Is it Safe to Eat Fish From the Pacific After The Fukushima Disaster in Japan?

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In March of 2011 a gigantic earthquake activated a humongous tsunami just of the shore of Japan. This tsunami hit a nuclear power plant in Fukushima, which triggered one of its dangerous nuclear reactors to have a melt down. Large amounts of radioactive compounds were dumped into the environment as a result, garnering the Fukushima nuclear disaster its status as the biggest incident of this kind after Chernobyl. Radiation had been released into the sea, the land and the sky, and the possible lingering effects on the residents of Japan are unknown at this time.

Due to this disaster, coolant waters were released into the sea off of Fukushima, where the worlds strongest currents churn, spreading the contaminated fluids around the Pacific. People want to know what the effects of this calamity mean for all of the marine wildlife near the United States? Is it to be avoided?

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Experts say that the radiation that may be present in sea life off of our coast is easily measurable using their cesium contamination levels. This is a radioactive isotope that was sent into the water when the reactor melted down. Of course, the fish that are at the very top of the food chain will be the most sensitive to this pollution because they live longer and thus have more exposure. While the concentration is between 10 and 1000 times higher than normal off the coast of Japan, this is still well below the levels that are harmful to animals or even humans.

 

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Fish have been tested over and over to try to determine if there are any risks posed by consumption. Most of the fish contain such low levels of the cesium that they could not be detected until they had been greatly concentrated. In fact, in order to actually achieve a level of consumption that could prove harmful to you, you’d have to consume around three tons a year. So unless you are a shark, you are probably fine. Of course some of the fish from the Pacific ocean do have small levels of the radioactive isotopes, but then so do beaches, rocks and even bananas.

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