Inspired by Stone Harbor, I wrote comprehensive article for Michael C. Ruppert's Collapse Net, which is unfortunately closed to non-member. It came out quite long. I'll post Part I here and the rest in the comments. The references are in Part IV.
A Review of Various Ideas, by Patricia Ann Ormsby
Part I A Massive Widespread Problem
As we hear more reports of produce contaminated in the aftermath of Fukushima, many people are wondering how they can protect themselves. Not only are Japan’s citizens affected, but people around the world are finding contamination or concerned about it, most notably of milk.
In the early aftermath of the melt-throughs, milk was reported contaminated in the region around the Fukushima Daiichi reactors, together with spinach (Japan Today, March 19) and Tokyo’s drinking water was found contaminated with radioactive iodine. Later, these were joined by shiitake mushrooms (Asahi Shinbun, April 13)1, tea leaves grown more than 300 km away and milk on the island of Hawaii2, which all had high levels of radioactive cesium and/or iodine, some exceeding government standards by large factors. Then beef from cows that had eaten straw presumed safe was discovered to be contaminated after some of it had been widely distributed and consumed.
Since then reports of contamination have been coming in from all over the world, some of which may have been related to Fukushima while others may have been present for a while but only discovered when people became aware of the possibility and started checking. Fruits and fertilizers have since joined the list in Japan, which keeps growing. With radionuclides transported by wind and water, and also by commerce and international trade, this is an issue global in its scope.
The author ordered a Geiger counter in April, with shipment scheduled for June. I’ve now been told to expect it in December. Perhaps higher priority customers appeared in the meantime and the manufacturer is overwhelmed. There have also been reports of fraud including misrepresentation of equipment. Furthermore, a Geiger counter, I’m told, would be insufficient for detecting levels of radioactivity that pose a danger when taken internally, though they are useful for assessing possible contamination of the local environment, after which other measures can be considered.
Any enlightened community should pool its resources and purchase the relevant equipment as soon as they can, because otherwise in these times there is no way of being sure you are not receiving significant doses of radiation. Government entities are often under pressure to stay silent. In one recently reported example, Texas authorities conspired to cover up radioactivity exceeding standards in drinking water arising from radium in pipes.3 Theft of property abandoned due to radioactivity occurs; the spoils reach international markets. Improperly disposed medical equipment or instruments containing radioactive substances are another source. A few years ago, the Japanese media warned of radioactive contamination of some metallic goods produced in China which arose from improper metal recycling.
In hard economic times, some unscrupulous people will try diluting contamination to “acceptable” levels, which may themselves be elevated for political reasons or in response to an emergency. We are under an assault that will only increase as funding for infrastructure dwindles, including that serving nuclear reactors, along with the ability to fund alternative energy which would make it easier to decrease our dependence on nuclear energy, while competition for fossil fuels grows more intense and corrupt regimes become ever more desperate to maintain their power with no heed to the fate of their citizenry. When I speak of economic “collapse” herein, this is in part what I am referring to. More emphasis is likely to be placed on nuclear energy, but less on safety, and when accidents occur, more people will be forced to fend for themselves with little or no governmental assistance. Awareness of the possibility of fallout or other contamination, testing, local sourcing of food and other commodities, and remediative measures will be critical to minimizing one’s risk.
Chernobyl has already provided us an example of what happens when people must deal with radioactivity under conditions of economic collapse. Japan’s public broadcasting company, NHK, recently aired a documentary4 on the effects of radioactive contamination. In it, it was noted that radioactivity persisted most strongly in forests near Chernobyl, where it cycled from leaf to humus to leaf, not being sequestered in the soil or washed away. It ranged from 150% to twice as high as the levels in cultivated fields, which themselves were quite high. To the natives of boreal regions, wild mushrooms have traditionally been an important winter food resource, so though they have been told mushrooms are particularly prone to radioactivity and that those in the forests contain dangerous levels of it, they lack the money to buy safely grown mushrooms. They rely on the false rumor that if the mushrooms are boiled and the water discarded it gets rid of most of the problem. Given their circumstances, they have no other choice but to try that.
The root vegetables these people were growing were also highly contaminated. A pig eating the same foods as these people was slaughtered at eight months and its organs analyzed. The concentration of radiolytes was highest in the kidneys, heart, stomach and thyroid, in that order, with levels I have been unable to confirm. One must bear in mind that the people living there have been accumulating radiolytes much longer and it is impacting their health. The documentary said that research had found effects including mutations in mice, and that beta-radiation is known to destroy mitochondria, resulting in metabolic disorders. With a high degree of concentration of cesium in muscle tissue, the heart is also affected, with signs of increased rates of aging throughout the body. Small repetitive doses are very dangerous, resulting in brain damage, lung disease or other illnesses. Birth defects are the most tragic outcome.5
To minimize exposure and accumulation, it would be better to arm oneself with the best knowledge available beforehand, rather than relying on rumors. Unfortunately, not much is available. The NHK documentary reported that basically there has been little research on internal exposure to radioactivity. After World War II, it was the horrific effects of external exposure that got everyone’s attention, and the problematic subject of internal exposure got swept under the carpet, despite repeated occurrences, including contamination of tuna from Pacific nuclear bomb testing. The public’s attention wanes and they lose interest in effects which may take years or even generations to manifest, while there are so many other immediately dangerous contaminants to worry about in the modern environment.
Moreover, many in the public complain that what research exists is being suppressed as stakeholders seek to avoid having to take responsibility. In any case the resources do not exist to fully compensate the victims, so political leaders resort to false assurances. The information I have been able to find is poorly developed and sometimes contradictory, but I’ll attempt to give an overview in the hope that it will be at least a start. Whatever feedback I receive I will share in the comments in the hope of helping develop a body of relevant knowledge in this complex, vital field.