Pathetic Conspiracies and Obscure Motivations
It is not surprising that people are worried about the radiation from Fukushima coming to the US across the Pacific. There have been several stories about this in the alternative news. One gave a long list of movie stars and personalities who were fleeing Hollywood because of the health effects of Fukushima.
So i asked my toxicologist friend Will to weigh in on this one, and i want to publicize his reply.
Oy. It’s a load of crap, and it hardly takes any thought at all to show that.
I haven’t looked at the Pediatrics article, but I looked at the link you sent. Here are the first three things I considered:
1) Article claims that I-131 levels were 211 times normal on the West Coast within a few days. Consider: Distance Tokyo-Seattle = 4777 miles. 20 mph x 24 hr/day = 480 miles/day. So it takes maybe 10 days for any radiation to arrive if it blows here in a straight line at a steady 20 mph.
2) Article says hypothyroidism among newborns increased 16% from March 17 to December, and was 28% above normal during March 17 to June 30.
Consider: Quake was on April 11. Why are they looking at the period starting March 17? Even if they could only get data for a chunky period, like monthly or quarterly, there’s no way the starting date should be 3/17. The only reason I can imagine is that they cherry-picked the lowest point they could find in the period preceding the quake, and dishonestly compared to that. In any case, it would take pretty high exposure to produce a substantial increase in newborn hypothyroidism among babies born right after the quake. It would take a period of exposure to produce the hypothyroidism; it’s not as if radiation produces a sudden dramatic hypothyroid effect. This is the same crap that I debunked for you a year or two ago, and it won’t go away.
3) I clicked the “measurements” link and quickly found that the article misrepresents the information at the link. It was not UCB scientists who found “alarmingly” high levels; all of their data showed detectably increased, but still extremely low levels. It’s this guy Kaltofen who supposedly found high levels. The article says he found higher levels in “only two” “isolated US soil samples,” as compared to “control samples.” It doesn’t say how many samples were taken, what it means to take “control samples” when deposition occurs nationwide, or anything like that. And I don’t think it says where the higher-level samples were from, but that hardly matters; how would high levels accumulate in just specific spots in the US, after dispersion over 5-8000 miles? Fukushima couldn’t have contaminated specific points in the U.S. substantially more than other points, aside from presumably somewhat higher contamination in the West. I didn’t pursue this to the original data, because all three of the first things I looked at turned out to be false claims or wild misrepresentations, so it’s not worth looking into this any further.
Just to show how ridiculous the article is, think about this: how would “movie industry” people know any more about this than the rest of us do? This isn’t some kind of secret that movie industry people would be let in on, and the rest of us wouldn’t. This is obviously wacko conspiracy thinking.
Chernobyl was a health disaster. Fukushima very likely will turn out to be a health disaster as well, in Japan. But this article is total nonsense, and I’m not concerned about health issues in the US resulting from Fukushima. There are plenty of good arguments to make against nuclear power; don’t waste your time on this one.
This is one of those times when i am happy to rest on science as a truth model. I have to wonder about the motivation of the authors of this article. Did “Buttercup” who is credited with writing this article (always a bad sign when a news story is signed with an alias) think no one was going to fact check? Is this just a story to draw excited but gullible readers to the site?
It is quite frustrating that people are really suffering in Japan around the Fukushima disaster and we are instead focusing on where it is not happening and pretending it is a huge problem.
[Mostly Edited by Judy Youngquest]