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Rad Standards/Impacts
#1
This is from a "debate" occurring in facebook. The article that sparked the debate: Fukushima Contaminated Potato Chips Found In Japan http://www.fukuleaks.org/web/?p=15978

"Dave and Tom, forgive my antagonistic and dismissive tone. I apologize for that. Also, Tom, you are absolutely right that in my comment above I conflated the raising of the allowable exposure to radiation by non-nuclear workers to the allowable levels in food. I should have gone back and corrected that when I realized it, and there really is no excuse for not having done that.

I want to make a couple of points, but lets actually start with that one. In the days after the 3/11 crisis the GoJ did raise the allowable levels of exposure to radiation to four times what it had been. Currently children and adults are legally allowed to be exposed to as much radiation as had been the previous level only allowable to adult nuclear industry workers. Was there a scientific basis for this change? Clearly not. It was a matter of liability. This level was raised because some people were in fact being exposed to these higher levels and if it was illegal there would be financial liability. So first of all, do you think that the GoJ would undertake such a cynical step, however be absolutely vigilant to science alone when setting levels for safety in food? If you trust the levels as set by law, this is who you are putting your faith in. There is actually not any scientific consensus that there is a safe level of radiation in food. Even if Japan’s level is lower than other countries, that is a relative comparison and not an assertion of safety. The consensus among health physicists is that all exposures to radiation should be avoided, or minimized, and only accepted on a cost-benefit basis, in other words, I want to know if my leg is broken so I am willing to be exposed to x-rays. No one asserts that the x-ray technicians should simply stay in the room during each x-ray. They systematically reduce their exposures. This is standard and not ever in question.

But more to the point, you both seem to be very focused on how discourse around food safety and radiation in food is harming the wellbeing of farmers. Is this really what is harming their wellbeing? First I would ask you if in other cases of industrial catastrophe in which toxins are distributed into the ecosystem you are primarily concerned with people not talking about the presence of toxins in the food or about what levels may or may not be safe? Is it just in this one case? It is certainly not irrational for people to insist that toxins not be in their food. And it is also the case that if farmers suffer from the presence of toxins in the food they grow, the fault lays not with those who discuss or assess it, but in those who contaminated their fields in the first place. In most cases of industrial disaster, fault is placed on those who ran an unsafe facility, and those who established lax regulatory mechanisms, or did not enforce more rigorous regulations. Surely there is more fault to be placed there than on those who worry about ingesting toxins. Surely those are the people who have damaged the value of the farmed goods.

You can say that the amounts of radiation found in these chips is safe, but you don’t really know that. The large scale ingestion of small traces of these radionuclides has not been done in a lab and we are all in the middle of a large experiment. There is reason to be skeptical and also to conduct citizen measures, as Safecast does, and as the group who found these contaminated chips have done. They are not tin-hat weirdos, they are not claiming no one should eat fish from the Pacific (and if you conflate them with such people you are doing the work of pro-nuclear PR people) they conducted these tests at Tokyo University using strict controls. The fact that the potatoes show these levels this long after the accident reveals, as Nancy pointed out, that the original distribution of cesium isotopes was larger and more widely dispersed than has been claimed. Are we supposed to not talk about that?

There are a large number of uncertainties in the current situation, and to pretend that the dangers and risks are known is presumptuous. The study cited above refutes decades of risk/safety discourse in the nuclear industry, that long term exposures to very low levels of gamma radiation are not dangerous. Each persons’ digestion and immune system is different, so to introduce large numbers of radionuclides into the ecosystem, and food supply-where our exposure is in part internal, is not something for which the outcome can be accurately predicted. You may remember the numerous claims that there would be no rise in the cases of thyroid cancer in children in response to the fallout. Of course there has been. One way to try to blunt this, with discourse, is to claim, as industry scientists and GoJ scientist have, that this is the result of increased screening. Let’s apply some critical thinking. Does increased screening produce more cases of cancer, or simply detect them sooner? Wouldn’t the actual number of cases be the same whether we screened or didn’t screen? Here we see discourse, in fact disinformation at work. If you feel that the same people who can engage in this kind of rhetorical misdirection are entirely trustworthy about food safety, that is entirely your choice.

There is nothing in the article posted here, or the one it cites, that is shoddy work. It’s just that it focuses on a complex situation and an unfolding impact that you seem to wish was simple and determinant. I would say that if you really want to support the farmers who have been impacted by the Fukushima disaster, you should put some of this energy into pressing the GoJ to compensate them for their loses after this industrial disaster. At least I hope you put as much energy into this as you put into advocating that people ingest low levels of radionuclides because it will "probably" be okay." 

~ Bo Jacobs, researcher, published author, and recognized authority on nuclear radiation impacts. (For more on Bo, see: Dr. Robert Jacobs: http://thinkglobalschool.org/guest-speak...rt-jacobs/ and Nuclear Hotseat #280: SPECIAL: Hiroshima Peace Institute/Global Hibakusha Project w/Bo Jacobs http://www.nuclearhotseat.com/2016/11/02...bo-jacobs/ and Bo's work can also be found in the Asia-Pacific Journal: The Bravo Test and the Death and Life of the Global Ecosystem in the Early Anthropocene http://apjjf.org/2015/13/29/Robert-Jacobs/4343.html).
Pia
just pm me if needed.
 
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