Canadian 10th Grader Discovers Radioactive Imported Seafood Long After Government Stopped Testing
Radioactive seafood isn't foreign to Canadian grocery stores, but we have no research and development professionals to thank for that information—just a 10th grader from Alberta.
Bronwyn Delacruz of Grande Prairie Composite High School in Alberta made her discovery with the help of a $600 Geiger counter her father purchased and the need to complete a science project. She told Metro Canada that she decided to test the radioactivity of seafood—mostly seaweed—because she was shocked to learn that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) stopped testing imported foods in that manner the year after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
“Some of the kelp that I found was higher than what the International Atomic Energy Agency sets as radioactive contamination, which is 1,450 counts over a 10-minute period,” she said. “Some of my samples came up as 1,700 or 1,800.”
According to the Daily Herald Tribune, Bronwyn tested more than 300 seaweed samples, including 15 brands exported from Japan, China, California, Washington, New Brunswick and British Columbia. Her work earned her gold honors at a regional science fair in Peace River, Alberta. In May, she will compete nationally in Ontario.
“I’m kind of concerned that this is landing in our grocery stores and that if you aren’t measuring it, you could just be eating this and bringing home to your family,” Bronwyn said.
The CFIA's website says that it found more than 200 seafood samples in 2011 and 2012 that were "found to be below Health Canada's actionable levels for radioactivity." That was enough to lift the country's enhanced import controls.
"No additional testing is planned," the site reads.
According to Miles O’Brien, it's the same scenario in the U.S. One of his recent PBS reports revealed that scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute were turned down after requesting minimal federal support by five agencies. There are no federal agencies conducting comprehensive, on-the-ground analyses of how much Fukushima radiation has made its way into the air and oceans of the U.S.
In October, Dr. David Suzuki predicted that it would take three years from the time of the incident for the radiation plume to reach the West Coast. That would have been in the past month. That concept wasn't lost on young Bronwyn.
“The way the currents and the radiation would arrive in Canada, it wouldn’t arrive until now, about 2014 or 2013,” she said.
In 2012, the Vancouver Sun reported that cesium-137, the radioactive form of cesium, was found in various seafood products that were imported from Japan, including:
• 73 percent of the mackerel
• 91 percent of the halibut
• 92 percent of the sardines
• 93 percent of the tuna and eel
• 94 percent of the cod and anchovies
• 100 percent of the carp, seaweed, shark and monkfish
"Any amount of leaked radiation is harmful to the planet and the health of all species, including humans," Suzuki wrote. "A major release of radioactivity, such as that from Fukushima, is a huge concern, with unknowns remaining around long-term health risks such as cancers."
YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE
Eleven peaceful activists from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise have taken to the water in inflatable boats with handheld banners to oppose the Statoil Songa Enabler oil rig, 275 km North off the Norwegian coast, in the Arctic Barents sea.
The banners say: "People Vs. Arctic Oil" and are directed at Statoil and the Norwegian government, which has opened a new, aggressive search for oil in the waters of the Barents Sea.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) paved the way Friday for the 600-mile, 42-inch fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline to proceed when it issued the final environmental impact statement (FEIS). A joint project of utility giants Duke Energy and Dominion Energy, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would move fracked gas from West Virginia into Virginia and North Carolina.
In April, the Sierra Club submitted more than 500 pages of legal and technical comments on FERC's draft EIS, which were joined by more than 18,000 individual comments detailing opposition to the project. The pipeline has been met with widespread opposition, with more than 1,000 people participating in public hearings across the three affected states. The Sierra Club recently requested that FERC issue a new environmental review document analyzing information that came in after or late in, the public comment process.
By Jessica Corbett
"It's time Rex Tillerson step down or be removed," said Gigi Kellett of Corporate Accountability International, following an announcement on Thursday that ExxonMobil will pay $2 million for violating U.S. sanctions against Russian officials while the now-secretary of state was the company's CEO.
"ExxonMobil demonstrated reckless disregard for U.S. sanction requirements," according to enforcement filing released by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which issued the penalty. Though the fine is reportedly the maximum penalty allowed, it's pittance to one of the world's most profitable and powerful corporations, which last year reported a profit of $7.8 billion.
New analysis from Amory B. Lovins debunks the notion that highly unprofitable, economically distressed nuclear plants should be further subsidized to meet financial, security, reliability and climate goals. The analysis, which will appear shortly in The Electricity Journal, shows that closing costly-to-run nuclear plants and reinvesting their saved operating costs in energy efficiency provides cheaper electricity, increases grid reliability and security, reduces more carbon, and preserves (not distorts) market integrity—all without subsidies.
By Christian Detisch and Seth Gladstone
In the wake of Senate Republicans' ever-deepening debacle over their flailing attempts to strip health insurance from 22 million people, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is desperate to do something—anything—to show that he can get legislation passed. To this end, he's bypassing the standard committee review process to push a complex 850+ page energy bill straight to the full Senate floor. Perhaps not surprisingly, this legislation, the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017, would be a disaster for public health and our climate.
A new law passed this week in South Miami will require all new homes built in the city to install solar panels. The measure, which was inspired by a proposal from a teenage climate activist, will go into effect in September.
The text of the ordinance details the climate impacts facing South Miami.
By Ben Jervey
Just last week, we fact-checked and debunked every line of The Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars, a video produced by Fueling U.S. Forward, a Koch-funded campaign to push fossil fuels. That video represents the group's first public pivot from fossil fuel boosterism to electric vehicle (EV) attacks. More electric vehicle experts are also picking the video apart.
One effort is this video highlighting many of the same falsehoods we wrote about, and which adds key context about some of the video footage. Like, for instance, the fact that the photo that Fueling U.S. Forward claims is a lithium, cobalt or cerium mining operation is actually a copper mine.
By Katherine Paul and Ronnie Cummins
A recent series of articles by a Washington Post reporter could have some consumers questioning the value of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) organic seal. But are a few bad eggs representative of an entire industry?
Consumers are all for cracking down on the fraudulent few who, with the help of Big Food, big retail chains and questionable certifiers give organics a bad name. But they also want stronger standards, and better enforcement—not a plan to weaken standards to accommodate "Factory Farm Organic."