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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Dangerous vegetables

August 22, 2012


  2 Fukushima men suffer internal radiation exposure from homegrown vegetables



Two Fukushima Prefecture men in their 70s suffered a relatively high level of internal radiation exposure by consuming homegrown vegetables contaminated with radioactive cesium, a survey by the University of Tokyo's Institute of Medical Science has found.

The level of radioactivity in one of the men was close to 20,000 becquerels. Researchers said this would result in an annual radiation dose of about 0.85 millisieverts -- under the government's yearly limit for radiation exposure from food of 1 millisievert per year.

Doctor Masaharu Tsubokura, who tested the men, commented, "This is not a level that would affect their health, but when people consume homegrown vegetables and other such products we would like them to undergo tests.

The men live in the town of Kawamata and the city of Nihonmatsu, respectively. Whole body counters were used to measure their internal exposure to cesium 134 and cesium 137 between July and August. The man from Kawamata had a level of radioactivity of 19,507 becquerels, while his wife had a reading of 7,724 becquerels. The man from Nihonmatsu, meanwhile, registered radioactivity of 11,191 becquerels and his wife had a level of 6,771 becquerels of radioactivity. Both couples were believed to have been exposed to radioactive cesium released during the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

Every day, the couple in Kawamata had eaten homegrown shiitake mushrooms grown on wood from the Fukushima Prefecture town of Namie, as well as bamboo shoots from near their homes, and dried persimmon. Radioactivity of over 140,000 becquerels was found in the mushrooms. The couple from Nihonmatsu reportedly consumed vegetables given to them by the other couple.


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