Livid Parents Give Officials Bag of Radioactive Dirt
Fukushima parents angered by decision to raise radiation exposure levels
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2011 4:26 AM CDT
Students who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture's Futaba town stand for a moment's silence at Kisai Elementary School last month.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

(Newser) – Parents outraged by the Japanese government's decision to raise the acceptable radiation exposure for children 20-fold presented government ministers in Tokyo with a bag of radioactive dirt from a school playground. The government says the move to increase the safety level from one to 20 millisieverts per year is necessary to ensure that schools in Fukushima prefecture—home to more than 2 million people—can stay open, reports the Guardian.

The new limit is equivalent to a year's maximum dose for German nuclear workers, but health groups warn that children are more vulnerable than adults to radiation. The government believes that some 75% of schools in the prefecture may have radiation levels above the old safety limit. "How dare they tell us it is safe for our children," said a representative for a parents' group said. "This is disgusting. They can't play outside with such risks. If the government won't remove the radioactive dirt then we'll do it ourselves and dump it outside the headquarters of Tokyo Electric."