Mother Earth Living

Natural Health

Better living through nature

Add to My MSN

In the News: FDA Examines Japanese Imports for Radiation Contamination

3/31/2011 4:24:59 PM

Tags: Lauren Holt, In the News, Japan, FDA, Radiation, Contamination

L.HoltLast week the FDA issued an import alert for all products from Japan. The notice states that all milk and fresh produce products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures must be examined for radionuclide contamination before entering the U.S. food supply. Seafood products from Japan, a new concern due to the high levels of both iodine and cesium leaking into the ocean, will also be diverted for testing.

The FDA has also issued a Public Health Focus entitled “Radiation Safety” that provides information regarding the threat of radiation and possible medicines or products that may be used if radioactive iodine is released into your local environment. They do not recommend that U.S. residents consume potassium iodine even as a preventative measure. (Potassium iodine protects the thyroid from absorbing harmful radiation, thus lowering cancer risk. If taken unnecessarily it can have harmful side effects.)

Is the risk of radioactive exposure really so high that U.S. consumers need to worry about it? Probably not. According to a recent Time magazine article, Japan has banned the sale of several products from areas affected by the radiation leaks, including milk and spinach. (Contaminated milk has often been blamed for the large number of thyroid cancer cases after the Chernobyl explosion of 1986.) Even if a product were contaminated, the U.S. imports so little food from Japan that it’s unlikely to be an issue here. 

03-31-2011-6
Japanese milk is one of the products that may have too much radioactive iodine.
Photo by localjapantimes/Courtesy
Flickr 

This isn’t to say that the food we buy doesn’t have radioactive elements in it—a lot of it does (from atomic weapons tests in the mid 20th century, not from Japan’s disaster). Realistically, we consume radioactive elements every day. But the amount is small enough that it’s not considered a health risk. There are acceptable limits in place for the amount of iodine that can be present in foods, and it’s those limits that any Japanese imports will be compared to. And even if it is contaminated, you’d have to eat a lot of food to have much of a negative impact on your health. According to Dr. Cliffor Chao, the chief radiologist of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, 2 pounds of contaminated spinach would equal the amount of radiation you absorb during a CT scan of your head. A report from a British environmental radiation group states that drinking the highest-measured iodine-contaminated milk for two weeks would result in the same amount of radiation absorption as just living within our natural background radiation for a year.

Instead of focusing on our fear of this potential-but-unlikely danger of contamination, perhaps we should instead be giving our attention to how we can help all those individuals who have been personally affected by the tragedy in Japan, and on our own potential response to such a disaster.  
 
If you are worried about radiation exposure, for any reason, it’s important to be aware of your treatment choices—and that there are lots of scams out there. Please speak with a health professional before self-medicating.

Read More: Three Weeks After Japan's Disaster, What Are the Real Risks in the U.S.? - The Huffington Post
Reassessing Radiation Care And Response In The U.S. - The Huffington Post
Why Does ‘Nuclear’ Scare Us So Much? - CNN 
Japan’s Next Nightmare: Health Problems from  Radiation Exposure - Time Healthland
Radiation Exposure: Fast Facts about Thyroid Cancer and Other Health Risks - Time Healthland 



Related Content

In The News: 31 Million Americans Skip Breakfast Each Morning

Ten percent of Americans opt out of their morning meals. Find out why chowing down may be the better...

NeoCell Nutricosmetics Support Beauty From the Inside Out

The NeoCell line of nutricosmetics is designed to nourish the body with essential healthy nutrients ...

In The News: FDA Issues Cilantro Recall

The Federal Drug Administration has issued a cilantro recall on a certain brand of the popular herb....

Supplement Review: MegaFood Immunity-Boosting Supplements

MegaFood’s line of immunity-boosting supplements, including vitamin D3, a daily multivitamin and a p...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 



Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.