After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, with cesium 137 contamination in Sweden, Norway and to a lesser extent, Finland, all faced a marketing disaster for their food industry (especially for Raindeer meat) from the increased radioactive contamination, over and above previous Russian atmospheric nuclear testing. Chernobyl’s Cesium 137 was carried by wind and spring rain patterns in high concentrations to central Sweden and Norway and within days, Swedish and Norwegian scientists measured dangerous levels of cesium in the atmosphere. As a result Sweden raised the cesium concentration limit for marketability. In May 1987, the limit was raised to 1,500 Bq/kg, which thereby classified most herding areas as safe.
Then, post Fukushima, the Japanese Japanese Ministry of Health decided to more than double the maximum allowable exposure for nuclear workers from 100 millisieverts to 250 millisieverts. Then in 2011 under new public radiation limits, Japanese children can now be exposed to 20 times more radiation than was previously permissible.The reasoning here is that it was necessary in order to keep schools in the Fukushima region open. Just raise the limits and the children are somehow safe!
Now we have the US EPA significantly raising the allowable limits of radioactive contamination in America’s domestic drinking water (article below). Is this the result of the atmospheric contamination previously received in the US in the days after the Fukushima multiple reactor meltdown, or are the authorities taking a proactive step in preparing for the next nuclear disaster sure to come? Whatever the case it is so convenient that the biological effects of radiation can be altered simply by increasing the allowable “safe” limits.
Be it for ionizing or non-ionizing radiation, that is how regulatory science works…..
From “Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)”
For Immediate Release: Jul 26, 2016
Contact: Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337
ULTRA-HIGH RADIATION COMING TO YOUR DRINKING WATER
EPA Hiding True Impacts and Limiting Public Comment on Radioactive Water Plan
Posted on Jul 26, 2016 | Tags: EPA
Washington, DC — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is in the final stage of implementing a controversial plan to allow vastly greater radioactive contamination in drinking water than permitted by the Safe Drinking Water Act for long periods following release of nuclear materials, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and a coalition of public health and environmental organizations. Compounding concerns are the unusual tactics EPA used to mask the plan’s effects, block commenters from including their identities and hamstring the ability to put documents on the record.
Public comments closed yesterday on EPA’s curiously named “Protective Action Guides” (or PAGs) that would dramatically increase allowable concentrations of radioactive material in public drinking water following a radioactive release. The PAGs have been expanded to cover not just large accidents but any release of radioactivity for which a protective action may be considered. They cover the “intermediate phase” after “releases have been brought under control” – an unspecified period that may last for years.
The new guidance would permit radiation exposures equivalent to 250 chest X-rays a year and, for some radionuclides, a person could receive a lifetime dosage from a small glass of water.
Despite public consternation about the plan, EPA has employed troubling hide-the-ball ploys, such as –
• Although it would set new concentrations for 110 radionuclides, EPA has not disclosed what those new concentrations would be for all but three of these. Yet, internal EPA documents obtained by PEER claim that proposed concentrations “would exceed MCLs [Maximum Contaminant Limits of the Safe Drinking Water Act] by a factor of 100, 1000, and in two instances, 7 million.”
• EPA removed from the electronic portal for comments (regulations.gov) the boxes for commenters to include their names, an extraordinary move that reduces specific public input from a range of experts, cities and even states as coming from “anonymous” sources; and
• Taking the unexplained step of requiring all documents submitted to be in full (no urls) but imposing a limit of ten megabytes per attachment.
“This is a very creepy plan rolled out in an especially creepy fashion,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that because the public comments are concluded EPA can put the plan into effect at any time. “It is unconscionable that full impacts of suspending drinking water safeguards during long periods of nuclear fallout are hidden from the public.”
The Bush administration in its last days unsuccessfully tried to put forward similar proposals, which the incoming Obama administration pulled back. Now, in the waning months of the Obama term the plan is moving forward with new radioactive exposure levels expected to be even higher than the Bush plan.
“This is a deceptive way for the Environmental Protection Agency to circumvent the Safe Drinking Water Act, Superfund cleanup levels, and EPA’s history of limiting the allowable risk of cancer to 1 in a million people exposed, or at most 1 in 10,000 in worst-case scenarios. The not-so-Protective Action Guides protect the polluters from liability, not the public from radiation,” said Diane D’Arrigo, Radioactive Waste Project Director at Nuclear Information and Resource Service.