Hon. Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health
Health Canada, National Dosimmetry Services, Radiation Protection Bureau
Hon. Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Hon. Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia
Provincial/ Territorial Ministers of Environment, Health, Agriculture and Food
BC Centre for Disease Control
Your Local/ Regional Governments
Your MP http://canada.gc.ca/directories-repertoires/direct-eng.html
Your MLA http://www.leg.bc.ca/mla/3-1-1.htm
[insert respective names and addresses]
Sample A (Updated Sept. 28, 2011)
Dear ….[insert title and name]
Concerns over radionuclide monitoring and reporting in Canada
I am writing because I am deeply concerned that, in the face of ongoing, unquantifiable and uncontrollable radioactive emissions from the Fukushima disaster, there appears to be no systematic, coordinated government program for monitoring and publicly reporting radionuclides in food, seafood, crops, soil, rainwater and drinking water throughout Canada.
The reason I would like to see this kind of data being collected and published is that radionuclides are washed out of higher levels of the atmosphere by rain, fall into our drinking water reservoirs, and get soaked up by soil, where they may accumulate while emissions continue, and bio-accummulate in crops that are then consumed by lifestock and humans.
While some rainwater was tested initially by Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia (confirming the presence of radionuclides from Fukushima), those tests have been discontinued. Likewise, drinking water monitoring in Metro Vancouver was discontinued in early May. Imported food from Japan appears to be tested only in an ad hoc (rather than comprehensive) fashion by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Milk samples from British Columbia tested by Health Canada did not show any contamination, which is encouraging. However, it may be due to the fact that cows are being fed with last year’s hay rather than fresh grass, which may be contaminated with fission products from Fukushima fall-out.
Fukushima emissions (including those from the crippled reactors and incineration of radioactive waster) will be ongoing for an unpredictable, but extended time frame. These emissions are transported over the Pacific Ocean to North America and Canada via the jet stream. Spikes in gamma radiation can be observed on EPA Radnet data for Seattle on May 15/16 (a week-end of heavy rains on the northwest coast), likely coinciding with a release of a “dense amount” of radiation by Fukushima a week prior, on May 8. http://www.epa.gov/radnet/radnet-data/index.html
Sadly, Canadian citizens cannot access near-real time air radionuclide data, such as those provided by the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the German Bundesamt fuer Strahlenschutz, which makes such near-real time data from 1800 (!) monitoring stations available on the internet. Instead of pursuing similar monitoring and reporting systems during this time of global distribution of radiation emissions from Japan, Health Canada switched from daily to weekly reporting of air measurements http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/ed-ud/respond/nuclea/data-donnees-eng.php. As of Sept. 15, 2011, Health Canada is no longer reporting weekly measurements and reportedly has taken down its mobile radiation monitoring stations.
While radioactivity measured in Canada appears to have leveled off, concerns over added damage by future earthquakes, storms or explosions due to hydrogen gas are ongoing at the crippled Fukushima plant. The situation in reactor building #4 with the largest spent fuel pool with over 1300 fuel assemblies, including large amounts of highly toxic MOX fuel (including Plutonium and Uranium), is unclear and unpredictable after cooling was disrupted for extended periods of time—conceivably resulting in highly dangerous airborne emissions carried to Canada.
Both the VanCourier (http://www.vancourier.com/Japan+nightmare+progress+overshadowed+media+mush/4811218/story.html) and independent nuclear engineer Arnold Gunderson provide insights into the dangers of MOX fuel and a possible worst case scenario in Fukushima, should #4 spent fuel elements be damaged.
Plutonium, which was found near the Fukushima plant and confirmed to originate from the damaged reactors, is one of the most dangerous radio isotopes with a half life of over 24,000 years. A 1974 report recommends restricting inhalation of this highly carcinogenic alpha-emitting radio-isotope to a maximum of 0.2 “hot” particles by the general population after a nuclear accident in order to curb extremely high risks of fatal lung cancer. Nuclear engineer Arnold Gunderson has calculated, based on analysis of car airfilters, that on average, Japanese people breathed 10 hot particles per day in April while people on the Pacific Northwest Coast are believed to have breathed 5 hot particles per day (or more if they were physically active).
The Canadian, provincial and regional government agencies have a responsibility to ensure the public health and safety of their citizens. They must inform Canadians about health risks associated with potential exposure to radiation through inhalation or ingestion as a result of the Fukushima accident. This will enable Canadian citizens to make informed choices to limit their exposure and potentially devastating health risks, e.g., by avoiding contaminated rain, dust and foods.
Therefore, I respectfully request that the Canadian government, in coordination with provincial, territorial and regional governments and authorities, systematically collect and immediately publish comprehensive, ongoing radionuclide monitoring data, including for Cesium 137, Plutonium, Uranium and Strontium, in Canadian air, water, soil, Pacific seafood and in Canadian-grown and imported foods.
[insert your name and contact details]
Dear Hon. Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health;
Radon Gas is now the number two cause of lung cancer. Background radiation probably accounts for up to 20% of leukemia. We have seen increases in childhood leukemia in children less than 5 years within 5 km of nuclear plants. Now, with radiation coming from Fukushima to Canada and the Northern Hemisphere, we are at increased risk of ionizing radiation getting into the air we breathe and the food that we eat.
We thus need to monitor not only gamma radiation, but the break down products of uranium, namely: Iodine, Caesium, and Strontium. We need to make the results of this information known to the public so that they can be aware and take action if needed, i.e. for pregnant women and for small children.
We also need to do more research into the effects of low level radiation. Radiation is accumulative. As doctors, we know that low level radiation causes cancers and genetic malformations leading in some cases, to abortion. As doctors, we use radiation in high doses to kill cancers. While external low radiation is fairly harmless, internal radiation, i.e. inhaled radioactive molecules that emit alpha particles, that we inhale or eat, can cause cancers, with iodine attacking the thyroid gland, caesium acting like potassium throughout our body, and strontium attacking bones acting like calcium. Unlike high doses of radiation where more is more harmful in a linear manner, low doses of radiation probably does not follow a linear curve. Therefore more research is needed.
I therefore ask you to increase the surveillance of radiation, and to fund research into the characteristics of low level radiation to protect Canadians, particularly pregnant women and children.