Radiation Fears Mount as U.S. Bans some Japan Food Imports, Warning Issued for Tokyo Tap Water

Concerns about the <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/Radiation-Exposure-Environmental-Contamination-Dumping-Spill-Lawsuit">radiation released as a result of the Japan nuclear crisis aren’t going away. Today, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was halting imports of food produced in affected regions of Japan. Meanwhile, people living in the Japanese capital of Tokyo and surrounding communities were warned that infants should not drink tap water. Tokyo is about 200 miles away from the severely damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which has been leaking radiation since Japan was hit with a massive earthquake and tsunami earlier this month.

Yesterday, the U.S. FDA said it will halt the import of produce and dairy products from areas of Japan near the damaged reactors. Just a few days ago, the agency had said it would only be screening Japan produced foods for radiation. The ban will not impact seafood or foods produced in other regions of Japan, though those products will continue to be screened.

Less than 4 percent of the food imported into the U.S. comes from Japan. According to the FDA, the most common Japanese imports include seafood, snack foods and processed fruits and vegetables.

In Japan, radiation has been detected in vegetables and milk produced in regions around the damaged nuclear plant. Ocean water near the Fukushima reactors have also shown elevated levels of radioactive iodine and cesium, prompting concerns about seafood. But though Japan has banned several provinces from shipping some foods, and the World Health Organization has urged the country to ensure that no tainted foods are sold, health experts continue to insist the levels of radiation found so far are not a threat to human health unless the products are consumed in large quantities.

Meanwhile, The New York Times is reporting that Japanese officials have warned people living in the 23 wards of Tokyo, as well as the towns of Mitaka, Tama, Musashino, Machida and Inagi not to allow infants to drink tap water, or to use it to mix baby formula. The warning came after iodine-131 had been detected in water samples at a level of 210 becquerels per liter, about a quart. The recommended limit for infants is 100 becquerels per liter, while adults should limit their intake to about 300 becquerels per liter, the Times said.

Meanwhile, low levels of radiation from Japan continue to make their way to the U.S. For the first time on Monday, trace amounts were detected in Hawaii. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “minuscule levels” of an undetermined isotope consistent with the Fuku¬shima reactor complex radiation release were detected by a monitor on the roof of the state Health Department building on Oahu. The agency said that the level detected was “far below any level of concern for human health.”

Yesterday, we reported that radiation was picked up by a Washington State Department of Health air monitor in Seattle, and on Friday monitors at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in California detected extremely low levels of nuclear radiation coming from Japan. Radiation likely from the Japan disaster has also been detected in San Francisco, Anaheim and Riverside California. Again, health officials say the levels detected so far have been miniscule and pose no threat to human health.

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