Skip to comments.San Francisco Rainwater Radiation 181 Times Above US Drinking Water Standard
Posted on 04/05/2011 6:48:10 AM PDT by blam
San Francisco Rainwater Radiation 181 Times Above US Drinking Water Standard
Politics / Environmental Issues
Apr 04, 2011 - 04:15 PM
By: DK Matai
Radiation from Japan rained on Berkeley, California, during recent storms at levels that exceeded drinking water standards by 181 times. A rooftop water monitoring program managed by the University of California at Berkeleys Department of Nuclear Engineering detected substantial spikes in rain-borne iodine-131 during those torrential downpours. The levels exceeded federal drinking water thresholds, known as Maximum Contaminant Levels -- or MCLs -- by as much as 181 times or 18,100%. Iodine-131 is one of the most cancer-causing toxic radioactive isotopes spewed when nuclear power plants are in meltdown. It is being ingested by cows, which have begun passing it through into their milk and radioactivity has been detected. [Multiple Sources]
Specific Scientific Data
The iodine-131 level in the rainwater sample taken on the roof of Etcheverry Hall on the campus of UC Berkeley on March 23rd, 2011, from 9:06-18:00hrs Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) states radioactivity levels at 20.1 Becquerels per Litre (Bq/L) = 543 PicoCuries per Litre (pCi/L). The federal maximum level of iodine-131 allowed in drinking water is 3 pCi/L or 0.111 Becquerels per Litre. The sample exceeded the federal guidelines for drinking water by 181 times. The UC Berkeley researchers also discovered trace levels of iodine-131 and other radioactive isotopes, believed to have originated in Fukushima, in commercially available milk and in a local stream within California. [UC Berkeley]
No Official Data Yet
Three weeks after the Fukushima nuclear power plant began spewing radiation into the worlds air, the US government has still not published any official data on nuclear fallout from the Fukushima meltdown. The amount of iodine-131 or other radioactive elements that have fallen as precipitation or made their way into milk supplies or drinking water has not yet been fully revealed. Scientists say an absence of federal data on the issue is hampering efforts to develop strategies for preventing radioactive isotopes from contaminating the nation's food and water. [The Bay Citizen, San Francisco]
Fukushima radiation is blanketing most of the United States and Canada according to the data and visuals published regularly by the The Norwegian Institute of Air Research. The risks of that radiation falling with rain, have been downplayed by US government officials and others, who say its impacts are so fleeting and minor so as to be negligible. Nonetheless, radiation falling with rain can cover grass that is eaten by cows and other animals. It can also fall on food crops or contaminate reservoirs that are used for irrigation or drinking water. [Norwegian Institute of Air Research or NILU]
Food and Water Watch
Food and Water Watch -- the nonprofit Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) based in Washington, DC -- sent a letter to President Barack Obama and members of his cabinet and Congress a few days ago urging the US federal government to improve its monitoring of radiation in agricultural land and food in the wake of the Japanese tragedy. The letter from "Food and Water Watch" states: The three agencies that monitor almost all of the food Americans eat have insisted that the US food supply is safe . . . the agencies, however, have done very little to detail specific ways in which they are responding to the threat of radiation in food.
EPA and FDA
The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states in its April 3rd advisory, "As the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said, we do not expect to see radiation at harmful levels reaching the US from damaged Japanese nuclear power plants." The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates food safety, has referred questions about potential milk contamination to the EPA, which is taking the lead on testing dairy products for radiation. Early last week, the EPA said it expected to release results of tests for radioactivity in rain and snow within a day or so. Just before the weekend, three days after making that pledge, EPA officials repeated the same statement and said the data would likely be released over the weekend or early this week. So far that data set has not been released. [EPA]
Potentially cancer-causing radiation from Fukushima has been encircling the world, traveling quickly on jet streams high in the atmosphere and falling with precipitation like rain and snow. It is already being detected in air, water and milk in some parts of the United States by local and state agencies. For example, San Francisco rain water radiation levels exceeded federal drinking water thresholds by as much as 181 times recently. A radioactive isotope, such as iodine-131, is supposed to have a half-life of eight days. This is inferred to mean that it breaks down quickly, and it quickly dissipates in the environment. However, the 8 day half-life can be a misnomer because radioactive iodine can really persist in the environment for many months and has a 100 day biological half-life once inside the human body.
BTW, should I stop drinking milk?
is the milk from Hokkaido? which sadly... is the best/famous milk anyone could get in Japan from Japan...
well, no more milk candy from japan for me for awhile.
We’re talking liberal land here.
So the problem is?
Yes, stop drinking milk. I stopped drinking it in about 1950 and have not had radiation poisoning. Of course, I am allergic to milk.
Why are they applying a drinking water standard to rain?
I mean the answer is obvious, to frighten people. But it’s like comparing the air in your carburetor to breathing air, it’s way over the federal standard for air you breathe.
Have we got this covered in San Antonio or what!
(No measurable rain in almost three months.)
My yard would settle for even radioactive water right now.
No. I-131 is NOT the "bad actor" in milk....that would be cesium-137, which "follows" calcium in its chemistry. And I'd want to know a LOT more about the provenance of the data here (calibration, what instruments were used, etc.) before getting my knickers in a knot over it.
The Chicken Little Society.
“The sky is falling, the sky is falling.............”
Always hafta have something to panic about.
There is a problem w/ terrible potential. Since theres no wall along the KA border tards are free to infest the remainder of the country at will. If things get bad enough they’ll come live w/ the rest of us and screw up whats left of the country. Thankfully I live in a state that has terrible weather so we may, perhaps, be spared the onslaught of the stupid. One can one hope...
Good. Rain all that radiation down on Berkley and keep those communist creeps from reproducing!
Oh Nos! What to do now...
I have to wonder if they’re picking their pet scientists again.. Investigators just outed the huge scam by the CARB on diesel particulate regulations in CA that will cost the state over a $billion... The scientist they ‘chose’ to believe didn’t even have a degree - and lied about his credentials from UC Davis, which never heard of him - yet the regulations based on his lies will be left to stand, because CARB is accountable to no one.
FYI, MCLs are generally based on the risk from drinking the water every day for 40 years or something.
When I read this scaremongering nonsense, I had to laugh. Just one sentence shows contempt for physics. Radioactive iodine has -- not supposedly -- but actually does have a half-life of 8.02 days. This does not apply to other isotopes "such as radioactive iodine", but only to iodine-131. And it does "persist" in the environment but is not in the least bit dangerous after a few cycles of 8.02 days.
This is the same isotope which was used to treat our cat for hyperthyroidism. We took reasonable precautions and all went well.
SF recently had an effluence problem because of “green” lo-flo plumbing “improvements” and had to introduce tons of bleach into the environment.
Half-life on I-131 is about 8 days ... I can live with that ...
The spike came from the fire at the nuke plant. That happened shortly before Obama’s NRC guy said that the holding pool was dry (i.e. not cooled and could heat up and burn) After that they dumped large amounts of water into and onto it so now the radioactive water is a problem, but only a local problem. As long as there is no fire, our milk (and everything else) will be safe.
However, if it isn't, maybe it will help the good folks of the People's Republic of Berkley understand that their radical politics can't protect them from everything happening in the world.
Even their data shows only one day anywhere near the level reported in the headline, with the level fluctuating, but much lower on every other day. This looks more like an aberration in their data collection than any actual event.
Right. And 2 + 2 is supposed to be 5. The halflives of isotopes is well characterized.
I grew up in the 1950s when the US was still doing atmospheric nuclear tests in Nevada and I’m sure many in my generation absorbed as much or more radiation in our milk without killing us off.
Berkely?....no problem.....they’ve all got two heads anyway.
And besides, 100x of a very, very, very tiny thing is still a very, very, very tiny thing.
Let’s say I know with absolute certainty that I will die if I ingest...
units of a certain toxin.
Let’s say that we have some evidence that in a population of a million persons, that a few hundred will get sick and a small handful will die if all million ingest...
units of this toxin.
How well can we predict the illness and death rates if the population of one million is exposed to AN ALARMING 1000 TIMES the rate of toxin? Or
units of this toxin.
Milk goes from the cow to your store shelf in two to three days.
I-131 has a half-life of 8 days. Three half-lives in the general rule of thumb for an isotope to be decayed to a safe level from its initial level. So for I-131 that would be 24 days.
What the article does not say is that most milk cows in the US are fed on stored grain and hay which would not be exposed to rain fall.
So unless you are a person that drinks only organic pastured cow milk I would not be too worried.
My milk glows in the dark and I can use it as a night light.
islamism is still the greatest threat to us all.
Iodine 131 has a half-life of 8.03 days. If it truly has 181x the allowable level, keep it in your refigerator for two months and it will have decayed to permissible levels.
I agree....Anything to divert attention from the real threat.
Let me put 20 Bq in perspective: You get 15 Bq from eating a banana.
So that’s why those California cows are happy!! They glow in the dark so they can graze all night.
Looks like Wisconsin dairy is still the best. :^)
Let me put 20 Bq in perspective: You get 15 Bq from eating a banana.
Media types love to use “this many times” or “this percent above/below” on pretty much anything because it makes amore compelling headline than the raw numbers. For example (taken from “Bad Science” by Ben Goldacre) if a study showed that eating a certain food or taking a certain medicine increased the number of heart attacks per ten thousand men from 2 to 4, the headlines would scream that said food or medicine doubles your heart attack risk or is a 100% increase. Technically true, but not as dire as it sounds. The bummer is that when they use the same technique ( “Bran reduces your cancer risk by 50%!!!!!!”) it convinces people there’s a bulletproof solution to diseases.
I’ve been looking all over the EPA website trying to find that particular drinking water standard. The closest I can find is a standard for gross beta, at 4 mrem/year.
I’m starting to believe the standard is not an official one, perhaps even made up.
I agree 100%.
Our children and grandchildren will one day ask why we didn't do something while we still could.
Excellent point. You’ll never get a job as “journalist” if you keep up the sensible talk, you know.
Well, there’s also this:
These guys are saying there’s an activity of 20 Bq per liter.
Eating a banana involves 15 Bq. So, already we have no risk.
But then consider that unless all the Iodine 131 in a liter of water goes straight to the milk with none staying in the cow, in any of the equipment, etc., the Bq is going to be reduced further by the time the product reaches you.
They are using the term 181 times because it makes a shocking headline. There’s nothing here.
This does not mention I-131 but has standards for activity in general. It needs to be converted from pCi/l to Bq/l, to match the article, I’m quite busy so I’ll leave the conversion up to FReeperdom.
My son ( PhD physics) told me that the level of radiation we can expect in the US can be compared to standing in a room with one person (before) compared to standing in a room full of people (after).
No the sky isn't falling. yldstrk, you're an idiot.
It is getting awfully dry but we do have all this wonderful golden oak pollen to be thankful for. /s
(I'm just up the road from you in Kerrville)
Not even close.
The activity level here is 20 Bq per liter. The Becquerel is a measure of radioactive activity that translates to a dose.
A banana’s activity level is 15 Bq.
Potassium decaying naturally in your body is about 4400 Bq.
Twenty Bq per liter may be 181 times some government standard, but it 181 times jack squat. There is no danger here, only media hype.
Ban the rain! Ban clouds! Ban rooftops! Ban gutters! Ban everything in sight, San Fransisco!
I think that the fine folks out there in cookie land need to immediately shut down all of the nuclear, coal and gas power plants in Kalifornia to save the Earth from Gorbal Warming. Then they need to close all roads and freeways and ban the use of the internal combustion engine. Once that’s done they need to return all farm land back to natural habitat. Finally, they need to seize all the money from the evil rich and divide it evenly amongst the parasites, sorry, I mean the downtrodden poor people. Only then will their state become the Utopian Nirvana that the libtard fools yearn for.
A radioactive isotope, such as iodine-131, is supposed to have a half-life of eight days. This is inferred to mean that it breaks down quickly, and it quickly dissipates in the environment. However, the 8 day half-life can be a misnomer because radioactive iodine can really persist in the environment for many months and has a 100 day biological half-life once inside the human body.I'm seeing a lot of mixing of apples, oranges, and zebras here.
A radioactive isotope, such as iodine-131, is supposed to have a half-life of eight days.No, this particular isotope has a half-life of eight days. (Actually 8.3, but who's counting?) It's been measured countless times. The burden of proof now lies with whoever wants to argue differently.
This is inferred to mean that it breaks down quickly, and it quickly dissipates in the environment.Breaking down is one thing; dissipating in the environment is another. Iodine-131 breaks down into Xenon-131, which is a stable, nonreactive isotope. This has nothing to do with whether it disperses in the environment or falls to the ground in one concentrated slug.
However, the 8 day half-life can be a misnomer because radioactive iodine can really persist in the environment for many months...OK, now you're shifting goal posts. Some radioactive iodine does persist in the environment for a long time. Iodine-125 has a half-life of 60.2 days; Iodine-129 has a half-life of 17 million years. But you started out talking about Iodine-131, which still has a half-life of 8.3 days.
...and has a 100 day biological half-life once inside the human body.The biological half-life refers to the residence time time in the body of any chemical, regardless of whether it's radioactive or not. Iodine has a biological half-life of 70 days in the thyroid gland, and a couple of weeks in the rest of the body. (Treating the thyroid gland and the rest of the body as separate compartments.) But this applies to all iodine in those compartments. All that addresses is whether iodine is excreted before or after it decays. Other than that, there's nothing wrong with that paragraph.
Maybe the California liberals will be genetically altered and turn them into Conservatives. :)
http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm#Radionuclides This does not mention I-131 but has standards for activity in general.Been to that one. I-131 is a beta emitter, so it would be covered under "gross beta" where the limit is 4 mrem/year. Notice, this is not given in pCi or Bq, and the dose rate depends on the specific isotope involved. So where does the 3 pCu/L come from?
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