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.
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?
Is that Klingon in your tagline?
I’m west of you so I get it first. One tenth of an inch moisture since last Oct.
Are you in the habit of drinking unpurified rainwater straight out of the gutter downspout?
Didn't think so...
Comparing dirty rainwater to a drinking water standard is absurd. It takes (at least) months for rain water to make it to your faucet -- and, by then it has been diluted millions of times by water already here in lakes or aquifers.
Notice that the radioactivity is measured in Becquerels per liter . If you dilute the rainwater by a factor of a million, the radiation is one millionth of its present (constantly declining) level.
Iodine-131 has a half-life of a little over eight (8) days. In a little over a week, that rainwater will be half as radioactive; in 16 days, half of that...ad infinitum... By the time it reaches your faucet, it will have decayed to the point that it is radioactively indistinguishable from the water you drank a month ago -- or yesterday -- or today.
Iodine-131 decays by beta-decay -- it gives off low-energy electrons and positrons. Beta particles are stopped by aluminum foil -- or the roof of your house.
As a teen, I built a cloud chamber to view the tracks of particles released by an alpha/beta particle-emiting radionuclide source. The alpha particles (helium nuclei) traveled only a couple of inches through the air and "died". The few Beta particles that made it to the walls of the chamber were stopped by the glass flask that formed the chamber. The alpha particles could be stopped in less than two inches by a sheet of cigarette paper. I never was able to find aluminum foil thin enough that the beta partcles could penetrate it. At no time, was I able to measure any radiation from the source -- outside the chamber.
Oh -- I'm now 73 -- with no ill effects, three normal kids, eight normal grandkids -- and no sign of cancer.
That rainwater "washed" the I-131 out of the air, and will soak into the soil, which will block the beta radiation, and the I-131 will decay to background levels long before it becomes drinking water -- or milk in your fridge.
Enjoy your milk -- but not too much -- it's fattening... ;-)
Is that Klingon in your tagline?Yup.
Excellent way to out this in perspective!
On Google Earth, go to "Sedan Crater, NV". Zoom out a bit, and pan southward down that valley until you reach the dry lake at the southern end.
Try to count all the craters in that valley. You can't -- there are too many... Here's a small sample:
Every one of those craters is the result of a nuclear (or thermonuclear) bomb explosion -- right here on the soil of the good ol' US of A.
If your "entire food supply" is not already "radioactively contaminated indefinitely" from all the radioactivity released from the Nevada Test Site, do you really think that a nuclear powerplant on the other side of the Pacific is going to do so?
All I meant to say was (0.5)^(60/8.05) < 181.
What that has to do with the real world is not my concern.
No, you gave the correct -- and accurate -- explanation for the Bolivian patterns/structures here.
Aside from the fact that both views are of human-modified desert terrain -- viewed from a high altitude -- I see little similarity...
The specific section of Yucca Flats that I "grabbed" shows an uncommonly "orthogonal" layout -- indicative of systematic, planned test sequences designed to measure the effects of a series of development experiments. Other areas of the NTS show much more random layouts - and some areas have very distinctive circular layouts.
The Bolivian irrigation patterns obviously follow natural land (elevation) contours to take advantage of gravity flow for water transport / control purposes. Nary a crater or blast cavity-collapse pit anywhere in sight...