Update Mar 3, 2012
Another milk sample (bought in mid-February) tested positive for Strontium 90: 0.4 Bcq/l (dl: 0.2 Bcq/l, variability 0.3 Bcq/l). No Cs 134 or Cs 137 were detected (dls: 0.1 and 0.2 Bcq/ l, respectively).
Health Canada Action Levels for Sr 90 in fresh milk are 30 Bcq/ kg. Based on research, we hold the view that radiation, especially ingested and inhaled, is a potential health risk at any level, especially for young children.
Update Feb. 13, 2012
A new milk sample from a Vancouver store (bought in early January) tested by a certified lab in February showed 0.3 Bcq/ l of radioactive Strontium 90 (dl and variability: 0.2 Bcq/l). No Cs 134 or 137 were detected (dls 0.2 Bcq/l for each).
Canadian reports on radioactivity in fish and rainwater
January 13/14, 2012
Summary of Collaborative Testing Effort
updated Jan. 14, 2012
To date, we have tested over 25 items from the Greater Vancouver area for radioactive Cesium (Cs) 134 and 137, radioactive Iodine (I) 131, gross beta and gross alpha radiation through a certified laboratory. This is a summary of the results:
- 5x Soil (Greater Vancouver). One sample showed 10 Becquerels (Bq)/kg of Cesium 137. (It is unlikely the source is Fukushima, as no Cs 134 was found). The other soil samples showed no Cs 134, 137 or I 131 above detectable levels (DL). Two soil samples showed 480 and 580 Bcq/ kg of alpha radiation, respectively, and 500 and 590 Bcq/ kg of beta radiation, respectively.We intend to conduct further tests to determine the source of the alpha radiation (i.e., what isotopes)
- 3x Wild Pacific Salmon (1 Sockeye meat, Vancouver Organic Food store; 1 Chum meat and 1 Chum liver, Fraser River): no Cs 134, 137 or I 131 above DLs
- 2x Unfiltered drinking water (Vancouver): no Cs 134, 137 or I 131 above DLs.
- 1x Rainwater (Vancouver): no Cs 134, 137 and I 131 above DLs.
- 2x Snowmelt (east of Hope–old snow; near Pemberton–new November snow): no Cs 134, 137 and I 131 above DLs. Alpha radiation ranging from 0.04-0.08 Bcq/l was detected in the snowmelt, rainwater and one drinking water sample. We are seeking scientific advice to determine the likely sources.
- 1x Outdoor Pool Water (Vancouver home): no Cs 134, 137 or I 131 above DL
- 1x Wild Mushrooms (Bolestes and Chanterelles) (Nelson Island): no Cs 134, 137 or I 131 above DL
- 1x Kale (Vancouver garden): no Cs 134, 137 or I 131 above DL
- 1x Organic blueberries (Fraser Valley): no Cs 134, 137 or I 131 above DL
- 1x House dust (Vancouver home): no Cs 134, 137 or I 131 above DL
- 1x Mixed grass/ hay (Gabriola Island, ): no Cs 134, 137 or I 131 above DL
- 1x Maple leaves (Vancouver): no Cs 134, 137 or I 131 above DL
- 1x Dairyland Milk: no Cs 134, 137 or I 131 above DLs.
- 1x Avalone Homo Milk 3.25% (Organic), November: no Cs 134, 137 or I 131 above DL
- 1x Avalone Skim Milk (Organic), November: no Cs 134, 137 or I 131 above DL
- 1x So Nice Soy Milk: no Cs 134, 137 and I 131 above DLs
- 1x Tofu: no Cs 134, 137 and I 131 above DLs
Nuclear engineer Arnold Gunderson and scientist Marco Kaltofen stress the importance of ongoing radiation monitoring in food, especially in the Pacific Northwest and in seafood, which is known to concentrate (bio-accumulate) radiation over time. See www.fairewinds.com for educational videos and presentations.
As of September 15, 2011, Health Canada has discontinued bi-weekly reporting of air monitoring results for radionuclides and returned to quarterly reporting: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/ed-ud/respond/nuclea/data-donnees-eng.php. This appears premature, as the situation in Fukushima is still not under control; there has been another earthquake in the area, and a reported build up of hydrogen in #1 reactor is causing concern over the possibility of another explosion. Also, the Japanese government as authorized incineration of radioactive waste, which is expected to release radioactivity into the air, which will travel to our shores via the jetstream.
Response by the CFIA to citizen questions regarding details of their recent test results of West Coast fish
What species of fish were tested, and how many of each?
- There were 12 fish tested in total, two of which were Albacore tuna
and 10 of which were salmon – two samples of each of the following
species:Pink, Sockeye, Chum, Coho and Spring salmon.
Where were the fish caught?
Samples of these fish were taken at various points across the British
Columbia fishery including:
- Coastal waters off of Vancouver Island including the Georgia and
Juan de Fuca Straits
- Deeper waters off the west coast of Vancouver Island
- Various mainland rivers
What was the age and size of the fish?
That specific information is not available, but all of the samples are representative of the commercial harvest and what would be available in the Canadian marketplace.
What was the MDA for each sample?
Do you mean MDC (Minimum Detectable Concentration)? As explained below the table posted on the CFIA web site
(http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/imp/fispoie.shtml), this is
typically around 2 Bq/Kg. More than 200 food samples were tested as part of the CFIA’s sampling and testing strategy and all were found to be below Health Canada’s actionable levels for radioactivity. Radioactivity was detected in one imported fish product from Japan. As stated on our website, the results of this imported fish product were 3.56 Bq/Kg for Cesium 134 and 4.1 Bq/Kg for Cesium 137. While this product is above the Minimum Detectable Concentration, it does not pose a health risk to consumers. Health Canada has determined that the action level for this product is 1000 Bq/Kg. Action levels are the food safety thresholds for which a specific radionuclide should not exceed. Should these levels be exceeded, appropriate risk management action would be taken depending on the exposure and the potential impact of the product on humans. Numerical values do not exist for the remaining test results as the results were below the detection limit.Were samples tested for radionuclides other than Cesium 137 and 134?
Testing was only conducted for these two radionuclides. Iodine-131 has a half life of about eight days, so all of the radioactive iodine that was released would have decayed to regular iodine within a month after exposure.Are there plans for the CFIA to continue radiation monitoring for
Pacific fish and seafood?
Fish and shellfish on the Canadian west coast are not expected to be
impacted by the situation in Japan. Nonetheless, as a prudent measure
to reaffirm the safety of this important commodity, samples of domestically caught salmon from British Columbia have been tested to verify that the fish remains safe for consumption. The results of these tests confirm that there is no food safety risk with domestic fish, as was also found with domestic milk and imported food samples. As such, no additional testing is planned. However, atmospheric monitoring continues and Health Canada continues to regularly monitor for radionuclides in food sold in Canada through its Total Diet Study.Is the CFIA testing any imported food items from Japan for radioactive contamination, such as green tea found in Costco stores with packaging date of March 2011? If not, what other safeguards is the CFIA putting in place?
As part of the CFIA’s sampling and testing strategy, imported green
tea samples from Japan were tested for radioactivity and all results
were below Health Canada action levels. There are no plans for additional testing of domestic or imported foods at this point.
However, the CFIA continues to monitor events in Japan and assess any potential impacts on Canada’s food supply. Canadian officials continue to collect and assess intelligence from Japanese officials, Canada’s mission abroad and international authorities. Domestically,
atmospheric monitoring continues and Health Canada continues to regularly monitor for radionuclides in food sold in Canada through its Total Diet Study. This would include imports from Japan. As well, Japanese controls on the sale of contaminated product remain intact.No radiation detected in West Coast fishCBC News Sept. 19, 2011
This appears to be good news! However, it is necessary to know what kind of fish was tested, where it was from (the Pacific?), and what the actual readings were. Pacific salmon need to be tested now and into the future as their migration patterns can take them as far as to the northern tip of Japan over their multi-year life span. Was Pacific salmon tested by the CFIA, and will it be tested in the future?
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/09/16/bc-no-radiation-west-coast-fish.htmlCanadian gov’t now plans to start radiation testing on fish off B.C. coast
CBC News August 19th, 2011 at 06:34 PM
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency plans to start testing fish off the coast of British Columbia for the presence of radiation stemming from the Fukushima nuclear disaster [...]
Fisheries activist Alexandra Morton with the Raincoast Research Society says she supports the testing, but calls the announcement a political move. Morton says millions of sockeye have started returning to the Fraser River and the fishing season is already well underway. Salmon are a particular concern to Morton and others because their wide-ranging migration patterns can take them right across the Pacific Ocean to the coast of Japan. [...]
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2011/08/19/bc-salmon-radiation-testing.html?ref=rssGov’t researchers plan to test for radiation in Yukon’s local food supply, caribou — An attempt to answer questions by citizens
CBC News August 19th, 2011 at 08:30 PM
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2011/08/19/yukon-radiation-test.htmlCanadian collaborative radiation awareness and monitoring initiative
http://www.straight.com/article-419976/vancouver/group-wants-radiation-testsFor testing samples:
Saskatchewan Research Council
125 – 15 Innovation Boulevard
Saskatoon, SK S7N 2X8
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgHealth Canada (Dosimetry Services): Radionuclide Monitoring in Canada
Toll free: 1-866-225-0709Canadian Food Inspection Agency (Monitoring Japanese food imports) 604.666.1357 (BC) or 1-800-442-2342
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/imp/radrese.shtmlBC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC): Status Updates (604.707.2440)
http://www.bccdc.ca/resourcematerials/newsandalerts/news/japanQuake.htmMetro Vancouver Radionuclidemonitoring in Drinking Water (604.432.6200)
http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/water/qualitytreatment/Pages/Radionuclidemonitoring.aspxUSUS Environmental Protection Agency RadNet Data (near-real time air monitoring graphs for major US cities)
University of Berkeley, California, Nuclear Engineering Department: Testing of Air, Water, Food and Soil
Compiled EPA monitoring data (excellent for comparing near-real time readings at all US monitoring stations)
http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2011/04/12/realtime-epa-radnet-japan-nuclear-radiation-monitoring-every-us-city-single-page-16511/Testing of soil or water samples for radiation for US $39 per sample (Alpha-Beta-Gamma detector system for screening low level samples)
847 Litchfield Street, Torrington, CT 06790 USA 860-482-6606
phone 860-482-6606 for more details.Independent nuclear engineer Arne Gunderson has an expensive piece of equipment for testing for radioactive isotopes (http://solarimg.org/?p=1722). Anyone who was doing post-rainfall tests by swiping a surface and testing with a Geiger counter and finding high readings (like someone in British Columbia on YouTube) can send him the cloth swipe sample (triple wrapped in plastic, then placed in an envelope). But he requests you send ONLY those cloth samples with high readings.
Fairewinds Associates, Inc. Burlington, VT 05408
Office (802) 865 9955
Discussion on testing rain for radioactivity (how to differentiate between naturally occurring radon-daughters and Fukushima radionuclides):
Estimated fallout levels for Berkely, CA–discussion thread from UCB Nuclear Engineering Forum at http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/node/5449#comment-17465
- Many links to Japanese radiation monitoring efforts, including govt and independent data: http://australiancannonball.com/2011/09/18/japans-fukushima-worst-in-history/
- Atmospheric dispersion of radionuclides from the Fukushima-Daichii nuclear power plant. CEREA, joint laboratory Ecole des Ponts Paris (includes animated maps) http://cerea.enpc.fr/fr/fukushima.html
- Radiation Monitoring Systems, Dosages, Related Information
- Japan Near-Real Time Radionuclide Monitoring
- Japan Atomic Industrial Forum: Status Updates of Fukushima Reactors
- Tepco daily data updates on pressure, temperature, water levels
- Japanese Soil Testing Project (citizen-based)
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- CTBTO (Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization)
- Radiationnetwork (Citizen-based monitoring of radionuclides in air around the globe)
- Online Geiger Counter Nuclear Detection Map (international)
- German Bundesamt fuer Strahlenschutz: Measurements of Radionuclides in Germany and International Comparison
- German Gamma-Monitoring Network of over 1800 monitoring stations, near-real time data:
- German Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection: Monitoring and restrictions of food imports from Japan
- Rheinisches Institut fuer Umweltforschung, University of Cologne, Germany: Predictions about dispersion of radioactive cloud from Fukushima (stopped)
- Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU): radioactive Fukushima plume forecast (stopped on May 11, 2011 after they predicted high levels of xenon 133 over the entire northern hemisphere, and significant concentrations of Cesium 137 and Iodine 131 over the Pacific Northwest):