned chicken in water vs. tuna: it's less expensive, tastes as good or better (the way I make chicken salad), and I don't have to wonder if I'm irradiating myself. I ate tuna my whole life, and love it, but I don't miss it and I can sleep at night. One less toxic nightmare. Eating any ocean fish nowadays is a crap-shoot, and you have no idea where it really comes from; I don't care what they tell you in the market.
 
 
+18 # John Locke 2012-06-01 14:55
stonecutter Thank you for that breath of common sense!
 
 
-24 # pres 2012-06-01 15:23
Simply take your Geiger counter with you when you go to the market to buy some tuna.
If you don't have one then just buy the cans that are NOT glowing! :-)
Seroiusly, I just read where a visitor to the Chernobyl plant took their Geiger counter with them. Interesting that they received more radiation on their 2 hr plane ride to Kiev than they got visiting Chernobyl.
 
 
+18 # paulrevere 2012-06-01 17:02
well, that pov does not jibe with the huge reagional increase of radiation related cancers in the 25 years since Chernobyl.

The nuke industry is industrious in its application of propaganda and real info suppression.
 
 
0 # austxjr 2012-06-03 19:42
Where is your concern for all the radiation released by burning coal? Much greater amounts than the commercial nuclear energy industry has ever released. Why are you not concerned about the "coal industry being industrious in its application of propaganda and real info suppression."?
 
 
+25 # readerz 2012-06-01 17:07
A Geiger counter only counts one form of radiation. You can't measure the radon in your house, for example, with a Geiger counter.

The "you get more in a plane" theory doesn't work: it just builds more radiation into your system. If you smoke, and are exposed to pollution or radiation, that also accumulates. If you think it is an either/or, or more or less, kind of math, you don't realize that your body will hold onto these heavy metal poisons and cannot excrete them through kidneys, liver, bowel, skin, or lungs. These poisons build in your thyroid, bone marrow, liver, muscles, etc.

Three people I know died in the last few years of leukemia. My husband has cancer. You just really really do not want to go there, and please do not trivialize this issue.
 
 
-4 # Elusive Pimpernel 2012-06-02 10:15
Pres.... you got all those thumbs DOWN because of your incensativity on a matter that not only did harm to millions in Japan, but is about to invade the US.

Shame on you for being such a juvanile. I'd like to know if you got lost while surfing the net and was looking for the Sesame Street forum and instead, ended up here with a more mature crowed.
 
 
+4 # genierae 2012-06-03 10:37
Did anyone see the documentary about the wild animals that inhabit the land around Chernobyl? I only saw part of it, so I don't know how much radiation they had, but they looked and acted normal. In fact, it was like an animal sanctuary, and I was wondering how they survived for so long, in such a dangerous place?

I grew up in the 50s and consequently was exposed to the radiation from the bomb testing out west. At 25 years old I was diagnosed with "highly toxic goiter" and had to have my thyroid removed. There was no history on either side of my family of thyroid trouble, and now I read that this testing might be the cause. We don't know what we are dealing with when it comes to pollution in our food, water and air. Just living on this planet, we gamble with our lives every day. Lunatics are in charge of the asylum.
 
 
0 # austxjr 2012-06-03 19:42
Where is your concern for all the radiation released by burning coal? Much greater amounts than the commercial nuclear energy industry has ever released. Why is not that your concern?
 
 
-1 # Elusive Pimpernel 2012-06-02 10:12
Quoting stonecutter:
After Fukishima, I switched to canned chicken in water vs. tuna: it's less expensive, tastes as good or better (the way I make chicken salad), and I don't have to wonder if I'm irradiating myself. I ate tuna my whole life, and love it, but I don't miss it and I can sleep at night. One less toxic nightmare. Eating any ocean fish nowadays is a crap-shoot, and you have no idea where it really comes from; I don't care what they tell you in the market.


Stonecutter, sorry to burst your hopeful bubble, but the canned food we eat is lined with hormones which seep into our food system. Check out this YouTube video by Fox news that reports on it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qFaa5kBRd4&feature=share
 
 
+3 # stonecutter 2012-06-03 03:03
"Stonecutter, sorry to burst your hopeful bubble, but the canned food we eat is lined with hormones which seep into our food system. Check out this YouTube video by Fox news that reports on it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qFaa5kBRd4&feature=share"

First of all, I don't live in a "bubble", I live in the real world. "Canned foods lined with hormones" sounds like baloney to me, but even if there's some truth to it, whatever unsubstantiated drivel that may be, I'll take chicken with some "lined hormones" over cesium-137 any day. As for FOX News as the source of this revelation?.... well, I rest my case. BTW, before you criticize other commenters for being "juvanile", you should learn to spell better than a 2nd grader.
 
 
+1 # Broger 2012-06-07 09:24
I don't have much faith in the safety of canned food. Without even looking at where the chicken came from, the cans themselves are proven to have chemical coating that leeches out into the food and gets consumed and the BPA ends up in your body. What's the danger there? Read about it here:
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/bpa-lurks-in-canned-soups-and-drinks/
Here's what your government does to handle the situation:
http://www.nature.com/news/us-opts-not-to-ban-bpa-in-canned-foods-1.10370
I wish the best for you. We're all exposed when we live in the city and can't grow our own food, or don't have access to organically grown meats and crops in our stores.
 
 
+5 # Mercedes 2012-06-01 12:57
NPR is not the enemy here. Some might not care for its light tone, but its scientific info is sound. Feral Dogz says it well, from a clear base of knowledge.
 
 
+18 # John Locke 2012-06-01 14:56
From a clear base of Knowledge he is incorrect! Radiation is a very serious issue today with ocean fish, and how much of it you ingest!
 
 
+4 # readerz 2012-06-01 17:09
Please cite your source of information. The article had real information, and is correct.
 
 
+1 # Feral Dogz 2012-06-02 07:33
From today's Huff Post Green:

The finding demonstrates that the nuclear accident last March had a pervasive and enduring impact on the world's interconnected oceans. Although the contamination in these particular tuna fell well below levels considered dangerous for consumption, the study authors said they were "surprised to see [contamination] at all."

From NPR:

If you are still worried about the cesium from Fukushima, Robert Emery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston says you'd need to eat 2.5 to 4 tons of tuna in a year to get a dose of cesium-137 that exceeds health limits. That's a lot of sushi

From The Week:

So it's still safe to eat tuna?
Madigan says the cesium numbers, while 10 times higher than normal, are well within U.S. and Japanese safety limits. "Some people feel that any amount of radioactivity, in their minds, is bad and they'd like to avoid it," he told Reuters. "But compared to what's there naturally... it's not a large amount at all." In fact, it's "a trivial amount," says Richard Harris at NPR. "If you are still worried about the cesium from Fukushima," consider the amount of tuna you'd have to eat to get in the danger zone: 2.5 to 4 tons in a year, according to expert Robert Emery. "That's a lot of sushi." And most of the California bluefin is shipped back to Japan, anyway.
 
 
+8 # Feral Dogz 2012-06-02 08:26
You can get more radiation from the radon in your cellar than from this "hot tuna".

I'm much more concerned about the attacks on NPR from conservatives. Right now members of congress are working on de-funding NPR. I am not happy with corporate network news and declining print news sources. If NPR goes down the tube, what's left?

Alvarez's article is a clear example of FUD, Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. It is void of relevant facts and the closing sentence should make it clear to any discerning reader that the purpose of the article is to attack NPR, not to illuminate the Facts about Fukashima and radiation contamination.

I am totally opposed to building nuke power plants and avoid medical X-rays. Nuclear radiation is most certainly destructive, but so is ultra-violet light. We are much more likely to die from skin cancer from sun tanning. Lets keep things in perspective and look below the surface in what we read.
 
 
0 # Sophie 2012-06-02 23:59
I'm sincerely sorry that NPR is not what it once was--very few "news media," have not been devoured by the wingnut corporate owned monolith. It is gone.

Listeners may receive a few bones thrown to their starving progressive ears, but the real meaty news that was actual NEWS is gone--now one must decipher nearly everything presented as "news," as exhausting as that may be, and research-and research(!)- to find the truth.

I would much rather listen to/watch Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, than listen to NPR. It's a safe bet you will find the truth there.
Robert Alvarez's article is not the only one regarding the contamination of Bluefin tuna. I have also read reports that salmon on the West coast (where I live) have been ingesting radiation contaminated plankton. Not to mention there are still serious problems with Fukushima's reactors. It is very foolish to expect there NOT to be any fallout from a disaster of the magnitude of what happened at Fukushima--ditt o the BP oil disaster in the Gulf, on a "smaller" scale--(the MSM has been lying about that as well.)
The vast Pacific is not impermeable to natural or man-made disasters, and I would prefer to know the truth.
Also see:
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/05/28/radioactive-bluefin-tuna-from-japan-found-in-u-s-waters/?utm_source=Raw+Story+Daily+Update&utm_campaign=568fc0f048-5_29_125_29_2012&utm_medium=email
 
 
0 # genierae 2012-06-03 10:45
On Free Speech TV you can watch Thom Hartmann from 3pm to 6pm every weekday, and he has a nighttime show at 9pm. He is an honest man, and his call-in show is very informative. I also watch Democracy Now with Amy Goodman. She tells the truth and there are a lot of international segments to let us know what's going on around the world.
 
 
0 # John Locke 2012-06-03 17:18
What the Medical Doctors fail to understand is that water has a memory, when it is disturbed by waves and radiation is present it expands it does not contract. I was the first to state on the air in Las Vegas that our water system was contaminated by radiation from the Colorado River and the Moab Utah munitions facility whose tailings were flowing into the river, Later the water department admitted the same thing.
 
 
-2 # austxjr 2012-06-03 19:49
And if you don't have a cellar, you can get more radiation from the concrete in your slab in both your home and where you work. Please people, put things in perspective and don't act like those fear-mongering ideological right wingers. OK, if you don't like or want nuke, but have some rational reasons for it rather than all fear, innuendo and rumor (not to mention the very scary "radioactivity' word).
 
 
-1 # John Locke 2012-06-03 17:13
Feral Dogz: Try asking a naturapath, an alternative practicioner, and not someone who is actually on the Government payroll! or a government lacky! I had a skin cancer removed from my nose by radiation and had to take a product to flush it through my system and get rid of it otherwise it would have stayed in my body for possible more the a year, and would have cause other problems

So Eat away my friend, it takes about 10 to 15 years to develop cancer!
 
 
0 # Anarchist 23 2012-06-04 09:37
Quoting John Locke:
I had a skin cancer removed from my nose by radiation and had to take a product to flush it through my system and get rid of it otherwise it would have stayed in my body for possible more the a year, and would have cause other problems

You should try Black Salve the next time-out here that is what we use (siince everyone is too poor to have expensive health insurance or treatments) I have seen it work-dissolves the skin cancer, leaves a nasty looking raw place that heals up and the cancer is gone. It seems to work well when taken internally too. It might be a better treatment in future-you can find it on Net and other 'alternative' places. Best of luck!
 
 
0 # Feral Dogz 2012-06-04 09:51
Quoting John Locke:
Feral Dogz: Try asking a naturapath, an alternative practicioner, and not someone who is actually on the Government payroll! or a government lacky! I had a skin cancer removed from my nose by radiation and had to take a product to flush it through my system and get rid of it otherwise it would have stayed in my body for possible more the a year, and would have cause other problems

So Eat away my friend, it takes about 10 to 15 years to develop cancer!


I stopped eating most seafood products years ago and recommend avoiding all large, predatory species in particular. I also avoid medical quackery of all stripes, including prescription "medicines", unnecessary testing, homeopathy, quantum biofeedback, etc. ect. etc.

I fully expect to die someday.
 
 
+25 # DaveM 2012-06-01 13:04
Far more interesting than any weaknesses in NPR's coverage is the fact that this sort of contamination is not new and has not only not been given much airtime, but has at least in some cases been kept secret by government entities. Remember all that bomb test footage we've all seen over and over again? Why didn't we ever think about the ultimate destination of all that radioactive material? Must say the only time I ever gave it a thought was while watching Japanese monster movies. Where's Godzilla when you need him?
 
 
+29 # Old Man 2012-06-01 13:53
Just think of all the sea food harvested in North West...it's going to kill their business, don't you think?
It's because of corporate greed that we are killing our Mother Earth. Not only GE at Fukushima along , BP oil in the Gulf of Mexico & The Coal & Natural Gas industries w/their XL pipe line.
I doubt our national debt is the number one priority for the futures of our children & grandchildren.
 
 
+37 # geekfilter 2012-06-01 14:14
Sorry people, but there is no harmless level of cesium 137, and exposure to it is completely different from exposure to diffuse whole body radiation. A little lodged in your tissue just sits there and irradiates the same cells for decades (if you live that long). NPR is spreading propaganda to say its harmless.
 
 
+1 # austxjr 2012-06-03 19:52
Please cite your source of information. The article had real information, and is correct.
 
 
+17 # jack113 2012-06-01 14:40
No problem the corporate EPA and FDA has already upped their phony limit on what is safe even though they know their is no such thing as safe radiation levels. Eat it and cut your life short.
 
 
+15 # walt 2012-06-01 14:43
So the big question now is: What will our FDA do to protect us from any and all risks of contaminated tuna?

Inasmuch as the agency appears to be "owned" by corporate interests, can we have any faith in what we might be told?

Let's see what they do for consumers.
 
 
+14 # reiverpacific 2012-06-01 14:48
Hell, NPR is as far as I'm concerned "National Politically-Cor rect Radio" and just as harmlessly milquetoast as the owner-media -in fact it's now one of them- with it's "grants" from the same big-brother corporations that are ruthlessly and shamelessly contaminating the planet.
For the true facts, look to the foreign press or your local listener-suppor ted radio if you have one, like KBOO in Portland (KBOO.FM on the web) which has had several VOLUNTEER programmers dedicatedly following the Fucked-up-shame -a, cause and effect, since it's advent.
And Michael Powell tried to get even the small modicum of "Public" out of NPR in his day.
I quit giving them donations years ago, even when I could afford it!
 
 
-18 # Rationalist 2012-06-01 15:05
Although NPR may not be blameless, there is a scarcity of relevant facts in Alvarez's article, specifically, do the measurements indicate that the cesium levels are within generally accepted standards of safety or not? Information from 1955 does not cut it.

I must add that I lean decidedly to the left politically but am frequently dismayed at the unnecessary level of hysteria my fellow liberals exhibit about anything nuclear.
 
 
+13 # pbbrodie 2012-06-01 17:13
I'm too lazy to rewrite this, so, I am quoting what QuestionsQuesti ons wrote.
"The BEIR VII report of the National Academy of Sciences determined back in 2006 that there is NO safe level of radiation exposure - ANY amount adds to your risk of cancer and other health effects. It's a shame that the MSM (including NPR) seems to continually miss this critical point."
This is the highly justifiable "hysteria" you claim liberals show about anything nuclear. I am dismayed that you aren't!
 
 
-2 # austxjr 2012-06-03 20:05
You are too lazy to understand it too. This report was about all ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation is a fact of life. Based on this we should never go outside and not live in this universe. From the report - "Ionizing radiation is ubiquitous in the environment, and comes from naturally occurring radioactive materials and cosmic rays. Common artificial sources are artificially produced radioisotopes, X-ray tubes and particle accelerators. Ionizing radiation is invisible and not directly detectable by human senses, so instruments such as Geiger counters are usually required to detect its presence. In some cases it may lead to secondary emission of visible light upon interaction with matter, such as in Cherenkov radiation and radioluminescen ce. It has many practical uses in medicine, research, construction, and other areas, but presents a health hazard if used improperly. Exposure to ionizing radiation causes damage to living tissue, and can result in mutation, radiation sickness, cancer,[3] and death."
 
 
+9 # readerz 2012-06-01 17:14
There were studies, such as by Linus Pauling, about the increase of leukemia. The 1950s are very relevant, because before then, there wasn't fallout in the environment from nuclear bombs or tests. Now, it is hard to distinguish between the "old" radiation that is still having a half-life, and the "new" radiation. ("Old" being 1950s, not very long in half-life time, "medium" being Chernobyl, and "new" being Fukushima.)
 
 
0 # caylworth@gmail.com 2012-06-04 09:52
Quoting readerz:
There were studies, such as by Linus Pauling, about the increase of leukemia. The 1950s are very relevant, because before then, there wasn't fallout in the environment from nuclear bombs or tests. Now, it is hard to distinguish between the "old" radiation that is still having a half-life, and the "new" radiation. ("Old" being 1950s, not very long in half-life time, "medium" being Chernobyl, and "new" being Fukushima.)

The problem with Pauling's analysis is that it was based on the assumption that fallout caused leukemia. It attributes all additional cases to radiation, without consideration that many new chemical, electromagnetic and life style changes happened since 1950. He could just as well have assumed that television causes leukemia, and "proved" the assumption to the same level of confidence.
 
 
+1 # austxjr 2012-06-03 19:57
Yes, thank you, I agree wholeheartedly. I had friends in Tokyo and Yokohama when the Fukushima disaster struck and I did a lot of research on nuclear power thinking I would be a well informed anti-nuke when done. In fact I am pro-nuke now, but anti-these old unsafe nuclear plant sites and designs. Nuclear power has been light-years safer than petroleum and coal and is required for wind and solar to work (though not for wave and geothermal) so we can and should do it smarter. The raw fact is nuclear is going to get done so who would you rather have build them, the Chinese and Indians or us and the French? You decide.
 
 
+12 # cordleycoit 2012-06-01 15:13
Why all this waffling and go about decommissioning all nukes? We have the renewables but some how the banksters and the corporate thieves want to kill off another million or so people. Notice how quiet the Japanese government have become. NPR seemed almost flip about the story that's because they are part of the problem. As they have grown they are no longer held to a high standard because they must keep those colonizers who make the big money rain on NPR happy and public ,"let em die." The truth is not a factor any more.
 
 
+11 # fredboy 2012-06-01 15:22
No surprise that NPR is now joining the science denial league. As evidence mounts that blue-green algae, aka cyanobacteria, often share an extremely dangerous neurotoxin component (BMAA) that appears to trigger ALS and other neurodegenerati ve conditions, Florida media, politicos and others look the other way. Perhaps those of us who are aware will have tombstones that read "We Tried To Warn Them."
 
 
+1 # austxjr 2012-06-03 20:06
So we should get rid of all blue-green algea and all ionizing radiation? You are much more likely to die in a car wreck than from blue-green algea or ionizing radiation me thinks.
 
 
+21 # QuestionsQuestions 2012-06-01 15:26
I'm with geekfilter, only because most everybody commenting here (and of course NPR) seems to be clueless about the basic facts on radioactive material of any quantity. The BEIR VII report of the National Academy of Sciences determined back in 2006 that there is NO safe level of radiation exposure - ANY amount adds to your risk of cancer and other health effects. It's a shame that the MSM (including NPR) seems to continually miss this critical point.

Those of us in the anti-nuclear movement have taken to referring to NPR as "Nuclear Powered Radio" for their seeming blindness to the settled issues as well as current controversy over nukes and radiation. Our local station even gave Christie Todd Whitman, former EPA chief and current nuclear propagandist (CASE)a whole hour to spew forth, without any balancing speaker. At least they're consistent....
 
 
+15 # CandH 2012-06-01 15:46
I'm equally disturbed that this story came out now, 9 MONTHS after it occurred! Yes, these Tuna results were in August of 2011, and yet we are learning about these Cesium levels in 15 out of 15 fish sampled, NOW? How on earth did this story, did the researchers/sci entists who discovered this, get this information completely buried until now? And moreover, what are the radioisotope levels in the Tuna and other species, SINCE and SUBSEQUENT? (FYI--Arnie Gundersen has said that he will stop eating Pacific Northwest caught Salmon by the end of the year, as oceanic currents predictions suggests that the radioisotopes will begin to really show up in Salmon populations in that region by that time.)
 
 
-16 # helius 2012-06-01 16:16
C'mon people! This is just more FUD from a pot smokin' Music school dropout. Geez. Rod Adams did the math: The amount of ionizing radiation is 1/30 of the radiation that comes from the potassium in the Tuna's own bodies. The Polonium 210 (that's the stuff that killed that Russian spy in London a few years back) is a couple of hundred times stronger than the Cesium from Fukisima. The amount of Radiation in Tuna from Fukisima is miniscule compared to natural background. Fukishima is a financial disaster for Topco and Japan, and the tsunami is an absolute disaster, but keep the radiation FUD spread in perspective.

Folks, he gets paid for disimating FUD, so read him for a chuckle, but take him for what he's worth.
 
 
-15 # helius 2012-06-01 17:25
Ha! You published an article from a pot smoking music school dropout, like it was real, and not the amaturish FUD that it is. Then when I alert the readers, you dump my comment.

Well I guess it's back to Slashdot for me!
 
 
+6 # Garrett Connelly 2012-06-01 17:42
Ban the bomb became a US movement once it was generally known that goulish research timed radiation from Nevada A-bomb tests to East Coast alfalfa, milk, and then children's teeth.

I haven't listened to NPR since it breathlessly embedded itself into the first Iraq war,
 
 
+13 # She Cee 2012-06-01 18:08
Between radio-active fish and GMO foods we will very soon have a shortage of safe foods to eat.

And the FDA and governments around the world do nothing to protect us, instead, cow-towing to the greed that runs the world.

And our President authorizing more nuclear plants of the same design as those in Fukishima. It's not unbelievable, it's true.

Having said that....Please DON'T VOTE FOR ROMNEY and his Cohorts. They're trying to get all the money so that they can escape to the safety of the space station (HAH!)
 
 
+8 # MainStreetMentor 2012-06-01 19:17
Hey! It's mans' use of nuclear energy for profits that is the culprit here - not NPR. If there's no nuclear energy, there's much less danger of the species of our planet to be exposed to it. Stop the proliferation of nuclear energy power plants today - and lessen the threats if nuclear radiation for tomorrow.
 
 
+2 # NAVYVET 2012-06-01 20:12
NPR/PBS is definitely NOT the best source of broadcast news, science shows, or anything else except occasionally good dramas (and I DO NOT include dreadful claptrap like "Downton Abbey", a.k.a. "Upstairs-Downs tairs Rehashed"). The news on radio or TV, with few exceptions, offers government propaganda, which means it's a mouthpiece for Wall Street, and is partly funded by the Koch Brothers. If you must waste your time on TV, then please watch the international news on MHz World or Link TV, also available online (via streaming video). Al Jazeera and even--surprisin gly--Russia Today, offer more thorough and reliable TV news than NPR/PBS, which sold out over 20 years ago. I get some of my news from these sources, but usually online, where I can call up Rachel Maddow, Amy Goodman, and Bill Moyers any time I want. The TV just sits there blank most of the time, and I'm proud that (with the exception of the Millennium celebration) I haven't turned on a commercial TV channel since "Deep Space Nine" concluded its series. Needless to say, I don't waste my Social Security on cable.
 
 
+7 # haole guy 2012-06-02 01:34
Fukushima is no accident.
Deepwater Horizon was no accident.
and there are 20+ nuclear plants along the New Madrid Earthquake Fault/Missouri River Valley.
 
 
+6 # hammermann 2012-06-02 05:57
NPR has wimped out on firing people over RW generated "controversies" , but they're not the enemy- probably the most reliable US news. This article was superficial (link to report he's bitching about, actual amounts found?).

Cesium 137 is very nasty stuff- a gamma emmitter, it is taken up as Potassium, but being highly water soluble, only stays in the body for 2 months. Strontium 90 gets incorporated in bones though- we are have measurable amounts from bomb tests. There is a huge difference between transitory outside exposure to radiation and INTERNAL radiation. A few micrograms of PL in your lungs will give you cancer, but you could put a kg in your pocket (though it explodes in air)- it's an alpha emitter, which is stopped by paper.

The lethal dose of Ce137 is miniscule- 3.5 thousands of a gram for an adult (wikipedia); but the amounts in the environment much much lower.

I would be more worried about heavy metals in Tuna or other big fish, but the problem is it's too expensive + like everything in the ocean, it'll be hunted to extinction in a decade or 2. When I was a kid it was 5 cans/1$.
 
 
+4 # Elusive Pimpernel 2012-06-02 10:25
hammermann..... with radiation, metal, and special coatings of cans which can also cause cancer, I'd rather err on the side of caution instead of reassure everyone that "all is ok, no need to panic".

Its like being careful when you pick mushrooms to eat, you better know what you are doing or else...
 
 
0 # austxjr 2012-06-03 16:06
Oh, so you'd rather panic and err on the side of caution? So what caution have you taken about all the radiation released by burning coal and all the people directly killed by coal? where is your err on the side of caution for that?
 
 
-11 # hammermann 2012-06-02 05:59
But the rightous anti-nuclear fervor many of you still have is sad, though. The world has passed you by. Germany + Japan's abandoning nuclear power is tragic- we are on path to a global warming holocaust. Nukes at least WERE CLEAN - carbon free. Radiation is natural- you get more from a plane ride (or x-ray) than any industrial or gov exposure you will ever get. Nuclear submariners in sealed tubes breathe the same air for months. Potassium is radioactive.

Nuclear power is like a fly in your house, AGW is a railroad running through it- it will smash civilization like kindling. I'd be happy if there were 2-3 times more nuclear power plants (though solar, wind, hydro are better)- because the coming shtstorm may have been delayed 20 years. I honestly believe from 5 month investigation + over 30 years of studying issue, that 1-2 billion people will starve or die of disease in the next 10-20 years when THE GREAT FAMINE hits from AGW drought. Neurotic paranoia of nuclear will be a quaint bitter footnote.
 
 
+4 # fredboy 2012-06-02 06:05
In 2003 I warned of a "polar bear market" that would one day result from the Fed's lowering interest rates to one percent. During the next few days the stock market ticked slightly upward, so the NPR show ditched my tape and commentary. It reminded me that in America long-term warnings are usually ignored. Then we all get an ass beating (think October 2008) when the calamities we could have prevented arrive.
 
 
+3 # RMDC 2012-06-02 06:55
Those blue fin tuna sure are gorgeous fish! I'd love to see one up close.
 
 
+6 # Pickwicky 2012-06-02 09:12
Add up nuclear leaks, little accidents, big accidents, natural radiation, medical radiation, et al--and what do you get? A little bit here, a little there equals increased cases of cancer.
 
 
+3 # davehaze 2012-06-02 09:19
Is NPR reporting superior and more truthful than corporate news?

Take one example: WMDs. NPR reported they existed 93-95% of the time similar to corporate news. I remember thinking at the time that All Things Considered, their premiere news program, should be renamed Only WMDs Considered. And I may have told them that -- maybe not, I probably realized it was a waste of time to attempt to liberalize NPR. No People Represented.
 
 
0 # austxjr 2012-06-02 09:22
"Radiation" is such a scary word and since most people's education about it comes through movies and television they are woefully ignorant and fearful of anything to do with it. Consequently, most people act like they think we will turn into mutants or something. In reality it is a serious subject, but nothing to be fearful about. Apart from Chernobyl, which was a terrible plant design and terribly run by the USSR, there has never been a death from radiation exposure. Yes, we are building the wrong type of plants still, but nuclear power can and should be even safer. This is something that cannot be said about coal, oil or other "traditional" power sources. Where is the outrage and fear of those? Coal emits tons of radiation in addition to other pollutants and has a death rate more than 4000 times as high as nuclear energy. Get real people!
 
 
-1 # Sophie 2012-06-02 23:32
NPR was abducted by the pod people during Bush's reign--or did you miss that particular episode? The Bush administration (wingnuts), attacked NPR as well as PBS, and they have not recovered. Neither has the once implacable Associated Press. It is not surprising that NPR would downplay the reality of radiation contamination in bluefin tuna, etc.
 
 
-1 # austxjr 2012-06-03 16:04
The Repubs tried to coopt NPR and PBS, but didn't succeed. You people are as bad as the righties in that if NPR or PBS don't agree with your point of view then they are 100% co-opted. It just ain't so Joe. I knew the man who crafted the approach that the PBS took and he insisted that to be government funded they couldn't be left OR right and most staff has tried to do that now for over 50 years. They ARE human and not perfect, but they do try to give the most fair, accurate and balanced coverage possible and that can't be judged by just one program, writer, presenter or producer. It has to be judged on the totality of coverage. I know a lot of writers and producers here in Austin at KUT and they are far from being taken over by the Pod people. Quite emulating the right in saying that if you don't agree with me you must be a sell out to the corporations or the right. I'm as liberal as most anyone, but I won't stand for orthodoxy and I search for the scientific truth when it is possible.
 
 
+6 # davehaze 2012-06-02 09:30
I forgot to add that NPR has some excellent cultural programs, superior to most corporate radio.

But again their political reporting is inaccurate and rife with corporate bias. NPR has always been pro-nuke. At least I never heard them say anything that couldn't have come out of the mouth of a nuclear energy lobbyist.
 
 
0 # oneofshibumi 2012-06-02 23:18
While the media is lying about a "safe level" of ingestion of Caesium-137. There is no "safe level." However, the media doesn't want to put the tuna companies out of business. However, Prussian Blue is an antidote.
 
 
0 # Garrett Connelly 2012-06-03 07:35
How does Russian Blue find the cesium atom that has become a building block in muscle and dislodge it from the body?
 
 
0 # hammermann 2012-06-03 09:50
It doesn't. It binds with the free ones still circulating. But, again cesium compounds are highly soluble, so they are flushed out of the body within 70 days (say Wiki, and they NEVER lie). But being a gamma emitter, thats long enough to do damage. Prussian blue is incredible intense color- used as dyes in 2nd-3rd world. Ferric ferrocyanide, they make it even in chemistry sets.
 
 
0 # BobbyLip 2012-06-03 23:31
NPR serves its corporate masters. Were it to offend them, the money dries up. NPR isn't evil, just craven. Sad but hardly news.
 
 
0 # Feral Dogz 2012-06-04 10:28
Quoting BobbyLip:
NPR serves its corporate masters. Were it to offend them, the money dries up. NPR isn't evil, just craven. Sad but hardly news.


I would name all the programming on public radio that is slanted toward populist, progressive, liberal, socialist points of view but the list is too long. Why do you think the right wing is trying to shut it down? Are ther any Glen Beck types on NPR? Bill O'Rielly, Anne Coulter? Shaun Hannity? Surely featuring them would boost their ratings.

NPR news is only a small part of public broadcasting and IMHO does a much better job than any broadcast or cable network or print media outlet.
 
 
+2 # QuestionsQuestions 2012-06-04 11:38
Hey folks - the article we're discussing was about NPR's lame coverage of NUCLEAR Power/radioacti ve contamination, not left-right politics, or what to eat for lunch. I think they're relatively good on a lot of other issues, but seem to have a real blind spot when it comes to nukes, for some no-doubt corporate-influ enced, politically correct reason.

And Hammermann, it looks more like most the world is passing nukes by - proposals for new plants are dropping like flies, even before Fukushima caused a much-deserved panic. And you're dead wrong about nukes being carbon-free - life-cycle analyses find that nukes are as much as 7 TIMES more carbon-intensiv e than the most viable alternative, sustainable power source - wind power. And the costs to build them just keep climbing, and that's not even considering the unknown costs for that pesky little problem of keeping their wastes isolated for tens of thousands of years. Time for nuke-heads to give up their (wet)dream, and get with a sustainable, liveable one!
 

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