October 29, 2012

Fish Off Japan’s Coast Contain Elevated Levels of Cesium

Elevated levels of cesium still detected in fish off the Fukushima coast of Japan suggest that radioactive particles from last year's nuclear disaster have accumulated on the seafloor and could contaminate sea life for decades, according to new research. [NY Times]

The findings published in Friday's issue of the journal Science highlight the challenges facing Japan as it seeks to protect its food supply and rebuild the local fisheries industry.

40 percent of fish caught off Fukushima and tested by the government still have too much cesium to be safe to eat under regulatory limits set by the Japanese government last year, said the article's author, Ken O. Buesseler, a leading marine chemistry expert at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who analyzed test results from the 12 months following the March 2011 disaster.

"The fact that many fish are just as contaminated today with cesium 134 and cesium 137 as they were more than one year ago implies that cesium is still being released into the food chain," Mr. Buesseler wrote.



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