Trace Amounts of Radioactive Iodine in Tokyo Tap Water
UPDATE MARCH 21, 2011: You can pickup the most recent reports on radiation in the food supply in Japan through all major news outlets. Of interest is the WHO position today.
(Reuters) – The World Health Organization said on Monday that radiation in food after an earthquake damaged a Japanese nuclear plant was more serious than previously thought, eclipsing signs of progress in a battle to avert a catastrophic meltdown in its reactors.
MARCH 19, 2011: Trace amounts of radioactive iodine were detected in tap water in Tokyo and five other areas, amid concerns about leaks from a damaged nuclear power plant, the Japanese government said today.
A government ministry reported that small amounts of the iodine was found in tap water in Tokyo and five other prefectures. The ministry says the amounts did not exceed government safety limits but usual tests show no iodine.
But the findings add to public concerns about radiation leaking from the Fukushima nuclear power plant crippled by the earthquake and tsunami.
VIENNA, March 19 (Reuters) – Japan has halted sales of food products from near a crippled nuclear plant because of contamination by a radioactive element which can pose a short-term health risk, the U.N. atomic agency said on Saturday.
In what it called another “critical” measure to counter contamination of food, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Japanese authorities on March 16 recommended that people leaving the area should ingest stable iodine.
Taken as pills or syrup, stable (non-radioactive) iodine can be used to help protect against thyroid cancer in the event of radiation exposure in a nuclear accident.
“Though radioactive iodine has a short half-life of about eight days and decays naturally within a matter of weeks, there is a short-term risk to human health if radioactive iodine in food is absorbed into the human body,” the IAEA said in a statement.
“If ingested, it can accumulate in and cause damage to the thyroid. Children and young people are particularly at risk of thyroid damage due to the ingestion of radioactive iodine.”