via ex-SKF / December 6, 2011 /

The Ministry of Health and Labor, one of whose mandates is to protect consumers, quoted from Asahi Shinbun (12/6/2011), in a typical bureaucratic convolution:

30ベクレルを検出した粉ミルクの安全性について担当者は「飲む際にはさらに薄まる。健康への影響はないと言える」と話している。

The person in charge [at the Ministry of Health and Labor] says about the safety of the powdered milk that has been found with 30 becquerels/kg [of radioactive cesium], “It will be further diluted when consumed. It can be said that there will be no effect on health.”

Oh is that so? Are you sure?

Here’s a log-scale chart of daily radioactive cesium intake from 1974 to 2002 per person in Japan. A slight spike after the Chernobyl accident, but it has been the steady trend downward from max 1 becquerel/person/day in 1974 to max 0.1 becquerel/person/day, with minimum close to 0.01 becquerel/person/day. (The chart is from @tomynyo.)

A 6-month old baby drinks 4 cans of powdered milk per month, I was told. The net weight of a can of Meiji Step milk is 850 grams, so the baby would consume 3.4 kilograms (850 grams x 4) of the powdered milk per month. 3.4 kilograms of the powdered milk would contain 102 becquerels of radioactive cesium (30 becquerels/kg x 3.4). The baby would be fed with 3.4 becquerels of radioactive cesium per day.

That would be 34 to 340 times more than the pre-Fukushima accident level of radioactive cesium intake per person per day.

But bureaucrats at the Ministry of Health are confident. No effect on health. One expert chimes in with his tweet, saying “We shouldn’t be hurting the feelings of mothers who have fed their babies with this formula by making a big deal out of it. We shouldn’t make them feel worried or regret”. He continues by implying the amount of radioactive cesium is too small to cause any effect.

(UPDATE: Infants at one nursery school in Utsunomiya City in Tochigi Prefecture have been fed with this contaminated milk, according to the city. If you read Japanese, here’s the link to Yomiuri Shinbun Tochigi local version.)

RELATED:

Cesium-laced baby formula sparks concern, but risk low – Japan Times

Irradiated Baby Food Spotlights Ongoing Woes for Japan’s Food Sector – Time

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By Corbett| 1 Comment | Featured, Science

1 comment

  1. Radiation is cumulative. There is this dose, the radioactive iodine these infants breathed, the contaminated drinking water, other contaminated food (there has to be more since this was caught after it was on the market) —on and on thru their lives as the contamination from this accident and others continues. Saying that this dose is inconsequential is yet another way the nuclear industrial complex and the Japanese government cover up and minimize the true consequences of the disaster of nuclear contamination, whether it is from nuclear testing, accidents such as this, or the leakage that occurs through out the nuclear fuel cycle. It accumulates and goes on essentially forever. “no effect on health” ? Indeed! The experiment has just begun on thousands of un consenting subjects.

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