Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cesium found in children's urine; effects still unknown (The Japan Times)

The Japan Times reports that cesium has been found in child urine tests in Fukushima:
Small amounts of radioactive cesium were found in the urine of 10 children in the city of Fukushima, confirming their internal exposure to radiation, citizens' groups that carried out a survey said Thursday. The groups, including Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation, asked ACRO, a French independent radiation monitoring and sampling laboratory, to conduct tests on its members' own children. ACRO conducted tests in Belarus after the Chernobyl accident.

The groups said they couldn't judge whether the level of contamination was large or small, and urged the government to conduct thorough tests on all Fukushima children to find the precise levels of their internal exposure and take necessary measures to avoid any further contamination.

Cesium-134 and cesium-137 were detected in the urine samples of all 10 children aged between 6 and 16 who participated in the survey. The largest amount of cesium-134, which has a half-life of two years, was 1.13 becquerels per liter, found in the urine of an 8-year-old girl.

As for cesium-137, which has a half-life of 30 years, the largest amount was 1.30 becquerels per liter detected in a 7-year-old boy. No traces of iodine-131 were found in the test.

The government has set a safety limit of 200 becquerels of cesium per liter of water.

The samples were taken in late May in the city of Fukushima, more than 50 km from the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

"All (tested) kids are contaminated. . . . Currently the (government's) policy is mainly on external exposure, but internal exposure should be taken into consideration," ACRO Chairman David Boilley told a news conference in Tokyo...

Read the rest here.

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