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Fukushima Fish OK, But Avoid Chernobyl Pork

June 5, 2013
Written by: , Filed in: Emergency Radiology
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Even though the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster has made some Pacific Ocean fish radioactive, the level is so low that it poses virtually no danger to either other marine life or human consumers.

That’s the conclusion of scientists who first reported the radioactivity a year ago. An article about their latest research was published online Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The aptly named Nicholas Fisher, PhD, is lead author of the article. Dr. Fisher is a distinguished professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York. Even if heavy seafood consumers—those who gobble 273 pounds a year, or five times the U.S. average—ate no seafood except the contaminated bluefin tuna found off the California coast, Dr. Fisher said, they would …

… receive radiation doses approximately equivalent to that from one dental X-ray and about half that received by the average person over the course of a normal day from a variety of natural and human sources. The resulting increased incidence of cancers would be expected to be essentially undetectable.

Whew!

Unfortunately, connoisseurs of Austrian wild pork—assuming that there are any—got some bad news last month. The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety found wild pigs with dangerous levels of radioactive cesium-137. The agency attributed the radiation to lingering fallout from the disastrous accident that occurred on April 26, 1986, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

The Austrian Times quoted Christopher Böck, whom it identified as a “wild biologist,” as saying that cesium-137 accumulates in mushrooms, a favorite food of wild pigs. So maybe it’s a good idea to avoid Austrian wild mushrooms as well as Austrian wild pork.

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How do you control nuclear power plant leaks? With duct tape, of course. Really. See our Facebook page.

Related CME seminar: UCSF Radiology Review: COMPREHENSIVE IMAGING

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