Japan Nuclear Radiation Found In San Francisco, CA Tap Water – Levels In Rainwater 18,100% Above Drinking Water Limit

April 3rd, 2011

(HigginsBlog) – Despite countless reassurances that no harmful levels of radiation from the Japan nuclear fallout would hit the US from the EPA, the University of Berkley in California is now reporting that rainwater in San Francisco water has now been detected at levels 18,100%  above federal drinking water standards.

Again, with just about all other news of the radiation hitting the US, the news is once again reported to the public over a week after it was first detected.

For background information see:


Breaking News From Energy News:

Radioactive Iodine-131 in rainwater sample near San Francisco was 18,100% above federal drinking water standard

March 31st, 2011 at 06:33 PM

UCB Rain Water Sampling Results, University of California, Berkeley, Department of Nuclear Engineering:

Iodine-131 was measured in a rainwater sample taken on the roof of Etcheverry Hall on UC Berkeley campus, March 23, 2011 from 9:06-18:00 PDT. The 3 Liters of rainwater collected contained 134 Becquerels of Iodine for an average of 20.1 Becquerel per liter, which equates to 543 Picocuries per liter .

The federal drinking water limit for Iodine-131 is 3 Picocuries per liter, putting the rainwater sample at 18,100% above the federal drinking water limit.

20.1 Becquerel per liter (Bq/L) = 543 Picocuries per liter (pCi/L)

Conversion calculator here.

The federal drinking water standard for Iodine-131 is 3 pCi/L. (Source)

UCB Rain Water Sampling Results here.

Radiation in San Francisco 18,100 Times Above Drinking Water LimitsRadiation in San Francisco 18,100 Times Above Drinking Water Limits

See also: Comparisons with X-rays and CT scans “meaningless” — Inhaling particles increases radiation exposure by “a factor of a trillion” says expert

Read more:


Nuclear Radiation Found In Drinking Water and Milk

The University of Berkeley also detected radiation in milk bought off local store shelves and in the drinking water taken from a tap water sample.

The tap water sample contained 0.024 ± 0.014 Becquerels per liter which is must lower than the latest rainwater samples. Milk samples also contained radiation which again is  lower than the rainwater samples. 

Here is a snippet of the the University of Berkeley Results Log:

3/31 (8:00pm): Our first preliminary tap water samples have been analyzed. The only isotope we have detected besides background is I-131, at low significance: 0.024 ± 0.014 Becquerels per liter. This level is much lower than our rain water measurements by a factor of approximately 300, and lower than our milk measurement by a factor of 30. We will be continuing measurements of tap water to confirm this result; the level is so low it is approaching the threshold of detection.

Quick updates on our other samples: Rainwater results have been updated to be current as of the last rainfall on Saturday 3/26. Air filtration will be posted this evening to be current to 3/30. A sample of milk from before Fukushima has been added to the milk sampling results.

One additional note: There was some confusion about the dating of the milk data. Yesterday we listed the date incorrectly as “Purchased on” but the date was in fact the “Best By” date. The date itself was wrong — the sample listed yesterday as 3/25 was actually 4/4. The background sample posted today was 3/25. Apologies for any confusion.

3/30 (5:30pm): Our milk sampling results are now posted. The only isotope we have detected besides background is I-131, at 0.70 Becquerels per liter. This level is lower than our rain water measurements by a factor of approximately 10, while higher than our creek water measurements by a factor of 10. One would have to drink roughly 3,800 liters of milk to receive a radiation dose equivalent to a round-trip cross-country flight.

3/29 (11:35am): Our air results and rain water results have both been updated. The isotope amounts in both have leveled out, which means that we might not be observing a downward trend at this point. We are continuing these tests so that we can observe the eventual expected decline in activities.

3/27 (2:00pm): Strawberry Creek run off results posted. We do observe all signatures in the run off creek water, but the dilution is from ~2% for I-131 to 15% for Cs137. However, Cs137 and Te132 are just below minimum detectability for our system and the real dilution is most likely closer to 2-5%. Reservoir and tap water sampling begins next week. These activities are factors of 10 to 50 below rain water results.

3/26 (6:20pm): Rain water sample results posted for 3/24 – 3/25. I-131 and Te-132 activities are lower than previously observed (3.12 and 0.27 Bq/L resp.) while Cs137 remains near the high point at ~0.5 Bq/L.

3/26 (10:45am): Air sampling results posted for 3/22 – 3/24. We have observed correlated increasing trends in Cs-137 and I-131 with the water sampling results. Te-132 seems to have increased more in air than in the rain water. Full understanding of the these trends may not be understood for some time until we start to combine this data with other information. Levels remain extremely low, but we are maintaining a close watch on these trends.

3/26 (9:45am): Rain water results posted for the past few days. Delay was due to testing of new data analysis chain script that will make posting results more efficient. We have observed a sharp up-tick in Cs-137 levels from around 0.2 Bg/L to 0.55 Bq/L. I-131 had a sharp rise on 3/23 of I-131 concentration from 6 Bq/L to 20 Bq/L. I-131 levels returned to 6 Bq/L on 3/24. Reasons for the I-131 spike is still unknown. Te-132 and I-132 levels remain relatively constant.

3/24 (2:40pm): Our new air sampling results are now posted. These results should be considered preliminary because we are trying to learn more about the efficiency of our 0.3 micron HEPA filters for capturing the particles of interest (we have assumed 100% efficiency for our current calculations). We thank everyone for their patience as we worked to ensure we had the correct calibration for these measurements. According to our measurements, the exposure to the public is very low — at the highest levels we measured, breathing the air for 2,000 years would increase one’s radiation dose by the same amount received by taking a cross-country airplane flight.

3/22 (3:05pm): Rain water sampling results from the evening of 3/19-3/20 are now posted. We continue to observe elevated levels of radioisotopes originating from the Japanese reactors. Some trends in activity are starting to emerge, such as a slow increase in the activity of I131, and a decrease and then increase in the activity of Te132. Cs137 activity may be constant. We will continue to monitor these trends. Our measured activity levels remain extremely low and exposure to the public is insignificant.

3/20 (4:15pm): Rain water results show trace levels of radioactive iodine (I131,I132), cesium (Cs134, Cs137), and tellurium (Te132). The amounts show that the activity we are observing originated from any of the three operating reactors that was shut down since I-131 and Te132 half-lives are less than 10 days and the spent fuel from unit 4 had not operated for > 130 days. The calculated exposure to the public is so low that the consuming of ~500 liters of this water would only increase dose by the same amount received by taking a cross-country airplane flight.

3/19 (10:34am): Rain fall from 3/17-2pm to 3/18-12:15pm. Preliminary results show trace amounts of radioactive iodine (I131, I132), cesium (Cs137, Cs134), and tellurium (Te132) which are not naturally occurring elements and are assumed to originate from the Fukushima nuclear site. In context, we also see Be-7 (cosmogenically produced) and Pb-212 (radon daughter) which are naturally occurring isotopes that also show up normally in rain water. Preliminary analysis show levels remain well below that which would cause health effects. We are currently awaiting better calibration of our detector system to publish amounts.


Results Of The First California Drinking Water Sample Tests Positive For Japan Nuclear Radiation

The tap water measurements are done with the same setup as the Rainwater Collection Experiment.

I131(Radioactive Iodine 131) I132 Cs134 Cs137 Te132 Data
Sample Date Bq/L (liters**) Bq/L (liters**) Bq/L (liters**) Bq/L (liters**) Bq/L (liters**)
Estimated Minimum Detectable Activity (MDA) 0.012 0.022 0.018 0.022 0.012
3/29/2011 7:54 0.024 ± 0.014 (110,000) less than MDA less than MDA less than MDA less than MDA data

Nuclear Fission Products Caesium and TE-132 Also Detected In Addition to Iodine

I131 Rain Water Activity

Cs137 Rain Water Activity

Te132 Rain Water Activity


What the Corporate Media Refuses To Tell The Public

FORECAST: RADIOACTIVE PARTICLES CONCENTRATED OVER MIDWEST ON APRIL 1, 2:

Update

Let me just set a few things straight.

First, I have seen comments that point people to federal food standards for radiation. For the record, I have correctly referenced the drinking water standard. Here they are:

ATSDR

Agency Media Standard
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Drinking water* 4 mrem/yr equivalent to 3 pCi/L (0.1 Bq/L) continuous exposure
Air** 2.1X10-13 Ci/m3
Food and Drug Administration Food in commerce (derived intervention level)*** 170 Becquerels per kilogram (4,600 pCi/kg)
NRC, DOE, OSHA, National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement (NCRP), and International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) Annual occupational exposure limits† 50 mSv (5 rem) for whole body dose 500 mSv (50 rem) for thyroid dose

Source: CDC: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/iodine/standards_regulations.html

 

From the actual drinking water regulations:

(b) MCL for combined radium-226 and -228. The maximum contaminant level for combined radium-226 and radium-228 is 5 pCi/L. The combinedradium-226 and radium-228 value is determined by

[[Page 442]]

the addition of the results of the analysis for radium-226 and the analysis for radium-228.

(c) MCL for gross alpha particle activity (excluding radon and uranium). The maximum contaminant level for gross alpha particle activity (including radium-226 but excluding radon and uranium) is 15 pCi/L.

(d) MCL for beta particle and photon radioactivity. (1) The average annual concentration of beta particle and photon radioactivity from man-made radionuclides in drinking water must not produce an annual dose equivalent to the total body or any internal organ greater than 4millirem/year (mrem/year).
(2) Except for the radionuclides listed in table A, the concentration of man-made radionuclides causing 4 mrem total body or organ dose equivalents must be calculated on the basis of 2 liter per day drinking water intake using the 168 hour data list in “Maximum Permissible Body Burdens and Maximum Permissible Concentrations of Radionuclides in Air and in Water for Occupational Exposure,” NBS (National Bureau of Standards) Handbook 69 as amended August 1963, U.S.

Department of Commerce. This incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.

Copies of this document are available from the National Technical Information Service, NTIS ADA 280 282, U.S. Department of Commerce, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, Virginia 22161.

The toll-free number is 800-553-6847. Copies may be inspected at EPA’s Drinking Water Docket, 401 M Street, SW., Washington, DC 20460; or at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For
information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal–register/code–of–federal–regulations/ibr–locations.html. If two or more radionuclides are present, the sum of their annual dose equivalent to the total body or to any organ shall not exceed 4 mrem/year.

Table A–Average Annual Concentrations Assumed To Produce: a Total Body or Organ Dose of 4 mrem/yr

1. Radionuclide…………….. Critical organ…. pCi per liter
2. Tritium…………………. Total body…….. 20,000
3. Strontium-90…………….. Bone Marrow……. 8

————————————————————————

(e) MCL for uranium. The maximum contaminant level for uranium is 30[mu]g/L.

 

Comparing radiation from bananas, x-rays or plane trip exposures to nuclear radiation in the food supply is like comparing apples to oranges.

There is a huge difference between internal radiation exposure from nuclear radioactive pollution in the environment, which bio-accumulates in the food chain, and non-threatening radiation from a banana or even radiation produced by an x-ray for that matter.

Such comparisons don’t change the fact that there is NUCLEAR FALLOUT RADIATION in the tap water and in the milk period.

Also if radiation is being found in the milk, then it is also in the cows that produced the milk.

See also: Comparisons with X-rays and CT scans “meaningless” — Inhaling particles increases radiation exposure by “a factor of a trillion” says expert

From ABC

No ‘safe’ threshold for radiation: experts

Thursday, 31 March 2011 Anna Salleh, ABC

As Japanese authorities work to contain radiation at Fukushima, concerns have been raised about public communication on radiation risk.The US advocacy group, Physicians for Social Responsiblity, recently criticised press reports implying there is a safe threshold for ionizing radiation exposure.

“As the crisis in Japan goes on, there are an increasing number of sources reporting that 100 mSv (millisieverts) is the lowest dose at which a person is at risk for cancer,” says a statement from the organisation.

“Established research disproves this claim,” the statement continues. “According to the National Academy of Sciences, there are no safe doses of radiation. Decades of research show clearly that any dose of radiation increases an individual’s risk for the development of cancer.”

Associate Professor Tilman Ruff of University of Melbourne’s Nossal Institute for Global Health says there may be a threshold for some effects of radiation, but not for cancer.

“There is unfortunately a continuing tirade of statements by self-interested parties and some official agencies … implying a threshold for radiation exposure below which there are no adverse consequences,” says Ruff, who is also a member of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

Dose and effect

But on the question of whether there is a safe threshold for exposure to radioactivity, Burns agrees with Ruff.

“There is no level below which we believe radiation effects can’t occur,” says Burns.

According to international agencies, 100 millisieverts corresponds to a risk of serious cancer of less than 1 per cent.

But Burns says there is other evidence that supports the adverse effects of low doses of radiation, including studies showing an increased risk in foetuses getting cancer later in life from a mother’s one-off 10 millisievert medical scan.

Ruff says it’s important to remember radiation limits like this are not levels below which there is no effect.

“They’re just a practical compromise between what’s achievable and what’s deemed an acceptable risk,” he says/

Helfand says if the risk of cancer from a low dose exposure is 1 in a million, an individual does not need to take any special precautions.

“But if 40 million get this dose of radiation then 40 of them are going to get cancer,” he says.

“And they may also be getting radiation in the days ahead from increased levels of radiation in the air, and from radiation contamination of food.”

Helfand says it is reasonable to assure the public that they don’t need to take individual action if the level of radiation is very low.

“But we should not mislead them that the dose is ‘safe’ or ‘no cause for concern’ which is very different,” he says.

 

Furthermore when the media throws around references like 1 hour of exposure is equivalent to 1/88th of an x-ray, one mus realize that the radiation exposure is ongoing and such a references means an x-ray  equivalent of  radiation every 88 hours!

The Reader’s digest also reports that 1 in 300 women and 1 in 600 men who have undergone a single CT scan end up with cancer.

It is also repeatedly echoed in the media that the half-life of iodine 131 is  only days, which is aimed to mislead the public into believe that the risk of iodine is over after only 8 days.

However, the fact that iodine has an 8 day half-life doesn’t mean iodine is harmless or disappears after 8 days.

In fact it iodine radiation stays in the environment for months and has a biological half-life of 100 days.

Caesium and other radioactive contaminates stay in the environment on the matter of years or decades.

From the EPA on iodine:

[logo] US EPA

Iodine-129 has a half-life of 15.7 million years; iodine-131 has a half-life of about 8 days. Both emit beta particles upon radioactive decay.

Note: iodine-131 is what is in question here

How do iodine-129 and iodine-131 change in the environment?

 

Radioactive iodine can disperse rapidly in air and water, under the right conditions. However, it combines easily with organic materials in soil. This is known as ‘organic fixation’ and slows iodine’s movement in the environment. Some soil minerals also attach to, or adsorb, iodine, which also slows its movement.

The long half-life of iodine-129, 15.7 million years, means that it remains in the environment. However, iodine-131′s short half-life of 8 days means that it will decay away completely in the environment in a matter of months. Both decay with the emission of a beta particle, accompanied by weak gamma radiation.

So iodine stays in the environment for months…

How do people come in contact with iodine-129 and iodine-131?

Radioactive iodine can be inhaled as a gas or ingested in food or water. It dissolves in water so it moves easily from the atmosphere into humans and other living organisms. People are exposed to I-129 from the past testing of nuclear weapons, and I-131 from nuclear power plant emissions. Some industrial facilities also emit radioactive iodine to the environment, as well as medical institutions. Radioactive iodine is usually emitted as a gas, but may contaminate liquids or solid materials as well. If a family member has been treated with I-131, you may have increased exposure to it through their body fluids.

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How do iodine-129 and iodine-131 get into the body?

Radioactive iodine can enter the body by ingestion or inhalation. It dissolves in water so it moves easily from the atmosphere into humans and other living organisms. For example, I-129 and -131 can settle on grass where cows can eat it and pass it to humans through their milk. It may settle on leafy vegetables and be ingested by humans. Iodine isotopes also concentrate in marine and freshwater fish, which people may then eat.

Also, doctors may give thyroid patients radioactive iodine, usually iodine-131, to treat or help diagnose certain thyroid problems. The tendency of iodine to collect in the thyroid makes it very useful for highlighting parts of its structure in diagnostic images.

What do iodine-129 and iodine-131 do once they get into the body?

When I-129 or I-131 is ingested, some of it concentrates in the thyroid gland. The rest passes from the body in urine.

Airborne I-129 and I-131 can be inhaled. In the lung, radioactive iodine is absorbed, passes into the blood stream, and collects in the thyroid. Any remaining iodine passes from the body with urine.

In the body, iodine has a biological half-life of about 100 days for the body as a whole. It has different biological half-lives for various organs:  thyroid – 100 days, bone – 14 days, and kidney, spleen, and reproductive organs – 7 days.

To repeat that “IN THE BODY IODINE HAS A HALF LIFE OF 100 DAYS”.

Remember half-life means the time it takes a substance to lose half of its radioactivity. It is not the amount of time for the all the radioactivity to disappear or for the contaminant to disappear. That means iodine will stay in your body and wreak havoc for a very long time. On the order of years and not the “8 days” references by the half-life.

 

 

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Health Effects of Iodine-129 and Iodine-131

How can iodine-129 and iodine-131 affect people’s health?

Radioactive iodine can cause thyroid problems, and help diagnose and treat thyroid problems. Long-term (chronic) exposure to radioactive iodine can cause nodules, or cancer of the thyroid. However, once thyroid cancer occurs, treatment with high doses of I-131 may be used to treat it. Doctors also use lower doses of I-131 to treat overactive thyroids.

Low doses can reduce activity of the thyroid gland, lowering hormone production in the gland. Doctors must maintain the fine balance between the risks and benefits of using radioactive iodine. On one hand, this small, additional exposure may tip the balance in favor of cancer formation. On the other, this small additional exposure can restore health by slowing an overactive thyroid and improve health conditions.

 

No one is talking about how this radioactive material bio-accumulates in food chain.

The other, relatively more dangerous types of radioactive substances are being ignored entirely.

Instead focus is placed on iodine because it is easy to mislead the public into believing there is not much risk because of the 8 day half-life.

Source: Alexander Higgins Blog

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