Japan Finds Radiation in Water, Milk, Spinach

But official cautions that levels not high enough to affects humans
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2011 7:12 AM CDT
Updated Mar 19, 2011 8:21 AM CDT
An image taken through the scope of a radiation detection device shows a small dose of radiation in units of milliroentgens, a unit of measure of ionizing radiation, Saturday, March 19, 2011, in Fukushima,...   (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
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(Newser) – Japan has detected elevated radiation levels in spinach and milk in the prefecture containing its foundering Fukushima nuclear plant and a neighboring prefecture, reports the Wall Street Journal. Milk produced roughly 30 miles away from the plant had around five times the normal amount of radioactive material iodine-131, while spinach some 75 miles away had about four times the limit. The AP reports that Japan has also detected trace amount of radioactive iodine in tap water in Tokyo and five other areas; the radiation didn't exceed government limits, but normal water tests show no iodine.

The radiation raised concerns about the safety of Japan's food supply, but a top minister said that the elevated levels don't pose an immediate hazard to human health. "It's not like if you ate it right away you would be harmed," he tells the AP. But "it would not be good to continue to eat it for some time." The Journal notes that based on the heightened radiation levels found, if a human consumed the milk for a year, it would equate the radioactive exposure of one CT scan; the spinach would equate one-fifth of a CT scan. Japan will continue testing other food products. (Read more Japan nuclear plant stories.)

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